MASTER'S

Institutional Research

Overview & Requirements
Applying
Careers & Internships
Shape the future of higher education.

The Master of Arts in Higher Education with a focus on Institutional Research equips students with factual knowledge about postsecondary institutions and systems, research methods used by institutional research professionals, knowledge of the processes and issues affecting institutions, and an understanding of the context and culture of the institutions in which students will work and study.

In this concentration, you will learn how to:

  • Develop and frame research questions
  • Design and execute empirical research pertaining to postsecondary education
  • Collect, prepare, and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Report research findings to varied audiences
  • Make connections between research, policy, and practice

The curriculum will prepare you for professional positions including opportunities within higher education programs or centers; research appointments in institutional research offices; and research and policy roles in federal and state agencies of higher education, higher education associations, policy institutes, and policy advocacy organizations.

You will be paired with an advisor from among the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) faculty members, based on shared professional interests. Students and advisors work together to develop a plan of study that is appropriate to the student’s background and career interests.

Pursue your degree part-time or full-time

Most students participate full-time and complete the Master’s in Higher Education in 3 semesters, over 1.5 years. To do so, students complete an internship and coursework during their first academic year (fall and winter terms). Students typically further develop their professional skill set and earn additional salary through a summer internship (either at the University of Michigan or elsewhere), before completing a final term of courses and graduating in December.

Some full-time students may choose to complete the program at an accelerated pace of 12 months. This often involves shifting the final term of coursework to the spring/summer terms, rather than completing a summer internship.

We also greatly value the contributions of part-time students who pursue the Master’s in Higher Education while working full-time, often at the University of Michigan.

Higher Education courses take place in-person and during the business day. If you are considering applying as a part-time student, it will be important to know that you have flexibility with your work schedule to take courses during this time. Part-time students complete the program at their own pace.

Requirements

Total Credit Hours Required
36

Core curriculum credits

6

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 561 – Introduction to Higher Education
  • EDUC 863 – Institutional Research in Higher Education

Concentration credits

6

Students choose from the following courses:

  • EDUC 563 – The Community College
  • EDUC 761 – Higher Education Institutions as Complex Organizations
  • EDUC 764 – Public Policy in Postsecondary Education
  • EDUC 768 – Economics of Education
  • EDUC 874 – Law and Higher Education
  • Other CSHPE courses approved by a faculty adviser

Research credits

15

Students choose from the following courses:

  • EDUC 695 – Research Methods in Educational Research
  • EDUC 792 – Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
  • EDUC 793 – Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Educational Research
  • EDUC 795 – Quantitative Methods for Non-Experimental Research
  • EDUC 799 – Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables
  • Other CSHPE courses approved by a faculty adviser

Cognate credits

6

Students complete six credits in cognate courses, chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser, that enhance research or evaluation competencies.

Practicum experience credits

3

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 777 – Administrative Practicum

In EDUC 777, students connect their out-of-classroom practice and internships with their in-classroom learning.

Internship/career-related experience semesters

2

This required, two-semester internship offers students opportunities to develop specialized skills in particular functional areas or to explore the inner workings of offices with which they are less familiar. Internship experiences also enhance student preparation and development of professional networks that aid in career success upon graduation. Part-time students who work full-time in higher education may request to waive the internship requirement.

Questions?

Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective students

Prospective Students

CSHPE students
Discover more offerings from CSHPE

The Center for the Study of Postsecondary and Higher Education

Connect with CSHPE

Contact

Phone: (734) 764-9470
Fax: (734) 764-2510
cshpe.info@umich.edu

Location

610 E. University Avenue
Room 2117
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Office Hours

Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Application Deadlines

Winter
November 15
U.S. students (part-time only)
October 1
International students (part-time only)
Fall
January 1
U.S. students
December 1
International students

Application Process

Step 1: Prepare your application materials

To submit a successful application for admission, you need to provide the following:

  • Academic Statement of Purpose
    • Part-Time Admission: Applicants seeking admission to a master’s program may attend on a part-time basis. Please indicate this in your Academic Statement of Purpose.
    • The Academic Statement of Purpose should be a concise statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and your reasons for applying to this degree program. Please be specific in explaining how the course offerings and faculty expertise of this program fit your educational and career objectives. Please mention if you are interested in attending part-time. We are also interested in how you learned about our program. Two double-spaced pages is considered a good length. 
  • Personal Statement 
    • 500 word limit
    • How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Please do not repeat your Academic Statement of Purpose. 
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
    • We strongly encourage two of your letters come from individuals who are familiar with your academic performance. The third may be from a professional reference.
    • Register your recommenders' names and contact information on the online application so that they will be sent instructions for submitting their letters via the application system. Let your recommenders know that they need to upload a letter and that it is required by the program. 
    • As soon as you click "save" on the page of the application where your recommenders' contact information is entered, they will receive an email with instructions for completing the process. Proceed to this point in the application process as soon as possible to trigger that email.
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE Test Scores (valid 5 years from test date)
    • Provide ETS with the U-M Institutional Code of 1839 and your scores will be sent directly to the university.
    • If you are applying as a dual degree candidate to our MA/MBA program we will accept GMAT scores in place of GRE scores.
  • TOEFL, MELAB, ECPE, or IELTS scores (for non-native speakers of English only; valid 2 years from test date)
Step 2: Create an ApplyWeb account, managed by Rackham Graduate School

Create an account with Rackham Graduate School. 

This program, like all of the School of Education's graduate programs, is administered through the University of Michigan's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Rackham offers a host of resources and administrative support to help see you through from submitting your application to completion of your degree.

Step 3: Complete pages 1-5 of application using ApplyWeb

After completing page 5 of the application, you will receive an e-mail with your U-M ID. A U-M ID number will be issued to you via email within 5 business days of completing pages 1-5 and advancing to page 6 of the ApplyWeb application. Having your U-M ID number to include on all your application materials ensures accurate and timely processing, so we encourage you to complete pages 1-5 early in the process.

  • If you need to submit your application before you receive your U-M ID number, you may still complete the application. Include your date of birth and the program’s name on your application materials.
  • Current and former U-M Ann Arbor students, alumni and employees: You do not need to obtain a new U-M ID number. Use your previously obtained U-M ID number.
  • If your personal information has changed (for example, legal name, gender), make sure the personal information you submit with your application matches your previous Ann Arbor campus record. If your previous Ann Arbor campus record does not display your current personal information, contact the Registrar’s Office or the Shared Services Center to change your personal information before you apply.
Step 4: Upload academic statement of purpose, the personal statement, and a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to the ApplyWeb application

Include at the top of each document:

  • The type of document (Academic Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, or Curriculum Vitae or Resume)
  • Your name
  • The name of the graduate program
  • Your 8 digit U-M ID (if known)

Make sure margins are at least one-inch so nothing is cropped when you upload the documents to the application.

Step 5: Submit test scores

GRE Test Scores (valid 5 years from test date)

  • Provide ETS with the U-M Institutional Code of 1839 and your scores will be sent directly to the university.
  • If you are applying as a dual-degree candidate to our MA/MBA program, we will accept GMAT scores in place of GRE scores.

TOEFL, MELAB, ECPE, or IELTS scores (for non-native speakers of English only; valid 2 years from test date)

Step 6: Submit transcripts
  • Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account (part of the Rackham application system). Do not upload academic records printed from your school’s website or student portal.
  • You are not required to send official transcripts at the time of application. If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcripts. Admitted applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcripts are required.
  • Students who have studied in a country outside of the U.S. should review the required credentials from non-U.S. institutions. For all degrees obtained at non-U.S. institutions—Request that degree-granting institutions submit official transcripts/records to the Rackham Graduate School at the time of application.
  • Information for submitting official transcripts can be found on the Rackham Graduate School website.
Step 7: Check that letters of recommendation have been submitted
  • We strongly encourage two of your letters come from individuals who are familiar with your academic performance. The third may be from a professional reference.
  • Register your recommenders' names and contact information on the online application so that they will be sent instructions for submitting their letters via the application system. Let your recommenders know that they need to upload a letter and that it is required by the program.
  • As soon as you click "save" on the page of the application where your recommenders' contact information is entered, they will receive an email with instructions for completing the process. Proceed to this point in the application process as soon as possible to trigger that email.
Step 8: Create a U-M Friend Account

Check on your application status. If you’ve been accepted, you will receive an email with information on how to send your official transcripts.

Step 9: Respond to admission offer
Contact us

For questions regarding the master's or doctoral program application in Higher Education: Jessica Mason 
Admissions and Graduate Records Coordinator 
jessfred@umich.edu / 734-764-8483 

For questions regarding tuition, scholarships, financial aid, & residency: 
Eileen Brussolo 
Student Affairs Program Manager 
efc@umich.edu / 734-936-1829 

For general questions regarding the master’s or doctoral program in Higher Education: 
Higher Education Program Office 
cshpe.info@umich.edu / 734-764-9472

U-M Office of Financial Aid

Quick Facts

GRE general exam required

Yes

Average GRE scores of applicants

152 quant
157 verbal
4.5 writing
Scores older than five years not accepted 
Institution code: 1839

Undergraduate GPA guideline (4-point scale) for the last two years of coursework

3.0

Paid internships available

Yes

Financial aid available

Yes

Part-time options

Yes

Online, evening, or weekend courses

No

Starting term

Fall Term (part-time and full-time applicants) and Winter Term (part-time applicants only)

Connect with CSHPE

Contact

Phone: (734) 764-9470
Fax: (734) 764-2510
cshpe.info@umich.edu

Location

610 E. University Avenue
Room 2117
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Office Hours

Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Careers

91%

of graduates found full time employment in education

89%

of graduates are highly satisfied or satisfied with their current position

$50k

average starting salary for graduates

96%

of graduates found jobs in 6 months or less
Graduates typically go into these industries
College and university administration and faculty
State and national public policy agencies
Government offices
Professional associations

 

Hiring organizations and job titles
Organization Job title Location
Marine Corps University Education Officer, Academic Support Division Quantico, VA
National Humanities Alliance Research Associate Washington, DC
Shinken-AD Co., Ltd. Institutional Researcher/ Higher Education Consultant Osaka, Japan
University of Denver Graduate School, PhD Program in Educational Statistics and Research Methodology Denver, CO
University of Michigan Graduate School, PhD Program in Higher Education Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan Research Associate, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives  Ann Arbor, MI

Internships

An integral part of the program is a two-term (fall and winter) internship, selected by individual students based upon their career goals. In addition to the formal coursework, students will obtain real-world institutional research experience through a program-approved internship. Students are exposed to institutional research practices and work directly with professionals in the field. 

These opportunities are developed specifically for higher education master's students. Most include a paid hourly salary, typically $13-$18 an hour. Upon acceptance into the CSHPE master's program, you will be given a detailed description of the internship matching process, which takes place in February and March.

Internship opportunities may include:

  • Office for Budget and Planning
  • Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT)
  • ADVANCE
  • Office of Financial Aid
  • Office of Enrollment Management
  • Student Life Assessment, Research, and Evaluation
  • Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research