MASTER'S

Public Policy

Overview & Requirements
Applying
Careers & Internships

The Master of Arts in Higher Education with a focus on Public Policy helps students grapple with the challenges that face higher education and gain insights on how to develop a vision of higher education for society. Students analyze broad policy issues that affect higher and postsecondary education, such as state governance and coordination, financial aid funding, and affirmative action in admissions and hiring. You will generate and apply knowledge on how to advance the role of higher education in supporting the public good and improving institutional practice. 

The program specifically focuses on public policy issues at the institutional, local, system, state, and federal levels, and may be extended to international and comparative contexts. It aims to provide a deep understanding of the political context of education in addition to a basic set of tools for policy analysis and evaluation. It enables students to participate more effectively in policy processes and prepares them for a wide variety of positions in institutions of postsecondary education, policy positions at the local, state, national, and international level, and/or positions with nongovernmental organizations, educational associations, or policy institutes.

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.

Additional Certificate and Endorsement Opportunities
Learning Experience Design Certificate

Requirements

Total Credit Hours Required
30

Core curriculum

6

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 561 Introduction to Higher Education
  • EDUC 764 – Public Policy in Postsecondary Education

Concentration requirements

12

Students elect nine credits in CSHPE courses that address issues of public policy in higher education and/or have an explicit policy component and three additional credits in CSHPE courses. Students choose from the following courses:

  • EDUC 563 – The Community College
  • EDUC 760 – Access & Equity
  • EDUC 768 – Economics of Education
  • EDUC 863 – Planning, Analysis and Institutional Research
  • EDUC 870 – International and Comparative Higher Education
  • EDUC 874 – Law and Higher Education
  • Other CSHPE courses approved by a faculty adviser

Research preparation requirement

3

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 793 – Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Educational Research (or equivalent)

Additional research preparation may be recommended for students pursuing careers in policy analysis. 

Cognates

6

Students complete six credits in cognate courses, chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser, that address public policy issues.

Practicum experience

3

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 777 – Administrative Practicum

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.
    • 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
  • 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 (non-native speakers of English)

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.
  • Domestic applicants 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, please submit your official international transcripts before the application deadline. Please review Rackham's international transcript requirements.
  • 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

The GRE is no longer required for admission to the Higher Education Master's Program

Prior master's degree required

No

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

3.0

Graduate GPA guideline (4-point scale)

3.3

Financial aid available

Yes

Online, evening, or weekend courses

No

Starting term

Fall term 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
Fitchburg State University International Education Coordinator Fitchburg, MA
New York University Graduate School, PhD Program in Higher Education New York, NY
University of California, San Diego Project Analyst, Student Affairs San Diego, CA
University of Michigan Coordinator of Community College Partnerships, OptiMize Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan Graduate School: PhD Program in Higher Education 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. 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: 

  • National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good
  • National Center for Institutional Diversity
  • Center for Educational Opportunity
  • Institute for Higher Education Policy
  • American Council on Education
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers

Students with these interests may pursue summer internships that enhance their understanding of public policy issues. Speak with your advisor about pursuing additional experiential learning opportunities that fall outside CSHPE internship settings.