Oct 04, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Higher Education

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The programs in Higher Education advance the knowledge and skills essential for effective leadership in a range of professional areas in today’s colleges and universities. All programs emphasize the integration of oral and written communication skills, critical thinking skills, a cognitive understanding of colleges and universities as complex organizations, the social context within which they function, the individual identity development of the students they serve, and the effective use of technology in curriculum and communication.

Student Development in Higher Education (M.Ed., Ed.S)

M.Ed.: The Master of Education (MEd) in Student Development in Higher Education prepares entry-level professionals for a variety of positions in student affairs in postsecondary education in increasingly diverse and technologically advanced colleges and universities. Master’s level academic coursework provides solid theoretical and practical grounding for understanding the student services profession in the context of colleges and universities as complex organizations including: student development, sociocultural identity differences/diversity, ethical professional practice, research, and technological competence. The practical implications of coursework are explored through class discussions of application, internship experiences, and graduate assistantships in campus departments.


The Master’s Program in Student Development in Higher Education encompasses a body of knowledge and theory that provides a basis for professional practice. It is designed around the guidelines established by the Council for the Advancement of Standards for Student Services/Development Programs and the ACPA/NASPA Competencies. Theory-to-practice internships provide hands-on experience in a student affairs setting. The 36-credit-hour graduate program in Student Development in Higher Education includes three major components:

  1. Student development in higher education core (19 credit hours): A set of courses required of all students in the program providing a base of knowledge about colleges and universities and student development as a field. The core includes at least 3 credit hours of internship experience and 3 credits of electives. The program culminates in an integrating capstone seminar and final paper.
  2. Research Core (6 credit hours): Two courses providing a basic understanding of assessment, research design and statistical methods for conducting and/or interpreting research.
  3. Focus Block/Concentration (11 credit hours): An area of emphasis specific to the student’s interests: Options include: leadership, gender studies, and an individualized option.

Ed.S.: The College of Education and Human Development provides an option for an Education Specialist providing a cohesive program of professional development beyond the master’s level for educational specialists. The program of study is individually planned by the student and their  advisor. A minimum of 30 semester hours of work beyond the master’s level is required to earn the Ed.S.  Candidates must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours in professional education coursework at the 500- and /or 600-level at the University of Maine. A master’s degree in the Ed.S. subject matter is required for admission to the program.

Students at the master’s and Ed.S. levels typically hold graduate assistantships (GAs) with offices and programs at UMaine. These are typically secured by applying directly to the sponsoring offices.

Additional information regarding the program and the supplemental admissions process is available from Higher Education admissions, 136 Shibles Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469 or by visiting the program’s website https://umaine.edu/edhd/graduate/higher-education-masters-cas/


Application deadline for the M.Ed. is April 1st for Fall enrollment, but those seeking graduate assistantship positions should apply by December 1st for preferred consideration.


Ph.D./Ed.D. in Higher Education

The doctoral program in Higher Education prepares ethical, visionary, informed, and competent programmatic and institutional leaders.

Through its structure and content, the doctoral degree in Higher Education provides mid-career professionals with the theoretical and practical frameworks to understand colleges and universities as complex organizations within the American social context including foundations in leadership, law and policy, sociocultural identity differences/diversity, ethical professional practice, historical context, and research.  Students develop advanced research skills to explore critical questions related to these areas through coursework, evaluating existing scholarship, and by conducting original research.

Graduates of the Higher Education doctoral program will provide leadership characterized by:

  • High-level analytic thinking
  • Advanced research design and analysis skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ethical leadership and decision making
  • Understanding of the dynamics of sociocultural identity differences
  • Historical perspectives
  • Understanding of colleges and universities as complex organizations
  • Understanding of professional responsibilities, networks/communities, and ethics in the field
  • Effective, persuasive, and inclusive written and oral communication skills
  • Understanding the social context and complexities of higher education
  • Comprehension of the impact of social, economic, political, and legal trends
  • Technology literacy
  • Flexibility and confidence to provide leadership in times of change

The structure of the program entails 90 credit hours past the bachelor’s degree. Admission requires a master’s degree for which variable credits may be applied to the doctoral degree, upon approval of program faculty and in accordance with Graduate School guidelines. The master’s need not be in Education. The disciplinary backgrounds and the applied experience mid-career students bring with them are central to the learning environment. Students are expected to learn from one another as well as from faculty and others with specific expertise in areas of higher education. The student’s program consists of group and individualized experiences culminating in the dissertation including:

  • The Professional Core: a broad, common strand of doctoral level course work required of all students in the Higher Education program (18 credit hours)
  • Research Foundation: a set of courses to provide expertise in evaluating and conducting research in educational settings including basic statistics and introductory qualitative research, research design and either advanced statistics or advanced qualitative research (a minimum of 12 credit hours)
  • Professional specialization: a set of interdisciplinary courses tailored to the individual professional goals, needs, and interests (a minimum of 18 credit hours which may include master’s work and work transferred from other institutions)
  • Dissertation research structured to solve problems or produce knowledge with direct applicability to higher education practice (a minimum of 6 credit hours)

Additional information regarding the program and the supplemental admissions process is available from 136 Shibles Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469 or by visiting the program website https://umaine.edu/edhd/graduate/higher-education-phd-edd/

Application deadlines: December 1st for admission consideration for following Fall. Students should check the program website to be sure program is accepting doctoral applicants this year. 



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