This is a named option in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis M.S.

The Global Higher Education Master's degree program offers the unique opportunity to study higher education administration and leadership from both an American and international perspective. It will prepare individuals with the capacities for critical thinking, problem-solving, and global competence that will enable them to engage in educational administration and innovations, as leaders ​or as researchers, as practitioners or as scholars in higher education in a global context.

The Global Higher Education master's degree program (GHE) is a cohort program. Through its cohort design, the Global Higher Education (GHE) program facilitates a dynamic, transnational, and "family-alike" collaborative learning community. Students follow the course sequence together, which provides a daily platform for exchanging ideas, sharing experiences, and sharing expertise regarding current and critical issues in international higher education. As they move through the program together, students will have opportunities to participate in academic and social events together, expand their professional networks, and build life-long friendships among cohort fellows. Students who have completed the program describe the experience as irreplaceable. They all agree that the cohort allowed them to share cultures and to quickly form tight connections with their ​fellows.

Admission to the department is based, in part, on the following criteria: undergraduate GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work, GPA on 9 or more graduate credits, three letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to judge the applicant's academic and professional competence, resume, transcripts, and a "reasons for study" essay.

The GRE is not required for admission to the Master's degree program.

For information regarding admissions criteria, deadlines and the application process, see Admissions on the department website.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes Yes No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 24 credits out of 30 total credits must be completed in graduate-level coursework.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.
Language Requirements Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

Required COURSES

The Global Higher Education program is a 30-credit master's program in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA).

Sample Course Sequence (based on program plans for 2017 cohort)

The following course sequence is for students who plan to complete the GHE program in three semesters. Students can choose to graduate in summer or in fall of their second year in the program.

Term 1
ELPA 886 Internationalization of Higher Education3
ELPA 701 Introduction to Higher and Post-Secondary Education3
ELPA 725 Research Methods and Procedures in Educational Administration3
Term 2
ELPA 940 Special Topics Seminar in Educational Leadership (Topic: Education Abroad Programs and International Student Services)1-3
ELPA 888 Assessment in Higher Education3
ELPA 881 Ideas of the University: Images of Higher Learning for the 21st Century3
ELPA 883 Perspectives on College Student Identity and Development3
Term 3 - Option 1
ELPA 736 Administration of Student Services in Higher Education3
ELPA 824 Field Research Designs & Methodologies in Educational Administratn3
ELPA 882 Minority-Serving Institutions of Higher Education3
Term 3 - Option 2
ELPA 736 Administration of Student Services in Higher Education3
ELPA 940 Special Topics Seminar in Educational Leadership (Topic: The American Community College)1-3
ELPA 880 Academic Programs in Colleges and Universities3

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Requires program director approval.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

None allowed.

UW–Madison University Special

UW–Madison coursework completed as a special student will need to be converted to graduate coursework if the 15 credit UW–Madison graduate credit requirement is not met. The student will be billed the different between special and graduate tuition once the conversion has been approved.  Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. More information here.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

The GHE program director advises all students in the GHE program. 


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.


Funding is not offered along with offers for admission.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Faculty: Professor Julie Mead (chair); Professors Borman, Camburn, Capper, Conrad, Diamond, Halverson, Jackson, Kelley, Miller, Underwood; Associate Professors Hillman, Wang, Winkle-Wagner; Assistant Professors Goff; Clinical Professors Crim, Rainwater; Faculty Associate King