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Higher and Postsecondary Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Higher and Postsecondary Education

In the Department of Organization & Leadership

Degrees > Master of Arts

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts Program develops knowledgeable practitioners in three domains of higher and postsecondary education: its educational core (teaching and learning, student and professional development), its organizational and institutional framework (policymaking and implementation, planning, organizational development), and its social positioning and comparative potential (policy analysis and comparative study of institutional, state, and national systems).  Though students entering the M.A. Program will be exposed to each of the domains, they will specialize in one.


The M.A. requires a minimum of 32 points of graduate coursework. Students pursue one of three domain sequences: Academic and Developmental Analysis, Organizational and Institutional Analysis, or Social and Comparative Analysis.

Course requirements common to all sequences include:

  • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education, or equivalent with advisor approval
  • ORLH 4010 Purposes and policies of higher education (3)
  • ORLH 4011 Curriculum and instruction in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 4040 The American college student (3)
  • ORLH 5525 College student development theories (3)

Additional requirements for Academic and Developmental Analysis include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

  • ORLH 4042 Student personnel administration: Programs and services, or other with advisor approval (3)

And three (3) elective courses from the following:

  • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)
  • ORLH 4012  The community college (3)
  • ORLH 4041 Student personnel administration: Organization, functions, and issues, or other with advisor approval (3)
  • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)
  • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education, or related with advisor approval (3)
  • ORLH 5199 Special topics: Institutional assessment and evaluation in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 5522 Contemporary student issues and policies (3)
  • ORLH 5524 An analysis of student cultures (3)
  • ORLH 5527 The college professoriate (3)
  • Other ORLH Other (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

Other courses:

  • M.A. students with an internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval.
  • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses -- one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval.

Additional requirements for Organizational and Institutional Analysis include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

  • ORLH 4020 College and university organization and administration (3)
  • ORLH 4031 Financial administration of higher education institutions (3)

And Two (2) elective courses from the following:

  • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)
  • ORLH 4012 The community college (3)
  • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)
  • ORLH 5199 Special topics: Institutional assessment and evaluation in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 5527 The college professoriate (3)
  • ORLH 6521 Advanced seminar in the community college (3)
  • ORLH 6556 Educational leadership: Research, art and practice or equivalent with advisor approval (3)
  • Other ORLH Other (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

Other courses:

  • M.A. students with an internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval.
  • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses --  one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval.

Additional requirements for Social and Comparative Analysis include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

Select one (1) of the following three courses:

  • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)
  • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 5524 An analysis of student cultures (3)

Three (3) elective courses from the following:

  • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)
  • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3) (if not used above)
  • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3) (if not used above)
  • ORLH 5199 Special topics: Institutional assessment and evaluation in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 5522 Contemporary student issues and policies(3)
  • ORLH 5524 An analysis of student cultures (3) (if not used above)
  • ORLH 5527 The college professoriate (3)
  • ORLH 6556 Educational leadership: Research, art and practice or equivalent with advisor approval (3)
  • Other ORLH Other (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

Other courses:

  • M.A. students with an internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval
  • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses -- one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval.