The Higher and Postsecondary Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University has prepared students to work or continue study in the field of higher education for over a century, since our program's founding in 1913. Through programs at the master’s and doctoral level, we prepare knowledgeable scholars and scholar-practitioners in the field of higher education. We develop students’ abilities to investigate and foster excellence in teaching and learning, scholarly and professional development, and student development.

Additionally, we cultivate students’ abilities to analyze, design, and integrate the structures, processes, policies, and technologies that comprise colleges, universities, and state and national systems of tertiary education. Further, we advance students’ understandings of social/cultural and civic perspectives, with attention to the connection between institutions of higher education and their external constituencies.

As the first school in the U.S. to offer a degree in Student Personnel Administration, for over 100 years our program has evolved in many ways, as has higher education and the students we serve. Today, the HPSE Program helps students explore the entire higher education landscape looking at colleges and universities impact on the individual, as organizations, and their place in larger society. We accomplish these goals through four degrees that students can pursue either part-time or full-time: 32-point Master of Arts (M.A.); 60-point Master of Education (Ed.M.); 90-point Doctor of Education (Ed.D.); and 75-point Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Students working toward these degrees engage in a concentrated area of study either situated within one of the below domains or by cross-cutting the domains:

  1. Academic and developmental analysis of higher and postsecondary education, which includes teaching and learning and student and professional development
  2. Organizational and institutional analysis of higher and postsecondary education, which includes institutional planning, organizational development, and policymaking and implementation
  3. Social/cultural and civic analysis of higher and postsecondary education, which includes civic engagement, philanthropy, and benefits of higher education in a diverse society

The core faculty members in the program are eminent scholars and educators, and they are joined by respected scholar-practitioners who, together, offer students an unparalleled set of perspectives on the wide range of issues relevant to this critical field. The faculty have been recognized widely for their contributions to the field; their honors include the presidency of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), election to the National Academy of Education, and to Fellow status within the American Educational Research Association (AERA). They serve as journal editors for major higher education publications, have been awarded research fellowships including the prestigious National Academy of Education Spencer Foundation Fellowship, and have written widely about a variety of higher education topics.

HPSE graduates are represented on the faculties and leadership ranks of colleges and universities nationwide, and hold prominent positions in research and policymaking organizations in the US and abroad.  We encourage an interdisciplinary understanding and mastery of our field. Thus, with the in-depth study of the above domains, coupled with the program’s internship opportunities, flexible course schedule for students who work full-time, and numerous faculty research teams ensure that HPSE students graduate with unparalleled scholarly and professional acumen in the field of higher education.

View our recent M.A. & Ed.M. Open House here.

View our recent Ph.D. & Ed.D. Open House here.

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