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Higher Education Degree Programs

The prominence of higher education in public discourse and policy discussions continues to grow around the world. Domestically and abroad, issues of equitable access, institutional performance and accountability, and the evolving relationship between higher education, government, and society continues to challenge the field with demands for better knowledge, technology, and leadership.

Our courses explore higher education through various disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses. Courses range from higher education history to leadership in higher education. These educate students regarding historical policies and theoretical frameworks, and provide practical skills. To learn more about a specific course, visit Explore Courses.


  • EDUC 209X: Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies Seminar
  • EDUC 231X: Education Schools: Historical and Sociological Perspectives
  • EDUC 265: History of Higher Education in the U.S.
  • EDUC 273: Gender and Higher Education: National and International Perspectives
  • EDUC 297X: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • EDUC 309X: Educational Issues in Contemporary China
  • EDUC 346: Research Seminar in Higher Education
  • EDUC 347: The Economics of Higher Education
  • EDUC 355X: Higher Education and Society
  • EDUC 381: Multicultural Issues in Higher Education
  • EDUC 382: Student Development and the Study of College Impact
  • EDUC 384: Advanced Topics in Higher Education
  • EDUC 386X: Leadership and Administration in Higher Education
  • EDUC 392X: The Political Economy of Global Higher Education

Our faculty come from a broad range of experiences and academic disciplines. Faculty members practice the methods and theories from their own innovative research.  They are models of the kind of pioneering spirit that we aim to foster in our students.  The following are a list of Stanford GSE faculty whose research areas are grounded in or overlap with higher education.

Stanford GSE offers both doctoral and master’s programs focusing on higher education.

The Doctoral (PhD) Program in Higher Education

is designed for students pursuing careers as academic faculty, administrators, policy analysts, and educational researchers. Since the PhD is a scholarly degree, the core objective of our program is to prepare professionals to conduct research of exceptional quality.

The Joint MA in Education/MBA - Higher Education Concentration

prepares students to manage in a variety of educational settings in the public, private and non-profit sectors through a two year program offered by both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Graduate School of Education. The program draws upon an interdisciplinary knowledge base that emphasizes the organizational and policy contexts of education and the knowledge needed to lead within them.

The Policy, Organization & Leadership Studies Program (POLS) - Higher Education Concentration

prepares students to act as successful change agents in a range of educational organizations, including higher education. Through a carefully thought out, yet flexible curriculum this one year program encompasses the cross section of policy, organizational leadership and teaching and learning.