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ELPA: Global Higher Education

Master of Science in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

people sit around a meeting table

Be part of an interactive and collaborative learning community and graduate ready to lead and research with UW–Madison’s master’s degree in Global Higher Education.


Is this program right for you?

The Global Higher Education (GHE) master’s degree program focuses on training future generations of professionals and scholars striving for diversity, equity and inclusion in a global context.

The program provides pathways to careers in higher education administration and student affairs, especially in international education, for positions such as academic advisors, career advisors, study abroad advisors, international student advisors, international admissions counselors, and international education program coordinators. GHE prepares future scholars and researchers in higher education administration and leadership, policy analysis, student success and well-being, accessibilities and equity, and student mobility and diversity.

GHE enables individuals to engage with higher education administration and leadership around the world, and to strive for diversity, equity and inclusion in a global context.

Is this program right for you?

The Global Higher Education (GHE) master’s degree program focuses on training future generations of professionals and scholars striving for diversity, equity and inclusion in a global context.

The program provides pathways to careers in higher education administration and student affairs, especially in international education, for positions such as academic advisors, career advisors, study abroad advisors, international student advisors, international admissions counselors, and international education program coordinators. GHE prepares future scholars and researchers in higher education administration and leadership, policy analysis, student success and well-being, accessibilities and equity, and student mobility and diversity.

GHE enables individuals to engage with higher education administration and leadership around the world, and to strive for diversity, equity and inclusion in a global context.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.*
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; or IELTS 7.0.
    • TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS.
    • IELTS scores can be submitted electronically to institution code 1846.
    • Under certain circumstances, with program approval, admission may be granted with the following scores: TOEFL (IBT) 80-91; IELTS 6.5. However, in order to be admitted, an English assessment test (ESLAT) will be required upon arrival, and any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course must be completed successfully in your first semester.

*The admissions committee may consider an applicant that does not meet this requirement. Supporting factors include documentation of potential for leadership and relevant experiences that affect your ability to serve in leadership roles.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Essay
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation

Connect with us

Application Assistance: Special Education: Teacher Certification

December 01
5-5:30 p.m.
Join Kayla Armstrong, graduate program manager, and learn strategies to make your Special Education: Teacher Certification MS application stand out.
Register for Application Assistance: Special Education: Teacher Certification

Faculty Friday: MS in Educational Psychology – Learning Analytics

December 02
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Join Program Director Julia Rutledge on Faculty Friday to chat about your questions regarding the MS in Educational Psychology – Learning Analytics.
Join Zoom Session

View all events

Program highlights

  • Connect education with career development
  • Embedded internship and career development program
  • Individualized mentoring and career coaching throughout the program
  • A family-like collaborative learning community
  • Integrated networking and leadership skill training
  • Student-centered and individual attention throughout the program
  • Ongoing services and support to alumni beyond graduation

The UW–Madison School of Education was ranked 5th in the nation in 2022 — marking the ninth straight year it has been rated among the top five by U.S. News and World Report.

How you'll learn

  • Take graduate courses within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Some courses are solely designed for GHE students.
  • Conduct research both independently and collaboratively with students inside and outside the GHE program in every course.
  • Identify and analyze trends, issues and challenges pertaining to international higher education in the lens of equity and inclusion.
  • Learn various aspects of leadership for study abroad program management, study abroad advising, and study abroad program promotion and marketing.
  • Critically and creatively discuss practices, challenges and opportunities surrounding international student advising, international student services and international student career advising.
  • Design inclusive, equity-driven international education programming or research projects.
  • Collect, interpret and synthesize data or research literature to address problems in student affairs or academic advising of college students.
  • Choose or develop appropriate assessment tools for assessing educational processes and outcomes of academic programs or student services.
  • Develop competence of self-reflection, self-assessment and self-care.

Sample curriculum

Intensive track (12 months)

1st Semester (Fall): Three required course (9 credits)

  • Internationalization of Higher Education
  • Introduction to Higher and Postsecondary Education
  • Research Methods & Procedures in Educational Administration

2nd Semester (Spring): Four required courses (12 credits)

  • Leadership for Study Abroad Programs and International Student Services
  • Assessment in Higher Education
  • College Student Identity and Development
  • Mobility and Inclusion in International Higher Education

3rd Semester (Summer): Three required courses (9 credits)

  • Administration of Student Services in Higher Education
  • Minority-Serving Institutions in Higher Education
  • Special Topics Seminar in Global Higher Education

Regular track (1.5 years)

1st Semester (Fall): Three required course (9 credits)

  • Internationalization of Higher Education
  • Introduction to Higher and Postsecondary Education
  • Research Methods & Procedures in Educational Administration

2nd Semester (Spring): At least two required courses and one elective (9 credits)

  • Leadership for Study Abroad Programs and International Student Services (Required)
  • Mobility and Inclusion in International Higher Education (Required)
  • Assessment in Higher Education (elective)
  • College Student Identity and Development (elective)

3rd Semester (Summer): Choose one to three courses (3 to 9 credits)

  • Administration of Student Services in Higher Education
  • Minority-Serving Institutions in Higher Education
  • Special Topics Seminar in Global Higher Education

4th Semester (Fall): Two to three courses (6 to 9 credits)

  • The American Community College (elective, recommended by the program)
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education (elective, recommended by the program)
  • and other ELPA graduate courses approved by the GHE program

Ready to learn more about ELPA: Global Higher Education?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events.

Connect with a coach

Alyssa Phelps

The GHE program was the best educational decision I could have made. The cohort model allowed me to connect with my classmates in a deep way, and the course content provided me with a wide range of skills and tools that are applicable to many higher education careers. I can’t recommend it enough!

Alyssa Phelps | leadership advisor, UW–Madison