Higher Education Leadership and Policy

Master’s Program

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Program in Higher Education Leadership and Policy (PHELP) is designed to advance the personal and intellectual development of individuals seeking careers as academic and student services educators and professionals in institutions of higher education, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Students gain historical, political, philosophical, and social knowledge for creating equitable and just environments in an increasingly complex and constantly changing higher education context. 

Program Philosophy

The M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to coursework. Students can tailor the program of study to fit their interests while building sound theoretical foundations, self-reflection practices, and practical experiences. The PHELP’s curriculum aligns with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education standards for professional preparation programs in student affairs. 

The PHELP M.Ed. is designed to prepare transformative leaders through theory and practice to create conscious scholarly practitioners. Through coursework and assistantships/internships, students build the ability to navigate complex higher education organizational structures and relationships with stakeholders.

Our faculty welcomes and affirms all learners of diverse identities, cultures, backgrounds, personalities, talents and learning styles. As a faculty, we believe in the co-construction of knowledge through partnership with the knowledge and experiences students bring to the classroom to make meaning of higher education populations, phenomena, and issues. Students are prepared for a wide range of roles related to higher education that include student life (e.g. residential life, career center, advising, enrollment management, and student activities), academic affairs, financial aid, multicultural affairs, institutional research, P-16 transitions, in K-12 and postsecondary education, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Program Details

Semester Start: Fall

Deadline to Apply: December 1

GRE Required? No

Location: On Campus

Schedule: Full time or part time permitted per discussion with program head

Length of Program: 24 months, 36 hours

All graduate students are required to apply to the state application system ApplyTexas. We strongly encourage you to start this process well in advance of the deadline to allow us time to process your information. For department requirements, visit our “How to Apply” page.

The GRE is no longer required for those applying for admission to the PHELP M.Ed. program. If applicants choose to submit GRE scores, they will not be reviewed or considered by the admissions committee.

A bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or equivalent from an international institution plus a statement of purpose that describes:

  • why you are interested in a masters degree in the Program in Higher Education Leadership and Policy (PHELP) at UT Austin;
  • what life experiences have contributed to your decision to make application to our program;
  • what personal experiences, achievements, and accomplishments would compel the department to evaluate your contributions to the University’s diversity mission;
  • what type of research and//or practice you would be interested in investigating and which faculty member(s) you would like to work with; and
  • what your career aspirations are once you complete your degree. 

Coursework can be tailored to a student’s interests and needs, with the advice and approval of a faculty mentor. Students take 18 hours of required coursework and can customize the electives taken in both the Program in Higher Education Leadership and Policy (PHELP). Students will also have the opportunity to take courses outside the department.

Up to six hours of graduate work may be transferred from another institution and counted toward the master’s degree if approved by the student’s advisor and the graduate advisor and Graduate School. 

Departmental Core (18 hours)

  • ELP 385R Organization & Admin of Higher Ed
  • ELP 385T Student Affairs in HE
  • ELP 385E The College Student
  • ELP 395H History of Higher Education
  • ELP 395L Higher Education Law
  • ELP 385C Contemporary Issues in HE Mgmt

PHEL Elective (9 hours)

  • ELP 383P Individual Project (2nd Internship)
  • ELP 395K Campus Cultures
  • ELP 395K Comparative Higher Education
  • ELP 395K Legislative Issues in Higher Education
  • ELP 395K Critical Consciousness in Higher Education
  • ELP 395K Enrollment Management
  • ELP 395K Research on College Students
  • ELP 395K Leadership in Higher Education
  • ELP 395K Equity & Access in Higher Education
  • ELP 395K The Community College
  • ELP 395K Technology & Innovation
  • ELP 395K Multicultural Modes of Mentoring
  • ELP 395K Problems of College Teaching and Learning

Graduate Internship (3 hours)

An internship of at least three semester credit hours (approximately 120 clock hours) is required.

  • ELP 383N Graduate Internship

Out of Department Electives (6 hours)

Electives can be taken from different departments within the College of Education or other colleges within the University

Download the Program of Work

Graduate assistantships provide both income and experience for students. Students can put into practice the skills they are learning in the CUSPA program.

Examples of current and past assistantships include Greek Life and Intercultural Education, Recreational Sports, New Student Services, International Student Office, Student Activities and Leadership Development, and the McCombs School of Business Office of Student Life.

Job descriptions, processes for hiring, and position availability are posted on the UT Employment Homepage.

Photo of faculty member Norma V Cantu
Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership

Teaches topics in civil rights and the intersection of law and policy in education; served as assistant secretary of education for Civil Rights during the Clinton administration.

Photo of faculty member Stella M Flores
Associate Professor

Examines the effects of state and federal policies on college access and completion outcomes for low-income and underrepresented populations including immigrant and English Learner students.

Photo of faculty member Denisa  Gandara
Assistant Professor

Higher education finance and policy, with a focus on equity in policymaking processes and the effects of policies Current research topics include: • the differential effects of free college (or Promise) programs on students and higher education in...

Photo of faculty member Liliana M Garces

Expertise on the intersection of law and educational policies and practices focused on access, diversity, and equity in higher education, including affirmative action, freedom of expression and inclusion, and the use and influence of research in law.

Photo of faculty member Michael A Goodman
Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses on student governance and involvement in the areas of college student government, the student body presidency, sorority/fraternity life, equity and justice issues, queer students and issues in higher education, and educational crises and emer...

Photo of faculty member Manuel J Justiz

Bringing the experience of 28 years as dean of the College of Education, Justiz shares his expertise in topics of public policy, the politics of education, and providing equal access for minorities in education.

Photo of faculty member Marilyn C Kameen

Interests include academic administration, faculty in higher education, and college student development with research on college teaching and minorities in higher education.

Photo of faculty member Richard J Reddick
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Undergraduate College

Examines the experiences of faculty of color at predominantly White institutions; mentoring relationships between faculty and Black students; and work-life balance in academia.

Photo of faculty member Victor  Saenz
Associate Dean for Student Success, Community Engagement, and Administration, College of Education

Leads the Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success Initiative focused on Latino males in education; seeks to advance research-informed policy solutions that enhance educational outcomes for underserved students in secondary and ...

Photo of faculty member Lauren  Schudde
Associate Professor

Studies how to ameliorate social inequities in the United States through higher education policy; focuses on college pathways at broad-access institutions, including community colleges.

Photo of faculty member Cassandre G Alvarado
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Moody College of Communication

Focuses research on student success and graduation initiatives, including innovative college readiness assignments, student success programs and understanding the completion agenda.

Photo of faculty member Carrie Lou  Bloom
Director - National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes

Photo of faculty member Mike  Bohlig
Associate Director of Research, Center for Community College Student Engagement

Research interests center on student success at community colleges and the effects of enrollment status and developmental education on persistence and completion.

Photo of faculty member Linda L Garcia
Executive Director, Center for Community College Student Engagement

Oversees the Center’s community college relations and serves as a point of contact for state leaders, funders and national higher education organizations.

Photo of faculty member David W Gardner
Adjunct Professor

Interests include higher education policy and planning focused on expanding participation in higher education, improving graduation rates, and ensuring success in the workforce.

Photo of faculty member Douglas C Garrard
Assistant Professor of Practice

Serves as Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Senior Associate Dean of Students and teaches courses related to on-campus culture in higher education.

Photo of faculty member Matt S Giani
Research Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts

Focuses on policies, practices, and interventions that promote social mobility and reduce socioeconomic stratification in K12 and higher education.

Photo of faculty member Sharon H Justice
Assistant Professor of Practice

Interests include: student affairs administration, professional staff development, college student development, retention programs for students of color.

Photo of faculty member Mylon  Kirksy
Assistant Vice President of Residence Life, University Housing and Dining

Teaches courses that examine the intersectionality of culture, organizations, and systems of privilege, power, and difference in higher education.

Photo of faculty member Edward J Leach
Executive Director, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development

Executive Director of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership.

Photo of faculty member Charles  Martinez
Dean, College of Education

Focuses on identifying factors that hinder or promote the success of children and families from vulnerable and underserved populations.

Photo of faculty member Celena  Mondie-Milner
Associate Vice President, Strategy and New Student Support and Executive Director, New Student Services, Vice President for Student Affairs

Photo of faculty member Soncia  Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Shares her expertise in student affairs, higher education policy, administration and finance, strategic planning, and leadership development.

Photo of faculty member Victor  Saenz
Associate Dean for Student Success, Community Engagement, and Administration, College of Education

Leads the Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success Initiative focused on Latino males in education; seeks to advance research-informed policy solutions that enhance educational outcomes for underserved students in secondary and ...

Photo of faculty member Justin T Samuel
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, College of Pharmacy

Focuses research on South Asian American college students, diversity training efficacy for student leaders, and work/life integration for student affairs administrators.

Photo of faculty member Julie  Schell
Assistant Dean, Instructional Continuity and Innovation, College of Fine Arts

College teaching and learning, online teaching and learning, online education, higher education, postsecondary education, distance education, remote learning, virtual learning, technology and education, design pedagogy, design education, design think...

Photo of faculty member Betty Jeanne Taylor
Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses on university-wide campus climate initiatives such as developing inclusive classrooms, campus climate issues and support, and recruitment/retention of faculty of color at predominantly white institutions.

Photo of faculty member Aaron W Voyles
Director, Residential Experience, University Housing and Dining

Serves as the Associate Director for Student Learning and Development and researches post-qualitative and post-structuralist methodologies, discourse analysis, and gender performance.

Photo of faculty member Joe  Wilcox
Program Director and Faculty Specialist

Expertise in Title IV policy and administration and higher education fundraising. Focused on issues of college affordability, under-represented student recruitment, and donor relations.

For more information, please write, email or telephone:

The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Program in Higher Education Leadership and Policy
1912 Speedway D5400 
Austin, Texas 78712-0374

Email: phel@utexas.edu
Telephone: (512) 471-7551
Fax: (512) 471-5975

Photo of Liliana Garces

Program Co-coordinator
Liliana Garces

Photo of Lauren Schudde

Program Co-coordinator
Lauren Schudde

Photo of Michael Goodman

Program Co-coordinator
Michael Anthony Goodman

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