Higher Education Administration (Graduate Certificate)

Graduate student studying

About the Program

Welcome to the Higher Education Administration graduate certificate program at St. Cloud State University.

As an established or emerging leader, you take part in a distinguished graduate certificate program that prepares you for the future as a college and university leader.  In our program you will participate in an interactive learning community for exchanging ideas and expertise regarding critical issues in higher education.

In this program, you will acquire knowledge through a practitioner-based curriculum that can be applied immediately to the challenges you face as a professional through a program that:

  • Prepares college and university leaders to understand all aspects of University life (i.e. academic, administrative, and student affairs).
  • Infuses global learning experiences and perspectives into course teaching and learning.
  • Extends your knowledge through interactions with diverse cohort members with a variety of educational backgrounds and professional experiences.
  • Develops the competencies you need to effectively lead 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities and prepares you to be global citizens of the 21st Century.
  • Offers job placement and career promotion.

Cohort Course Delivery Methods

Spring 2019 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

Fall 2019 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

Fall 2018 Cohort

  • This cohort will take courses online via an asynchronous format (connect online at a time and place most convenient to you), with some synchronous (meet online at a specified time) components.

About Our Students

  • Students have varied educational backgrounds including nursing, engineering, sports management, student affairs, advising, teaching, fundraising, information technology and enrollment management
  • Students come from the United States and around the world 
  • Graduates have launched successful careers in a wide spectrum of higher education areas

About Online Program Delivery

The program provides an accredited online learning experience allowing you to actively connect and engage with your professors and cohort while balancing your career and personal life.

You attend online classes when it is convenient for you with some online activities meeting during designated times. Connect online to access course lectures, read materials, submit assignments, participate in live chats, communicate in online discussions, video conference, meet industry experts, and converse with professors all while utilizing tools to see, talk, and actively interact with each other online.

Online coursework is completed primarily using an eight-week delivery format typically allowing you to concentrate on one course at a time. A few 16-week courses will also be offered. Faculty will provide a course syllabus with structured requirements for each course along with deadlines to complete assignments. 

Personal Attributes for Success in Online Program

While online courses offer greater flexibility, they also require more self-discipline, independenceinternal motivation, and perseverance than courses on campus. You will be most successful if you are a self-starter able to work on tasks on your own without someone helping keep you focused. Faculty are there to help and guide you as needed but you will be responsible for getting course assignments completed by the deadline. Students who are self-disciplined to log into classes and discussion forums regularly are the most successful. Persistence is an important skill so when you run into a challenge, you keep trying and ask for help.

The online learning experience is as rigorous as the in-class experience with faculty who are experts in their fields. The textbooks and in class resources are in most cases the same in online and on campus courses. Faculty are there to help and guide you along the way.

It will be important for you to be comfortable with online technology as this is your main source of classroom participation.  Reading lecture materials, submitting assignments, discussion forums, and conversing with professors will all be done online. You will want to have or learn some basic computer literacy with basic computer and Internet skills.

Also keep in mind that online courses require as much time as on-campus classes and you’ll need to schedule that time into your calendar. Plan to devote about 12 hours a week to most three-credit courses.

It will be important to have excellent time management and organizational skills. Many distractions can arise so it will be important to set up a distraction-free work space to focus on your coursework.  You need to be diligent about scheduling ample time on your calendar to complete assignments by course deadlines. Breaking up assignments into smaller portions is a great way to manage the course workload and to avoid procrastinating large assignments until the last minute. Students who review their syllabus and develop a plan for completing their assignments are the most successful. 

Online classes rely heavily on reading, writingspeaking, and typing skills to communicate with classmates and faculty. As you actively participate in discussion forums you will want to articulate intelligent comments rather than providing poor English grammar or put little effort into discussion posts. Many assignments will involve short or long papers or providing an oral presentation.  As a result, you may want to take some refresher courses to become more comfortable communicating or to increase your typing speed before beginning online classes.

Another component to consider for online courses is to create a good study environment, whether that be in an office in your home or a place at a local library.  You will want to find a place to work without distractions (i.e. television, cell phones) that is comfortable and has good lighting.

It is important to develop a good support system as you pursue your degree.  That may include communication with family members to let them know how they can best support you while earning your degree. Communicate with your supervisor to let them know your career goals, how to best support you while earning your degree, and how this degree will positively impact your knowledge and skills you can apply towards your employment.  Find a colleague or friend who has pursued their doctorate for support.  Once in the program, seek out the support of your faculty advisor and classmates for support.

Make sure you have a plan to finance your entire education and have a back-up plan if something changes.  St. Cloud State is devoted to providing you with assistance to finance your education through financial literacy, money management, borrowing loans, and seeking out graduate assistants, scholarships, or tuition waiver.

For some additional tips for being successful in an online program, please visit