Master of Arts (M.A) in International Higher Education

Master of Arts (M.A) in International Higher Education

Our master’s program outlines the major trends affecting the fast-growing field of global higher education, providing the necessary skills to understand and analyze international policy, practice, and theory.

You will have the opportunity to examine the challenges and opportunities facing higher education systems in different geographic regions and explore key themes of relevance in the field, including those related to governance and leadership, finance, student affairs, and teaching and learning.

With a unique focus on comparative perspectives and an emphasis on high quality research as a key tool, this degree will be useful to not only those in academia but also individuals working in international higher education as policy-makers and practitioners. The program is directed by Hans de Wit, a recognized authority on global higher education and Director of Boston College’s renowned Center for International Higher Education.


At a Glance

How many courses?

This program consists of 10 courses for a total of 30 credits.

How long will it take?

Students in the Scholar-Practitioner track can complete the program in 18 months.

Those on the Research track will generally require two years to complete the program.

When can I start?

Students must begin the program in the Fall semester.

Can I complete the program online?

Yes, students can complete the program in person, from a distance, or with a hybrid format.

Program Faculty & Expertise

Adjunct Faculty

Photo of Dr. Ariane de Gayardon, Research Associate at the Centre for Global Higher Education, University College London (UK)

Dr. Ariane de Gayardon
Research Associate at the Centre for Global Higher Education, University College London (UK)

Photo of Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn
Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

What will I study?

You have the choice of two possible tracks through the program, which culminate in either a thesis or comprehensive exam at the end of the program. The Research Intensive track is suited for those interested in research careers in international higher education. The Scholar Practitioner track is designed for those seeking professional careers in international higher education. Academic advisors will support you with deciding the track that best aligns with your interests. Please note that core courses and research courses are required; International Higher Education Electives (at least two) and other electives can be taken in the Lynch School or at consortium universities in the Boston area. 

Please note that courses may vary depending on track and semester. View the program of study below for full course listings.


One program, two tracks

  • Courses: 10
  • Credits: 30
  • Comprehensive Exam or Master's Thesis
Our program provides students with the research-based professional experience that leads to international management-level careers in universities, higher education institutions, and organizations.
— Hans de Wit, program director
I had been waiting for years for this particular master’s program to be offered—with just the right combination of theory of international education and practice focusing on the management of global engagement operations.
– Ismael Aarón Crôtte Ávila, '19

Where do our graduates work?

Merrimack College

Resident Director

The Legal Aid Society

Education Attorney

Princeton University

Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Fordham University

Admission Counselor


University of Connecticut

Career Consultant

Kyung Hee University

Policy Analyst

Monsignor Haddad Middle School

Guidance Counselor

Brown University

Study Abroad Advisor

University of Miami

Director of Enrollment Marketing and Operations

Elms College


Career paths chosen by previous graduates of the ELHE Department.

Financial Assistance

Education should level the playing field – we feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $7.5 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. Here’s why:

Application Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


All applicants
December 1

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A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required; however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

Letters of Recommendation

Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.

Three letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants with significant relevant professional experience may submit additional recommendations from supervisors.


All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be sent to our office before the application deadline. Please note the following:

  • Only official sealed (unopened) transcripts are acceptable. An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.

  • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.

  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in to ensure it is received by our office. 

If your degree was obtained from an institution outside of the U.S. you are required to submit a course-by-course evaluation completed by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved evaluator. A complete list of NACES-approved evaluators is found on the Directory of NACES Members.

Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:

Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Standardized Tests

An unofficial score report may be uploaded to your online Application Form; however, an official score report – sent directly from ETS – must also be submitted by the application deadline.

  • This program requires all applicants to have taken the GRE in a maximum of 5 years prior to application being submitted, regardless of previous academic coursework, previous degrees/credentials earned, and/or professional experience. No exceptions will be made.

  • The GRE is the only exam that is acceptable for this program; the MAT, LSAT, MTEL, GMAT, and other exams may not be substituted for the GRE.

For more information about the GRE exam, including test dates and testing sites, visit

Lynch School of Education and Human Development GRE Code: 3218

Writing Sample

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

All applicants to this program are required to submit one piece of work that demonstrates graduate-level writing ability. This document may be an academic term paper, a published work in which you are the primary author, a training manual or curriculum that you have created, a clinical case formulation, or another representative sample of your writing. The document should be approximately 15-25 pages.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Learn about requirements for international students.

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