Juris Doctorate / Master's in Higher Education Administration

Combine Your Loves of Law and Higher Ed

Students seeking careers in higher education legal counsel, judicial affairs, Title IX compliance, and student rights and responsibilities need a cross-disciplinary background in both higher education administration and law.

To answer the demand of this growing field, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) has partnered with GW Law to offer a joint program leading to the Master of Arts in Education and Human Development (MAEd&HD) in Higher Education Administration (HEA) and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

Our joint program allows law students to hone the necessary analytical skills to examine the intersection between legal, social, political, economic, and institutional factors that shape higher education administration and policies.

Explore timely topics such as needed changes in Greek life policy and practice; inclusive practices that focus on promoting social justice, civic engagement, and equity; and the foundations of college student development.





Areas of Study
Deepen your expertise by selecting a focus in: Student Affairs Administration, General Administration, Social Justice, Higher Ed Policy and Finance, or International Higher Ed.


Diverse Student Body
Our diverse student body, ranging from all over the globe, brings a range of professional experience and enriching knowledge. HEA students may expand their international perspectives further through short-term study abroad opportunities for course credit.


Shorten Time to Dual Degree Completion
Students who enroll full-time in the joint program should normally be able to complete both degrees in four years.




The GW Advantage

GW’s location in D.C.—the epicenter of policy, practice, and research—provides you with the unique advantage of having internship, fellowship, and career opportunities with prestigious educational organizations and a variety of colleges and universities.

Founded in 1865, GW Law was the first law school in Washington, DC, and it continues to make history, having produced some of the top legal minds of our country. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.





 Program at a Glance

Degree Awarded:

Joint Degree: Juris Doctorate and Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in the Field of Higher Education Administration


Educational Leadership

Course Delivery:

Main Campus:
GSEHD and GW Law

Program Entry:

Summer, Fall

Our Mission & Values
graphic in circle shape that reads "HEA Program Values: Cultivating Scholarly Identities, Cultivating Inquiry-Driven Learners, Cultivating Critically Reflective Practitioners, Cultivating Social Justice Practices"

The mission of the Higher Education Administration (HEA) program is to prepare exceptional leaders for administrative, academic, and research positions in two- and four-year higher education institutions, national and international associations, government agencies, and other post-secondary educational settings.

HEA Values

Our doctoral program seeks to cultivate scholarly identities, inquiry-driven learners, critically reflective practitioners, and socially just practices.

Scholarly Identities: Scholarly identity is the product of your training, areas of expertise, methodological inclination, interests, publications, research agenda, reputation and anything else that may be important in your field. Thus, your scholarly identity is multifaceted and (ideally) signals to anyone who researches your work (googles you), what you have done, what you are doing and what you can potentially do in the future.

Inquiry-Driven Learner: An inquiry-based learning approach lets students share their own ideas and questions about a topic. This helps foster more curiosity about the material and teaches skills students can use to continue exploring topics they are interested in. Rather than simply memorizing facts, students make their own connections about what they are learning that leads to asking questions, making discoveries, and testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding.

Critically Reflective Practitioner: someone who, at regular intervals, looks back at the work they do, and the work process, and considers how they can improve. They ‘reflect’ on the work they have done.

Social Justice Practices: Social justice in education refers to a commitment to challenging social, cultural, and economic inequalities imposed on individuals arising from any differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege. According to NASPA, The social justice competency is defined as “both a process and a goal which includes the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to create learning environments that foster equitable participation of all groups while seeking to address and acknowledge issues of oppression, privilege, and power." We undergird this competency within our course frameworks, and our dispositions. Our master's program students benefit from unconscious bias training facilitated by the office of diversity, equity and community engagement, taking the Harvard Implicit bias tests and engaging in real world applications to remove bias within hiring.

Learn more about Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education Administration >

  • Students must be admitted to both GSEHD and GW Law separately, and each school must approve the student's application to pursue the joint degree.
  • During their first year, students are in residence at GW Law, taking exclusively first-year law courses. Thereafter, students take a mix of classes in both the Law School and GSEHD.

  • The Law School will allow joint degree students to count a maximum of 12 credit hours completed in a master's program toward the 84 credit hours required for the law degree. GSEHD counts 6 credits in courses taken for the JD toward the MAEd&HD. Learn more about law dual degree credits >

  • Graduation Requirements: The degrees of the joint program in JD/MAEd&HD in Higher Education Administration must be conferred simultaneously and only after all requirements for both degrees have been met. Capstone projects, language requirements, and/or any other requirements must be fully met before the law degree will be conferred. Students should confer with an adviser for specific requirements of the joint program.


The following requirements must be fulfilled: 30 credits, including 15 credits in required core courses and 15 credits in elective courses.

Required (Core Courses) - 15 Credits
EDUC 6112 Foundations of Assessment, Testing, and Measurement in Education
or EDUC 6116 Introduction to Educational Statistics
EDUC 6500 Introduction to Student Affairs and Higher Education
EDUC 6510 Administration of Higher Education
EDUC 6555 Higher Education Policy
EDUC 6560 Legal Problems in Higher Education
EDUC 6590 Capstone in Higher Education Administration (Taken for 0 credits)

In addition to required courses above, students must take 15 credits in elective courses. The decision to pursue an area of focus is optional. These designations will not appear on the transcript or diploma; however, they are endorsed by faculty, and students may wish to include designation information on their resumes. Students may choose from one of the five areas of focus presented below or design an individual course of study in consultation with their advisors.

*The following Areas of Focus are recommended groupings of coursework to satisfy the program elective requirement. Students are not required to take elective coursework within a single Area of Focus.

**Please note: Selecting an Area of Focus does not guarantee all chosen Area of Focus coursework will be offered during your program. Please consult with your faculty advisor to determine what coursework will be available.

Electives (Courses in an Area of Focus suggested below or student-designed) - 15 Credits
Administration and Policy Area of Focus:
EDUC 6540 Group and Organizational Theories
EDUC 6565 Financing Higher Education
EDUC 6585 Master’s Internship in Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education Administration


Policy and Finance Area of Focus:
EDUC 6540 Group and Organizational Theories
EDUC 6565 Financing Higher Education
EDUC 6585 Master’s Internship in Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8540 History of Higher Education


International Education Area of Focus:
EDUC 6602 Regional Studies in International Education
EDUC 6615 Internationalizing U.S. Schools
EDUC 6630 International Experiences
EDUC 6610 Programs and Policies in International Education
EDUC 6620 Strategies and Analysis in International Education
EDUC 6585 Master’s Internship in Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8515 Comparative and International Higher Education
EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education Administration


Social Justice Area of Focus:
EDUC 6505 The Art of Facilitation
EDUC 6530 Intercultural Campus Leadership
EDUC 6580 Critical Theories in Higher Education
EDUC 6585 Master’s Internship in Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8540 History of Higher Education
EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education Administration


Student Affairs Administration Area of Focus:
EDUC 6520 Foundations of College Student Development
EDUC 6525 Managing College Student Services Programs
EDUC 6530 Intercultural Campus Leadership
EDUC 6585 Master’s Internship in Higher Education Administration
EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education Administration


Self-Designed Area of Focus:

Students take 15 credits of elective courses in consultation with their advisor.



Elective Courses in Law for GSEHD Students (12 Credits)
Below is a sample listing of courses from the law school that may be accepted for joint degree students. Joint degree students must seek prior approval from their GSEHD faculty advisor to ensure that any course taken will be considered toward the MA.Ed. electives.
LAW 6395 Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court
LAW 6398 The Law of Democracy
LAW 6399 Constitutional Law Seminar
LAW 6388 Civil Rights Legislation
LAW 6230-6249 Courts & Civil Litigation
LAW 6230-6249 Courts & Civil Litigation
LAW 6330-6354 Property, Family Law & Torts
LAW 6360-6379 Criminal Law & Procedure
LAW 6380-6399 Constitutional Law & Civil Rights: Law
LAW 6400-6426 Administrative Law & Government Regulation: Law
LAW 6470-6496 Intellectual Property Law
LAW 6500-6512 Government Contract Law
LAW 6392 Gender Discrimination and the Law
LAW 6596 Law of Race and Slavery
LAW 6595 Race, Racism, and American Law
LAW 6348 Family Law
LAW 6349 Family, Child, and State
LAW 6352 Family Law Seminar
LAW 6338 Housing Law and Policy
Review Descriptions for All Law Courses >
Elective Courses in GSEHD for Law Students (12 Credits)
GSEHD courses from which joint degree students may choose are listed below. The Law School Dean may approve credit for additional GSEHD courses that are law-related and develop policy analysis skills. Research methods courses or other courses as they become available may also be counted towards meeting the Masters in HEA elective requirements. Below is a list of potential elective courses to be taken only after the designated advisor's approval of them.
EDUC 8323 Policies of Education Equity
EDUC 6100 English Learners and Education Policy Issues
EDUC 8320 The Politics of Education
EDUC 8321 Economics of Education
EDUC 6236 School Law and Policy
EDUC 6258 School Finance
EDUC 8322 Education Policy Implementation
EDUC 8325 Policy Design
SPED 8352 Disability and Public Policy
CNSL 6397 Law and Rehabilitation Counseling
Program Outcomes
Select a focus area below to learn more about program outcomes:

Designed to prepare graduates for careers in higher education administration, policy analysis, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, finance, and other related, program outcomes* may include:

Understanding of Higher Education Landscape: Students should develop a comprehensive understanding of the higher education system, including the structure, governance, and policies that shape educational institutions. They should be familiar with the various stakeholders, such as government agencies, accrediting bodies, and nonprofit organizations, that influence higher education policy and finance.

Policy Analysis and Development: Students should be able to critically analyze policy issues, assess their implications, and propose evidence-based solutions to address challenges in areas such as access, affordability, accountability, and equity.

Policy Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement: Students should be able to effectively communicate and collaborate with various stakeholders, such as government officials, community organizations, faculty, and administrators, to advocate for policy changes or to build consensus around financial decisions.

Financial Management: Students should acquire knowledge of financial management principles and practices specific to higher education institutions. They should be able to analyze budgets, financial statements, and funding sources, and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, revenue generation, and cost-effectiveness.

Higher Education Law and Regulation: Students should develop an understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks that govern higher education institutions. They should be familiar with laws related to student rights, privacy, intellectual property, employment, and other legal issues relevant to higher education policy and finance.

Data Analysis and Assessment: Students should develop skills in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to inform decision-making, evaluate program effectiveness, and assess institutional performance in relation to policy goals and financial objectives.

Resource Development and Fundraising: Students should be able to identify and pursue funding opportunities, develop fundraising strategies, and cultivate relationships with donors and philanthropic organizations.

Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness: Students should be able to develop and implement strategic plans, monitor progress, and assess the impact of policies and financial decisions on institutional effectiveness to ensure the alignment of institutional goals with policy and financial objectives.

Ethical and Professional Practice: Students should understand and adhere to ethical principles and professional standards in the field of higher education policy and finance. They should demonstrate integrity, professionalism, and a commitment to the public good in their decision-making and interactions with stakeholders.

Leadership and Change Management: Students should be able to lead change initiatives, navigate complex organizational dynamics, and effectively manage teams and projects in a higher education setting.

*The specific outcomes may vary depending on the program's focus, the educational institution, and the evolving needs of the field.

Focused on the study of education systems, policies, and practices across different countries and cultures, students will be prepared for careers in international education programs, institutions, or organizations. Program outcomes* include:

Cross-Cultural Competence: Students will develop intercultural sensitivity and the ability to navigate diverse cultural contexts. They should be able to communicate effectively and respectfully with individuals from different backgrounds and adapt to cultural nuances in educational settings.

Understanding of Global Education Systems: Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of education systems, policies, and practices in different countries. They will be familiar with the structure, governance, curriculum frameworks, and assessment methods in international education systems.

Knowledge of International Education Organizations and Initiatives: Students become aware of international organizations, such as UNESCO, World Bank, and international non-governmental organizations, that play a role in shaping global education policies and initiatives. They understand key initiatives in international education, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global movement for inclusive education.

Educational Program Design and Development: Students should acquire skills in designing and developing educational programs for international contexts. They should be able to create culturally responsive and inclusive curriculum, instructional materials, and assessment strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Intercultural Communication and Language Proficiency: Students develop strong intercultural communication skills and proficiency in foreign languages, as appropriate for their chosen area of focus. They should be able to effectively communicate with students, families, and stakeholders from different linguistic backgrounds.

International Student Services: Students gain knowledge and skills related to international student services, including recruitment, admissions, orientation, and support. They should be able to address the unique needs and challenges faced by international students in areas such as cultural adjustment, academic success, and student engagement.

Study Abroad Program Management: Students learn how to design, coordinate, and evaluate study abroad experiences, ensuring they align with academic objectives, promote cultural immersion, and prioritize student safety and well-being.

Policy Analysis and Advocacy: Students develop skills in analyzing international education policies and advocating for positive change. They should be able to critically evaluate policies, propose improvements, and advocate for equitable and inclusive educational practices on a global scale.

Research and Evaluation in International Education: Students should be able to conduct research studies, evaluate program effectiveness, and use data to inform decision-making and improve educational practices in international contexts.

Ethical and Professional Practice: Students should understand and adhere to ethical principles and professional standards in international education. They should demonstrate cultural sensitivity, respect for diversity, and a commitment to promoting educational equity and social justice in their professional work.

*The specific outcomes may vary depending on the program's focus, specialization areas, and the evolving needs of the field.

Designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to actively engage in promoting social justice, advance equity, and advocate for marginalized communities in their professional careers, program outcomes* include:

Understanding of Social Justice Principles: Students should develop a comprehensive understanding of the principles and theories underlying social justice through an exploration of historical and contemporary issues related to social inequality, power dynamics, systemic oppression, and human rights.

Awareness of Intersectionality: Students should gain an understanding of the concept of intersectionality and its relevance to social justice. They will learn to recognize and analyze how various forms of identity, such as race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability, intersect and compound social inequalities.

Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills: Students should be able to critically evaluate social structures, policies, and practices, identify disparities, and propose strategies for addressing systemic inequities.

Advocacy and Activism: Students should learn effective strategies for advocacy and activism in the pursuit of social justice. They should be able to engage in grassroots organizing, mobilize communities, and effectively advocate for policy changes that promote equity and social change.

Cultural Competence: Students should develop cultural competence and the ability to engage with diverse communities and perspectives. They should demonstrate an understanding of cultural differences, display empathy and respect, and effectively communicate across cultural boundaries.

Collaborative and Community Engagement: Students should develop skills in collaborative problem-solving and community engagement. They should be able to work effectively with individuals and groups from different backgrounds, facilitate dialogue, and foster partnerships to address social justice issues.

Ethical and Reflective Practice: Students should develop an understanding of ethical considerations and the importance of self-reflection in social justice work. They should be able to navigate ethical dilemmas, engage in self-examination, and critically reflect on their own biases, privilege, and positionality.

Leadership and Change Management: Students should acquire leadership skills and be able to lead inclusive and equitable initiatives, inspire others, and effectively manage change processes in organizations and communities.

Research and Evaluation: Students will learn to assess the impact of social justice interventions and policies. They should be able to design and conduct research studies, collect and analyze data, and utilize evidence to inform social justice practices and interventions.

Professional Development: Opportunities for professional development, including networking, mentorship, and career guidance, are incorporated into the program to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary for careers in advocacy, policy-making, nonprofit organizations, education, community development, and related fields.

*The specific outcomes may vary depending on the program's focus, such as social justice in education, criminal justice reform, environmental justice, or international social justice issues.

Designed to prepare professionals to work in various student affairs roles within colleges, universities, and other educational institutions, program outcomes* include:

Knowledge of Higher Education Systems: Students should develop a comprehensive understanding of the structure, organization, and administration of higher education institutions. This includes knowledge of policies, regulations, and governance structures that impact student affairs practices.

Student Development and Learning: Participants will apply knowledge of student development and learning theories and models to support students’ intellectual, personal, and social development.

Multicultural Competence and Inclusion: Students should develop cultural competence and an appreciation for diversity in higher education. They should be able to create inclusive and welcoming environments for students from diverse backgrounds and effectively address issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Student Engagement and Programming: Students should learn effective strategies for engaging and involving students in co-curricular activities and programs. They should be able to design, implement, and assess programs and initiatives that enhance students’ learning, development, and overall college experience.

Academic/Career Advising and Support Services: Graduates will learn to help students navigate academic requirements, explore career options, and access resources and support systems to promote their success and well-being.

Crisis Management and Student Advocacy: Students should acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively respond to crises and emergencies that impact students’ well-being and safety. They should be able to advocate for students’ rights and needs and serve as a resource during difficult situations.

Leadership and Supervision: Students should develop effective leadership and supervisory skills relevant to student affairs roles, including leading teams, supervising staff, and managing student programs and initiatives.

Research and Assessment: Students will develop skills in collecting and analyzing data, using assessment techniques to inform decision-making, and contributing to the scholarship and advancement of the student affairs field.

Ethical and Professional Practice: Students should understand and adhere to ethical principles and professional standards in student affairs. They should demonstrate integrity, professionalism, and a commitment to the well-being and success of students.

Collaboration and Partnerships: Students should develop the ability to collaborate with various stakeholders within the institution, including faculty, administrators, and community partners. They should be able to build effective partnerships to enhance student support services and promote a holistic educational experience.

*The specific outcomes may vary depending on the program's focus, the educational institution, and the evolving needs of the field.


 Apply Now

GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.

Students must be admitted to both the Law School and, separately, to GSEHD's Master's in Education Policy Studies program. The GW Law and the Education Policy program in GSEHD must separately approve a student's application to pursue a joint degree program. Only students admitted by both programs will be admitted to the joint JD/MAEd&HD degree program in Education Policy.

Students who register first in the Law School must apply to GSEHD by the end of their third semester as JD candidates.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >

To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at education@gwu.edu or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now   Schedule Consultation with Admissions Counselor  

To be considered for admission to the Master's in HEA, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's Degree

  • Resume

  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Application Timeline Summer Fall
Priority Deadline Nov 1 Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Dec 15 Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Jan 16 Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline March 1 March 1
Round 4 Deadline May 1 May 1
Round 5 Deadline N/A June 15
Round 5 Deadline N/A Aug 1


For more information or to inquire about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at education@gwu.edu or 202-994-9283.



 Tuition & Financial Aid

We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

As a rule, law students are eligible for three years of financing through law school funds, or four years if a student is enrolled in the part-time program Check with the Law School Office of Financial Aid for specific guidelines on funding available to joint degree students whose enrollment will exceed the established matriculation periods.

Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid   

Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. Rates vary by program and location.

For this dual degree program, Law School tuition rates govern, unless a joint degree student is enrolled exclusively in master's program courses. In such semesters or summer sessions, the graduate tuition rate will apply.

The tuition rate* for the Master's in HEA program is $1,905 per credit hour.

Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

*Summer 2024, Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

View the current fee chart   

Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Review eligibility requirements and learn more about funding your education >




 Career Outlook

The ever-evolving field of higher education requires exceptional leaders for administrative, academic, and research positions on college campuses, national associations, and government agencies. On a college campus, career opportunities can range from professors to university presidents, and innumerable leadership positions in between. There are also external opportunities, such as policy researcher or advocate, and senior positions within government or higher ed related organizations. Having an academic background in the legal field will further increase your job opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $96,910 in 2021.1 Employment in the field is projected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. 1

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm (visited April 12, 2023).

HEA Career Opportunities
professional female reviews document in her office, globe on the desk in background

Graduates of the Higher Education program are transforming campus communities across the nation, with alumni currently working as:

  • Director of Admissions, The Citadel
  • Director of Student Affairs and Community Service Learning, University of Virginia
  • Director of Residence Life, Christendom College
  • Director of Student Services, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, GW
  • Assistant Director of Admissions, Bucknell University
  • Assistant Director of Student Life and Activities and Coordinator Greek Affairs, American University
  • Assistant Director of Programming, University of Wisconsin
  • Leadership Coordinator, University of California, Davis
  • Assistant Director of Campus Programming and Greek Life, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Director of Career Services, University of Washington
  • Assistant Director of Campus Assault Resources and Education, UC Irvine



Higher Education Administration Faculty

Dr. Deniece Dortch

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration

(202) 994-6853
Dr. Mikyong Minsun Kim

Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration

(202) 994-3205
Dr. Dwayne Kwaysee Wright

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives



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