Juris Doctorate / Master's in Higher Education Administration

The close connection between law and higher education administration and policy is well established and is increasingly leading law students into seeking careers in higher education legal counsel, judicial affairs, Title IX compliance, and student rights and responsibilities. To answer such demands, GW has established joint degrees between law and social sciences in which law students are able to hone analytical skills that examine the intersection between legal, social, political, economic, and institutional factors that shape higher education administration and policies and their underlying conditions. Such skills are often required to secure important higher education administration positions and work on legal aspects of higher education administration and policies.

This program joins the Graduate School of Education and Human Development Higher Education Masters Program (MAEd&HD) and the JD in the GW Law School. The Master of Arts in Education and Human Development degree in Higher Education Policy requires 30 credits and, similar to the other joint degrees, the Law School accepts 12 credits of HEA courses toward the 84-credit requirement for graduation. Similarly, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development would accept 6 credits in the Law School toward the MAEd&HD. In addition to the required eight courses for the MAEd&HD, HEA and other GSEHD potential elective courses are required to complete the Masters in Higher Education Administration degree.

Students who enroll full-time in the joint J.D./M.A.Ed & HD program should normally be able to complete both degrees in four years . During their first year, students are in residence at the GW Law School, taking exclusively first-year law courses. Thereafter, students take a mix of classes in both the Law School and GSEHD.


Students must complete the following 30 credit program plan of study for the master’s degree in higher education administration a with concentration in either (a) student affairs administration, (b) higher education policy and finance, (c) college and university administration, and (d) international higher education. The joint degree in Law and Higher Education Administration will substitute 6 GSEHD credits for courses completed in the Law School.

Higher Education Administration Core Classes (12 credits)

EDUC 6500: Introduction to Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration
EDUC 6510: Administration of Higher Education
EDUC 6112: Foundations of Assessment, Testing, and Measurement
EDUC 6585: Internship in Higher Education Administration
Capstone Portfolio (0 credit): Completed in the final semester, the capstone demonstrates mastery of the interrelatedness among higher education administration theories, issues, and problems that persist in higher education practice, and professional preparation experiences.

College and University Administration Concentration Classes (18 credits)

EDUC 6540: Group and Organizational Theories
EDUC 6560: Legal Issues in Higher Education
EDUC 6555: Policy in Higher Education
OR EDUC 6565: Financing Higher Education
EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education
2 elective classes in consultation with advisor [Substituted with Law Credits]

Student Affairs Administration Concentration Classes (18 credits)

EDUC 6520: Foundations of College Student Development
EDUC 6525: Managing College Student Services
EDUC 6540: Group and Organizational Theories
EDUC 6530: Intercultural Campus Leadership
EDUC 6585: Internship in Higher Education Administration [Substituted with Law Credits]
1 elective class in consultation with advisor [Substituted with Law Credits]

Higher Education Policy and Finance Concentration Classes (18 credits)

EDUC 6560: Legal Issues in Higher Education
EDUC 6555: Policy in Higher Education
EDUC 6565: Financing Higher Education
EDUC 8540: History of Higher Education
2 elective classes in consultation with advisor [Substituted with Law Credits]

International Higher Education Administration Concentration Classes (18 credits)

EDUC 8560 Case Studies in Higher Education
EDUC 6610 International Higher Education
EDUC 6620 Managing International Students & International Study Programs
EDUC 6602 Regional Studies in Int’l Education
OR EDUC 6615 Internationalizing US Schools
OR EDUC 6630 International Study Abroad Experience
2 elective classes in consultation with advisor [Substituted with Law Credits]

Elective Courses in the Law School for GSEHD students (12 hours)

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.H.D. electives.

Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court (6395) The Law of Democracy (6398) Constitutional Law Seminar (6399) Civil Rights Legislation (6388) Courts & Civil Litigation: Law 6230-6249 Commercial, Business & Labor Law: Law 6250-6298 Property, Family Law & Torts 6330-6354 Criminal Law & Procedure: Law 6360-6379 Constitutional Law & Civil Rights: Law 6380-6399 Administrative Law & Government Regulation: Law 6400-6426 Intellectual Property Law 6470-6496 Government Contract Law 6500-6512 Gender Discrimination and the Law (6392) Law of Race and Slavery (6596) Race, Racism, and American Law (6595) Family Law (6348) Family, Child, and State (6349) Family Law Seminar (6352) Housing Law and Policy (6338)

Elective Courses in GSEHD for Law Students (four courses or 12 Law credit hours )

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 Higher Education Administration 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 (section varies) 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

Sequence of Courses

Joint degree students may enroll in a combination of law and master's level courses each semester after the first year of law study is complete. Students may enroll in a minimum of 12 credits to be considered full-time, and a maximum of 17 credits per semester. Any combination of law and master's level credits is acceptable. Joint degree students may also be part-time (less than 12 total credits per semester).

Graduation Requirements

The degrees of the joint program in JD/MA.Ed. in Education Policy 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.


Program Entry: Summer, Fall
Prerequisites: Bachelors Degree
Campus: Main Campus

Students must be admitted to both the Law School and, separately, to the Masters of Arts in Education & Human Development/Higher Education Administration program in GSEHD. The GW Law and the HEA 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/MA.Ed & HD. degree program in Higher Education Administration. Students enrolled in full-time study, should normally complete the two degrees in four years. Once a student has been admitted to both schools as a joint degree candidate, the first year of study must be devoted exclusively to the first-year law curriculum.

Students who register first in the Law School must apply to the GSEHD by the end of their third semester as J.D. candidates. Current second and third year GW Law students interested in applying for this joint JD/MA.Ed.& HD degree should apply and secure admission to the Higher Education Administration program in GSEHD.

GSEHD Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • GRE Not Required
  • Transcripts (unofficial)

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

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Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2023. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Priority Deadline Nov 1
Round 1 Deadline Dec 15
Round 2 Deadline Jan 16
Round 3 Deadline March 1
Round 4 Deadline May 1
Round 5 Deadline June 15

Newly admitted GSEHD students to the Fall 2023 semester and who are eligible for scholarships will receive a $6,000 grant -- and may receive additional funding through merit scholarships. Learn more about this grant >

For more information, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at education@gwu.edu or 202-994-9283.

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