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Program Description

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (MAHEAL) is a two-year, 33-credit program that provides graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective leadership within complex and changing higher educational environments. This program will prepare students to develop the skills required to work collaboratively, take a systems view of their organization, build enduring relationships and partnerships, make evidence-based decisions, think critically, plan strategically and lead meaningful educational change.   

The program includes a Specialization in International Education for those students who wish to focus on leadership in international education contexts. The program offers the option of completing a research paper (secondary research) or a thesis (primary research). Students have to apply and be approved for the thesis route.

The MAHEAL program offers a thesis option for completion as well. Students are required to apply for the thesis option during their first year of the program. Thesis route students take a slightly different course combination in their second year. 

Who It’s For

Leaders or aspiring leaders in post-secondary educational environments who want to expand their expertise and gain new skills and credentials in the field of higher education administration and leadership, to advance or redirect their career. Students of this program are required to have a background in higher education knowledge and experience, to learn more read the program admission page.

Applicants who do not have the formal academic education to qualify for admission may be assessed based on both their formal education and their informal learning, in accordance with the Flexible Admission Policy. Please visit the program admission page for more information.


Graduates will develop an understanding of educational improvement concepts and research and be able to apply practical tools and strategies to address issues, challenges, and opportunities related to supporting student achievement and institutional growth.

Graduates will:

  • Facilitate the collaborative development and implementation of shared values, vision, mission, and goals to support learning and achievement for all students;
  • Understand and use change and improvement processes to support student learning and institutional growth;
  • Build positive and effective relationships between the institution and the larger community;
  • Integrate evidence-based decision making approaches into administrative leadership practices to support growth and improvement;
  • Engage in meaningful self-assessment and self-awareness to enhance leadership skills, positive relationships, and professional goals;
  • Apply systems thinking to strategically plan and manage the higher education institutional environment to support student learning;
  • Engage in sound financial planning/budgeting and project management practices to support organizational goals;
  • Foster and sustain an inclusive institutional culture and climate to support both student learning and faculty/staff professional growth;
  • Critically analyze the leader’s own organizational context considering existing cultural norms, national/international trends and global perspectives;
  • Implement authentic and meaningful strategies assuring program quality; and
  • Lead collaborative and systematic inquiry processes that support institutional growth and improvement.

 The Specialization in International Education will enable graduates to:

  • Critically examine key issues, policies and perspectives that affect how post-secondary institutions integrate international education into their academic and business models;
  • Improve intercultural understanding, global awareness and internationalization efforts by analyzing and enhancing organizational structures, communication processes and leadership styles; and
  • Gain expertise in the business side of international education, including business development, marketing and recruitment, contract management, policy analysis and risk management.