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Adult and Higher Education

Develop into an innovative scholar-practitioner and transformational leader who solves complex problems in administration and education.

Master Adult and Higher Education Skills

By specializing in adult and higher education at USD, you will become a reflective leader and skilled educator whose practices and decisions draw upon the best available theory, research and experiential wisdom. Reflective decision-making engages administrators in cycles of thought and action based upon theoretical, ethical and professional knowledge. Our professors will offer mentorship as you design an individualized plan of study that emphasizes the administrative context and meanings that are most important to you.

Advanced degrees in Educational Administration and Leadership (EAL) prepare you for positions that include administrative and teaching positions in colleges and universities, junior and community colleges, hospitals, private industry and other adult training and educational settings.

Educate and inspire learners of all backgrounds with an advanced degree from USD.                                                              

Degrees & Offerings

EAL: Adult and Higher Education (M.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

This master's degree will challenge you to explore core themes and content that will provide you with skills pertinent to both your professional and academic career objectives. The EAL program consists of 32-34 credit hours depending on which track (thesis/non-thesis) you choose. In addition to being offered on campus, the master's program is also offered online.

View Admissions Requirements

EAL: Adult and Higher Education (M.A.) -- LERN

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

This USD/LERN master's degree will challenge you to explore core themes and content that will provide you with skills pertinent to both your professional and academic career objectives. The  program requires 33 credit hours. You may enroll in up to 15 credit hours of practical knowledge through the LERN professional development institutes and online courses which approved for USD credit in advance. As a result, university credit from the LERN experiences transfers seamlessly toward the master’s degree. The remaining 18 credit hours  are completed online through USD.    

Learn more about the LERN master's program

View Admissions Requirements

EAL: Adult & Higher Education (Ed.D.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

This doctoral degree develops education leaders to be effective school administrators by cultivating  change for the future. We encourage you to be a participant in the process, to choose directions and to make worthwhile contributions. The program admits during the summer semester and requires a total of 90-95 credit hours with a minimum of 60 credits beyond a conferred master's degree and (either specialist degree or 30 credit hours of educational graduate courses. 

Learn more about the EAL program

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in educational leadership.
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Educational Leadership

Preparing education leaders to be effective educational administrators.

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Tailor the Program to Your Career Goals

USD's graduate degrees in EAL are unique in that you can craft the program to fit your interests and career goals. You'll learn from supportive and expert faculty in the Division of Educational Leadership, and you'll also take classes from other departments across campus to expand your skillset and knowledge. This unique structure provides a versatile and supportive climate that prepares students for effective participation in an information-rich society.


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Discounted Tuition for South Dakota Teachers and Vocational Instructors

If you live in South Dakota, be sure and take advantage of the 50% reduced tuition program for currently contracted elementary/secondary teachers and vocational instructors.


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One-of-a-kind Master's Degree Partnership

The combination of the USD curriculum and LERN institutes and courses allows working professionals to gain extensive knowledge in the area of adult and higher education, as well as to obtain practical tools that are applicable and beneficial to their organization. Earn your master's degree online through a highly-ranked and accredited institution.

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Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


Hear from a USD Alum

Success story Marcia Hawk smiling.
I made the decision to pursue a degree in Educational Administration at USD because of its status as a research institution, the availability of online classes and the affordability. My experience has been nothing but extraordinary. The curriculum is designed to challenge students’ intellect by exposing them to the real issues of adult and higher education administration. You will indeed be challenged — but you will be prepared for the real world.

Marcia Hawk, M.A., Ed.D.

Intercontinental Hotels Group
Atlanta, Georgia

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