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Explore our MS in Higher Education Adult Learning (Non-Licensure) specialization

In the Adult Learning (Non-Licensure) specialization, you will explore emerging theories, research, and best practices that can be applied to create effective education experiences for this unique population of learners. You will analyze instructional strategies and management principles that will help you address today’s most pressing issues facing higher education institutions. As a result, you can improve both organizational and student success. The curriculum also examines the globalization of higher education, a transformative trend that transcends geographic boundaries and enables the sharing of knowledge on a global scale.

This specialization empowers you to increase your impact as an educator as you discover practical learning solutions that integrate the latest technologies across diverse learning environments, including higher education, corporate, nonprofit, government, healthcare, and military settings.

Program Savings

Receive a $3,000 Walden Live & Learn Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on January 9, 2023. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 33 semester credits
    • Core courses (15 sem. cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 sem. cr.)
    • Integrative capstone (3 sem. cr.)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

The program’s courses are delivered online in a prescribed sequence:


Course Code Title Credits
EDUC 6155

Understanding Higher Education

Historical perspectives on the development of higher education are useful in understanding the characteristics of our current system and future trends. The social, political, and economic context in which 4-year colleges, community colleges, and universities operate is introduced in this course. Education professionals explore how institutions of higher education apply business principles to renew their commitment to student learning and achieve their mission and goals effectively. They also become familiar with the philosophy, requirements, and community of Walden University, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, and the M.S. in Higher Education program.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6156

Understanding Students: Learning, Development, and Diversity

The success of any business is tied directly to its ability to serve its customers effectively. In higher education, those customers are students. In this course, education professionals examine fundamental principles of student learning and development as well as the implications of these principles for adult learners from a variety of backgrounds who have diverse needs and are in different stages of the educational process. They investigate and discuss factors affecting students' educational goals and aspirations, their ability to stay in college, and the impact of their educational experiences on their learning and development; through this exploration and discussion, education professionals gain a better understanding of the ways leaders can improve these outcomes.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6271

Theories and Frameworks for Adult Learning

To understand adult learning, one must ask and answer complex questions: Who is the adult learner? What is the social context of learning? What motivates adult learners? In this course, education professionals explore the theories and frameworks that inform the field of adult learning today. They identify, compare, and contrast foundational and emerging perspectives on adult learning with the aim of transforming theory into practice. They engage in an integrative course project through which they synthesize and apply various theories to real-world situations, including their own development; summarize how the idea of wisdom impacts their experiences as adult learners; interview an adult learner; and assess various perspectives in regard to educating diverse learners.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6157

Understanding Institutions: Organizational Behavior and Culture

Effective leadership within colleges and universities depends on the ability to identify important aspects of an organization's structure and culture as well as to adapt one's behavior to that culture. In this course, education professionals examine patterns of organization, governance, and culture in higher education, and they assess strategies for working effectively within governance structures and organizational cultures to achieve desired goals. They engage in readings and assignments that emphasize the organization's ability to learn and change in response to internal and external factors, including the ever-changing use of technology in academic programs and services.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6274

Developing a Repertoire of Effective Practices

A number of best practices in adult teaching and learning have been identified based on decades of research and experience. Education professionals in this course examine these evidence-based practices to build their skills and gain strategies to facilitate learning in a variety of settings. They also explore promising new ideas and emerging trends in the field of adult learning.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6225

Foundations of Research

An introduction to the principles and processes of research is provided in this course. Education professionals explore the various steps and considerations of the research process. They develop an understanding of basic research methodologies and statistical analyses, learn how to formulate research problems and questions, conduct a literature review, and critique and evaluate research. Additionally, they consider the ethical responsibilities of the researcher.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6761

Globalization in Higher Education

Globalization is a phenomenon affecting almost every aspect of society, from politics to commerce to entertainment. Higher education is no exception; technology and social mobility increasingly lead to opportunities for collaboration and competition among institutions globally. In this course, education professionals investigate trends and issues in higher education worldwide, including ways in which institutions serve the needs of an increasingly mobile student population. Through assignments designed to provide practical application of course content, education professionals consider globalization through a variety of contexts, such as in their personal and professional lives, student experiences, and challenges and opportunities. They also explore international differences in institutional organization and governance, operations and services, accountability, and articulation; they use this knowledge to inform later study of program development and administration.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6275

Planning, Assessing, and Improving Learning Experiences

Given the wide variety of settings in which adult learning takes place, it is no small challenge to plan and implement robust learning experiences that can be effectively evaluated. In this course, education professionals examine the ingredients essential to successfully promote learning, including multiple needs assessment models, approaches to program design, implementation strategies, and models of evaluation and assessment.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6276

Facilitating, Collaboration & Group Process

According to research, adults learn best in a social environment. Through collaboration and idea exchange, a supportive "community of practice" is generated where learners co-create their experience in socially meaningful ways. This may take the form of discussions, peer-to-peer activities, small-group work, and student-centered assignments, among other approaches. In this course, education professionals examine the mechanics of collaboration and identify facilitation practices that lead to student success. Also addressed are issues of consensus and decision making, trust-building, collaborative teaching, and group process online.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6277

Using Technology to Enhance Adult Learning

Emerging technologies are rapidly altering the field of adult education today. Innovative technologies are removing traditional boundaries to learning and encouraging a global perspective on school, work, and communications. New developments in software, multimedia applications, Internet technologies, and mobile computing are transforming the educational landscape and empowering learners around the world. In this course, educators and students explore how to leverage these advances to enhance the learning process and improve outcomes in today's digital information society.

(3 sem. cr.)
EDUC 6960

Capstone: Master's Project

Through the master's capstone experience, education professionals have the opportunity to integrate and apply their learning to real-world issues or problems. Education professionals research and create a product that addresses a critical issue in a particular institution or area of higher education. Examples of such products include a design for a program or service that could be implemented at a particular institution, a professional development program or resource, or a position paper that addresses a particular issue in depth. Education professionals choose an issue or problem that is of sufficient scope to enable them to apply theories, concepts, and practices gained from multiple areas of prior coursework.


  • All other courses

(3 sem. cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 33 semester credit hours $759 per semester hour $25,047
Technology Fee Per semester $220 $1,320


Effective January 9, 2023

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 33 semester credit hours $790 per semester hour $26,070
Technology Fee Per semester $230 $1,380


*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 15 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more

Program Savings

Receive a $3,000 Walden Live & Learn Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on January 9, 2023. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.



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