Higher Education Administration

Higher education has become increasingly complex as issues of student access and competition, new learning methods, funding sources, and changing student demographics dramatically impact how colleges operate and plan for the future. The certificate in higher education administration provides a unique and highly flexible curriculum that combines coursework in higher education with management, marketing, and governance options.

In the certificate program, you will learn effective methods for competitive program analysis and strategic planning; study the organizational, governance, and leadership practices in higher education; and understand how campus environments influence student learning and identity. Upon completion of the certificate, you’ll have improved your ability to analyze operations and make program decisions, and be able to operate more effectively within your higher education organization.

Through a course schedule that can be completed 100% online, or with a combination of online and face-to-face classes, the program’s flexibility and affordability will allow you to complete your certificate in as little as 12 months. All certificate courses can also be applied toward a degree, such as a master of higher education administration or master of nonprofit administration.

Our higher education classes—both online and in-person—are taught by full-time and adjunct faculty with decades of experience in both theory and practice, including current executive directors, deans, and vice presidents at educational institutions around Chicago. With small class sizes, personal attention, and real-life applications of your coursework, the certificate in higher education administration will help you achieve your educational and professional goals as an ethical leader in the nonprofit sector.


Five classes are required for the certificate in higher education administration. Three are required and you can choose th remaining two electives from a specific set.

Required Classes

  • SBNM 5740 Principles of Higher Education Administration
  • SBNM 5741 Higher Education Organization and Governance
  • SBNM 5780 Measuring Outcomes and Assessment

Elective Options (Choose Two)

  • SBNM 5350 Nonprofit Financial Management
  • SBNM 5520 Management and Marketing of Services
  • SBNM 5680 Nonprofit Marketing Analysis and Consumer Behavior
  • SBNM 5742 The Contemporary College Student
  • SBNM 5745 Higher Education Curriculum Development
  • SBNM 5746 Law of Higher Education
  • SBNM 5747 Enrollment Management in Higher Education
  • SBNM 5770 Fundraising Principles for Nonprofit Organizations

Course descriptions for these classes are available below. Click on a course title to read its description. Review our semester schedules to see current offerings, including online and on-campus classes.

SBNM 5740 – Higher Education Administration
This course explores the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped and impact higher education administration practice, including the roles and relationships among primary actors within the organization (faculty, staff, students, board members), government policy, legal decisions, economic issues, and trends within culture and society.

SBNM 5741 – Higher Education Organization and Governance
Provides an overview of the organizational characteristics and processes of colleges and universities with an emphasis upon the governance structure, i.e., the process for making major policy decisions. Additionally, students will be introduced to the sources of power and influence typically found in academic organizations, along with the primary issues related to organization and governance of higher education.

SBNM 5780 – Measuring Outcomes and Assessment
This course examines the assessment of effectiveness against service delivery objectives. The course uses the logic model and other theoretical models to better understand the outcomes and assessment process. Case studies will highlight evaluation issues for improved organizational performance. Prerequisite: Any SBNM course. This may not be the first course in the SBNM academic program.

SBNM 5350 – Nonprofit Financial Management
This course provides both basic and advanced financial planning and management skills necessary in today's nonprofit organization. Successful financial planning and business development strategies will be combined to create a financial plan which achieves the goals of the organization. Included are basic principles of managerial accounting. Fund accounting, budgeting, cash flow analysis, expenditure control, long-range financial planning, audits, and grants and contracts are studied, as applied to nonprofit organizations.

SBNM 5520 – Management and Marketing of Services
This course focuses on increasing the service organization's competitive differentiation, service quality, and productivity. A service is intangible and cannot be stored. Service industries include the government sector (post office, regulatory agencies, military services), the private nonprofit sector (hospitals, churches, universities, museums), and part of the business sector (airlines, banks, insurance companies, real estate firms, motion picture companies, hotels). The role of presale service and post-sale service is emphasized during the study of product support services. Heavy emphasis is placed on the human element necessitated in service organizations.

SBNM 5680 – Nonprofit Marketing Analysis and Consumer Behavior
This course focuses on developing a working knowledge of marketing as it applies to nonprofit organizations. Emphasis will be placed on developing a customer orientation, marketing planning and organization, and developing and organizing resources.

SBNM 5742 – College Student Development And Administration
The course explores characteristics of contemporary college students, the major theories of college student cognitive development and behavior, and their implications on cmapus environments, student retention, services, and professional practice. The course also examines the role of student affairs functions and leadership within the larger university.

SBNM 5745 – Curriculum in Higher Education
Provides a comprehensive understanding of curricula found in higher education. The course will briefly examine the historical and philosophical foundations from which current curricular models developed. Also included will be coverage of current practices in curriculum development in colleges and universities. Specific attention will be given to the role and impact of assessment and accreditation as related to curriculum development.

SBNM 5746 – Law of Higher Education
This course is designed to assist students in becoming knowledgeable about the fundamentals of American law that directly and indirectly impinge on the teaching, learning, and administrative environments of higher education institutions in the both the public as well as the private sectors. There are diverse sources of law that impact American higher education in numerous ways and this course is designed to enhance student understanding and appreciation for this complexity as well as for the ethical issues which surround the application of law in the university or college setting. This course will consider legal issues within the historical context of higher education and the forces which shaped it. Specific attention will be given to the broader political, social, cultural, and economic context within which higher education was established and continues to develop today.

SBNM 5770 – Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations
This course covers the fundamentals of effective resource development as they pertain to nonprofit organizations. Principles and best practices of fundraising are studied, including the fundraising process (i.e., organizational readiness, case development, donor pyramid, strategic planning, management and research). The principles that undergird effective fundraising practices will also be reviewed, including the historical, organizational, legal, ethical, and theoretical contexts of fundraising.

Gainful Employment Information

North Park University is required to provide detailed information about the gainful employment of our students who enroll in School of Business and Nonprofit Management certificate programs. These disclosures will assist students in making informed enrollment decisions with regards to the possible employment opportunities that accompany each of the certificate programs.

Higher Education Administration Certificate
Academic Advising and Planning
Catherine Marsh working with SBNM graduate students.Make sure you're on-track with your program by accessing course planning sheets, current class schedules, and other advising and planning resources.