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Higher Education Foundations Certificate

About the Certificate

Students pursuing the Higher Education Foundations Certificate (HEFC) are introduced to the concept of institutional heterogeneity, core concepts in student development theory and budget philosophies, strategies, and structures. 

Target Audiences

Higher education professionals who seek to explore significant and timely issues, dive deeper into their profession, augment their understanding of the nuanced and complex landscape of higher education, and expand their career opportunities, will find at Northwestern a Higher Education Certificate that is perfect for them!

  • Entry level higher education professionals who want a grounding in higher education systems and structures. NOTE - These individuals often will apply for matriculation to enter the Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy (MSHE) degree program. All coursework for the HEFC is counted toward the MSHE degree requirements. 
  • Mid-level higher education professionals who have an advanced degree outside of higher education who seek a broad overview of higher education, with which to career pivot or improve their professional abilities. 
  • Career changers who have an advanced degree, but who seek a broad working knowledge of higher education as an industry. 

Curriculum Overview

Students augment their understanding of higher education foundations through selecting one of three leadership courses with a focus ranging from the individual – to the organization – to the institution, or with a multi-level focus that examines issues of diversity and inclusion. HEFC students choose an area of interest in which to delve through taking a higher education elective. 


Margaret Hackbarth

I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the field while building connections with other education professionals... I appreciated the options to customize my course assignments based on my own professional interests. I have been able to apply much of what I learned in the program to my current role in Training and Development.”

Margaret Hackbarth, Training Specialist at Keller Postman, 2022 Higher Education Certificate Recipient 

Contact Higher Education Administration and Policy

Our staff is available to provide in-person assistance Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Remote office hours are Friday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  

Phone Number 



Physical Address 

1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 7-300 
Evanston, IL 60208 
Northwestern University