Higher Education Institutional Research
Degree: Master of Arts in Higher Education
Students in the Institutional Research (IR) concentration develop the conceptual, technical, and practical skills necessary to conduct applied research in or pertaining to postsecondary institutions and system offices. The skills developed in the program are wide ranging, including factual knowledge about postsecondary institutions and systems, research methods used by IR professionals, knowledge of the processes and issues affecting institutions, and an understanding of the context and culture of the institutions in which
you will work and study.
This program of study prepares students for a wide range of professional positions related to improving the understanding, planning, management, and performance of postsecondary institutions and the systems in which these institutions are organized. These positions include faculty or research appointments within higher education programs or centers, research appointments in institutional research offices, and research and policy appointments in federal and state agencies of higher education, higher education associations, policy institutes, and policy advocacy organizations.
This concentration is distinctive in several ways:
- Students enrolled in this concentration will be able to employ a variety of methods and techniques and apply them appropriately to the type of research undertaken.
- The Institutional Research curriculum enables students to understand how to integrate research into useful academic, managerial, or policy initiatives designed to improve decision-making in, and the functioning of, postsecondary institutions.
- In addition to the formal coursework, students will obtain real-world institutional research experience through a program-approved internship. In this internship students will be exposed to institutional research practices and work directly with professionals in the field.
Graduate study in this concentration includes the development and framing of research questions; the design and execution of empirical research pertaining to postsecondary education; the collection, preparation, and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data; the communication of research findings to varied audiences; and the connections between research, policy, and practice. Upon completion of their formal and practice-based education, students will have the technical competence and knowledge of the nature of postsecondary institutions that will position them well for careers in the exciting field of institutional research.