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HALE MA Handbook

The Master of Arts program in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE MA) program is a professional development degree that provides a broad understanding of postsecondary education from social, historical, philosophical, psychological, developmental, and international perspectives. It also develops understanding of central issues in:

  1. Organization and Leadership;
  2. Teaching and Learning; and
  3. Contexts of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education

as they reflect the relationship between theory and practice. We expect that graduates will be prepared for a variety of roles in postsecondary education and for cultivation of inclusive educational environments.

The HALE MA program seeks to strengthen postsecondary educational opportunities by preparing individuals who foster organizational development and change within an increasingly complex and global society, who nurture within individuals, groups, organizations, and society skill in and commitment to lifelong learning, and who honor diversity and difference among people, groups, and societies.

The HALE MA program provides opportunity for professional development for individuals who are currently working in or wish to move into professional roles within various settings of higher and adult education, including administration, continuing professional development, or teaching. Graduates who complete the HALE MA program are typically employed in positions within higher and adult education organizations related to institutional advancement and administration; faculty and organizational development; program planning, evaluation, and coordination; continuing professional education; or teaching.

The majority of our students work full-time and use this opportunity to advance or to change careers.  The objectives of this program derive from the mission statement of the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University: “The improvement of leadership and management in organizations that have teaching and learning as their core function.”


The HALE MA program provides a broad understanding of educational systems from social, historical, cross-national, and normative perspectives, an understanding of central issues in postsecondary teaching and learning, and a theoretical understanding of administration and leadership connected to practice. There are opportunities to develop and use skills needed in practice through practica and field experiences. We expect that graduates are prepared to work in and to cultivate educational environments that are receptive to diversity. The specific objectives of the MA program are to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of central issues in postsecondary organization and leadership, teaching and learning, and administration;
  • Convey inquiry skills and to provide opportunities to use them to understand important problems in the context of postsecondary practice;
  • Connect theoretical understandings to the practice of administration, leadership, and teaching through coursework and related experiences;
  • Build students’ appreciation for the broad social consequences and involvements of their educational and leadership duties and understand the ethical nature of their roles; and
  • Develop students’ capacity to engage in disciplined reflection on their experience, studies and practices.

Program Requirements and Policies

Michigan State University is committed to high academic standards and expects all graduate students to excel in their particular majors.

Requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education

The HALE MA program is a combination of experiences designed by the student in conjunction with a faculty advisor. It includes a set of required and core courses, as well as a series of elective courses that may include independent study, field experience, or practicum. Aspects of the program of study are detailed in this section. In addition to the following program requirements, candidates must satisfy all college and university graduation requirements.

Curricular Structure: The HALE M.A. program is available only under Plan B (without thesis) and requires successful completion of 30 credit hours as follows, in addition to a final project:

  1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):                                                                 
    EAD 840 Inquiry in Postsecondary Education 3
    EAD 868 Proseminar in Adult and Higher Education 3
  2. Three of the following courses (9 credits):                                                               
    EAD 801 Leadership and Organization Development 3
    EAD 805 Administration in Higher Education 3
    EAD 860 Concept of a Learning Society 3
    EAD 861 Adult Learning 3
    EAD 866 Teaching in Postsecondary Education 3
    EAD 870 Foundations of Postsecondary Education 3
    EAD 876 Budgeting and Finance in Higher Education 3
    EAD 877 Program Planning and Evaluation in Postsecondary Contexts 3

  3. Fifteen additional credits of which 9 credits must be in Educational Administration (EAD) courses within the HIgher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program. Other graduate level courses may be taken with approval from your advisor. 

  4. Students may enroll in a maximum of six credit hours that are graded Pass/No Pass. This includes field experience and independent studies.

  5. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required of the program. However, to get credit for a course, students must receive a minimum of a 2.0. University policy regarding this requirement can be found at


A student must be enrolled for at least 1 credit each semester while completing the degree (MSU Academic Programs Handbook).

Note on minimum and maximum enrollments and full time student status

All students using University services (faculty consultation included) for graduate work must be registered each semester. Minimum registration consists of one course of 1 credit.  Graduate students may carry up to 12 credits each semester. The maximum number of credits, however, is determined by the department or school. A student load above 12 credits requires approval by the student's dean.  In order to be considered full time for academic purposes, students must carry the minimum number of credits per semester as defined: MA level is 9 credits.


The student must apply for graduation with the MSU Registrar’s Office, on line (preferred) or in person at room 150 Administration Building.  Application should be made during the first week of the semester one wishes to graduate. This will produce a Final Certification form (see forms section) that is to be completed and signed by the academic advisor and submitted to the HALE Administrative Assistant.


For master’s (Plan A), master’s (Plan B) with research responsibilities, and doctoral students, it is the responsibility of the student to: a) notify their advisor/major professor and faculty of the courses in which they are enrolled of the need for a grief absence in a timely manner, but no later than one week from the student’s initial knowledge of the situation, b) provide appropriate verification of the grief absence as specified by the advisor/major professor and faculty, and c) complete all missed work as determined in consultation with the advisor/major professor and faculty. It is the responsibility of the advisor/major professor to: a) determine with the student the expected period of absence – it is expected that some bereavement processes may be more extensive than others depending on individual circumstances, b) receive verification of the authenticity of a grief absence request upon the student’s return, and c) make reasonable accommodations so that the student is not penalized due to a verified grief absence. Students who believe their rights under this policy have been violated should contact the University Ombudsperson.

This section pertains to the Graduate Student Academic Grievance Procedures utilized by all graduate academic programs in the College of Education.

Students may request a hearing to resolve a dispute with an instructor, but only after trying to settle the matter in conversations with the instructor, the department chair or school director or program director and, in some cases, the associate dean of the college. The student also may consult with the University Ombudsperson at any stage of the dispute. In the event that a student’s dispute remains unresolved a grievance hearing may be necessary. The College of Education outlines the current University policy and procedures for conducting a grievance hearing in the Graduate Student Academic Grievance Hearing Procedures document.

Final Projects will be reviewed by the HALE MA Review committee (P/F grading). The committee will consist of the student’s advisor with two other faculty members. If the Review Committee judges the student’s work to be unacceptable, in order to graduate the student must re-submit a revised project by the first day of Finals Week.

Submission Requirements

Complete projects are due:

  • Spring and Summer Semester Graduates: Last Monday in March
  • Fall Semester Graduates: Last Monday in October


Final Project Directions



Michigan State University requires that all graduate students be trained in the responsible conduct of research as part of their educational experience. All HALE MA students are required to complete three hours of training to include the following topics: human research protection program, conflict of interest, authorship issues and data issues, and additional discussion of issues related to Responsible Conduct of Education Research. These topics are covered through EAD 840, a required course in the HALE program. Faculty should indicate, on the course syllabus, the RCR requirements met through the course.

Each student is expected to enter the relevant information regarding the completion of this training into the Research Training Tracking System (RTTS). Documentation should be completed by May 15 of each year.

To support the Responsible Conduct of Research training requirements, the following resources are available. Students should consult with their academic adviser and/or research supervisor to determine the appropriate training topics.

PowerPoint presentation on the HALE MA RCR Requirements

Research Training Tracking System
Human Research Protection Program modules
Workshops offered by the graduate school
Powerpoint resources through the graduate school


Policies regarding time limit can be found in MSU Academic Programs Handbook, Graduate Education, MA programs. In brief:

The time limit for the completion of the requirements for the MA degree is five calendar years from the date of enrollment in the first course included for degree certification.


Policies regarding transfer credit can be found in the MSU Academic Programs Handbook, Graduate Education, MA Programs.  With approval of the College and the student’s academic advisor, as many as 9 semester credits of graduate course work may be transferred into the HALE MA degree program from other accredited institutions (including MSU graduate courses and lifelong education credits) or international institutions of similar quality, if they are appropriate to a student's program and provided they were completed within the time limits approved for the earning of the degree desired at Michigan State University.

Only courses in which at least a 3.0 grade or its equivalent was received will be considered for transfer. A Credit Evaluation form (see forms section) must be completed, signed by the advisor, and submitted to the HALE Administrative Assistant along with an official copy of the transcript.  Transcripts that have “issued to student” stamped on them cannot be used.  Lifelong Education students who contemplate subsequent admission to degree programs must seek advice from the admitting department or school and college as to the applicability of courses/credits taken while in Lifelong Education status.  There is no guarantee that these credits will be acceptable. Applicability is subject to programmatic approval.

Program Procedures

Admission to Michigan State University

U. S. Residents
U. S. applicants who are not already admitted to graduate study at MSU must submit the online Graduate Application for Admission and application fee through the MSU Graduate School. An application fee and college transcripts of all previous academic work must be submitted with this form.

More Information on Admission to the MSU Graduate School

Online & Downloadable Application to Graduate Study

International Students
International applicants who are not already admitted to graduate study at MSU must submit the online Graduate Application for Admission and application fee through the MSU Graduate School. An application fee and college transcripts of all previous academic work must be submitted with this form.

Additionally, international students who have been admitted to graduate study at MSU are required to submit the International Graduate Application for Admission, proof of financial support, and proof of proficiency in English.

APPLICANTS FROM CHINESE UNIVERSITIES: Please arrange for a verification report of your university academic records with the China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). The report must be mailed directly to the department  to which you are applying by the CDGDC, rather than by you or any third party.

China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center

Verification Division

B-17, Tongfang Scientific Plaza

No. 1 Wangzhuang Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100083, P.R. China

Tel: +86-10-8237980

Fax: +86-10-82378718 (24 hours)



Admission to the HALE Master of Arts Program

The HALE Masters program application deadline is December 15th. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis if space is available. It is your responsibility to make sure that your application is complete.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Consideration for admission on a regular basis requires at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the final two years of undergraduate study. Applicants with a grade-point average below 3.0 for the same time period may be considered for provisional admission.

Regular and Provisional Admissions

Upon admission to a graduate program a student is classified in one of two categories, regular or provisional. Specific criteria for distinguishing between these categories are determined within each college for its own programs. In general, these criteria are:

Regular - Students who are considered to be fully qualified to undertake a program toward the graduate degree for which they are admitted.

Provisional - At times, students are admitted to the program provisionally due to concerns with their prior record, usually related to low grade-point average and/or test scores. The terms of admission on provisional status are stipulated in the students' admission letter and are evaluated upon their completion.

English Language Requirements for International Students

All international students are required to be proficient in English as a condition for regular admission to MSU and HALE. For students whose native language is not English, proficiency must be demonstrated by meeting the minimum standards on any one of the following tests:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  3. Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
  4. English Language Center Placement Test (ELCPT)

Students who have not met the minimum requirements in English are required to take the ELCPT. If the results do not meet the minimum proficiency, students will be required to enroll in English Language Center classes until the University or departmental competence is attained. In some instances, students may be able to take academic courses along with their ESL classes. In such cases, restrictions are placed on the number of academic credits they may take until complete minimum proficiency is met.


Concurrent Applications for Admission

Michigan State University permits concurrent applications for admission to two graduate programs, each with a separate application fee. This option is available beginning with applications for Fall 2014 admissions.


Upon admission to the HALE Master's degree program, students are assigned a faculty member who serves as their academic advisor. If, for whatever reason, the student wishes to change advisor during the course of the program, a Change of Advisor form must be completed and submitted to the Student Affairs Office in the College of Education.


Written evaluations shall be communicated to the graduate student at least once a year, and a copy of such evaluations shall be placed in the graduate student's file. A student whose performance does not meet the standards of quality will not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program, and appropriate action will be taken by the Department of Educational Administration.

The academic advisor and academic unit are jointly responsible for evaluating the student's competency (as indicated by, e.g., grades in core and other courses, portfolio development, and development of professional skills) and rate of progress (as indicated by, e.g., the number of courses for which grades have been assigned or deferred). Download your Progress to Degree form at


Students whose cumulative grade-point average falls below a 3.0 will be placed on academic probation the following semester. The student will work with her/his academic advisor to be restored to good standing. Students on academic probation should regularly meet with the academic advisor. Students shall have the right to appeal in accordance with the GSSR guidelines.

Students who have applied for graduation will have access to an exit survey. The survey asks questions about educational experiences in MSU graduate programs, as well as about immediate professional plans. The identity of all respondents will be kept confidential and only aggregate (group) information will be made available to faculty and administrators. Students will receive an email message from the dean of the graduate school with a link to the survey, or students may access the appropriate survey through the following website:

Each student must apply for graduation with the MSU Registrar's Office, online (preferred) or in person at room 150 Administration Building. Application should be made during the first week of the semester one wishes to graduate. This will produce a Final Certification form that is to be completed and signed by the academic advisor and submitted to the HALE Administrative Assistant.

Commencement information will be sent to each degree candidate midway through their final semester. Commencements are held Fall and Spring semesters. Summer degree candidates may participate during the Fall or Spring ceremonies.


A 3.0 cumulative grade-point average in the degree program is the minimum University standard. However, attainment of the minimum grade-point average is in itself an insufficient indicator of potential for success in other aspects of the program and the field. The grading system is as follows: 4.0, superior; 3.5, excellent; 3.0, good; 2.5, fair; 2.0 poor; 0/1.0/1.5, failure and in specific courses, P-N (Pass- No Grade). Once grades have been submitted in to the registrar's office, they may only be changed by the course instructor through written application.

Incomplete or Deferred Grades

A student who, for compelling reasons, finds it necessary to postpone the submission of required course work may petition their instructor for the grade of Incomplete (I) or Deferred (DF). A form for this request must be completed by the instructor of the course and contain all information requested, including a description of the work the student will complete and the due date, which cannot be later than the date specified in the academic calendar. The form must be signed by the student, instructor, and department chair (or designee). The last day to request an incomplete and submit the form is indicated in the academic calendar. The grade of I or DF shall remain on the student's transcript until a grade has been submitted by the instructor.

• A grade of "I" or incomplete may be given after a student has satisfactorily completed 12 weeks of the course but is unable to complete the work within the allotted time period because of "illness or other compelling reason," and the professor believes that the student can complete the work without repeating the course. The required work must be completed, and a grade must be reported to the Office of the Registrar, no later than the middle of the student's next semester in attendance (summer session excluded) if that semester is within one calendar year following receipt of the I-Incomplete.

• A grade of "DF" or Deferred may be given only to graduate students who are doing satisfactory work but cannot complete it because of reasons acceptable to the instructor. Deferred grades need to be resolved within two years, although the instructor may stipulate a shorter time frame. The required work must be completed and a grade reported within six months (190 calendar days from the last class day of the term of instruction), with the option of a single six-month extension (190 calendar days).


A 3.00 cumulative grade point average for all courses counting toward the master's degree is the minimum University and program standard. If a student’s grade point average falls below this minimum in any given term, a letter of warning is issued by the Graduate School (Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities). The student will be expected to work with his/hir/her academic advisor on strategies to insure appropriate progress towards degree and reconstituting minimum standards of academic progress. A student who fails meet the standards set by the University, college, and department or school will not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program.


Students are expected to uphold the principles and standards set forth in university policies that maintain the integrity of academic work Academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, and falsification of academic or admission records are considered serious violations and may result in disciplinary action.

Even though the HALE Master's degree does not require a thesis, students may be engaged in forms of research for courses, or through independent studies. Faculty, staff and students are expected to exhibit the highest standards of professional integrity in their academic work, scholarship, and research activities. All HALE graduate programs subscribe to the guidelines and principles articulated in the "Guidelines for Integrity in Research and Creative Activities" Misconduct, including fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism, is considered to be serious violations of the standards of integrity and may be grounds for disciplinary action.


Through the Desire 2 Learn program supported by Michigan State University, Ithenticate, the anti-plagiarism software is available for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students can check manuscripts for unintentional plagiarism before submission. Learn more.


A program of studies for the Masters' Degree must be prepared by the advisor and student prior to the student completing 10 semester hours of study. The completed and signed program plan is filed with the HALE Administrative Assistant.



Conflicts, disagreements, and issues sometimes arise during the course of a graduate program. If you find yourself in this situation and have exhausted the internal resources for resolving the issue, you may contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson.

The Office of the University Ombudsperson provides assistance to students, faculty, and staff in resolving University-related concerns. Such concerns include: student-faculty conflicts; communication problems; concerns about the university climate; and questions about what options are available for handling a problem according to Michigan State University policy. The University Ombudsperson also provides information about available resources and student/faculty rights and responsibilities. The office operates as a confidential, independent, and neutral resource. It does not provide notice to the University - that is, it does not speak or hear for the University.

Contact the Ombudsperson at any point during an issue when a confidential conversation or source of information may be needed. The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, give you information about university policies, help you evaluate the situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict.

Contact information:
Office of the University Ombudsperson
129 N. Kedzie Hall
(517) 353-8830

Within the HALE Department, the guidelines for Graduate Student Appeals of Allegations of Academic Dishonesty (GSAAD) establishes the right of graduate students to appeal allegations of academic dishonesty. For complete listing of rights and responsibilities, please see Article 5 of the Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities document at Michigan State University (GSRR). For a detailed explanation of grievance procedures, consult the Graduate Student Academic Grievance Hearing Procedures document on the College of Education website.

Note: All students will have these and other documents on file in the HALE office. Students may, at any time, challenge the accuracy of the contents of their student files. This may be as simple as writing a letter to be put in the file.