Educational Leadership

Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership

The post-master's certificate of advanced study program in educational leadership is designed to meet the needs of practicing educators, including teachers, principals, curriculum directors, and superintendents, who are interested in pursuing advanced academic work in educational reform and leadership. The CAS requires thirty credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the master's degree and a three- to nine-credit capstone experience. Students engage in careful reading of research and scholarship, oral and written presentations, and applied projects. CAS students design their own plan of study in consultation with their CAS advisor. As a result of completing this program, students will have demonstrated: self-assessment and reflective practice tools, skills, and habits of mind; research design and methodological decision-making skills; advanced oral and written communication skills; knowledge of current scholarship in educational reform and leadership; and capacity for connecting theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems. Maine certification as a principal, assistant principal, or curriculum coordinator may be earned through the CAS program.

Self-designed Concentration (21-27 credits)

Graduate coursework may be taken in any existing graduate program within the School of Education and Human Development or USM's Muskie School of Public Service, School of Business, and College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science or from other institutions, upon approval of the faculty advisor.

Capstone Project (3-9 credits)
     Three capstone project options are available:
          1. EDU 612 Practicum/Seminar
          2. Or one of the following:
               EDU 685 Internship in School Administration
               EDU 686 Special Education Administration
               EDU 687 Superintendency
               EDU 688 Curriculum Administration
          3. Or EDU 665 CAS Directed Study

For course descriptions, please click here: http://usm.maine.edu/sehd

Minimum Requirements: Criteria for admission include successful completion of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, EDU 600 or equivalent research course, strong recommendations, documentation of excellent written communication skills, and clarity and strength of professional goals.

Application Deadline

Rolling with priority deadlines. May 1 for fall matriculation, October 15 for spring matriculation, and March 15 for summer matriculation.

  • Candidates should submit all application materials to the USM Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300 by the application deadline.
Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, including USM;
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study. Recommendations are easily submitted using our online application form. You will simply need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation.
  • Essay (see below);
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language); and
  • Current resume.
Special Essay Question

A brief essay (500-750 words) which includes the applicant's reason(s) for pursuing advanced graduate study; the proposed focus of the applicant's program, including specific courses if known; and an explanation of how the proposed program fits the applicant's personal and professional goals.

Testing Requirement

Submit official TOEFL scores of 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher if the applicant is an international student whose first language is not English. International students who have received their undergraduate degree from an English-speaking institution may apply for a waiver of this requirement.

Transfer Policies

Previously completed graduate courses may be approved for transfer into a graduate program within the educational leadership program if credits for the courses were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, with grades of B or better. A syllabus for each course submitted for transfer credit must be provided upon application. Credits proposed for transfer may not have been used to qualify for a previously earned degree.

For previous work completed through the University of Maine System (UMS), up to twelve credits may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and they are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. Up to six graduate credits completed at institutions outside of the University of Maine System may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study.

Transfer of more than twelve University of Maine System credits or six non-University of Maine System credits may be approved by the program coordinator and faculty. These credits may include certificate of graduate study program courses and professional development in-service graduate courses. Requests for the transfer of credits taken more than five years prior to matriculation may also be evaluated and approved by the program coordinator and faculty.