Master's Degree Admissions
I. Admission Requirements - for both Pre-Service (those pursuing initial teacher certification) and In-Service (for already certified teachers) strands
- Applicant must have a bachelor’s degree, from a regionally accredited college or university, and
- Have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program. Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.
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 success in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study. Recommendations must be received either directly from the recommender or forwarded by the applicant in a sealed envelope with the recommender’s signature over the seal.
- Essay: see essay question specific to your concentration below.
- Certification of finances (international students only).
- Submission of official TOEFL scores (if English is not the applicant’s first language).
- Syllabi and course descriptions for courses asking to transfer in.
- Current resume.
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 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.
II. For those applying to the In-Service strand (gifted and talented, teaching all students, self-design in special education), additional admission requirements include:
Application Deadline: Rolling with priority deadlines: May 1 for fall matriculation, October 15 for spring matriculation.
- Completed and signed Teacher Credential Summary form
- Special Essay Question (for In-Service strand)
Special Essay Questions:
Describe why you are enrolling in this program.
a. What goals do you have for yourself by obtaining a master's in Abilities and Disabilities Studies in this concentration?
b. What is at least one aspect of your teaching that you feel you will strengthen through earning this master's degree?
Describe your past experience with youth, either in teaching or in another capacity.
a. What did you learn about youth through this experience?
b. What did you learn about yourself through this experience?
II. For those applying to the Pre-Service strand (teaching students with mild to severe disabilities), additional admission requirements include:
Application Deadline: Rolling with priority deadlines: March 1 for summer matriculation, May 1 for fall matriculation,.
- Praxis I exam passed based on Maine’s standards
- Special Essay Question
Special essay question:
A free appropriate public education for students with disabilities represents our democratic society’s commitment to educating all its children. A teacher lives out this commitment in his/her daily instruction and professional activities as an educator. Please describe what you think it means as a teacher to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities.
Transfer Policies: applicable to both strands
Transferring courses into the degree: Non-matriculated students may take two graduate-level courses (six credit hours) that they pass with a grade of 'B' or better prior to applying. Students may enroll in up to two graduate-level courses for the semester in which they apply (six graduate credit hours). This has a possible total of twelve graduate-level credits before matriculating in the program. Only courses taken within five years of application will be considered. Transfer credits are evaluated during the admissions process, so syllabi and course description of courses you want transferred in should accompany your application. If an applicant has questions on whether courses will transfer into a program or not, s/he should discuss the credit transfer with the Program Coordinator.
Transferring to a different strand after matriculation: A candidate must apply to the new strand using a Re-Application form with a processing fee of $15. The application and supporting materials are sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The application will be reviewed by faculty for approval. (Students matriculated before Spring 2013, can transfer to a different strand with no reapplication and processing fee.)