Adult and Higher Education

MS in Adult and Higher Education

The University of Southern Maine's Master of Science in Adult and Higher Education program was established in 1972 to meet the region's need for trained adult education public school administrators. Since those early days it has expanded its role in the state and region to prepare professional adult educators for positions in a wide variety of sectors including public K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, large and medium-sized corporations, and community not-for-profit agencies. Specific jobs graduates fill include director of adult education, dean, academic advisor, corporate trainer, staff development specialist, program designer, research associate, and adult education teacher. The thirty-six-credit hour degree may be earned entirely online although several elective courses are offered either in a blended format or on campus.

The master of science in adult and higher education requires thirty-six credits of coursework. Students must also submit a professional portfolio to complete the degree.

Basic Core (9 credits)
     EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
     HRD 600 History and Philosophy of Adult Education
     HRD 631 The Adult Learner

Middle Core (9 credits required from the following)
     HRD 601 Marketing Training and Adult Education
     HRD 630 Facilitating Adult Learning
     HRD 633 Managing Adult Education and Human Resource Development
     HRD 636 Planning Programs for Adult Learners
     HRD 653 Consulting: Fundamentals and Practice
     HRD 667 Action Research and Evaluation Methodologies

Field-Based Practice Courses (3 credits)
     HRD 687 Internship in Adult Education and Human Resource Development
     or HRD 698 Directed Study in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

Senior Course (3 credits)
     HRD 649 Seminar in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

Electives (12 credits)

Students may cluster their electives into a concentration in consultation with their faculty advisor
     EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners
     EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language
     EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
     EDU 671 Organizational Behavior
     EDU 678 School Law (state director certification)
     EDU 679 Evaluation and Supervision of School Personnel (state director certification)
     EDU 683 School Finance (state director certification)
     HCE 604 Career Development
     HRD 510 Aging and the Search for Meaning
     HRD 551 Spirituality in Adult and Higher Education
     HRD 545 Gender and Learning
     HRD 555 Introduction to Student Affairs in Higher Education
     HRD 556 Summer Institute in Student Affairs
     HRD 557 The Older Learner
     HRD 558 Aging and Life Review
     HRD 559 Aging, Death, and Bereavement
     HRD 637 Community Education
     HRD 639 The Heart of Teaching
     HRD 643 Multicultural Adult Development
     HRD 646 Global Perspectives of Adult Education and Practices
     HRD 699 Independent Study

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

Minimum Requirements: 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.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted for three different dates:. May 1 for fall matriculation, October 1 for spring matriculation, and February 1 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 submitted using our online application form. You will 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

  • Candidates should provide an integrated essay of approximately 1,000 words that includes:
  • Brief autobiography, referencing study in master's degree and related experience, professional training and credentials,
  • Overall goal to be accomplished through the program,
  • Future aspirations and professional development needs,
  • Tentative list of proposed coursework for the thirty-six credit credential,

The admissions process requires a formal interview. Candidates to be interviewed will be selected on the basis of the above information. During the interview, issues relating to the following topics will be covered: a) communication skills, b) clarity of professional goals, c) fit with the adult and higher education profession and d) understanding one’s self as a learner.

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 Credit

A maximum of twelve credit hours of graduate-level study may be approved as transfer credit provided these credits were not used as part of another degree or certificate program, were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, are in subject areas related to adult education, and show a grade of B or better on the transcript. In rare situations and when compelling evidence is provided, the program faculty reserves the right to expand the number and age of credits transferred into the M.S. in adult and higher education program beyond the twelve credit, five-year rule.

Graduate students in master's level adult education programs at other universities may transfer into the program if they take their final twelve hours, including directed study or internship and graduate seminar, in USM's adult education program. A maximum of nine credits in self-designed coursework may be counted toward this degree.