Adult Learning | Online

Program Type
Certificate of Advanced Study (Online)
Certificate of Advanced Study
Mode of Study

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. See cost details

Credit hours

30 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Program duration

Finish in as few as 2 years. Explore program requirements


Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program Highlights

  • Balance your schedule while earning your certificate: Complete coursework from wherever you are with our fully online program.
  • Save money with reduced e-tuition for out-of-state students.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of choosing your area of focus and designing your program to support it.
  • Gain hands-on experience in the field through an internship or directed-study project.
  • Learn from full-time faculty with doctoral degrees who are also leaders in the field.
  • Prepare for work in a variety of organizations, including institutions of higher education, adult education centers, nonprofit organizations, medical institutions, corporations, and municipal agencies.

A career spent learning

Our program emphasizes personal learning as a central theme, both as an approach to educator development and as a set of concepts and tools for working with adults in schools, businesses, social service agencies, hospitals, and other community organizations where adult education programs are planned and delivered.

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Program requirements

This certificate program is designed for the experienced educator-teacher, counselor, administrator, program planner, or policy-maker who works with adults in educational settings or who wants to explore the use of adult learning strategies as an alternative educational approach for working with younger learners.

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Experiential learning

In addition to required core courses, students design their learning through electives, a range of skills-based courses, internships, and self-directed projects.

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Expert faculty

Many of our faculty were once students in the program who have established their careers and become leaders in their field.

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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Meet us

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Admission information: Certificate of Advanced Study in Adult Learning

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
RecommendedMay 15October 15February 15
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15Not available
  • Successful completion of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Strong recommendations
  • Documentation of excellent written communication skills
  • Clarity and strength of professional goals
  • Note: Candidates whose master’s degree and/or work experiences are not strongly related to adult education may be advised to apply to the Master’s in Adult and Higher Education program.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: 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.
  • Recommendation: One letter of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, the achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study.

Transfer Credit

Candidates may transfer up to fifteen credit hours of graduate-level study earned within 5 years at other universities into the CAS in adult learning if these credits were not used as part of another degree or graduate certificate, relating to the subject of adult education/learning, were earned no more than five years prior to admission, and that students received grades of B or better in the classes. 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 CAS in adult learning program beyond the fifteen-credit, five-year rule.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address