Counseling | Online

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

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

  • Choose a mode of study that is blended (a mix of online and in-person courses) or fully online.
  • Save money with affordable tuition: Out-of-state students who choose to study online are eligible for reduced e-tuition.
  • Save time by transferring up to 6 credits from your master’s degree program.
  • Focus on advanced knowledge and skills that will shape your future professional practice — if you have a master’s degree in counseling or an allied field.
  • Augment your existing degree in counseling to fulfill the requirements for state certification in rehabilitation or school counseling — or state licensure in mental health counseling or as a substance abuse counselor.
  • Study with expert faculty who engage in continuous scholarship.
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Career opportunities

This post-master’s certificate offers a broad range of professional development opportunities for practicing counselors. Every year, a number of graduates advance to doctoral training.

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Augment your existing degree to fulfill the requirements for state certification in Rehabilitation or School Counseling, or state licensure in Mental Health or Substance Abuse Counseling.

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Program requirements

Our program is designed for individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling or an allied field who want to learn new skills to shape their professional practice. You will work with faculty to design a certificate program that is substantive, developmental, and focused on your career goals.

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Expert faculty

Our faculty are deeply committed to student success, often involving students in their research and presentations. Faculty members engage in continuous scholarship related to areas such as counselor self-care, altruism and moral courage, rehabilitation and aging, suicide awareness, and resiliency.

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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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Admission information: Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling | Online

Application deadlines

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

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15Not available

At minimum, candidates should have a master’s degree in counseling or allied field from a regionally accredited college or university. It is also preferred that candidates have a minimum of two years of experience in professional practice.

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: In addition to the general requirements of the College, candidates should provide a proposed plan of study for the CAS that includes:
    • A brief essay which includes a short autobiography and the applicant’s reason(s) for pursuing advanced graduate study in counseling.
    • The proposed focus of the applicant’s program, including specific courses if known.
    • An explanation of how the proposed program fits the applicant’s personal and professional goals.
  • Recommendations: 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.
  • Interview with faculty. The admissions process requires a formal interview. Applications will be reviewed and qualified applicants will be invited to interview. Interviews can take place in person or via video call, depending on availability. Candidates to be interviewed will be rated on three areas of personal criteria: understanding of and commitment to the counseling field, self-awareness, and thinking skills/decision-making ability.

Transfer Policy

Students may not transfer courses that were part of a master’s degree of fewer than sixty credits toward the CAS. Up to six post-master’s graduate credits may be accepted by the CAS admissions committee, provided these credits were earned no more than three years prior to matriculation in the CAS and were completed with a grade of B or better.

Students may be able to apply up to twelve credits that were part of a master’s degree that required sixty or more credits toward the CAS. These courses must be directly related to the student’s proposed CAS program of study, provided these credits are approved by the counselor education program faculty and were completed with a grade of B or better.

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