2013-14 Catalogs

Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling

The post-master's certificate of advanced study (CAS) in counseling is designed to offer a broad range of professional development opportunities for practicing counselors. The overall goal of the certificate program is to enhance and enrich the counselor's educational foundation and to give focus to advanced knowledge and skills that will shape future professional practice. The CAS in counseling requires thirty credit hours of graduate coursework. Students will work cooperatively with faculty to design a certificate program that is substantive, developmental and focused, and may also take advantage of special certification options in counseling supervision, play therapy, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and couple and family therapy.

Focus Area (30 credits)

Students can pursue one or more of the focus areas detailed below, or design a professionally relevant focus area of their own with the assistance of a faculty advisor.


Students develop a professional portfolio describing progress toward professional goals while in the CAS program. Portfolios are used in final seminars as the basis for discussion, summary, and sharing among completing students.

Focus Areas

Clinical Supervision:

HCE 681 Clinical Supervision
HCE 687 Internship in Clinical Supervision
HCE 694 Practicum in Individual Supervision
Electives: 21 credits selected in consultation with an advisor

Holistic Counseling:

HCE 507 Spirituality and Religion in Counseling
HCE 619 Recovery-Oriented Origins of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practice
HCE 641 Mind/Body Techniques
Electives: 15 credits selected in consultation with the advisor.

Play Therapy:

HCE 623 Theories and Applications of Play Therapy: Summer Institute
Electives: 27 credits selected in consultation with an advisor. At least two courses (6 credits) must be selected from the following list to qualify for national certification:

HCE 622 Counseling Children and Adolescents
HCE 624 Child-Centered Play Therapy
HCE 625 Adlerian Play Therapy
HCE 687 Internship in Clinical Supervision (play therapy placement)
HCE 694 Practicum in Individual Supervision (play therapy placement)
HCE 695 Practicum in Play Therapy


With the assistance of their faculty advisor, students may design a program of study that fulfills their individual learning goals. This option may also be used to obtain state certification in rehabilitation or school counseling, or state licensure as a substance abuse counselor.

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

Minimum Requirements: Candidates should have a master's degree in counseling or allied field from a regionally accredited college or university, and, preferably, a minimum of two years of experience in professional practice.

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 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.

In addition to the general requirements of the College, candidates should provide a proposed plan of study for the CAS that includes:

  • a brief autobiography, including the area of study in the master's degree and related experience, professional training, and credentials;
  • overall goal to be accomplished through the program;
  • future aspirations and professional development needs; and
  • proposed coursework, including a tentative list of courses or other curricular experiences.
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 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.