2017-18 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. Many applicants utilize the CAS to augment their existing degree in counseling to fulfill the requirements for state certification in rehabilitation or school counseling, as well as for state licensure in mental health counseling or as a substance abuse counselor.


The CAS entails thirty (30) credit hours of graduate coursework, and 18 of which must have a counseling focus. If not already documented through an applicant’s master’s degree, three (3) of these credits must reflect an introduction to the counseling profession (HCE 500 Orientation to the Counseling Profession; HCE 510 Introduction to Rehabilitation and Services; or HCE 640 Professional Issues in Mental Health Counseling). Students will work cooperatively with faculty to design a certificate program that is substantive, developmental, and focused on career goals. Matriculation into this certificate program qualifies students for financial aid.

Focus Area (30 credits)
The CAS in Counselor Education is self-designed, allowing students to develop a professionally relevant focus area of their own with the assistance of a faculty advisor. It is important that students consider a cohesive focus when designing their program of study.

 Counseling courses may be chosen from the full menu of options offered through the USM Counselor Education Program which can be found at the following link: https://usm.maine.edu/counselor-education/course-descriptions. Some courses may be grouped together for students to pursue specific interests. (Please know that courses or specialty areas may change with changes in program faculty.) Example interest areas might include:

Family Systems:

HCE 650 Basic Concepts in Couple and Family Counseling
HCE 670 Application of Family Systems Theories


HCE 507 Spirituality and Religion in Counseling
HCE 619 Recovery-Oriented Origins of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practice
HCE 641 Mind/Body Techniques

Play Therapy (summers only)

HCE 623 Theories and Applications of Play Therapy: Summer Institute
HCE 624 Child-Centered Play Therapy
HCE 625 Adlerian Play Therapy

Substance Abuse:

HCE 642 Perspectives in Chemical Dependency
HCE 643: Psychopharmology, Substance-Related Disorders & Integrated Co-Occurring Treatment

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.Portfolio

At the completion of the required 30 credit hours, students will develop a professional portfolio describing progress toward professional goals while in the CAS program. Portfolio requirements are to be scheduled at the end of each student’s program. These presentations typically take place during the last semester of internship. For those CAS students who are not enrolled in an internship class, the portfolio presentation will be scheduled with the aid of the faculty advisor. Portfolio requirements may be found through the following link under step3: https://usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/counselor-education/Counselor_Ed_Portfolio.pdf. Once scheduled, an invitation to other faculty and students will be issued.


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.

Application Deadline

For fall matriculation, applications must be received by May 1st. October 15th is the deadline for spring matriculation and March 15th is the deadline for summer matriculation.

Candidates should submit all application materials to the Application Processing Center, University of Maine System, P.O. Box 412, Bangor, ME 04402-0412. Electronic transcripts and other application materials can be emailed to: edocs@maine.edu

Once the materials are reviewed, an admissions interview will be scheduled. After completion of the interview, admission is voted on by program faculty. You will then be notified of the decision.

Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine system. A transcript is official when it comes directly from the institution. If an applicant is submitting an official transcript, it must be in a sealed envelope from the institution indicating that it is an official document. If the envelope has been opened prior to arriving at the Office of Graduate Admissions, it is no longer considered an official transcript.
  • 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

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.
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.