Educational Leadership

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

May non-matriculated students take graduate courses for credit before applying?

Non-matriculated students may take two classes that are designated as classes available to them.  They may also choose to take a third and fourth class, but only with the approval of the department after submitting their application.

To download an application

When are applications due?
Application deadlines are September 1, October 15, February 1, March 15, and May 1. Your application must be completed and submitted prior to the dates.

I’ve taken several graduate credit courses at other institutions. How do I know if these courses will transfer?
When you apply to the Professional Educator program, you are given the opportunity to request transfer credits. The Application Review Committee will determine if your courses are suitable for transfer.

I’ve been accepted into the program and need advising. What do I do?
Once you are accepted into the program and matriculated, you are assigned a faculty advisor. Your advisor is listed in your acceptance letter and also in your MaineStreet account. Please contact your advisor directly for assistance.

How intensive is the curriculum? (For example could one expect to take a full course load as well as hold down a full time job?)
There is a tremendous amount of variability in terms of how long an individual requires completing the program.  In order to be considered a full time student, one must take at least 9 credit hours per semester.  Most students take classes at night as a part-time student while continuing to have a full-time career.  Those who are interested in becoming full-time students should not expect to be able to work full-time in addition to completing the course work.

Are there opportunities for scholarships and graduate assistantships?
Yes.  There are multiple scholarships available and awarded each year within the School of Education and Human Development.  These scholarships typically range from $100 to $1500.  Students can also apply for graduate assistantships.  These positions will be offered to degree students taking at least six credit hours per semester while employed.  A student may be offered a part time position (10 hours/week), or a full time position (20 hours/week).  The pay rate for graduate assistantships usually equates to approximately $15.00/hour. 

More about scholarships and assistantships

What degrees and certificates are offered? How do I know if I'm qualified to apply?
The department of Educational Leadership offers four pathways: a Master of Education in either Educational Leadership or Professional Educator, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership, and an Assistant Principal Certificate of Graduate Study.  Visit the Degrees and Certificates page to learn more about each offering.

If you have questions about the program or applying, contact Michael Katz, the graduate student advisor.

What are the course logistics I need to know?
In the fall (September through December) and spring (January through May) semesters, courses are generally offered one evening a week for 2.5 hours for 14 weeks.  In the summer, course schedules vary greatly.  Some courses are offered every semester, while others are only offered once a year or less.  The three-year plan lists which courses will be offered for the next several years.  Courses may be taught in Gorham, Portland, or online.

What are the benefits to completing USM’s Assistant Principal certificate program?
Our certificate program course work is pre-approved by the Maine State Department of Education.

Upon completion of the certificate program, text is added to the student’s official transcript stating that they completed our certificate program.  Students also receive an actual certificate of completion.

Another added benefit is that our Assistant Principal certificate program courses fully transfer into our Master’s of Science in Education in Educational Leadership program, assuming that the courses are less than five years old and have a grade of B or higher. Our Master’s of Science in Education in Educational Leadership program leads to principal certification with the state of Maine.