Adult and Higher Education

Certificate of Advanced Study in Adult Learning

The Post-Master's Certificate of Advanced Study in Adult Learning is designed for the experienced educator–teacher, counselor, administrator, program planner, or policy maker–who works with adults in any educational setting, or seeks to explore the use of adult learning strategies as an alternative educational approach for working with younger learners. The thirty (30)-credit 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. This is an individualized, flexible program which permits students to apply their learning to field-based projects.

Total Required Credits: 30

Required Courses (9 credits)
     HRD 600 History and Philosophy of Adult Education
     HRD 631 The Adult Learner

The HRD courses will be waived for students who have a master's degree in adult education or who have taken them previously. These students will take six credits of advisor-approved coursework instead.

HRD 685 CAS Completion Project in Adult Learning (3 credits)

HRD 685 is the final “capstone” course in the Certificate of Advanced Study in Adult Learning and is a major project of the student’s own design. There are three options for projects:           

  1. Designing a course of study or some other curriculum for an audience of adult learners;
  2. Planning and conducting an action research study in collaboration with a local adult education program or some other agency/organization;
  3. Researching and writing a publishable article for a specific professional journal.

Electives (21 credits)

Applicant Qualifications:

  • 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.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline:

  • May 1 for fall matriculation
  • October 1 for spring matriculation
  • February 1 for summer matriculation

Application are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application Fee: $65
  • 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.  
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required .
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials: 

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency 
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation 
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English 

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

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, relate 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.