School of Education and Human Development

Graduate Programs

At the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Education and Human Development, we offer a broad range of graduate certificate and degree programs that are designed to advance your career while meeting your scheduling needs.

Flexible Scheduling & Online Program Options

  • Each program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis.
  • Online course options are offered in all programs.
  • Our online programs offer reduced e-tuition for out-of-state students, and Maine residents continue to benefit from the lower in-state rate.
  • All on-campus courses are held in the evening and on the weekends.
    • On-campus courses are held on both the Gorham and Portland campuses, and some classes are held at off-campus practicum or internship locations.

Beyond the Classroom

Our ideal location in Southern Maine allows us to offer practicum and internship experience in a variety of urban, suburban, and rural schools, government agencies, mental health settings, and non-profit organizations.

With strong partnerships in diverse settings throughout the region, we work with students to select practicum and internship sites that align with their location, their schedule, and their career paths.

Distinct Program Offerings

Among our 11 graduate programs, we offer 8 graduate certificates, 15 master’s degree options, 5 advanced certifications, and 2 doctoral degrees. You can browse by area of study below.

Adult and Higher Education & K-12 School Leadership

Our Adult and Higher Education degree and certificate programs offer continuing study for education professionals.

  • Master of Science (MS) in Adult and Higher Education
    • Designed for: Professional adult-educators.
    • Career advancement: This MS can lead to positions a wide variety of sectors including public K-12 schools, higher education, large and medium-sized corporations, and not-for-profit agencies. Some specific positions include: academic advisors, adult education teachers or directors, college deans, corporate trainers, educational program designers, non-profit managers, public adult education directors, staff development specialists, and student affairs professionals.
    • Program format: Online.

  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Adult Learning
    • Designed for: Professionals who work with adults in educational settings. This includes administrators, counselors, K-12 teachers, policymakers, and program planners, among others.
    • Career advancement: In addition to expanding your skill set and experience for your current role, this program can lead to positions such as academic advisor, corporate trainer, educational program designer, non-profit manager, public adult education director, and student affairs professionals, among others.
    • Program format: Online.

Our Educational Leadership degree and certificate programs offer advanced study for practicing educators.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Assistant Principal
    • Designed for: Certified educators.
    • Career advancement: Completers of the certificate program meet the state’s academic course requirements for assistant principal certification in the state of Maine.
    • Program format: On-campus.

  • Master of Education (MSEd) Programs

    • Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Educational Leadership
      • Designed for: Certified educators.
      • Career advancement: Graduates are prepared to serve in leadership positions such assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, school principal, special education director, or superintendent, among others.
      • Program format: On-campus.

    • Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Teacher Leadership
      • Designed for: Certified educators who want to increase their knowledge, deepen their practice, and develop leadership in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
      • Career advancement: In addition to enhancing your skill set and experience for your current career path, this program prepares graduates to serve as teacher leaders.
      • Program format: On-campus.

    • Online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Teacher Leadership — Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
      • Designed for: Certified educators who want to increase their knowledge, deepen their practice, and develop leadership in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
      • Career advancement: Become equipped with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and competencies to meet the needs of students with disabilities—in multiple settings. Degree completers are prepared to serve as teacher leaders, curriculum & instruction specialists, curriculum developers, and instructional coordinators.
      • Program format: Online.

  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership
    • Designed for: Practicing educators, including curriculum directors, K-12 teachers, principals, and superintendents.
    • Career advancement: We provide guidance for students to self-design a course of study that furthers their current career path, or leads to qualification for an advanced school leadership role.
    • Program format: On-campus.

Educational Policy

The Public Policy program is administered through the Muskie School of Public Service in partnership with the School of Education and Human Development.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy
    • Designed for: Experienced educational leaders who are employed throughout the duration of the program.
    • Career advancement: Graduates are prepared with the policy and research skills to influence educational policy and practice. Graduates typically work as higher education faculty or student affairs professionals, in K-12 teaching and leadership positions, as researchers, or leaders of education non-profits.
    • Program format: On-campus.

Human Development

Our Counselor Education degree and certificate programs offer both initial certification to begin work in the field of counseling as well as advanced study for practicing counselors.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study Programs

  • Master of Science (MS) Programs

    • Master of Science (MS) in Counseling with a Concentration in Clinical Mental Health
      • Designed for: Those pursuing initial certification to enter the field of counseling, as well as practicing counselors or therapists seeking licensure in the area of clinical mental health.
      • Career advancement: Graduates are qualified to serve as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and those pursuing the Substance Abuse Area of Expertise qualify to serve as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). Graduates may also specialize in family systems counselor or play therapy.
      • Program format: Blend of online and on-campus courses.

    • Master of Science (MS) in Counseling with a Concentration in Rehabilitation — Clinical and Vocational Tracks
      • Designed for: Those pursuing initial certification to enter the field of counseling, as well as practicing counselors or therapists seeking certification in the area of clinical or vocational rehabilitation.
      • Career advancement: Both the Clinical and the Vocational tracks qualify graduates to serve as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. The Clinical Track also qualifies students to obtain their Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community (MHRT/C) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certifications during the program. Graduates of the Clinical track are qualified to serve as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).
      • Program format: 90% of its courses are online and the on-campus courses offer flexible scheduling.

    • Master of Science (MS) in Counseling with a Concentration in School
      • Designed for: Those pursuing initial certification as a school counselor (guidance counselor).
      • Career advancement: Graduates are eligible for certification from the Maine Department of Education in School Counseling, grades K-12.
      • Program format: Blend of online and on-campus courses.

  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling
    • Designed for: Certified and/or licensed counselors who would like to expand their career options through additional certification and/or licensure. This is also ideal for counselors from out-of-state who would like to obtain Maine-state licensure and/or certification.
    • Career advancement: We provide guidance for students to self-design their course of study, depending on their career goals. Certificate completers will qualify for either Maine-state licensure and certification in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Maine-state certification in School Counseling.
    • Program format: Blend of online and on-campus courses.

Our Educational Psychology degree and certificate programs lead to certifications to serve as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or as a school psychologist.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Designed for: Those with graduate degrees in areas such as education, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, or a related field, who would like to transition to a career as a behavior analyst. The program is also open to students studying in our Special Education master’s program.
    • Career advancement: Students who also pursue supervised practice experiences and pass the national certification exam will be qualified to serve as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) in school and behavioral health settings.
    • Program format: Online.

  • Master of Science (MS) Programs

We offer master’s and doctoral level School Psychology programs for both initial credentialing to enter the field as well as advanced study for practicing school psychologists.

  • Master of Science (MS) in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in School Psychology
    • Designed for: Those with an undergraduate degree in areas such as psychology, social and behavioral sciences, or a related field.
    • Career advancement: Graduates are qualified for both state and national certification as specialist-level school psychologists.
    • Program format: On-campus.

  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in School Psychology
    • Designed for: Those with an undergraduate degree and those with a graduate degree. Students entering with an undergraduate degree can earn their MS while studying in the PsyD program.
    • Career advancement: Graduates are prepared for careers as professionally credentialed doctoral-level school psychologists, and are qualified to supervise other school psychologists. Graduates are qualified to apply for the following credentials: Certified School Psychologist, Licensure as a Psychologist, and Certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
    • Program format: On-campus –– some courses are offered in a blended format of online and on-campus class sessions.

Literacy Education

Our Literacy, Language and Culture degree and certificate programs offer advanced study for practicing educators.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Literacy
    • Designed for: Those serving in positions such as certified educational technicians and K-12 classroom and special education teachers.
    • Career advancement: With an enhanced skill set and experience in teaching writing, reading, and literature, certificate completers are prepared to plan effective literacy instruction for their K-12 students.
    • Program format: A blended format, with some sessions online and some sessions held on campus.

  • Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Literacy Education
    • Designed for: Classroom teachers, literacy teachers, and other experienced educators whose primary responsibility is helping students to become competent users of language.
    • Career advancement: With an enhanced skill set and experience in teaching writing, reading, and literature, our graduates are qualified to become literacy specialists, to serve in school administration, or to continue teaching.
    • Program format: A blended format, with some sessions online and some sessions held on-campus.

  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy Education
    • Designed for: K-12 teachers, school administrators, and other certified educators.
    • Career advancement: With an enhanced skill set and experience in teaching writing, reading, and literature, certificate completers often continue teaching, serve in school administration, or become certified literary specialists.
    • Program format: A blended format, with some sessions online and some sessions held on-campus.

Teaching: Initial Certification

Our Montessori master’s program offers both initial certification in early childhood education as well as advanced study for practicing educators.

  • Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Montessori Early Childhood Education
    • Designed for: Those with an undergraduate degree or graduate degree who wish to obtain certification to teach early childhood (birth-6), as well as practicing educators who would like to specialize in early childhood and/or Montessori methods.
    • Career advancement: Students are qualified for early childhood (birth-6) teacher certification through the Maine Department of Education, and also meet the requirements for the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) early childhood teacher certification (ages 2.5-6).
    • Program format: On-campus.

Below you’ll find master’s programs offering initial teacher certification in Special Education. Please note: Our Special Education program also offers certificates and a master's degree for practicing educators. Please see the Advanced Certification section for details.

  • Master of Science (MS) Programs
    • Master of Science (MS) in Special Education — Pre-Service (Teaching Students with Mild-to-Moderate Disabilities)
      • Designed for: Those with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in teaching students with disabilities; general education teachers and specialty area professionals such as education technicians, occupational therapists, and special education teachers. The program is ideal for education technicians who wish to remain employed while studying in the program.
      • Career advancement: Graduates of this program are qualified to serve as K-12 special education teachers through the Maine Department of Education.
      • Program format: Online.

    • Master of Science (MS) in Special Education — Integrated General Education and Special Education Initial Teacher Certification
      • Designed for: Those with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in teaching students with disabilities; general education teachers and specialty area professionals such as education technicians, occupational therapists, and special education teachers. The program is ideal for education technicians who wish to remain employed while studying in the program.
      • Career advancement: Graduates of this program are qualified for dual certification to teach in special education and elementary education (K-8) or secondary education (7-12) through the Maine Department of Education. Some graduates work as classroom teachers and other serve as special education teachers.
      • Program format: Online.

Our master’s program in Teaching and Learning is ideal for those seeking initial certification to teach.

Below you’ll find our TESOL program that offers initial certification. Please note: Our TESOL program also offers advanced certification programs.  Please see the Advanced Certification section for details.

  • MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): Initial K-12 ESL Certification
    • Designed for: ESL professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, including K-12 teachers, adult educators, and those who teach or want to teach abroad. International students are encouraged to apply.
    • Career Advancement: Graduates are qualified to serve as K-12 ESL teachers.
    • Program format: A blended format, with some sessions online and some sessions held on-campus.

Teaching: Advanced Certification

Below you’ll find our Special Education programs that offer advanced study for certified educators. Please note: Our Special Education program also offers master’s degree programs for initial teacher certification. Please see the Initial Certification section for details.

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Proficiency Based Education
    • Designed for: Certified educators who wish to obtain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions appropriate for Proficiency Based Education (PBE).
    • Career Advancement: Certificate completers are able to plan effective PBE instruction for their students.
    • Program format: On location at school districts.

Below you’ll find our TESOL programs that offer advanced study for certified educators. Please note: Our TESOL program also offers initial teacher certification through a master’s program – please see the Initial Certification section for details. 

  • Certificate of Graduate Study in English as a Second Language
    • Designed for: Classroom and special education teachers, educational technicians, and other educators who wish to obtain foundational knowledge in English language learning.
    • Career advancement: Certificate completers are prepared to plan effective instruction for English language learners and may earn state endorsement in ESL if other requirements are met.
    • Program format: Online.

  • Master of Education (MSEd) Programs:
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in English as a Second Language
    • Designed for: Classroom teachers, school administrators, and other educators who want to pursue advanced graduate study in ESL and related areas and/or earn Maine endorsement as a K-12 ESL teacher.
    • Career advancement: We provide guidance for students to self-design their course of study according to their career goals. Our advisors will work closely with graduates who would like to qualify for Maine endorsement as an ESL teacher (K-12).
    • Program format: On-campus.