Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

100% Online Certificate

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

UNE Online’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) is designed for educational professionals who aspire to leadership roles. CAGS is 30 credits,100% online, and individually tailored to each student’s experience and goals. This certificate allows students to choose a combination of ten graduate-level education courses most applicable to their area of interest. Through this personalized compilation of courses, students can assemble their own certificate track, meeting the needs of individual districts and individual state requirements. CAGS is designed for the lives of working educators, allowing flexibility and including immersive and integrative experiences within their classroom setting.

Available courses cover a range of educational and leadership topics and are built on an innovative curriculum. Students learn immediately-applicable skills and how to become an effective educational leader from their work in school reform, school culture, strategic planning, finance, ethics, and motivation and leadership techniques. CAGS students also study instructional leadership approaches and supervision and evaluation strategies. Our students learn the art of positive school-community relations. 


Current Application Deadline

June 10, 2024

Summer B Session

Courses begin July 3, 2024

Time Left to Apply:

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Why Choose the University of New England Online?

Fully Online

Fully Online

Courses are delivered entirely online, allowing the flexibility to complete coursework around your schedule and in any location.



UNE Online offers some of the most affordable and competitive tuition rates, allowing you to complete your program for less.

Supportive and Experienced

Supportive and Experienced

UNE Online’s CAGS boasts a dynamic faculty of practitioners, researchers, and educators.

Proven Record of Success

Proven Record of Success

UNE’s Online’s Education Certificates are recognized as one of the Best Online Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report.

CAGS Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete UNE Online’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study will demonstrate a high degree of specialized knowledge and skills pertaining to school administration. Our graduates exhibit proven leadership skills in actual school administrative settings. Our students know and can describe the requirements of the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). UNE Online CAGS grads are prepared to utilize research results to make informed leadership decisions. 

Graduates of the CAGS will receive a diploma stating “Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.” If you need additional documentation or verification, please contact an enrollment counselor.

The UNE Online Experience

“I am back at UNE Online and in the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) program because I didn’t want to get another master’s degree, but I do want to become a Literacy Specialist. Earning this CAGS will allow me to sit for the test to become a Literacy Specialist.”

Ally Loukas, MSEd ‘20, CAGS Student


At UNE Online, our goal is to admit students who have high potential for leadership and academic success. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications. The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study is designed for students with lifelong curiosity, an inclination to take on new challenges and the ability to learn and adapt to new tools and technology. We review applicants in a comprehensive manner, taking into consideration their previous academic coursework, professional experiences and application materials.  

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.  
  • Applications are reviewed holistically as a determination of academic readiness. The admissions committee values previous academic performance as indicated on transcripts and considers it as part of the review process. 
  • *No GRE Required

How to Apply:

Create an Online Portal Account to begin your application. To complete your online application, you will need:

  • Current Resume/CV
  • Please provide a goal statement describing your motivation for graduate study at the University of New England (min 250 words) OR upload a professional or academic writing sample from the past five years.
  • Official transcripts
  • Apply now for free!


CAGS Curriculum

The 30-credit hour CAGS certificate is designed to be completed in just under two years. There is no mandatory internship, however, some courses may involve field-based work. The CAGS does not align with any particular state certification requirements, but can be customized by the student to meet their state’s requirements. Students are encouraged to work with their state’s Department of Education when looking for a particular certification. Students can also contact our enrollment counselors with any questions.  

Students may choose 30 credit hours worth of classes from the graduate-level education course list below – allowing for the complete personalization of their certificate.  

This course enhances classroom-based experiences by linking them with professional research skills. Educators in this course will learn to locate and critically review a wide range of professional resources, articulate knowledge from a research-based framework, and collaborate with their peers on navigating school cultures. This course highlights the roles and responsibilities of leaders in a school setting.

This course explores the theories of differentiated instruction. Within the course, educators analyze differentiation theories and incorporate differentiation strategies into the design of units and lessons in their own educational settings. Collegial reflection regarding the use of these differentiation strategies will be a major component of the course.

In this course, educators will explore action research within their own work setting. Educators will formulate a problem statement, conduct a literature review, design a study, identify which data to collect, conduct the study, analyze data, report the results of the analysis, and develop an action plan. The resulting product will be a professional quality action research report. Through a systematic and collaborative process, participants will utilize action research to reflect, analyze and enhance their professional practice. Educators will also develop technical writing skills which are important for professional communication, grant-writing, and administrative reporting tasks.

This course develops reflective practices that assist participants in exploring both professional and personal growth that has occurred throughout the University of New England’s MSEd program. Participants will utilize organizational tools to create a digital portfolio that reflects self-directed learning within their program experiences.

This course provides the overarching context for organizational leadership. Participants consider theories and practices relating to effective and ethical leadership in organizational settings. Topics include diagnosing the work environment, decision-making, problem-solving, strategic planning, and human resource development. Students will reflect on their own leadership, observe and analyze other leaders, and explore the theories and practices that relate to the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

This course provides a foundation of the legal underpinnings of the American education system and explores how legal decisions have had an effect on an educational system that covers lifelong learning. Specific legal principles relating to church/state issues, tort liability, teacher responsibilities, student rights and administrative concerns such as contracts and collective bargaining are examined. Participants will analyze case studies to apply their understanding and create a compendium of the laws unique to the states in which they work.

Regardless of how beneficial a desired change may seem, new initiatives are often difficult to implement. This course examines change theory, studies case histories of change efforts, and reviews change strategies in order to equip students with skills for introducing effective reforms.

This course examines the requirements of educational leaders engaged in supervising and evaluating educational personnel. Emphasis is given to the theory behind the practice as well as different methods and hands-on applications. Participants explore such practices as peer evaluations, self-evaluations, portfolios, and mentoring. 

An effective educational leader promotes the success of all students by communicating the learning community’s vision, policies, and successes to staff, students, parents, community, decision-makers, legislators, and media. This course provides 80 hours of field-based work, in which aspiring leaders will develop a plan to build and maintain partnerships with multiple constituent groups within the community in a way that positively impacts the education of students. Before registration can be made available for this course, students must complete all of the required internship paperwork. Please contact your Student Support Specialist for details.

Instructional leaders must ensure that the teaching and learning taking place in a school is rigorous, relevant, and designed to meet the needs of all students. Participants will explore current models and trends in curriculum design and instructional practices with a focus on using research and data to guide decision-making about content and pedagogy. This course will also look at the role an instructional leader plays in serving as a change agent to promote best practices in a school.

This course traces the historical background and development of school finance acts and examines the intent, concepts and relationship inherent in these acts. Processes by which state subsidies are computed, allocated and distributed are considered. Budget and expenditure practices in relation to these acts are illustrated. Emphasis is placed on helping students develop a clear conceptual understanding of the overall methods by which state aid is provided to local school systems. Readings, research, and other assignments are designed to acquaint students with school finance practices in their respective states and local school districts.

This course will include: an overview of organizational theories and systems; the inclusion of organizational theory in the educational change process; the functions, objectives, development, and assessment of strategic plans; and the relationship between strategic planning and budget development.

Federal and state laws, regulations, and judicial decisions relating to the education of students with special needs in inclusion classrooms are analyzed. Key legal provisions, such as free appropriate public education, least restrictive environment, and due process are examined. Methods of conflict resolution and mediation as well as ethical standards are examined. Students are required to apply what they learn as they research and analyze case scenarios.

This course introduces learners to the use of technology in the inclusive education of individuals with disabilities. Methods and techniques for evaluation and determination of appropriate uses of assistive technology are addressed. A range of assistive and inclusive technologies are covered as well as teaching strategies that support the implementation of technologies. Using technology in universally designed educational environments is examined. Participants will be expected to have access to and use selected teaching and learning technologies with learners with disabilities in inclusive settings.

This course focuses on assessment approaches for identifying students with disabilities and assessing progress toward learning goals and standards. Participants examine formal assessment tools and procedures used in the diagnosis of disabilities and identification of the instructional and behavioral needs of students. Participants will explore a range of student strengths and exceptionalities as they determine best educational practices to meet the needs of all learners in the least restrictive setting.

This course provides the time and resources to delve deeply into strategies for teaching students in the inclusion classroom. Participants will evaluate strategies to determine the best practices available to meet their professional needs. Students will collate their new learning into a user-friendly tool tailored to their own teaching circumstances. Rarely do educators have the opportunity for such sustained exploration of meaningful research-based strategies that can have a direct impact on differentiated teaching and learning.

This course will help participants identify and prioritize essential behavioral skills in their work with students. They will explore how to model, teach and nurture behavioral skills and analyze differentiation strategies as Tier 1 of a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support model and prepare for intervention and monitoring at Tier 2 and Tier 3. The course will engage participants in addressing factors that influence a school’s response to behavioral considerations such as available resources, parent collaboration, school, and community culture.

This course will focus on the use of data to create inclusive environments for all students. Participants in this course will apply the components of the Continuous School Improvement Framework (Plan-Implement-Evaluate-Improve). Participants will use data readily available in their classroom, school, or district. Several protocols for analysis will be used. Themes will include using data to support a shared vision and using data to examine school core values.

This course will deepen the participants’ understanding of the factors that affect a learner’s ability to access their education. Participants will explore the current research in neuroscience and its connection to social and emotional learning. Participants will review and understand practical strategies to address the social and emotional learning needs of all learners and develop a social and emotional learning plan including the development of self-regulation skills in all learners.

This course explores Universal Design for Learning (UDL). It addresses the elements of effective design for learning variability across educational settings including those found in K-12, higher education and corporate environments. Participants will explore and practice designing meaningful learning experiences that meet the needs of all learners.

This course will address the foundational knowledge that teachers of literacy need in order to understand the reading and writing process for students. In this course, teachers will be exposed to major theories, research, and best practices in the literacy field. Teachers will be asked to draw upon this theoretical and practice knowledge to think about issues of practice. Through engaging inquiry units, teachers will become active participants in developing a strong foundational base for literacy instruction for all learners in their classrooms.

This course focuses on the use of assessments to determine a learner’s reading and/or writing skills. Students in this course will examine, create, evaluate, and reflect on a variety of literacy assessments as they are directly connected to data-driven instruction and literacy achievement. Each course module will engage students in a range of literacy assessments and how to use resulting data to inform instruction of subject area content as well as develop and deepen literacy skills. Course participants will be engaged in the research around assessment types as well as how to modify assessments and instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

This course focuses on research-based study skills and strategies for providing literacy instruction within the classroom content area. Educators will learn to integrate literacy and study skills instruction in their classrooms while designing reading assignments that afford students access to the concepts in the text. Concepts and strategies presented are relevant to the needs of ESL students.

The reading-writing connection will be the focus of the course. Educators will have the opportunity to explore this connection through the examination and application of successful instructional strategies and activities. Educators, regardless of the level or content they teach, will be provided with tools that will help to maintain learners’ literacy development as they read and write to learn, or learn to read and write.

This course will address how to engage in differentiated literacy practices to meet the needs of diverse learners. Educators will be immersed in the foundational knowledge that will aid them in creating effective instruction that will assist students who need support in their literacy development. The readings and coursework will explore how to approach literacy challenges from the classroom and school levels in a systematic way as well as incorporating a culturally responsive approach to pedagogy.

This course will focus on the leadership skills that the professional will need as a Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach. Specifically, this course will explore the coaching relationship and how to work collaboratively to plan, implement, and supervise literacy programs at the individual, classroom, school, and district-wide level. Focus will also be on facilitating a literate environment, working with literacy in a diverse society, and developing leadership skills. This course will also fulfill the requirements that many states have for course work in Administration and Supervision of Reading and Language Arts Programs. 

There are no prerequisites for this course.

This course will focus specifically on meeting the needs of students whose native language is not English. Topics will include sociocultural factors, second language acquisition and development, emergent and experienced reading and writing development for English learners, multiple test sources, text analysis, process writing, conversational, academic, and content language considerations, assessment types and techniques, language arts resources, and effective instructional strategies and models. This course will help prepare future Reading Specialists to work with this growing population and to support teachers who have students from different linguistic backgrounds.

This course is designed to straddle the disciplines of regular and special education. Students will explore the implementation of multi-tier approaches to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs and ways to differentiate instruction. The course attends to the collaboration that takes places between regular and special education teachers when assessing and planning instruction for all students in an inclusive setting.

In conjunction with EDU 750, this course is the first of two practicum courses that closely examine a wide range of assessment and instructional methods to support literacy development of struggling learners. Students in this course work closely with an onsite mentor, a learning community of students and a UNE instructor. This collaboration will support students as they develop relationships with K-12 students who struggle in literacy. Experiences in the course include working in a one-on-one tutorial setting, administering a variety of reading diagnostic assessments, and collaboratively creating and implementing literacy programming that builds on diagnosis with the goal of moving learners forward in their literacy growth. This course meets most states’ requirements that a 6 credit practicum be part of an approved graduate program. Before registration can be made available for this course, students must complete all of the required internship paperwork.

In conjunction with EDU 749, this course is the second of two practicum courses that closely examine a wide range of assessment and instructional methods to support literacy development of struggling learners. Students in this course work closely with an onsite mentor, a learning community of students and a UNE instructor. This collaboration will support students as they develop relationships with K-12 students who struggle in literacy. Experiences in the course include working in a one-on-one tutorial setting, administering a variety of reading diagnostic assessments, and collaboratively creating and implementing literacy programming that builds on diagnosis with the goal of moving learners forward in their literacy growth. This course meets most states’ requirements that a 6 credit practicum be part of an approved graduate program.

Before registration can be made available for this course, students must complete all of the required internship paperwork. Please contact your student support specialist for details.

Internship is a self-designed experience that consists of 150 hours (10 hours/week for 15 weeks) at a site outside of your regular work environment. The design of the internship must focus on the intern’s leadership skills as described in the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders as well as the collection of artifacts and data that demonstrate the intern’s use of those skills. This course is a requirement of State of Maine Building Administrator Certification (040). Before registration can be made available for this course, students must complete all of the required internship paperwork.


Interprofessional Electives

Students also have the option to take electives from our other online graduate programs, further increasing the customization opportunities. Click the link below to see a list of the interprofessional courses.

Shared Interprofessional Course List

Transfer Credits

CAGS allows students to transfer up to three 3-credit courses for a total of nine credits. This allowance provides increased flexibility and customization of this dynamic certificate.

NEW: Stacking Credits

CAGS students can use some of their credits earned towards their Doctorate in Education. UNE Online now offers students the opportunity to transfer up to four 3-credit courses from post-master’s coursework (taken within the last five years) into our Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies program students who transfer four 3-credit courses into the program have the potential to graduate with their doctorate in just over two years. Read more about the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.).

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the University of New England Online Certificate of Graduate Studies is competitive among other schools at $660/credit,* and because all of our courses are delivered 100% online, you will not incur the cost of traveling or relocating to complete your degree. (*Note: Tuition is subject to change.  Listed tuition does not include the cost of fees, books, or additional credits that may be required, etc. Contact Student Financial Services to learn more.)

Cost per
Credit: $660

# of credits: 30

Typical cost:


General Services Fee (per semester, non-refundable for matriculated students)
Tuition (per credit hour)
Technology Fee (per semester)
Registration Fee (non-matriculated students per semester)


When choosing an institution of higher education, you want to be sure your investment will hold value upon completion. We are proud to hold NECHE (New England Commission on Higher Education) accreditation at the University of New England and for our graduate programs. NECHE Accreditation ensures a high level of academic quality and public accountability for the education being provided.


The University of New England Online’s MSEd faculty and staff are top-notch. They are a team of dedicated professionals and are active and respected in their field. Many members of our team have appointments in other University of New England Colleges and are affiliated with various reputable institutions of education. Meet the Education Faculty and Staff


Student Support & Resources

At the University of New England Online, we are committed to providing our students with the highest level of academic and personal support. We understand the unique challenge of adult students who are often juggling school, career and family, which is why we offer a robust Student Academic Success Center (SASC) and high-touch academic advising. Learn more about Student Support and Resources.  



Yes. The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE), which accredits schools and colleges in the six New England states. Accreditation by the Commission indicates that the institution has been carefully evaluated and found to meet standards agreed upon by qualified educators.

Regional accreditation is the primary type of institutional accreditation recognized in the United States. Some institutions with online programs hold national accreditation because they are unwilling or unable to meet the rigorous standards of regional accreditation. You should also know that many educational institutions holding regional accreditation do not recognize credits or degrees earned at institutions that are nationally accredited. This is very important if you plan on transferring from one college or university to another part way through a degree program, or if you plan to pursue additional degrees at different colleges or universities.

CAGS is not approved for certification in the State of Maine. 

However, UNE Online’s CAGS Advanced Educational Leadership is approved for Building Administrator certification (040) in the state of Maine and some states may offer reciprocity for this certification. None of our online graduate programs are approved for initial teacher certification.



You can complete your studies at your convenience in the comfort of your own home. No campus visits are required. You will have access to your coursework 24 hours a day, which can be completed around your busy schedule.

No. All of our courses are asynchronous – you choose when to log in and complete your coursework (while adhering to all posted deadlines and due dates, of course). In the event there is a live session, the instructor will make the video available for viewing at any time.

On average, most students spend 15-20 hours per week studying to ensure completion of one 3-credit course per eight-week term. However, this can vary greatly depending on your personal and professional circumstances.

Historically we have found that students have the most success by starting out with one course per eight-week term. However, if you can show that you are able to complete the coursework competently, you may contact your student support specialist to explore enrolling in more than one course per term.


CAGS Program

You may be able to complete your CAGS in less than two years. Get in touch with an enrollment counselor to find out the particulars of your program.

If you currently have your master’s degree, our 30-credit CAGS in Advanced Educational Leadership (CAGS AEL) will lead to Building Administrator (040) certification in the State of Maine. If you are looking for similar certification in a state outside of Maine, we encourage you to research your state’s certification requirements with our interactive map.

Yes, students can transfer in two 3-credit courses in the CAGS program, for a total of six credits.

Yes, our CAGS or CAGS AEL students or any CAGS or CAGS AEL student from a regionally accredited institution are welcome to transfer up to four 3-credit courses (maximum of twelve credits) into our Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program.

Transfer courses must:

  • Be classified as post-master’s level.
  • Be worth 3 credits.
  • Have been taken within five years of application.
  • Have been completed with a grade of “B” or better.
  • Be equivalent to one of the required program courses or an elective course that meets the goals of the student’s education



An enrollment counselor is prepared to answer all of your questions and walk you through the steps necessary to apply to this program. Complete an information request to have an enrollment counselor contact you.

Course tuition for our programs can be found on the tuition costs section. The University of New England’s online Graduate Programs in Education offer online students the same outstanding education that campus-based students receive. Easy access to affordable education helps us fulfill our goal of ensuring that every individual who has the desire to further their education has the opportunity to do so.

If you graduated more than a year ago, you will need to reapply. Due to privacy policies, UNE does not keep personal student records for more than a year. However, if you graduated within a year, all you’ll need to do is fill out a continuing education application. Contact an enrollment counselor to get started.