Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)
Fitchburg State University’s CAGS programs are designed to meet well-defined career needs of professionals who have earned an appropriate master’s degree and who wish to attain greater competency in a combination of areas of study within one of the major CAGS fields offered.
General Description of Program
Each student’s CAGS program is planned under the direction of an advisor and is built on the academic background, professional position, and career goals of the student. CAGS programs consist of an integrated core curriculum, supervised professional practice, an internship, and elective courses.
General Program of Study
Upon acceptance into the program, the student’s plan of study is developed with and approved by an advisor, who works with the student over the course of study. A minimum of 30 approved graduate credits is required to complete the CAGS with the following restrictions:
- CAGS courses may not repeat work previously accomplished by the student in other graduate degree study
- CAGS credits must be earned in graduate-level courses
- 6000-level professional development courses may not be taken or transferred in as part of the CAGS program of study
Details regarding the CAGS curricula, including information about required and elective courses, may be found in the specific CAGS program description which follows.
CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies: Counseling/Psychology Concentration
Daneen Deptula, PhD
Students choosing to study the fields of counseling and psychology as part of the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies work with an advisor from the graduate counseling program to develop a plan of study. Upon acceptance into the program, the student must submit an approved plan of study. The CAGS consists of an integrated core curriculum, supervised professional practice, and a capstone experience. Students choosing the disciplines of counseling and psychology choose from two capstone options: internship or thesis.
The integrated core curriculum consists of:
The student must complete 36 semester hours, which includes 6 semester hours of required core course work, a 6 semester hour capstone and 12 semester hours in each of the two academic disciplines.
As part of the capstone experience, students collaborate with faculty members from the graduate counseling program. Students choosing the thesis option follow the Fitchburg State University Thesis Guidelines.
Admissions Standards and Criteria
To apply for enrollment in the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies Program: Counseling/Psychology Track, a student must submit documents as outlined in the graduate admissions section as well as:
- Official transcript of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Applicants seeking initial licensure as a school guidance counselor must submit passing scores on the communication literacy portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL); applicants seeking licensure as a MA mental health counselor must hold a master’s degree in mental health counseling or a related field for admission to the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies Counseling/Psychology Track.
*Some plans of study may require a 12 cr. internship.
Stages in the Program
Students in the Counseling/Psychology track must complete a comprehensive program of courses as determined by an advisor and work closely with their advisor to ensure that all requirements for graduation, licensure, etc. have been met. There are three Stages in the process toward graduation and licensure. At each Stage, faculty determine readiness and qualifications to move forward in the program. The Stages are:
Stage I —Candidacy—following the completion of two CAGS-IS Counseling/Psychology courses. Students are evaluated on:
- The successful completion of the experiential and theoretical aspects of counseling (Stage I course work)
- The successful completion of the Communication and Literacy portion of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) if applicable
- The demonstration of competent personal and appropriate ethical behavior
- The demonstration of competent interpersonal skills
- The demonstration of effective written and oral communication skills
Stage II —Admission to the Capstone Experience—following the completion of the 6 semester hours of required core course work and 12 semester hours (or in progress) in each of the two academic disciplines. Students are evaluated on:
- A grade point average of at least 3.0 in Stage I and Stage II courses
- All Stage I and II courses completed
- Demonstration of effective written and oral communication skills
- Demonstration of competent interpersonal skills
- Demonstration of competent personal and appropriate ethical behavior
Stage III —Recommendation for Graduation and Licensure— following the completion of all CAGS-IS—Counseling/ Psychology course work including the capstone experience.
Students who are unable to meet all requirements at any stage may not move forward and should meet with their advisor to determine whether or not to continue in the program.