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Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership (CAEL) at Professional Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). As you consider applying, we invite you to explore the frequently asked questions below. If you have any other questions or require any further support, please reach out to our HGSE Professional Education admissions team at ppe@gse.harvard.edu.

Planning Questions

How do I apply for CAEL?
Please visit the Application Gateway for all CAEL modules here.

What are the format and work involved for CAEL?
Each module takes place over 12 weeks, moving through a cycle of learning, application, performance, and demonstration. Throughout the program, you will engage in a range of activities online, plus exercises carried out in your professional context.

Online activities include:

  • Reading
  • Watching videos
  • Taking short assessments
  • Participating in small-group virtual discussion, virtual discussion sections, and/or smaller self-organized breakout groups
  • Submitting a final application project which demonstrates understanding

The experience is designed to be both rigorous and flexible. The activities are primarily asynchronous. While there are suggested due dates for weekly assignments, you may complete them at your own pace. Each week will require five to seven hours of work, with more guided activities during the “learning” weeks (week 2, 3, 4, and 8) and more job-embedded practice and application during the other weeks of the module. You will have a designated online learning facilitator whom you can contact directly for support.

Participants who have been admitted to complete CAEL modules for HGSE graduate credit should plan to complete their final projects during weeks 9-12. Participants should estimate an additional five hours of study during that period.

Do I need to take the CAEL modules in a specific sequence? Which module should I start with?
CAEL is designed to support flexibility. You can begin with any module and complete them in any sequence. Participants pursuing the full certificate must complete 4 of 5 CAEL modules within 24 months of beginning the program, including Leading Learning. Leading Learning, the required module, is the core for certification and can be taken at any point within the certificate timeline.

If I am already enrolled in one of the CAEL modules, do I need to apply again in order to enroll in the next module?
Yes. Both the non-credit CAEL participants and graduate credit participants need to apply again for the subsequent modules.

I see that multiple modules are scheduled during the same or overlapping dates. Can I take more than one module at a time?
With consideration for the estimated weekly commitment of 5-7 hours and that most CAEL participants are simultaneously working as new or aspiring district/system leaders, we strongly discourage participation in more than one module at the same time.

Are there on-campus or in-residence components for participants enrolled in CAEL?
CAEL is offered as an exclusively online program and does not involve any on-campus participation.

Is it possible to participate in these modules from a country outside of the US? And from a different system and educational context?
Participants are not required to be working in U.S. contexts; however, instructions and case studies are drawn primarily from U.S. contexts. CAEL is designed to be inclusive of diverse and international education leaders, and participation across time zones should not impact the learning experience. CAEL is mostly asynchronous. Learners choose when to access content (video and readings), complete assignments, and report out on job-embedded practice, as long as requirements are completed within an agreed-upon time period.

Credentials, Credits, and Clock Hours

Do participants have the option to earn academic credit through CAEL?
Yes. Beginning February 2021 Term, there is an option to complete CAEL modules for graduate credit. The application, as well as acceptance specifications, differ from the non-credit CAEL requirements. Should you not be ultimately admitted to the program for graduate credit, you can always apply and enroll as a non-credit CAEL participant.

The non-credit option for CAEL does not provide academic credit and instead provides a certificate of competency as well as a letter confirming the number of clock hours awarded per module (60 hours).

Please note, HGSE degree applications are independent of the applications for HGSE Professional Education programs and must be completed separately. Learn more about HGSE degree programs by visiting the website.

What will I receive upon completion of the Certificate?
Non-Credit CAEL Participants
Upon satisfactory completion of 4 of 5 CAEL modules, including Leading Learning, within a 24-month time period, participants will receive a certificate by mail with the HGSE shield and signed by the Faculty Chair Elizabeth City.

HGSE Graduate Credit CAEL Participants
Upon satisfactory completion of each module, participants will be given instructions on how to access their transcript indicating 2 graduate credits. If participants successfully complete 4 of 5 modules, they will be awarded a total of 8 graduate credits. Separately, provided the participants complete Leading Learning, they will be awarded a signed certificate of completion and clock hours earned.

Does the CAEL lead to administrative certification? Does CAEL qualify for my state-specific licensure program?
Participants should inquire with the accrediting board/organization of the certification/licensure that they are seeking in order to determine whether participation in CAEL would meet their criteria. CAEL has not currently sought approval from specific certification and licensure programs.

Could I transfer my HGSE graduate credits from CAEL to another graduate institution?
Credits are generally accepted by graduate institutions if they:

  1. meet the specific requirements for the program to which someone has been admitted.
  2. are approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Because the eligibility of credits for transfer depends on the institution’s program, we recommend that you contact the institution you are considering for your graduate program and ask whether graduate credits associated with CAEL would be applicable towards that program.

Could I eventually apply the graduate credit that I earned in CAEL to a degree program at HGSE?
Some or all credits may be transferred and counted towards a graduate degree at HGSE subject to petition. The requirements must satisfy the requirements of and be approved by an academic advisor for the program in which the student is enrolled.

Could I apply for the HGSE credit that I earn in CAEL toward the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) Program at HGSE?
The content of CAEL offers a preview of the core components of the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) Program at HGSE; however, the Ed.L.D. program does not accept transfer credits.

Does completion of the certificate program or the HGSE graduate credit option grant alumni status?
HGSE Professional Education participants are not considered alumni of the HGSE.

However, participants who pursue graduate credit for CAEL are able to use credits towards their HGSE degree, subject to petition. The requirements must be approved by an academic advisor for the program in which the student is enrolled.

Applying for HGSE Graduate Credit for CAEL

How do I apply for a CAEL module for HGSE graduate credit?
Please visit the Application Gateway for all CAEL modules here.

I have already completed individual modules or the entire CAEL certificate. May I receive HGSE graduate credit retroactively?
No. The requirements for receiving HGSE graduate credit differ from the requirements that you have fulfilled. It is not possible to receive graduate credit retroactively.

How many graduate credits are awarded per CAEL module? And for the full certificate?
Your HGSE transcript will indicate that you have 2 graduate credits.

If you complete the entire certificate of 4 of 5 modules, including Leading Learning, you will accumulate 8 graduate credits. Your HGSE transcript will indicate that you have 8 graduate credits.

Separately, you will be awarded a signed certificate of completion and clock hours earned.

If I complete the certificate through the graduate credit option, will my HGSE transcript indicate that I have a graduate certificate?
No. Your HGSE transcript will indicate that you have 2 graduate credits for each of 4 modules, for a total of 8 graduate credits. Separately, you will be awarded a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from HGSE Professional Education.

What if I decide that I would like graduate credit after beginning a CAEL module?
Once you have started a CAEL non-credit module, you can no longer apply for graduate credit for that module. You may apply for the graduate credit option for future modules you wish to take.

I am applying to CAEL as part of a team, and we would like to take advantage of special pricing. If I apply to receive HGSE graduate credit, may I still take advantage of the special pricing?
No. There are no special pricing opportunities available for CAEL participants who will pursue the graduate credit pathway.

If I complete the certificate through the graduate credit option, will my HGSE transcript indicate that I have a graduate certificate?
No. Your HGSE transcript will indicate that you have 2 graduate credits for each of 4 modules, for a total of 8 graduate credits. Separately, you will be awarded a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from HGSE Professional Education.

Since I have a terminal degree, would there be an advantage for me to the CAEL courses for graduate credit?
Pursuing CAEL for HGSE graduate credit offers no major advantage for people with terminal degrees. The learning experiences in both options will be similar, with the graduate credit participants completing a more involved final project.