Jul 12, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

University Overview

The University of Southern Maine (USM), the state’s only public comprehensive university, prepares students to play vital roles in the growth and improvement of the economic, civic, social, and cultural fabric of southern and central Maine, while providing engaged learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

With a service promise of Student Focused Every Day, USM is dedicated to student success and the transformative power of public higher education. Serving the needs and aspirations of Maine communities and beyond, the University of Southern Maine prepares its students for personally and professionally fulfilling lives after graduation.

As a member of the University of Maine System, USM offers its nearly 8,000 students more than fifty undergraduate and twenty graduate programs in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Management and Human Service; and the College of Science, Technology, and Health.

USM offers courses on its three campuses, Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston-Auburn, as well as online, via video conference, and at work sites across the state of Maine.

USM further addresses the broad range of student academic interests with its Winter term, Summer terms, as well as Early College programs for high school students. It has articulation agreements with community colleges and is dedicated to serving all members of the community year round. It truly is “The University of Everyone.”

USM’s faculty have a passion for communicating the excitement of learning and the joy of discovery. These dedicated educators represent a wide range of knowledge and expertise; among them are Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellows, advisors to state and local governments, and authors of national note from a variety of academic disciplines.

USM’s locations in southern and central Maine, viewed nationally as among the most livable regions in the country, offer a variety of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. The student body is the most diverse in Maine-approximately half are full-time students, sixty percent are women, and the average age of an undergraduate is twenty-six years. This diversity of age, background, and purpose provides a lively, engaging environment for learning.

The University of Southern Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE, formerly NEASC). Additionally, several academic programs hold specialized accreditation from agencies within their field.

Expected Results of a University Education

Consistent with the educational mission of a comprehensive university, it is the aspiration of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine that students achieve the following results from their investments in higher education:

  • They should possess the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the workforce or be admitted to graduate or professional school. Graduates of the University of Southern Maine should also possess the attributes and skills that lead to rich and fulfilling lives.
  • They should be intelligent readers of their own culture and be able to use analysis and historical context to interpret cultural practices, artifacts, and documents of various kinds.
  • They should appreciate the many ways of knowing, including the arts, the humanities, and the natural, applied, and social sciences; they should be aware of how these disciplines help define and shape the world; and they should understand the joy and wonder that can arise from rigorous inquiry leading to fresh discoveries and modes of expression in these fields.
  • They should be able to appreciate basic ecological and physical processes, how their lives are affected by environmental trends and characteristics, and how each of us shares in the responsibility for sustaining the life forces, cycles, and processes upon which all life depends.
  • They should understand the nature of at-risk behaviors and be able to make informed decisions about their own well-being.
  • They should be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, think critically and creatively, and use effectively both information technology and the skills of quantitative decision making.
  • They should know how to work in teams, take responsibility, exercise leadership, and manage resources effectively.
  • They should be aware of the world’s complexities beyond their own set of experiences and assumptions, have an appreciation for other people’s values and customs, and think effectively about ethical and social issues.
  • They should have the capacity for self-education so they can enjoy a lifetime of continuous learning.
  • They should be responsible citizens, committed to fostering the ideals of a democratic society: civic and social participation, free inquiry and informed decision making, and equal opportunity.