Sep 27, 2023  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Whether you’re hoping to begin your undergraduate degree or you’re embarking on graduate studies, the USM Office of Admissions can help you get started.

At USM, there are more than 100 areas of study among our majors, minors, and programs. Undergraduates can choose from over fifty majors, with many opportunities to learn through research, internships, and engagement with the community. For our graduate students, USM offers over twenty masters and four doctoral programs, along with more than twenty graduate certificates and certificates of advanced study.

With numerous programs offered completely or partially online, there are many ways to shape a brighter future through your studies at USM. As you begin that process, we’re here to help.

Undergraduate Admissions

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is an academic community that welcomes applications for admission from qualified women and men with various backgrounds and interests regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status. The University seeks candidates whose academic achievement and motivation indicate potential for success in an undergraduate program.

The Office of Admissions invites prospective students to visit the campus to discuss their educational interests. The Office will provide information about academic programs, discuss admission requirements and procedures, process unofficial transfer credit evaluations, and arrange personal interviews and campus tours. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions at 1 (800) 800-4USM, or (207) 780-5670, or

Admission Requirements

With the exception of early admission applicants, a high school transcript or GED/HiSET is required for admission to the University. Students who are home educated/home schooled should contact the Office of Admissions for information regarding the alternate documentation required for admission. Although secondary school preparation may vary, please find below the minimum college preparatory subjects required for regular admission to the University. In addition to these, further requirements may be imposed by individual University schools and colleges.

General subject minimum requirements (University-wide)

English 4 units
Mathematics 3 units (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry)
Science 2 units (with laboratory)
History/Social Science 2 units

Highly Recommended College Preparatory Courses

An optimal college preparatory course of study extends beyond the minimum requirements. Students who do best in college and graduate on time have the following high school course of study:

  • Four years of English in courses that present a variety of readings (fiction, nonfiction, essays, memoirs, journalism) and emphasize expository and analytic writing about texts
  • At least three years of laboratory science that include the study of biology, chemistry, and physics, offered as separate courses or as an integrated core. Science courses should include writing technical reports and quantitative representations and analyses of data as well as the traditional course content
  • Four years of math that include Algebra I and II and Geometry; a college preparatory math course during the senior year
  • Three years of history and social science that include reading primary as well as secondary texts, writing analytic and expository essays, and using quantitative social science data, in addition to the traditional course content
  • Two years of study of one language other than English: foreign languages or American Sign Language (ASL)

Additional requirements for majors in a particular college or program

College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences:

School of Music

  • Successful completion of a music audition administered by USM


  • Interview with the department

College of Management and Human Service:

School of Business

  • Four units of mathematics, with one unit exceeding Algebra II

College of Science, Technology, and Health:


  • Laboratory chemistry and physics, and four units of mathematics, with one unit exceeding Algebra II


  • Four units of mathematics, with one unit exceeding Algebra II


  • Three units of laboratory science.

Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Health Science

  • Laboratory biology and chemistry


  • Laboratory biology and chemistry. In addition, nursing candidates must also satisfy specific academic standards in order to qualify for the clinical portion of the degree program. For further details, please refer to the School of Nursing section of this catalog.

Admission Procedures, Policies

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form, paper or online: University of Maine System application or the Common Application
  • Official transcript sent directly from the high school, listing all courses and grades received to date or official GED/HiSET scores
  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores (may be required of those applicants whose primary language is not English)
  • Official SAT/ACT scores (optional for all programs but Nursing), sent directly from the testing agency or included on the official high school transcript.

First-Year Applicant: Supporting Materials

  • Completed school counselor statement and/or letter of recommendation from a teacher (strongly recommended for current high school students, may be required for some majors)

Homeschooled Students

Students who are satisfying any or all of their high school requirements in a homeschool setting should submit an official school transcript or an annual assessment of courses they have completed. A letter of recommendation may come from a family member, and may also come from someone outside the family (strongly recommended).

Adult Students

Students who graduated from high school or earned a GED/HiSET more than three years ago are recommended to submit a current resume of life and work experiences. An electronic file of the resume can be sent to

Transfer Applicant Additional Requirements

  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended, whether or not credit was earned, sent directly from each institution
  • International college transcript evaluation: official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a USM-approved transcript analysis agency. For a list of approved agencies, go to
  • Nursing applicants only: supplemental application. Visit the Office of Admissions’ website for more information: (under Adult & Transfer Applicants)

International Applicant Additional Requirements

  • Official secondary school transcripts, exam certificates, and college-level transcripts including certified English translations; official transcripts from all colleges attended, whether or not credit was earned, sent from the institution
  • International college transcript evaluation: official evaluation of college level transcripts from a USM-approved transcript analysis agency. For a list of approved agencies, go to
  • Declaration of Finances accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation

Reactivating or Readmission Applicant Requirements

Students should only complete the Reactivation of Application/Readmission Application if one of the following two categories applies:

  • Reactivation of Application: You applied to USM within the last year but did not enroll in classes as a degree (matriculated) student.
  • Readmission: You received an undergraduate degree from USM and are pursuing a second undergraduate degree, OR you began your studies at USM as a degree (matriculated) student and stopped attending for five or more consecutive years.
    • Fresh Start: Students requesting readmission to the University after an absence of five or more years may be treated as external transfers in the determination of credits and grade point average. Credit is allowed for all University of Southern Maine courses passed at the level of C- or higher. All grades remain on the academic transcript but are removed from calculation of the cumulative grade point average. To be eligible for Fresh Start, students must have a minimum of 30 credits remaining toward degree completion and must complete those 30 credits in residence at the University of Southern Maine. Fresh Start may impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid due to the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Application to Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Candidates for admission must submit:

  • Online application for Certificate Program;
  • Official transcripts or copies of official transcripts from secondary school and/or all colleges and universities from which you received a degree;
  • Additional or other special admission requirements specified by program.
    The application for certificate programs is available online at the Office of Admissions Website at Please note, students who are enrolled solely in an undergraduate certificate program are not eligible for Federal financial aid.

Application Materials Should Be Sent To:

University of Maine System Application Processing Center
PO Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to

For a complete listing of application instructions, go to:

Early Admission Applicants

Students who have completed their junior year of high school may apply for consideration of admission (as non-matriculated students) under the Early Admission Program. Admissions will consider high-achieving students who display both the intellectual ability and the social maturity to succeed in a university course of study.

To be eligible for admission, candidates must have completed a minimum of three years of college preparatory subjects in high school according to the general University admission requirements.

Interested applicants will be required to submit the University of Maine System application in addition to an Early Admission Application. Early admission candidates may be required to have a personal interview with a member of the admission staff. High school students who enter the University of Southern Maine prior to graduation from high school are not eligible for federally funded financial aid and may not participate in intercollegiate athletics

Early Admission applicants may apply for the fall semester only. Application forms must be submitted by April 15.

Priority Dates and Deadlines

Fall Semester  
December 1 Early Action deadline
February 1 Transfer Nursing deadline
February 15 Priority filing application date
February 1 First-year Nursing deadline
April 1 Application submission (priority) deadline for merit scholarship consideration
May 1 Priority enrollment deposit date
July 1 International student application deadline
Spring Semester  
November 15 International student application deadline
December 1 Priority filing application date
January 2 Priority enrollment deposit date
Summer Semester *  
May 1 Priority filing application date
October 1 Accelerated Nursing deadline
February 1 Transfer Nursing deadline
February 1 First-year Nursing deadline
  * For those who have earned a high school diploma or GED/HiSET by priority filing application date of May 1

Applications are reviewed throughout the year on a rolling admission basis. Although applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, as some degree programs admit only a limited number of students, applicants are urged to submit their credentials at their earliest possible convenience in order to receive consideration. Applications may be made to enter the University in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Offers of admission may be revoked because of unsatisfactory performance in the final semester of high school or college.

Admission to the University is offered for a specific semester. Anyone choosing to defer their offer of admission may do so by submitting a written request to the Director of Admissions prior to August 20 (fall); January 15 (spring); May 1 (summer), and paying a $50 nonrefundable enrollment deposit. Deferments are granted for up to one year. Students attending another college are not eligible to defer.

Admission Decisions

The University recognizes that its prospective students may come with differing academic backgrounds and/or with significant time having elapsed since completion of secondary school. The following categories of admission exist to accommodate this wide range of applicants.

Regular Admission

Applicants whose academic backgrounds demonstrate the ability to pursue regular, entry-level coursework may be granted regular acceptance to the University. This admission decision is based upon a comprehensive evaluation of the student’s educational record, including standardized test scores (if required), as well as individual talents and activities.

Enrollment as an Undeclared Major

Applicants who are undecided regarding their major field of study may request admission as an “Undeclared Major.” Undeclared students are assigned an advisor in the Academic Advising Office to assist with appropriate course selection and academic planning while exploring a major field of study. This admission option provides students the opportunity to select their major at an appropriate time during the first 60 credit hours of coursework.

Admission to the Admissions Pathway Program

Students applying to the University who meet regular admission requirements but whose English language proficiency, previous coursework and/or TOEFL or IELTS scores fall below the required level may be eligible for admission to the University through the Admissions Pathway Program offered through the ESOL Department.

Admission to the Intensive English Language Program with Conditions

The Intensive English Language Program with Conditions is for students whose primary language is not English and who are seeking admission to USM. Students are considered for this program if they are academically qualified, may or may not have taken the TOEFL or IELTS exam, and still need a semester or two of English language instruction. Students will be admitted with the condition that they successfully complete at least one semester of Intensive English courses prior to enrolling in other courses offered at USM.

Enrollment as a Non-matriculated Student

The University encourages members of the local community to take advantage of its diverse course offerings. Non-matriculated students (those not admitted or enrolled in a degree program of study) may take regular credit courses for self-interest and enrichment. Non-matriculated students are enrolled each semester on a space-available basis and are not eligible for student financial aid awards, guaranteed student loans, veteran’s benefits, campus housing, or participation in intercollegiate athletics. Interested persons are invited to contact the Office of Registration and Scheduling Services or the Academic Advising Office.

Non-matriculated students are required to meet the same academic progress standards as matriculated students. In order to apply degree credits earned at the University of Southern Maine, the student must be admitted into a degree program as a result of the application process.

Transfer Admission

Applicants who have attended a postsecondary institution beyond the secondary school level are considered transfer students and must submit official copies of collegiate and secondary school records. Quality points and grade point average do not transfer.

Students applying for transfer from institutions of higher education must have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) to be considered for admission. Some academic programs require higher grade point averages. Transfer credit may be awarded for coursework completed at a regionally accredited institution of higher education. Courses graded C- or higher are considered for transfer credit. No transfer credit will be awarded for coursework completed at non-regionally accredited institutions of higher education. Under special circumstances, students may, in individual cases, petition the dean of the appropriate college for consideration of coursework earned from institutions that were candidates for accreditation.

From within the University of Maine System

Trustee policy is to provide the maximum opportunity for transfer within the University of Maine System. When a student is accepted for transfer, all undergraduate credits successfully completed with a grade of C- or better at any unit of the University System will be transferable to any other unit of the University System, but will not be automatically applied to the specific academic degree program to which the student has transferred. Each student will be expected to meet the established requirements of the academic program into which transfer is made, and appropriate application of transfer credit is to be the responsibility of the particular academic unit.

University of Maine System Transfer Policies and Practices

  1. Transferring students must provide official transcripts reflecting all previous post-secondary coursework.
  2. An evaluation of transfer credit will be prepared by the Transfer Officer for each accepted transfer student, and will be available in the student’s MaineStreet Student Center. The transfer student should meet with an academic advisor at the receiving university to review how the transfer credit will be applied toward the student’s degree program. Transfer evaluations will be prepared based on the following principles:
    1. Within the University of Maine System. Undergraduate courses completed with a C- or higher, including P grades, will transfer from one UMS university to another. Grades will be recorded on the student’s transcript but not computed into the cumulative GPA.
    2. Outside the University of Maine System. Credit earned with a C- or higher in courses from regionally accredited colleges/universities outside the UMS will be considered for transfer. Pass-fail courses taken outside the UMS must have “pass” defined as a C- or higher in order to transfer.
    3. Generally, course grades do not transfer from one college/university to another. Semester and cumulative GPAs reflect only those courses taken at the home university. Students in cooperative degree programs should inquire about any exceptions that may apply.
    4. Coursework defined as developmental by the university to which the student is transferring will not be awarded degree credit. Developmental courses are considered preparatory to college-level work, and will not count toward a degree.
    5. Courses from colleges and universities outside the United States will be accepted for transfer consistent with established University policies and practices.
  3. Credit may be awarded for high school Advanced Placement (AP) exams, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams, or college-level knowledge gained through life experience (e.g., prior learning, such as military or other training) when validated through the approved campus processes.
  4. Students with coursework from non-regionally accredited schools may inquire into the possibility of validating some or all of their learning through testing and/or approved university credit for prior learning processes. Students interested in this option should contact the Transfer Officer for more information.
  5. If a student has concerns about the transfer evaluation, the student should contact the Transfer Officer at the receiving university. After such conferral, the student may appeal through the academic appeals process at the receiving university.
  6. Transfer students should consult the University’s catalog and/or meet with an appropriate advisor to determine requirements regarding the number and distribution of credits that must be completed at the University to earn the desired degree.
  7. Students must meet the established requirements of the academic program or college into which they are transferring. Transfer credits do not necessarily count toward these requirements.
  8. Students may also confer with the Transfer Officer and/or an academic advisor regarding possible flexibility in the application of their credits to their program, through approved campus processes.
  9. Current UMS students who plan to take courses at another university, inside or outside of the UMS, are strongly encouraged to seek prior approval of their plans from the UMS university where they are matriculated.

Transfer Credit Evaluation

Undergraduate coursework completed at other institutions of higher education will be evaluated for transfer credit on the basis of the following: whether or not the previous institution was regionally accredited at the time of attendance, grades achieved in previous coursework, and comparability of courses taken with courses at the University. Courses for which credit is awarded through another institution’s credit-by-examination policy may be granted transfer credit provided both earned credits and grades appear on the transcript and the course is applicable to the student’s work at this University. The applicability of transfer credits to USM’s core curriculum and to a student’s intended major field of study shall be determined by the Office of Transfer Affairs in conjunction with the appropriate academic department, school, or college. Transfer evaluations are assumed to be correct if a student does not direct questions to or enter an appeal with the Office of Transfer Affairs within one year of the completion of the evaluation. At that time, the evaluation becomes permanent and will not be changed.

Maine Community College Articulation Agreements

The University of Southern Maine has formal articulation agreements in certain academic disciplines with the Maine Community College System. In addition, USM participates in AdvantageU and ConnectED Pathways which are guaranteed admission programs for qualified Maine Community College students who file participation forms with their Community College. These agreements facilitate transfer to USM for graduates from specific associate degree programs. For more information, students should contact the Transfer Coordinator at their Maine Community College, or the USM Office of Admissions.

Placement Exam

Placement Examination Program

SAT and ACT scores are used for course placement in mathematics. All newly admitted degree candidates whose SAT mathematics score is below 570 or ACT mathematics score is below 22 must take the math placement examination. Students with new SAT Math Scores between 460-560 (or ACT scores between 18-21) are able to enroll in MAT 101  without taking the Math Placement Test (i.e. Accuplacer Arithmetic and Algebra tests). Student with these scores who want to enroll in a higher-level Math course (MAT 105 , MAT 108 , or MAT 120 ) must take the Accuplacer Tests and obtain the appropriate cut-off scores. Only SAT or ACT test results administered within the past five years are valid. TOEFL and IELTS scores are used for course placement in English. Only TOEFL and IELTS test results administered within the past three years are valid. Students who transfer credits from another institution may meet college readiness in mathematics as determined by the Office of Transfer Affairs. Non-matriculated students are encouraged to take the placement examination and should contact the Office of Academic Assessment for details. For more information on the Placement Examination Program, go to Note: The placement exam results will not be used in place of SAT/ACT test results for admission purposes.

Prior Learning Assessment

The Office for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) believes that students should be rewarded for knowledge acquired outside the traditional classroom if it fulfills the academic criteria set forth and evaluated by the USM faculty.

PLA is a process that builds a bridge between students’ practical, applied learning experiences and their theoretical, college-level knowledge. There are several pathways across this bridge: testing options, credential reviews, military evaluations, and academic portfolio development, paving the way to academic credit where appropriate. Proof of competency rests with the student. Transcripts older than twenty years cannot be used for credit. For further details regarding credit options, students should contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment at

Advanced Placement

The University participates in the Advanced Placement program (AP) of the College Board. AP exams are given in secondary schools. For credit consideration at USM, an official AP transcript and a minimum score of 3 are required.

International Baccalaureate

The University recognizes IB and is committed to considering credit for students who score 5 or better on the Higher Level exams. No credit is offered for Standard Level IB exams. An official score transcript must be sent from the IB Organization to the Office for Prior Learning Assessment for evaluation.

Standardized Examinations

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES exams are used for either course-equivalency or elective credits. For credit consideration at USM, an official transcript must be submitted and cut-off scores must be achieved. Several Excelsior College exams are also recognized for credit. PLA also offers credit for 50 language exams through an external testing program. For more information on all these options, visit the PLA website at

Academic Portfolio Assessment Program

The academic portfolio is a formal collection of evidence in support of a person’s claim for college credit. The process is reflective and challenging, yet rewarding. To earn course equivalency credit or elective credit with an academic department through portfolio assessment, the candidate’s documentation must prove understanding and learning competency, subject to evaluation by appropriate faculty. Academic portfolio assessment may also be used to earn general elective credit, which can be earned regardless of one’s academic major. Applicability of credits toward meeting graduation requirements varies by school and college within the University.

Credential Review

Credential review requires original and current documentation for individualized learning situations, submitted for college credit, reviewed by appropriate USM faculty or in consultation with national guidelines. All credentials are considered on a case-by-case basis. PLA reviews professional certifications, educational and training courses, and certain college-level experiential learning that may have earned selected licenses, certificates, and/or credentials for organizations outside the University. Credit is not awarded for attendance certificates.

Credit for Military Service

Students who have been active members of the armed services may qualify for credit. Official service documents are required for credit consideration.

Challenge Examination Program

Challenge exams may be developed individually by faculty members for USM students in coordination with the Office for Prior Learning Assessment. These exams are used selectively and may result in the student earning equivalency course credit.

Pre-professional Programs


There is no specific course of study required of students who are planning to apply to law schools. Since the practice of law covers all fields, the only recommendation that law school admissions officers give to students is that they pursue challenging courses in areas of interest to them and that they do well in these courses. Participation in an honors program definitely enhances a student’s admission as does a well-written senior thesis or an independent study.

  • Students must be able to write clearly. They should take upper level, writing-intensive courses in English or other fields.
  • Students must be able to think clearly and critically. Courses in philosophy, science, and language will be helpful.
  • Students should understand the social and political context within which the law exists. Courses in sociology, history, and political science are appropriate.
  • Students may wish to take substantive courses in the law and in legal reasoning. Courses in law and society, civil liberties, civil rights, constitutional law, business law and the rule of law-some of which are offered as undergraduate courses by professors from the University of Maine Law School-may be of interest.

Students who are interested in law should be advised that their overall academic record and performance on the LSAT are much more important than a specific undergraduate major for law school admission.

Students should meet with USM’s pre-law advisor early in their undergraduate careers to discuss the legal profession and design a path to law school admission. Students should also become active members of USM’s Pre-Law Society. For more information, contact Ronald Schmidt, associate professor, at (207) 780-4581 or email

Pre-Pharmacy Program

A two-year, non-degree program of study is offered to prepare students to apply to a four-year doctoral program in pharmacy (a 2 + 4 program). Most schools and colleges of pharmacy require 60-75 credits in their two-year pre-pharmacy phase, depending on the number of general education credits required. Individual programs vary in the general education courses they require, e.g., economics, social science, humanities, and fine arts, so students should consult those programs accordingly. The pre-pharmacy concentration is a time-intensive program that students will need to commit to upon entering the University. Students are encouraged to take summer courses to reduce the number of credits taken each semester. If students choose not to take summer courses, they should consider extending the program to three years. If they do well in this program of study, they will be competitive with students from other universities applying for entry into professional pharmacy programs. If students decide not to transfer after two years, they will be well along the path toward earning a B.S. in biology degree. For further information contact David Champlin, Associate Professor, 476A Science Building, “C” Wing, Portland, (207) 228-8349 or email

Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Veterinary

USM, like most universities, does not have a major in pre-medical, pre-veterinary, or pre-dental studies. USM offers a degree in biology with a concentration in human biology. By completing the concentration in human biology a student will have completed all the required courses for admission to professional school and many of the recommended courses. Pre-veterinary students should complete the general biology degree.

Most students who are accepted in a professional school majored in biology or zoology as undergraduates. However, a student does not have to major in science to be accepted to medical, dental, or veterinary medicine school. Approximately one-third of all students accepted to professional schools took the required science courses as electives while pursuing their undergraduate degrees in non-science fields.

Every undergraduate course taken is important regardless of its subject area. Admissions officers in professional schools pay particular attention to the overall academic record and performance on entrance exams when evaluating a candidate’s application for admission.

It is also important to have experience in the field of medicine. Most veterinary schools require some type of animal care experience, e.g., volunteer work in an animal hospital. Many medical schools require some type of patient-care experience, e.g., Emergency Medical Technician training or volunteer work in an emergency room.

As minimum entrance requirements, most professional schools recommend:

Some recommended courses are:

Psychology (PSY 101)
Genetics (BIO 201 )
Microbiology and lab (BIO 311 , BIO 282 )
Comparative or Vertebrate Anatomy (BIO 205)
General Physiology and lab (BIO 401 /BIO 402 )
Human Physiology and lab (BIO 221 , BIO 112 ; BIO 223 , BIO 114 )

For more information, please contact David Champlin, Associate Professor, 476A Science Building, “C” Wing, Portland, (207) 228-8349 or email

New England Regional Student Program (RSP)

In cooperation with the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the University offers undergraduate and graduate programs of study at reduced rates of tuition to qualified candidates from the New England states. Because the listing of programs varies from year to year, candidates should check the most up-to-date listings. The following schedule represents the fields of study available at the University in the New England Regional Student Program (RSP) for 2021-2022. Further information is available at

USM’s current undergraduate listings are available at

Graduate Programs

See listing in Graduate Catalog at

Immunization Requirement

Maine State law requires all individuals born after December 31, 1956, who plan to enroll in a degree program or plan to take twelve or more credits, to show proof of immunity against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and tetanus before registering for classes. Immunization Records should be sent to: Shared Processing Center, P.O. BOX 412, Bangor, ME 04402. Immunization records must be on file with the University before students will be allowed to register for classes. Specific information about immunization requirements can be found at

Email Communication Policy

In order to meet the academic and administrative needs of the University community, the University has established email as an official and primary means of communication to its students, accepted and/or enrolled. In some cases, email may be the only form of communication. Official University assigned email accounts are created for all accepted and/or enrolled students usually in the form of Students are responsible for reading all information sent to them via their University assigned email account. The University has the right to expect that such communications will be received and read in a timely fashion.

It is imperative that students understand that a majority of University information will be communicated to them via their assigned email account. Confidential information will not be sent via email. If the University needs to convey sensitive information to the student and the information cannot be conveyed using the password-protected student self-service venue, the University will send the information via United States Postal Service.

The University reserves the right to notify students via e-mail when any action on the student’s part may be necessary. Some actions can be accomplished using the University’s Student Information Systems, made available through special password-protected links. Students should activate their assigned email accounts at For assistance in activating your University account, visit or contact the HelpDesk at (207) 780-4029, or The complete Email Communication Policy can be found at