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.
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 admitUSM@maine.edu.
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)
||3 units (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry)
||2 units (with laboratory)
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.
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
- 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), Pearson Test of English (PTE), or Duolingo English Test (DTE) scores (may be required of those applicants whose primary language is not English)
- Official SAT/ACT scores (optional for all programs), 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)
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).
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 admitUSM@maine.edu.
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 https://www.naces.org/members.
- Nursing applicants only: supplemental application. Visit the Office of Admissions’ website for more information: usm.maine.edu/apply (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 https://www.naces.org/members.
- 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 http://usm.maine.edu/apply. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a complete listing of application instructions, go to: usm.maine.edu/apply.
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
||Early Action deadline
||Transfer Nursing deadline
||Priority filing application date
||First-year Nursing deadline
||Application submission (priority) deadline for merit scholarship consideration
||Priority enrollment deposit date
||International student application deadline
||International student application deadline
||Priority filing application date
||Priority enrollment deposit date
|Summer Semester *
||Priority filing application date
||Accelerated Nursing deadline
||Transfer Nursing deadline
||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 documents 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.
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.
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, IELTS Pearson PTE, or Duolingo 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.
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
- Transferring students must provide official transcripts reflecting all previous post-secondary coursework.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Courses from colleges and universities outside the United States will be accepted for transfer consistent with established University policies and practices.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Examination Program
All newly admitted degree candidates without SAT scores, or those who have a SAT mathematics score below 570 or an ACT mathematics score below 22 are required to take the Math Placement Test to determine enrollment in math and related courses. Many majors at USM have specific math requirements, so completing the Math Placement Test allows students to be placed in the most appropriate course. Only SAT or ACT test results administered within the past five years are valid.
TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson PTE and Duolingo scores are used for course placement in English. Only TOEFL and IELTS test results administered within the past three years are valid and only Pearson PTE and Duolingo scores are valid for two years. 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 https://usm.maine.edu/assessment/usm-math-placement-test. Note: The math 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) provides opportunities for students to earn credit for college-level learning acquired outside of a traditional academic environment. Options to earn academic credit include exams, credential review, and academic portfolios. The awarding of PLA credit is based on student demonstration and documentation of college-level learning, not on experience or positions held. Prior learning options are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid, and credits earned through PLA do not affect GPA. Successfully completed academic portfolios and challenge exams may count toward the Credits in Residence requirement.
For more information, please visit our website or contact the PLA Office at email@example.com or 207-780-4663.
USM awards credit for AP scores of 3 or higher. USM must receive an official score report directly from College Board in order to post credit.
USM awards credit for SL and HL exams with scores of 4 or higher. USM must receive an official score report directly from International Baccalaureate in order to post credit.
Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education
USM awards credit for AS-level exams with scores of “e” or higher and A-level exams with scores of “E” or higher. USM must receive an official transcript directly from Cambridge AICE in order to post credit.
Seal of Biliteracy
USM recognizes the knowledge demonstrated by students who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy, both in and outside the state of Maine. Students matriculating at USM who have earned the seal will be eligible for credits in the target language, or general language credits in the case of languages that are not taught at USM.
Documentation of the Seal of Biliteracy must appear on the student’s high school transcript and/or received from the appropriate state agency in order to post credit.
The PLA Office posts credit to student transcripts for documented passing scores for several other exam programs including:
CLEP, DSST, UExcel, Challenge exams designed by USM faculty, BYU FLATS, NYU, ACTFL OPI, HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) Chinese Proficiency Test, American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI)
Matriculated USM students may be able to earn credit for some licenses, certificates and other credentials from organizations outside the University, if these credentials represent learning that is comparable to that encountered in the college classroom. Students who have earned credentials or certifications from work or life experience may submit them to the PLA Office for review.
The submission of credential documentation does not guarantee the awarding of credit.
Academic Portfolio Assessment
Academic portfolios are demonstrations of college-level learning that students have developed through work, volunteer, or life experience. Depending on the degree plan, portfolios may be used to fulfill major, USM core, or general elective credit requirements and usually take the form of independent writing projects. In certain cases, visual or oral demonstrations may be approved by appropriate faculty and/or the PLA Director.
Official military transcripts are reviewed by USM’s Veterans Services Office.
NOTE: USM’s Office for Prior Learning Assessment reserves the right to revise, amend, or change items set forth in our policies, procedures, and equivalencies at any time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, which can be found at https://usm.maine.edu/office-of-admissions/new-england-regional-student-program for 2022-2023. Further information is available at nebhe.org/tuitionbreak.
See listing in Graduate Catalog at https://catalog.usm.maine.edu/.
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 https://usm.maine.edu/uhcs.
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 FirstName.LastName@maine.edu. 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 mail.maine.edu. For assistance in activating your University account, visit usm.maine.edu/computing/computing-help-desk or contact the HelpDesk at (207) 780-4029, or email@example.com. The complete Email Communication Policy can be found at usm.maine.edu/computing.