2013-14 Catalogs

Graduate Admissions

The Office of Graduate Admissions oversees the application process for all graduate programs at the University of Southern Maine (except the University of Maine School of Law). The director of Graduate Admissions reports directly to the dean of Graduate Studies, and works closely with the dean to assist graduate students from the time of application to graduation. All application materials should be sent directly to University of Southern Maine, Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300. For more information, visit: http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions. The office is located at 45 Exeter Street and can be reached at (207) 780-4386 or gradstudies@usm.maine.edu. Deadlines for admission vary by program.

The following policies and procedures apply generally; consult the particular degree program for specific information.

To be admitted to graduate study, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent from a regionally accredited college or university and show promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research in the appropriate program.

Required Submissions

  • A completed application.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $65.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • A current resume.
  • Official transcript(s) of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System. If transfer credit shows on the degree transcript, you must also request a transcript from the original credit awarding institution. A transcript is official when it comes directly from the institution. If an applicant is submitting an official transcript, it must be in a sealed envelope from the insitution indicating that it is an official document. If the envelope has been opened prior to arriving at the Office of Graduate Admissions, it is no longer considered an official transcript. Institutions that send electronic transcripts should send them directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradstudies@usm.maine.edu.
  • An essay or goal statement. Please check the Graduate Admissions Web site under Graduate Program-Specific Application Instructions and Deadlines: http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions/programs.
  • Official, valid score(s) from standardized tests required by the program (e.g., Graduate Record Examination, Miller Analogy Test). Test scores are valid for varying numbers of years, depending on the test. (Please note that it often takes six weeks for test score reports to be received from the testing agency.) For some programs, self-reported test scores, received by the application deadline, may be used for purposes of application review, but no admission decision can be made until official test scores have been received from the testing agency.
  • If the applicant is an international student whose first language is not English: Official TOEFL scores of 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or official IELTS test scores of 6.5 or higher. Some graduate programs have higher TOEFL or IELTS requirements. Please check the website of the individual program. International students who have received their undergraduate degree from an English-speaking institution may apply for a waiver of this requirement. Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information on the waiver process.
  • Any other materials as defined by the school or college. Please check the Web site of the program to which you are applying, or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradstudies@usm.maine.edu.

For additional policies and procedures governing application to a particular school or college at USM, please refer to the program description in this catalog under each of the respective schools or colleges. University policy does not permit the conditional admission of international students to graduate programs or certificates. However, exceptions to this policy may be made on a program by program basis in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Council. Programs planning to seek such a waiver of current university policy must advise the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Council prior to the implementation of such policies.

Submission of Application

All documents relating to an application for admission to graduate study are to be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Upon receipt of application, the Office of Graduate Admissions mails all applicants instructions on activation a University of Maine System account that will allow applicants to monitor the status of their application. Applicants are responsible to monitor this account and ensure that all supporting materials arrive at the Office of Graduate Admissions and are postmarked by the application deadline. Once all materials are received, they will be forwarded to the appropriate graduate unit for review. Criteria for application review may be determined by individual schools, colleges, or programs. The Office of Graduate Admissions must determine that an application has met the criteria for final admission. Final action on the status of the application is taken by the respective graduate program. Notification of final action is made by the Office of Graduate Admissions. All documents relating to an application become the property of the University of Southern Maine.

International Student Applications

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the test offered by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit scores as part of the application documents. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program. Individual graduate programs may have higher score requirements. Please check the program website to determine if a higher score is required. International students who received their undergraduate degree from an English-speaking institution may apply for a waiver of this requirement. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information on submitting a request for a waiver.

Transcripts from universities outside of the United States must be translated into English and must be accompanied by verification that the degree received is equivalent to a United States bachelor's degree. Please see information for international students on the Graduate Admissions Web site at http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions for a list of agencies that can provide this verification and for further information about this requirement.  Some universities in Canada and the U.K. are exempt from this requirement.  Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for clarification.

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission and all supporting material must be postmarked by the deadlines set by the individual graduate programs. Please refer to the appropriate program or department website for specific application deadlines.

Deadline for Enrollment

An applicant admitted for full-time or part-time study must register in that semester for which he or she has been admitted unless other arrangements are formally made with the program to which he or she has been admitted. The Office of Graduate Admissions must receive written notification of any such arrangements.

Application to Graduate Certificate Programs

Candidates must submit all application materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admission. Candidates for admission must submit:

  • Application for Certificate Program, including a $25 nonrefundable application fee;
  • Official transcripts or copies of official transcripts from all colleges and universities from which you received a degree;
  • Current resume;
  • Personal statement; and
  • Additional or other special admission requirements specified by program.

The application for certificate programs is available at the Graduate Admissions Web site at http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions. Please note, students who are only enrolled solely in a graduate certificate program are not eligible for Federal financial aid.

Immunization Law

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 must be on file with Student Health Services before students will be allowed to register for classes.

Specific information about immunization requirements is sent with admissions packets, and is also available in most departments, at Student Health Services, and online at http://www.usm.maine.edu/uhcs/immunization-information. The Immunization Hotline number is (207) 780-4504.


A student previously registered in a graduate program who has failed to maintain continuous enrollment or who has withdrawn or been withdrawn from the program, or a student who has failed to matriculate in accordance with the enrollment deadline and who wishes to resume studies, must file an application for readmission to graduate school by the regularly published deadlines for the semester or summer session and register during the usual registration period. The application for readmission is to be accompanied by official transcripts of any work attempted in the interim, a fee of $15.00, and any other relevant or required updated material.

The re-application form is only to be used within two years of the original application. If more than two years have passed, applicants must complete a new application. The re-application form can be found at http://usm.maine.edu/graduateadmissions.

Classification of Admissions

Regular admission is granted a student who has a record of high scholarship and about whom there is no question of ability to carry on graduate study.

In some instances, conditional admission may be granted to a student who does not meet the established requirements or standards, provided there is sufficient evidence to show that the student is capable of doing satisfactory graduate work. Prospective students should consult the specific graduate program for further information. A program that admits a student conditionally determines the conditions that the student must meet. If a program determines that a student has not met these conditions, the student may be withdrawn from the program.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is credit earned for coursework prior to matriculation into a graduate program at the University of Southern Maine. Credit may be received for coursework completed at the University of Southern Maine or at another institution. Such credit is normally approved only at the time of admission and request for approval must be included as part of the admissions application. The University of Southern Maine strongly suggests that no more than nine transfer credits be allowed. However, the amount of transfer credit is determined by each graduate program. Transfer credit will not be approved for: 1) courses that would not have received graduate credit at the University of Southern Maine, 2) courses that exceed time limits prescribed for a particular degree program, 3) courses in which a grade lower than a B was received, and 4) courses that are inappropriate for inclusion in the student's program of study. Some programs have more specific policies regarding transfer credit. Please consult the program sections of this catalog for degree program policies. To facilitate the evaluation of transfer credits for courses taken at institutions other than the University of Southern Maine, the applicant should include a copy of the course description taken from the institution's catalog that was in effect the year the course was taken.

Admission of Individuals with Disabilities

The University does not discriminate against qualified applicants on the basis of a physical or mental disability. All classroom buildings and two dormitories are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access. The University Library contains a Kurzweil Reading Machine to assist the visually impaired. Most elevator buttons are coded in Braille. An applicant reporting a physical handicap will be advised to schedule an interview with the University Coordinator of Academic Support Services for Students with Disabilities.

Academic Support for Students with Disabilities

The Office of Support for Students with Disabilities works with students to overcome obstacles they may face and to develop strategies and support services for achieving academic success at the University of Southern Maine.

Any USM student with a physical, hearing, medical, emotional, or learning disability who is taking a credit-bearing course is eligible for services. Students may be asked to provide documentation.

Academic services may include: tutors, note-takers, taped readings, test proctoring, extra time on tests, and interpreters (when appropriate). Students are advised to contact the office before each semester to plan their programs so that appropriate accommodations can be made. A lift-operated van is available upon request to provide transportation between campuses for students with wheelchairs. The Office of Support for Students with Disabilities is located in 242 Luther Bonney Hall on the Portland campus. Call (207) 780-4706 (voice) or (207) 780-4395 (TTY) to schedule an appointment.

Appeal of Admissions Decisions

Applicants may appeal an admissions decision by submitting a written appeal to the chair or director of the appropriate program within 10 working days of receipt of the admission decision letter. The appeal will be reviewed by the chair or director, or the appropriate graduate program admissions committee, and the chair or director will notify the student of action taken on the appeal, within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. Should the student wish to pursue the appeal process further, a written appeal may be submitted to the dean of Graduate Studies. The applicant's appeal letter should include all information she or he believes should be taken into account in reviewing the decision. The applicant will be informed of the decision of the dean of Graduate Studies within 10 working days of the receipt of the appeal. Applicants who have questions on this appeal process should contact the assistant dean of Graduate Studies at (207) 780-4812 for assistance.


Matriculation in a Second Program

Occasionally students seek to pursue a second program, either after graduating from their first program, or prior to completing the first program. In either case, the student must apply for admission to the new program. All courses, grades, and quality points taken at the graduate level will be recorded on one transcript. The new program will determine which courses will count toward graduation. Typically a maximum of nine credits may count toward both degrees.

Professional Licensure and Certification Notice

Students who are pursuing degrees leading to application for professional licensure or certification, and/or who will be participating in clinical placements, internships, or practica through their USM program should be aware that their host facility may require a criminal background check, finger printing, or drug screening. In such situations, each student is responsible for obtaining and paying for the background check or other screening process and for delivering required documentation to the facility. Although the University will make reasonable efforts to place admitted students in field experiences and internships, it will be up to the host facility to determine whether a student will be allowed to work at that facility. Students should further be aware that a criminal record may jeopardize licensure by the state certification body. Students may consult the certification body corresponding to their intended occupation for more details. Successful completion of a program of study at USM does not guarantee licensure, certification, or employment in the relevant occupation.

E-mail Communication Policy

In order to meet the academic and administrative needs of the University community, the University has established e-mail 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 e-mail 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 e-mail 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 e-mail account. Confidential information will not be sent via e-mail. 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 e-mail accounts at http://mail.maine.edu.

For assistance in activating your University account, visit http://usm.maine.edu/computing/student-email or contact the HelpDesk at (207) 780-4029, or helpdesk@usm.maine.edu. The complete E-mail Communication Policy can be found at http://usm.maine.edu/doit/email-communication-policy.