Muskie School Overview
Associate Dean: Andrew Coburn
Professors: Clary, Coburn, Colgan, Edney, Forhan, Fraumeni, Hartley, Kartez, Lapping, Payne, Savage, Thompson; Associate Professors: Bell, Bampton, Bolda, Ettenger, Hamilton, Joly, Lambert, LaPlante, Lynn, Merrill, Pavri; Assistant Professors: Kim, Morris
The Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service is a non-partisan education, research, and public service organization dedicated to educating leaders, informing policy and practice, and strengthening civic life. The school combines nationally recognized research programs with graduate degrees in Community Planning and Development (CPD), Public Health (MPH), and Public Policy and Management (PPM). It also offers a bachelor’s degree and several minors through the school’s Geography-Anthropology (GYA) program, as well as a wide spectrum of certificates and certificates of graduate study in areas ranging from social policy analysis to public management to geographic information systems. Muskie graduates work in many fields in both public and private sectors.
The Muskie School is frequently sought after as a source of knowledge on issues of national, regional, state, and local importance. More than 150 faculty and staff engage in research through externally funded grant and contract awards totaling $20 million. This success is attributable to growing expertise, a practical, innovative approach to health, social, environmental, community, and economic development problems, and a commitment to spanning traditional boundaries among university, government, and nonprofit organizations.
These activities provide faculty and students with real-life experiences which expand and inform classroom learning. Many graduate students take advantage of the school's research programs through assistantships and internships.
Muskie School Research
The school's research and public service activities encompass a range of public policy areas, including public health, economic, and tax policy; health and public administration; community planning; and environmental sustainability. The school also provides program evaluation, policy analysis, technical assistance, and training. The school is home to the Catherine E. Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy, which houses four program areas: children, youth, and families; disability and aging; justice policy; and population health and health policy. The Cutler Institute conducts projects for federal, state, and local agencies as well as private foundations, and is committed to bringing the resources of the University of Southern Maine to bear on problems of critical importance to Maine and the nation. Collaborative partnerships with agencies and organizations have served as vehicles for innovative policy and program development.
Muskie houses also several national research centers. The Maine Rural Health Research Center is one of seven federally funded centers focused on critical issues related to rural health in the United States. The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement assists all 50 states with advances in public services for children and families. Muskie’s research portfolio also addresses sustainability issues, including urban growth, food systems, energy, and climate change.
Specialized laboratories administered by Muskie’s Geography-Anthropology program, provide high-tech, hands-on learning environments. The labs serve not only as research facilities, but also as teaching facilities, allowing for student-faculty research collaborations. Laboratories include the Archaeology Laboratory, Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Qualitative Research Laboratory, Cartography Laboratory and Map Collections, and the Geographic Information System (GIS) Laboratory.
Joint Degree Programs
The joint degree programs in law and public policy and in law and community planning and development offer the juris doctor degree (JD) through the University of Maine School of Law and the master’s degree through the Muskie School. The programs allow students to earn both the JD and masters’ degrees simultaneously by designating a certain number of crossover courses that satisfy the graduation requirements of each degree. Students may thus complete both degrees in four years instead of the five years that would ordinarily be required. Separate admission to each program is required.
The joint degree program in business administration and public health offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through USM’s School of Business and MPH through the Muskie School. This program allows students to earn the MBA and MPH simultaneously by designating a certain number of crossover courses that satisfy the graduation requirements of each degree. Full-time MBA/MPH students may complete both degrees in three years instead of the four years that would ordinarily be required. Separate admission to each program is required.
Master’s Degree Program Policies
In addition to the general policies described in the Academic Policies of the USM Graduate chapter, specific policies of these programs are as follows:
All students must complete requirements for the degree within six years from the semester in which they matriculated in the program.
Full-Time Graduate Students
Full-time students will be able to complete the program in two years. They should take as many core courses as possible in the first year, remaining sensitive to the possible need to fit in an occasional track/concentration course and/or elective course scheduled only in alternate years. In the second year, full-time students should first make certain all core and track requirements are fulfilled; they are then free to exercise concentration and elective options for the remaining credits, finishing with the capstone course.
Part-Time Graduate Students
Students planning to graduate in May of the third year should plan to take 14 to 18 credits the first and second years (two courses in the fall, two in the spring, and one or two in the summer session), for a total of 33 credits the first two years, and all remaining credits the third year. It is suggested that the three-year, part-time student take all core courses in the first year and a combination of core, track, and elective courses in the second and third years. Again, sensitivity to alternate year course sequencing is advised.
Public service professionals and community residents may enroll in Muskie School courses as non-matriculated students. Non-matriculated students are required to fulfill all prerequisites for the courses in which they wish to enroll. Because non-matriculated students’ enrollment is dependent on space availability, those interested are urged to contact instructors as early as possible. Students may also contact the Muskie School’s Student Affairs office for information on space availability and registration information. Non-matriculated students may take up to twelve credit hours (total between all programs) from the CPD, MPH, or PPM course offerings prior to matriculation. Taking classes as a non-matriculated student does not guarantee admission to the PPM, MPH, or CPD program.
Students who have completed coursework in another graduate program at USM or elsewhere may petition the PPM, MPH, or CPD Academic Affairs Committee for transfer credit. Transfer credit may reduce the number of credits that must be taken to complete the degree, and/or may be used to waive a specific curriculum requirement when appropriate. Upon approval of the program Academic Affairs Committee, transfer credits may be used in one of three ways:
Courses taken at the Muskie School prior to matriculation: Students not enrolled in a certificate program may bring up to 12 credits of Muskie School courses taken prior to matriculation in the degree program. Credits taken in the semester in which application is made for the degree program count towards the 12-credit limit.
Courses taken as part of a Muskie graduate certificate program: Students may transfer the certificate credits taken to complete the certificate up to maximum of 12 (students completing the 15-credit certificate in Public Health may petition to transfer all certificate credits into their Public Health degree). Students who exceed the university time limits for obtaining a degree and are readmitted to the Muskie School may transfer all credits taken at Muskie that satisfy catalog requirements at the time of readmission. Students who switch matriculation from one Muskie degree program to another Muskie degree program may transfer all credits taken at Muskie that satisfy catalog requirements at the time of program transfer.
Graduate courses taken at other institutions: These must be declared on students’ application for graduate study at Muskie, and may be used for transfer credit only if they meet the requirements of the graduate program and the University. Students may apply to transfer up to 12 credits of graduate credit from other universities taken prior to matriculation, except that students who transfer into full-time study in a Muskie graduate program directly from full-time study in another university’s accredited graduate program in a comparable field may apply to transfer up to one half of the Muskie degree credit requirements. Each program must approve specific program requirement waivers.
Extramural Credit for Matriculated Students
Students who are matriculated in the PPM, MPH, or CPD master’s program and would like to take a course offered by a department at USM or another university that is not already cross-listed with a Muskie degree program must obtain permission from their Muskie program’s chair prior to registering for the non-Muskie course. The same limits with respect to transfer credit apply to extramural credit.
Requirement Waiver Request
A student may request a waiver from a program requirement by showing adequate mastery of the subject matter. Evidence may include the undergraduate transcript or a transcript of other graduate work, successful completion of an examination or other academic exercise prepared by the course instructor, submission of samples of work, or through other means acceptable to the program’s Academic Affairs Committee or chair, whichever is appropriate. The Academic Affairs Committee or program chair may solicit input from the Muskie course’s instructor as to the advisability of the substitution, and may request supplemental information from the student. Approval of a course waiver does not reduce the credit requirement for graduation; students may take additional electives to meet the required credits. Students contemplating a request for permission to substitute a course are strongly advised to meet with the chair of his or her program’s Academic Affairs Committee, or the chair of his or her program (whichever is appropriate) for more information about the process before making their request.
The capstone project is an integrative research requirement for each of the master’s degree programs in the Muskie School. Depending upon the academic program, the substantive focus and format may be either an individual or group research effort. Regardless of the academic program, it is the policy of the Muskie School that all students applying for graduation must have completed and successfully presented a capstone proposal no later than two weeks prior to graduation. Additional program requirements may apply. Students are urged to contact their academic program advisor or program capstone coordinator for additional information regarding program-specific requirements.
Certificates of Graduate Study
Certificates of graduate study may be taken as additional credits of coursework to augment the master’s degree or to obtain a certificate of graduate study for those which do not require matriculation in the master’s degree. Students seeking to link their certificate program to a degree program should consult the program chair for details as to how courses will count.
The following certificates of graduate study are offered by the Muskie School:
- Applied Research and Evaluation Methods
- Community Planning and Development
- Health Policy and Management
- Nonprofit Management
- Public Management
- Public Health
- Social Policy Analysis
Visit the Muskie School of Public Service website for more information.