Graduate Studies

Helpful Tips and Resources

Graduate Student Board meeting students

The purpose of the Graduate Student Network and Board is to enrich the graduate student experience at USM. Students are encouraged to look into the resources provided below. These resources are either created by the Graduate Student Board or are being promoted by the Board to let graduate students know what resources are available to them. 

The Graduate Student Network is also designed for students to share resources with each other, so please join the Network on Facebook and start a conversation.


Resources for Graduate Students

Student Complaint and Appeals Process

Student Administrative appealsTo provide graduate students with assistance in resolving disagreements or complaints of a non-academic nature, the University has designated the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) to respond to student inquiries. The mission of OGS is to provide impartial guidance to students in identifying the nature of their disagreement or complaint. OGS staff will guide students to the appropriate University policy or procedure to utilize in seeking resolution. The academic policies described below are not applicable to student complaints about unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment; however, an OGS representative can advise the student about the University policies and procedures to follow when student complaints of this nature arise.  Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies at (207) 780-4812 for more information on this process. Student Academic appeals

The purpose of the academic grade appeal policy is to provide a fair and speedy review of all student appeals of academic grades in graduate/professional programs at the University of Southern Maine; this policy will permit such appeals to be determined in a manner that reflects the interests of both the student and the instructor. The only matters reviewable under this policy are claims of prejudice on the part of an instructor in an academic exercise or activity for which a grade leading to academic credit is awarded, and/or evident and prejudicial error in the administration or grading method used for any paper, examination, performance, or other exercise or activity for which a grade leading to academic credit is awarded, provided that the academic judgment used in determining the merits of the grade to be awarded to such exercise or activity shall not be reviewable.

An appeal under this policy shall be carried out according to the following procedures:

  1. The student should present his or her claim, in writing, to the instructor involved and shall seek to have the matter resolved by the instructor. In no event shall there be a right of appeal hereunder for a claim presented to the instructor more than thirty days after a final grade is posted to the student’s record. The instructor must respond within fourteen days of receiving the appeal.
  2. If the student remains aggrieved by the decision of the instructor under step 1, he or she may, within fourteen days after formal receipt of the instructor’s final decision, appeal, in writing, to the chairperson of the department or program director of the college in which the course or other exercise or activity is offered. The chairperson/program director must respond within fourteen days of receiving the appeal.
  3. If the student remains aggrieved by the decision of the chairperson or program director of the department under step 2, he or she may, within fourteen days after formal receipt of the chairperson’s or program director’s final decision, appeal, in writing, to the dean of the college in which the course or other exercise or activity is offered.
  4. The dean, after discussion with the student and instructor, may resolve the grievance by agreement or render a decision within twenty-one days of receipt of the written appeal. The decision may be (a) that the appeal be dismissed or (b) that a grade be changed or the student be allowed an opportunity to retake an examination or other exercise or (c) that another appropriate remedy be administered.
  5. The student or the instructor may, within fourteen days of the receipt of the decision of the dean, appeal to the office of the provost in writing, stating the reason for the appeal and delivering a copy of the writing to the opposing party and the dean. The opposing party may, within ten days of receipt of the reasons for appeal, reply in writing to the office of the provost. The office of the provost shall review the original claim, the written decision of the chairperson or program director and dean, and the written reasons for the appeal and reply. The office of the provost  shall, within twenty-eight days of receipt of the appeal and after reviewing the matter, prepare a written decision which shall uphold the decision of the chairperson, program director, or dean, or prescribe any other appropriate remedy. The office of the provost's decision shall be final and not subject to further review. Copies of the decision of the office of the provost shall be delivered to the student, the instructor, and the chairperson or program director and dean. The total time for resolution from the first appeal to the final decision shall be less than 120 days. If a faculty member/administrator fails to address the appeal within the specified time frame, the student may take the appeal to the next level.

 Bias Report FormThis form should be used by USM students, faculty and staff to report incidents of bias based on, but not limited to, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, and veterans status.
USM respects the sensitivity of the information that may be included in this form. This report can be filled out anonymously. Filing this incident report notifies David Roussel, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Rodney Mondor, the Dean of Students.  Title IX Reporting FormHave you, or someone you know, experienced sex discrimination, sexual assault or harassment, dating or domestic violence, or stalking while at USM? Here is information on filing the appropriate reports.  General Incident Report FormThis is for anything that the reporting party feels does not fit in either 'bias' or Title IX.

Career and Employment Hub Graduate Student Workshops

The Career and Employment Hub is a great resource on campus for graduate students. Check out their online workshops on Networking & Informational Interviews and Resume Development.


The Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC) is committed to USM being a more inclusive and welcoming community and is always looking for more graduate student involvement.


Office of Economic Opportunity Connector

Please join the Office of Economic Opportunity/ Portland City initiative to foster economic inclusion and equal opportunity to employment. We invite you to be a Connector! Connectors are vital to immersing foreign-trained professionals into a network of a specific industry in Portland. As a Connector, you will play a crucial role in helping foreign-trained professionals understand local industry trends and provide valuable information, advice, and, most importantly, connections.

For more information, please visit this page and contact the Graduate Student Board Community Chair, Suheir Alaskari at for registration and more information. 


Digital Commons

The repository is a service of the University of Southern Maine libraries. Research and scholarly output included here has been selected and deposited by the individual university departments and centers on campus.

Great Reading Room 

Glickman Library 7th Floor

This is probably the best graduate study space in the library. It is a designated quiet space (although the events room near by can often cause some disturbance) and has sweeping views of Back Bay. If you have not used this space, it is definitely worth a visit!

Subject Guides

Find the best academic databases for your subject, find out who your program's librarian is and see a list of journal examples through your subject guide.

Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education

The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education is committed to preserving the cartographic heritage of the state, region, and nation for future generations, and to making that heritage accessible to the University, the people of Maine, and to all other students, scholars, and visitors.

Special Collections

Special Collections, part of the University Libraries, collects and preserves rare materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts. The Department is made up of three meta-collections: General Rare Books and Manuscripts, the University Archives, and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine.

Ask a Librarian

Librarians are here to provide research help to students, faculty, staff, and community members. The live chat feature runs all day to allow students to have support without having to physically go to the library.

Reference Department & Learning Commons Glickman Library 2nd Floor 780-4272, Gorham Library 1st Floor 780-5345, Lewiston-Auburn Library 1st Floor 

The Reference Department staff can play a huge part in assisting you at any stage of your research process. 

  • Reference Librarians offer one-to-one consults to help you find the best resources (databases, journals, articles, etc.) for your research.
  • Each academic department is also assigned a Liaison Librarian. While any member of the reference staff will be able to assist with research, these Liaisons are particularly well-versed in the best resources for their assigned department’s area of study. You can see who your department’s Liaison Librarian is here. If you do not see your area of study listed, just ask one of the Reference Librarians!

Reference Materials & Databases

  • There are over 350 databases available here at USM. Many of these are subject-specific, though there are a number of general databases as well. Popular databases can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the site linked above.
  • We also have Subject Guides for each academic department on our website. When beginning your research, it’s a great idea to check out your department’s subject guide to get a broad sense of the resources that may be most helpful to you. 
  • There is still a Print Journal Collection! This collection can be helpful if you are doing historical research or comparisons as many of our print journals are from the 1950s - 2000s.
  • You can always request articles through Interlibrary Loan. This is particularly useful if you come across an article from a journal which USM does not subscribe to. You should never have to pay for access to an article! You can always ask a Reference Librarian if you are unsure whether USM has access to a Journal.
  • Reference Books are available in the Reference Departments at each campus, but there are also many now available online through our databases.
  • Microfilm/Microfiche is still here! This includes old newspapers, magazines, and some journal publications. If you want to look at older resources, and/or primary source materials, this can be a great way to do so. Again, if you are unsure how to use this resource, just ask a Reference Librarian!


Grad Writing Assistance

We currently have two Graduate Writing Assistants who can help you to get out of writer’s block, recommend writing strategies, and much more. Please note that appointments take place on the 3rd floor of Glickman Library in Portland and the 1st Floor of the Gorham Library. The Writing Center at the Lewiston-Auburn campus is located in Room 118, right alongside the library.