Honors Program


The Honors Program at the University of Southern Maine is a learning community designed for high-achieving students. In Honors, students are encouraged to tap into their intellectual curiosity and creativity while exploring rich topics from multiple perspectives. Honors Students interact closely with peers in seminar-style courses and receive individualized attention from exceptional faculty.

Honors Program Mission and Goals

Honors Mission:

The Honors Program provides high-achieving students with a diverse and rigorous curriculum, devoted faculty and staff, and a collaborative environment that emphasizes research, community engagement, leadership, social responsibility, international experience, and intellectual independence.

Honors Program Goals:

Honors students will have demonstrated the ability to foster scholarly and independent habits of mind:

  • Develop and master critical thinking skills;
  • Use self-reflection to engage in an emergent awareness of the self as a learner;
  • Apply intellectual curiosity in research to real-world problems.

Honors students will create a culminating signature work in which they:

  • Synthesize oral, written, graphical, qualitative, and quantitative communication skills;
  • Engage with workplace, civic, and research communities;
  • Present their work in a public forum with feedback and self-assessment.

Honors students will become scholar-leaders who are able to:

  • Participate in and moderate complex, potentially contentious, conversations;
  • Understand intersections of power relations and cultural lenses in global and U.S. contexts;
  • Identify ethical issues in society, perform sound ethical reasoning, and make informed moral judgments.

Honors Student Learning Outcomes:


Honors graduates should be able to:

  • Approach, define, and research complex problems 
  • Design and produce independent and/or creative projects 
  • Contextualize and/or situate their work in an appropriate disciplinary or multidisciplinary context 
  • Present their work publicly to their faculty and peers 


Honors graduates should be able to:

  • Understand the interdependence of audience, context, and message construction
  • Use effective organizational patterns when communicating messages 
  • Present content textually, visually, and orally 
  • Participate in and moderate complex, potentially contentious conversations


 Honors graduates should be able to:

  • Evaluate and responsibly use information
  • Properly attribute ideas, texts, etc. where necessary 
  • Formulate and develop claims with sufficient and appropriate support--including reasoning, evidence, and persuasive appeals


Honors graduates should be able to:

  • Intentionally engage with ideas, beliefs and practices of diverse cultures and peoples 
  • Ask substantive questions, seek out, and articulate answers to those questions in ways that integrate multiple cultural perspectives
  • Embrace contradictions by integrating alternative, divergent, or contradictory perspectives in formal assignments and in-class discussions 


Honors graduates should be able to:

  • Illustrate an ongoing process of self-reflection about their development as a scholar, engaged citizen, and lifelong learner
  • Articulate a plan to attain the requisite knowledge and skills to succeed in a chosen career or graduate program

The Honors Minor

Students who complete the Honors Program will earn the “Honors Minor.” The Minor requires students to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements with Honors courses, and to choose from a menu of discipline-specific Honors options including internships, independent studies, directed research opportunities, and study abroad experiences. Honors coursework culminates in the completion of a Capstone and, in some cases, an Honors Thesis. 

*Students must maintain a 3.3 GPA in their undergraduate Honors classes in order to graduate with the Honors Minor.

Honors Student Life

The Honors Program is more than an academic program; it is a diverse community where students have ample opportunity to form friendships with their fellow classmates both inside and outside the classroom. To take full advantage of the Honors community we encourage students to:

Experiential Learning

The Honors Program also offers many unique opportunities for experiential learning such as:


Admission to the Honors Program is by invitation. As part of the general USM application process, an invitation to join Honors is automatically granted to recent high school graduates or transfer students with stellar records. To inquire about joining the Honors program, please contact the Honors Director, Rebecca Nisetich, at rebecca.nisetich@maine.edu or 207-780-4189.