Office of International Programs

USM Student Exchange

ort0The following information is provided for international exchange students who are considering coming to USM for a semester or a year. USM can only accept exchange students from partner universities. We hope the information below is helpful. If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to e-mail us at   Thank you!  We look forward to welcoming you to Maine.


Location, location, location! Portland was recently named one of Frommer’s Top 12 World Travel destinations, which makes for a college experience filled with discovery and opportunity. Portland joins the list of top college cities and the metropolitan area is ranked 20th among small cities in an analysis of the best places for college students. With a culturally diverse regional population of roughly 250,000, Portland is Maine’s largest city, as well as the state’s retail, business, and financial center, anPortland Harbord home to the University of Southern Maine (USM).  As Maine’s business hub, Portland offers USM students the opportunity for internship and research opportunities.   Portland’s art scene, dining, shopping, and recreation opportunities are comparable to cities twice its size, but USM students thrive in its friendly, relaxed small town pace. Less than two hours north of Boston, Massachusetts, Portland is nationally rated for outdoor recreation, health, safety, and business vitality and is known as one of the safest cities in which to live in the US.

After a semester in Maine, your students won’t be surprised why Maine’s unofficial slogan is Maine: The Way Life Should Be! Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, mountains, and lakes provide students with recreational opportunities year round. Maine is also fortunate to benefit from four glorious seasons, including a colorful fall and quintessential American summer. While other parts of the country simply turn cold in the winter, Maine benefits from picturesque snowfall that is perfect for skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing


USM has 3 campuses in Southern Maine. Students take most of their classes on the Portland and Gorham campuses. Classes at the University of Southern Maine are small with an average size of 22. The student to faculty ratio is 15:1 which allows students to have lots of personal attention. USM has been recognized for several years by The Princeton Review as one of the “Best in the Northeast.”  The University of Southern Maine also has a well developed Learning Commons center which offers tutoring (free of charge) in subjects such as English, Math, Time Management as well as computer programs such as Power Point, Excel and more.

Recommended majors for students who wish to study at USM

Political Science
American Studies

Some other majors are a bit more limited. Students in these areas of study should expect to take an average of 2 courses from their major department as well as 2 courses from other disciplines.

Computer Science


Residence Halls:   The USM Residence Halls are based on the Gorham campus. Gorham offers students a beautiful more rural setting which is similar to the traditional US college campus. Several different room options are available and vary in price. Some rooms are standard “doubles” which have two single beds in one large space. Other rooms are “suites” where the student will have a separate bedroom, but the larger flat will also have a common living area and bathroom. Suites might allow for each students to have his or her Philippi Hallown bedroom or two students may share one larger bedroom suite.  The Resience Hall staff and Gorham Student Life organizes on and off campus events throughout the year to help students adjust to both campus life and the local community.

To learn more about Residence Life and the cost of on-campus housing visit the Residence Life homepage.

Meals: The dorms do not have kitchens students so students are required to purchase a meal plan. USM offers several different meal plan options to meet the needs of different student schedules.  The International Programs staff will help you to select the meal plan after your arrival that works best for you based on the number of times you eat per day, which campus your classes are on, etc.

METRO Husky Line: Students commute easily between the Portland and Gorham campuses via the WiFi-enabled METRO Husky Line — complete with USB charging ports! The fleet of natural gas buses make frequent stops on campus 7 days per week, plus stops in downtown Portland and Westbrook. An added bonus: students ride for free on all METRO lines, so you can get to your internship, work, the mall, and more!


USM offers a unique blend of academic and residential life opportunities, with several living-learning communities from which to choose.  USM enrolls 7,879 full and part time undergraduate students and 2,130 graduate and law students which come from diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds.   Social life on campus includes concerts, dances, performances, exhibitions, and special events. USM has over 100 different student clubs ranging from the Asian American Association, the Model United Nations Organization, the Multi-Cultural Student Association to groups associated with specific majors such as Business or Biology.  Throughout the academic year USM’s Outdoor Recreation Club regularly offers opportunities to experience the beauty of Maine through weekend camping and ski trip or day excursions  to participate in snow tubing or white water rafting – all at very affordable prices.  These programs are a great way for our students to take in Maine’s breathtaking scenery with other USM students and enjoy all that Maine has to offer!  Organized student trips to Boston, Montreal, and New York City are also very popular.


The International Programs staff at the University of Southern Maine will facilitate your course registration prior to your arrival. You will need to have USM courses approved by your home school advisor.  Students will be expected to select 4 first choice courses as well as 4 alternates.   Students will have limited time after their arrival in Maine to change their schedules but we recommend that you select and register for your courses as early as possible (before you arrive in Maine).