USM offers a low residency MFA & Ph.D. in Leadership program which require students to be physically present on campus for roughly ten days per semester after which students return to their home state or country to complete the work of the semester under the supervision of the faculty advisor. Over and above standard requirements related to international students, it is very important to note the following:

1. Because of the non-traditional format of USM’s low residency program as well as the structure of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) which is designed only for traditional full-time residential programs, the University can only issue an I-20 valid for the duration of the residency. The grace period allowed under F-1 status provides students adequate travel time to arrive prior to the program and to depart the US once the residency has ended. As such, international students enrolled at USM a low residency program cannot remain in the U.S. between residencies under the I-20 and/or F-1 visa.

2. Students are required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee ($350) in advance of each semester in order that a new semester-specific I-20 can be generated and issued to the student.

3. No Optional Practical Training (OPT) is available to international students enrolled in this program.

If you have questions about these immigration rules please contact Kimberly Sinclair in the International Programs Office at