USM Online

Frequently Asked Questions

USM Online FAQsGeneral


Technology Requirements


  • Is an online degree different from an on campus degree?

    Whether you learn online or on campus, you’ll receive the same highly regarded USM degree – the format will not appear on your transcript. Our online programs meet the same rigorous standards and are taught by the same outstanding USM professors. Most of our program faculty teach both online and on campus.

  • How do typical online courses work?

    Online courses are delivered through Blackboard (our online learning management system).  Courses for which you are registered will appear in your “My Courses” section of Blackboard.  Each course in your program will be designed according to individual faculty members’ style and subject matter. Most courses are conducted in an asynchronous fashion, where you do not need to be online at a specific time during the day. However, some courses may have synchronous meeting requirements and these should be noted (in the course description) during the registration process so students can plan accordingly. 
  • Is my online degree different than a degree earned through face-to-face delivery?

    No, the degrees are exactly the same regardless of the delivery format.  Your diploma will not indicate how the program was delivered.
  • What is the cost to attend USM Online?

    The cost to attend USM includes tuition, assorted fees, and book and materials.  For further details, please visit the Student Financial Services website. 
  • How can I order my textbooks?

    Textbooks can be ordered online by visiting the USM Bookstore website.  Simply click on the order textbooks link under quick links. Orders can be delivered via UPS or picked up on our Portland Campus.
  • Will my program be 100% online?

    Yes, you will be able to complete your degree fully online.  However,  online students have the option of attending face-to-face courses at any of our three campuses (Portland, Lewiston, or Gorham) if convenient.
  • Can I pursue both online and on-campus courses?

    Yes, many students attend both online and face-to-face courses at some point during their time at USM.
  • How long will my online degree take?

    The time it takes to complete your degree is determined by several factors including previous course work, transfer credit, professional work experience, the number of courses taken each term, type of major, financial considerations, and work and family commitments.


  • Can I apply to a USM Online Program as a transfer student?

    Yes, we accept applications from students who have attended other schools and colleges, as well as those beginning an undergraduate or graduate degree for the first time.
  • Will my previous college credits count toward my online degree?

    USM accepts credits from regionally accredited higher education institutions.  During the application process you will be asked to submit official transcripts from all previous colleges and schools attended whether a degree was earned or not. The transcripts will be evaluated and the credits will be applied toward you USM degree program if applicable.
  • What are the admission application requirements?

    If you're ready to begin the application process, you'll find everything you need to know, including checklists, deadlines, and application procedures on our admissions website.
  • Is there an online student orientation?

    Online students receive orientation programming through their academic advisor. Once you accept your offer of admission to USM, your academic advisor will contact you to schedule an individual orientation appointment - either in-person or by phone.

Technology Requirements

  • What are the technology requirements for an online program?

    Technology is an important factor for successful completion of an online program, but requirements are kept to a minimum.  Basic requirements include a desktop computer or laptop (less than three years old), a reliable internet connection, and up-to-date word processing software.

    Some courses may also require a webcam and/or headset with a microphone.  If particular software is required, you will be notified by your instructor at the start of the course.