Russell Scholars Program

Frequently Asked Questions About the Russell Scholars Program

How do I know if I qualify to be a Russell Scholar?

For first-year students: If you are a full-time student, you can join the Russell Scholars Program. (We ask that you formally apply so that we can plan appropriately for each first-year group.)  Apply here.  Only first-year, first-semester students need to apply.

For students beyond the first year: There's no need to apply, you can simply take our courses.  Please see our Course List here.


When do I need to apply?

The sooner the better.  Joining our program is first come, first serve, so it’s best to apply early.  But we sometimes have space at a later point in time, so go ahead and apply no matter the date.  


Is Russell Scholars only for people in certain majors?

Everyone is welcome to join RSP.  Since Russell Scholars was created more than 20 years ago, we have had students from every major at USM.  One aspect of Russell Scholars students especially like is the opportunity to get to know students with diverse interests.  


Does it cost “extra” to be in the Russell Scholars Program?

No. There is no increased cost for living in the Russell Scholars residence hall.  There are no special course fees.


Can I join Russell Scholars after I’ve already completed some college at USM or elsewhere?  

Yes—if you have Core Requirements to complete.

At that point, if you’d like to take one or more Russell Scholars courses, you don’t need to apply.  Just choose your course(s) and enroll through your Adviser or on MaineStreet (as long as you have completed any course prerequisite.)  The Russell Scholars residence hall may not be available, but if you wish to live on campus, there are several residence halls to choose from.  Or you can live off campus.  Either way, you can still enroll in RSP courses.

Most of the courses we offer fulfill USM’s Core Requirements, which all undergraduates need to complete. If you have fulfilled your Core Requirements, you may take our courses as Electives.


Do I have to stay in the Russell Scholars Program after the first year?

You are welcome to continue as a Russell Scholar as long as you wish.  Some students choose to complete 18 credits over four years and graduate as a Russell Scholar, a distinction recognized at commencement that is also a plus on your resume.  Other students choose to take Russell Scholars courses only in their first year.


What is a Russell Scholars Faculty Mentor?

When you join Russell Scholars, you are assigned a faculty member who teaches in the program to help you with any questions or concerns that arise.  We can be a resource when you need an advocate.


Can I study abroad if I join the Russell Scholars Program?

Yes.  In fact, we award some credit toward graduating as a Russell Scholar for any study abroad as long as USM accepts the credits.


Does the Russell Scholars Program include scholarships?

At USM, we provide scholarship aid to support our students, including first-year applicants, transfer students, continuing undergraduates, graduate students, and returning adults.  For more information about scholarships offered at the University of Southern Maine, please visit our scholarship information page.