University of Southern Maine


Ranked among the North’s 187 best by the U.S. News & World Report, the University of Southern Maine is a public, three-campus AAC&U member in Portland that confers 54 undergrads and 24 graduate majors, including 15 online, at a 14:1 learner-faculty ratio. For example, the MS in Counseling puts its 54-credit, CACREP-accredited certification path 90 percent online for Vocational or Clinical Rehabilitation tracks with 600-hour internships, such as KidsPeace and Spring Harbor Hospital. Directed by Dr. Mark Steege, the MEd in Instructional Technology follows an accelerated 33-credit, six-term sequence of 500-level online courses like Digital Age Teaching and PK-12 Library Management.

The University of Southern Maine appears in our ranking of the Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Educational Psychology Online.

Online via Blackboard Learn 9.1, the MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides Maine’s only 30-credit, 1.5-year track to K-12 TESOL Endorsement with classes like Linguistic Diversity, 200+ practicum hours, and Tk20 portfolio production. Since 2015, the MS in Educational Psychology has granted its 36-credit, non-thesis Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration online under Dr. Jamie Pratt to fulfill the Fourth Edition Task List for a 71 percent first-time BCBA certification pass rate. Other online degrees include the BA in Humanities, BS in Business, BA in Social Science, MS in Adult & Higher Education, MSEd in Special Education, and MA in Leadership Studies.

About the University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine originated on December 26, 1878, when 700 people attended the opening ceremony for Gorham Normal School at Corthell Hall. Forty-three years later, Portland University was founded to support returning World War I veterans. In 1933, PU acquired Portland Junior College to expand its Monument Square location. In 1945, the initial school was renamed Gorham State Teachers College. Broadening curriculum led to the Gorham State College name change in 1964. Four years after, the Legislature added Portland University to its new University of Maine System. By 1970, Gorham and Portland merged into one entity. In 1978, the University of Southern Maine was officially born. On September 6, 1988, USM started its first satellite in Lewiston-Auburn for an inaugural class of 673. During the 2000s, the Center for Technology Enhanced Learning grew with online studies.

Endowed for $34.2 million, the University of Southern Maine now employs 265 full-time faculty inspiring 7,855 Huskies from 21 countries in 1,400 courses online and at three campuses with 150+ clubs like Educator’s Rising. In 2019, Southern Maine received the NCAA Division III Community Service Award. In 2017, its Free Press won the NYC Design Contest First Place Award. The USM John Mitchell Science & Technology Center accepted the 2006 Maine AIA Honor Award for Design Excellence too. The U.S. News & World Report named USM the 149th best public health, 137th top social work, and 405th best business school. On Niche, USM boasts America’s 145th best location and Maine’s fifth most liberal academics. College Factual placed the University of Southern Maine 267th for teacher education. Washington Monthly picked USM as the 312th best master’s institution overall.

University of Southern Maine Accreditation Details

On March 27, 2018, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) sent the University of Southern Maine formal notification that the Year-Seven Evaluation Report was accepted for Level V accreditation through 2021 under President Glenn Cummings, Ed.D., who served as Obama’s Deputy Assistant Education Secretary. Located 104 miles down Interstate 95 in Burlington, Massachusetts, this supreme six-state Northeast Region accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Education Department and Maine Office of Higher Education. The University of Southern Maine also features the following degree-specific accreditations:

  • Council on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
  • Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

University of Southern Maine Application Requirements

Admission to the University of Southern Maine is classified “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because 3,299 of the 4,111 Fall 2017 applicants were selected for 80 percent acceptance. Post-grad Huskies must have culminated four-year bachelor’s degrees at regionally accredited colleges recognized by the CHEA. The Office of Graduate Studies typically seeks online entrants with cumulative GPAs of 2.5 or better. The MA in Leadership Studies Online strongly prefers 3.0 GPAs. Taking the GRE or MAT is entirely optional. Non-U.S. students must present TOEFL scores above 79 internets, 550 paper, or 213 computer. International English Language Testing System marks exceeding 6.5 also qualify. The Online MSEd in Special Education mandates current K-12 teaching certification. MSEd in Educational Leadership majors needs to verify 36 months of satisfactory classroom experience. Online MS in Counseling candidates is interviewed to determine their self-awareness, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

The University of Southern Maine’s Office of Graduate Studies generally has rolling admission except for certain programs. Online MS in Counseling entrants must apply by November 15th or March 15th. The Hybrid CLRC Rehabilitation track has a May 31st deadline. The MSEd in Special Education has priority dates of October 15th and May 1st. Low-Residency MSW candidates are reviewed until March 1st. Accordingly, create a CollegeNET account to submit the USM Graduate Application online for $65 ($25 if certificate). Have registrars send official bachelor’s transcripts to PO Box 9300 in Portland, ME 04104. If chosen, use institutional code 3691 for GRE General Test results. Additional program materials include the 600-word personal essay, academic statement, 2-3 recommendations, current résumé or CV, teacher credential summary form, and declaration of finances. Contact (207) 780-5230 or to learn more.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, the University of Southern Maine charged average in-state graduate tuition of $7,326 annually. Non-resident, full-time master’s tuition costs $19,800 by year. Post-grad Huskies covered mandatory fees totaling $866 yearly. Residing at the Portland campus’ housing like Philippi Hall added $9,450 for room and board. USM budgeted $1,200 each year for textbooks and supplies. Traditional annual attendance ranged from $18,842 to $31,316. However, USM Online followed a different pay schedule. Maine master’s students spent $407 per credit online. Non-residents covered online graduate costs of $1,100 per credit. New England and Canadian students earned a tuition reduction of $651 per credit.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Student Financial Services Office in Luther Bonney Hall Room 136 links 57 percent of full-time USM Huskies to average aid of $7,167 each for $25.44 million combined. Graduate funds include the Bob Crewe Foundation Scholarship, Brian C. Hodgkin Dean’s Scholarship, Boyne Family Scholarship, Bank of America Scholarship, Catharine Wilder Guiles Scholarship, ChrisAlice Scholarship, Dean John W. Bay Scholarship, Edmund S. Muskie Memorial Scholarship, Kim Moody Scholarship, Lewiston-Auburn Alumni Scholarship, Mabel G. Skillin Scholarship, Michael E. Dubyak Scholarship, and Stonecoast MFA Scholarship. The $3,000 Graduate Studies Scholarship has April 30th and November 15th deadlines for online master’s entrants with GPAs above 3.0. Forty School of Education & Human Development Scholarships is available yearly to support online MSEd cohorts. Filing FAFSA applications coded 009762 determines graduates’ Federal Teach Grant and Plus Loan eligibility. The Finance Authority of Maine also runs 20+ in-state graduate options like the Alice Haiss Scholarship, Fred Scribner Jr. Fellowship, Camp Susan Curtis Scholarship, and Joseph Thomas Memorial Scholarship.

Keep reading about the University of Southern Maine at the USM Online Division website.