The University of Maine is one of the nation’s major public institutions of higher education, but built on a human scale. Its five undergraduate colleges together enroll about 9,000 students, and its graduate school enrolls about 2,250 students seeking masters or doctoral degrees. The University of Maine is Maine’s center for research and graduate education. In addition to its 88 baccalaureate degree programs, it offers 64 masters and 25 doctoral programs that attract students from around the world, helping to create a cosmopolitan university environment in a rural New England setting. The University of Maine is a place of discovery. The research and scholarship of its approximately 800 faculty members and 2,250 graduate students greatly enrich the undergraduate classroom. This spells the difference between a research university, where students learn by being caught up in the creation of knowledge, and other types of schools where research is not performed.
The University of Maine enjoys an ideal physical setting on the banks of the Stillwater River (a branch of the Penobscot) in Orono, Maine. It is ten minutes from Maine’s third largest city (Bangor) and an international airport. It is also adjacent to an interstate highway (I 95), only an hour from Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, and within an easy drive of several major ski resorts. And yet, despite these convenient travel connections, it sits at the edge of the last great expanse of undeveloped lakes, forests, and streams in the Northeast.
The University of Maine has a rich heritage. The Maine legislature established it in 1865 under the provisions of the land-grant act signed by President Abraham Lincoln. That law gave federal lands to each state that would agree to use the income from those lands to establish what was then a new kind of educational institution, one dedicated to educating the sons of average citizens in “agriculture and the mechanic arts”. In the 140 years since its founding the University of Maine has grown far beyond its original focus on agriculture and engineering, and today enrolls slightly more women than men. Two of its colleges, Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, still embody elements of its original mission, but tailored to meet the needs of the 21st century through programs like computer and electrical engineering and molecular biology. The University’s three other colleges – Education and Human Development, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business, Public Policy and Health – offer programs undreamed-of in 1865: studio art, computer science, business administration, new media, child development and family life, social work, communication sciences and disorders – and the list could go on and on.
The University of Maine remains true to its land-grant heritage in yet another important way: it is committed to public service and to improving the quality of human life. Its faculty members, its staff members, and its undergraduate and graduate students all contribute to improving our society through research, education, and direct community service. By enrolling at the University of Maine students are committing themselves to working for a better, more just, more tolerant society.
The University of Maine is not just a place to prepare yourself for a good job: it is that, but it’s also a place to prepare yourself for a rich and fulfilling LIFE. The curriculum helps with part of this preparation. Each program is based upon a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences to ensure that University of Maine graduates are broadly educated persons who can contribute in many ways beyond their technical expertise. But a big part of this liberalizing education takes place outside the classroom by immersion in a university community that celebrates the arts, treasures the truth, defends freedom of thought and expression, and cherishes human racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
The University of Maine enjoys overall institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., the oldest regional accrediting association in the United States. Many professional societies also confer accreditation or approval on specific University of Maine programs. Among these are: