Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that you find the answers to your questions here, but if not, please reach out to our office via email to or by calling 207.581.3291.


What is the best way to get in touch with a potential faculty advisor?

Prospective students applying to doctoral and thesis-based master’s programs are encouraged to make email contact with faculty members with whom they would like to study. Steps to reach out to faculty are listed below. It is recommended that these steps are completed either prior to or concurrently with the admissions process, typically two to three semesters before your intended start date. Refer to the Graduate School website for your chosen program’s application deadline.

  1. Review faculty listings and identify up to five individuals whose research interests you.
  2. Email the top two to three faculty members that you would like to work with – you can see a sample email here.
  3. If faculty respond indicating their interest in working with you, schedule a follow-up phone call or video chat.
  4. If you get a response that indicates they are not currently taking on students, revisit your faculty list, and reach out to other professors.
  5. If you need assistance connecting with faculty, email

What are some things to consider when preparing to contact a potential graduate advisor for the first time?

Here are a few tips on preparing your introductory email to a prospective advisor:

  • Keep your email brief
  • Be confident and not arrogant about your education and work history
  • Include your GPA if it is strong
  • Share meaningful highlights of your research experience
  • Describe your personal connection or passion for your field of study
  • Demonstrate that you have researched the program and faculty
  • Be cognizant of the timing during the academic year and wait three to four weeks before following up.

Below is an example to give you an idea of how to format an introductory email.

Professor [NAME],

My name is [NAME] and I am very interested in working with you during my graduate career in the [PROGRAM] program. Your research on [SUBJECT] is the finest I’ve read in the field and it would be my honor to help you continue your work. [DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL CONNECTION TO WORK HERE]. I am a [YEAR IN COLLEGE or CURRENT WORK POSITION] at [PLACE] studying [SUBJECT] and I have [AMOUNT OR TYPE OF] research experience. Please see my attached CV for more details on my education and work history. I’m happy to share any additional information you might need.

Please let me know if you plan on taking new advisees for the [SEMESTER] semester. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Application Materials

What are the application deadlines and admission requirements for my program?

Navigate to the complete list of certificate, master’s, and PhD programs at UMaine, which includes the application deadline(s) for each. When you click on each program, you will see a program description and a link to the program or department website. There, you will find a detailed list of admission requirements. Most graduate programs look for at least a 3.0 out of 4.0 GPA for undergraduate studies.

Deadlines are program-specific, but in general, applicants who are interested in financial assistance should submit applications no later than January 15 of the current year for fall admission.

For the programs with rolling admission, the Graduate School recommends that students apply a minimum of 2 months before the first day of the semester. Please check with the program to which you are applying, to see if they have an earlier deadline.

How do I pay the application fee?

The application fee can be paid with a credit card through the online application portal at the time of submission. Payments submitted via check need to be received and processed in our office before the application can be submitted.

Is there an application fee waiver available for me?

At this time, the only application fee waiver options at the Graduate School are for the following scenarios:

  • IRT Scholars will receive an application fee waiver.
  • McNair Scholars will receive an application fee waiver.
  • Current and former US Armed Forces members/dependents will receive an application fee waiver.
  • Alumni from a University of Maine System institution will receive an application fee waiver.

PLEASE NOTE: The above-listed fee waivers are only available for individuals applying to degree or certificate programs.

When specific programs announce an application fee waiver for a specific time period, we will notify everyone who has started an appropriate application.

Do I need official transcripts or test scores to apply?

No, unofficial transcripts and test scores (TOEFL, GRE, etc.) are sufficient for the purposes of submitting your application. Official copies of transcripts and test scores sent to the Graduate School directly from the institution or testing company are not required until after an application decision has been made.

Do I need to prepare an essay for my graduate application?

Yes. Compose a brief essay (300-500 words), to be read by professors in your field on your academic and personal intentions and objectives. Identify any special interest you would like to pursue now or in the future. If you have previously attended another graduate school, explain why you wish to transfer to the University of Maine.

Where do I send official transcripts or test scores?

Official transcripts can be sent by the institution to or 5775 Stodder Hall Orono, Maine 04469-5775. Official scores should be requested through the testing agency, navigate here for the institutional codes.

How do I apply to more than one program?

To apply to more than one program, you are required to submit a separate application. Applicants interested in applying to another program should contact the Graduate School to see if they qualify for a fee waiver.

I have attended UMaine, or am currently enrolled at UMaine, what transcripts are required for my application?

The Graduate School will obtain all University of Maine System (UMS) institution transcripts. If you transferred from another institution outside of UMS and the courses are listed on your UMS transcript, you may be asked to request official transcripts to be sent by the program to which you are applying. Unofficial transcripts are accepted for admission review, however, official transcripts must be submitted upon admission.

Are GRE or GMAT scores required?

Graduate examination scores (GRE and/or GMAT) are not required by the Graduate School, but they may be required for the program to which you are applying. Please review the department website for additional information.

Are letters of recommendation required?

Letters of recommendation are required for many graduate programs, but there are some programs that do not require them. If they are required, the contact information for references will be requested through the online application and recommendations should then be submitted electronically by the reference following the instructions that will be sent to them.

Do letters of recommendation need to be received in your office before I can submit my application?

No, you can submit your application before your letters are received. You should attempt to have all the supporting materials submitted by the deadline for your program. You’ll be able to track the progress of your supporting materials once you submit your application.

My recommender said they did not receive the email requesting a reference letter, what should I do?

Please be sure the email address you entered is correct in the online application portal. Recommenders should also check their spam or junk mail folders, often the email can be misdelivered. If neither of the above prove successful, please review the instructions in the How to Update Reference Information document and select a new email address for your recommender. If after this step you are still experiencing problems, please ask your recommender to send their recommendation on your behalf to

Please note that if you or your reviewer live in or are currently visiting a sanctioned country, this will also prevent your reference request from going through.

Online Portal Account

How do I start an application?

First, be sure that you have created an account for the online application portal by entering your name and email address. You’ll receive an activation email (check your junk or spam folders) and be set to start your application.

If you’ve already created an account, sign in and select the ‘Start a New Application’ button.

I can’t remember my password, how do I reset it?

If you can’t remember your password, use the reset password page to send a temporary password link to the email address you used to create the account.

I didn’t receive the email to activate my account.

Reach out to us via email to and we can help to get your account activated. We ask that you refrain from creating another account, but if you do, let us know so that we can combine the two accounts.

My University is not listed in the application in the drop-down menu. What do I do?

We encourage applicants to perform different searches for abbreviations or spelling out the name, or in some cases searching by state to find their institution.

I need to change my program term and/or campus, how do I do that? 

Depending on what stage your application is in, you can either change the program, term, or campus yourself, or reach out to the Graduate School staff to update on your behalf.

  • If you have not yet submitted your application:
    • Navigate to your online application portal
    • Select the ‘finish application’ button on the application you’ve started
    • Select the left side menu icon
    • Select the ‘update application type’ button
    • Confirm that you would like to update your responses
    • Answer the application type, campus, program, and term questions
    • Select ‘update application’
  • If you have submitted your application, email Jessica Ouellette (

I’ve made a mistake on my application, but it’s already submitted, should I submit another? 

No. To avoid delays in processing, we highly encourage all applicants to email the revision (including revised documents if applicable) to and we will make the requested revision if appropriate.

I accidentally withdrew my application, should I start another one?

No. Email Jessica Ouellette ( and request that your application be re-opened.

International Students

Do I need to take an English proficiency exam?

An English language proficiency exam is not needed if your undergraduate (or master’s) degree was taught in English or if English is an official language of your home country. The Graduate School accepts TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo and PTE test scores. Some departments may have specific English proficiency requirements, make sure to check with the graduate coordinator.

As an international student, when should I send my certificate of finances documentation?

We encourage international students to submit financial documentation, also referred to as the Affidavit of Support, as soon as they are able. Financial documentation is only required for those who do not receive university funding.

Once accepted, what do I need to do to obtain my I-20?

If the student is offered an assistantship, either the program or department will send in the necessary paperwork to the Graduate School documenting the financial details, which will release the I-20. Alternatively, if the student is self-paying or has a sponsor, they will fill out the Affidavit of Support form and upload it through our online portal for our staff to process and issue the I-20.

Are there any specific programs for which an international applicant would not qualify?

Graduate degrees in Nursing, Educational Leadership, Literacy Education, and Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction are for practitioners and educators currently licensed in Maine. Additionally, international students do not qualify for any graduate certificate program as these programs are unable to guarantee class scheduling that satisfies current visa requirements.

Am I able to apply for a graduate program on a B-1 or B-2 visa, or on the Visa Waiver Program?

Once admitted in valid B-1, B-2, or VWP (Visa Waiver Program) status, visitors have restricted permissions for what they can do while in the United States. Visitors are granted status until a specific expiration date and do not have permission to work or enroll in an academic course of study during that time. According to federal regulations, a nonimmigrant visitor “violates the conditions of his or her B-1 or B-2 status if the alien enrolls in a course of study” [8 CFR 214.2(b)(7)]. These conditions apply to visitors in the Visa Waiver Program as well.

Is there a deadline for visa processing?

An international application deadline of July 1 is strongly encouraged for fall applications, and November 1 for spring applications, for non-Canadian and non-SEVIS transfers. Past this timeframe, it is challenging for students to schedule a visa appointment, arrange travel, and arrive on time.

For Canadian students or SEVIS transfers, the international application deadline is August 1 for fall and December 1 for spring.

Admission Timeline

How are graduate applications reviewed?

The University of Maine Graduate School receives all applications for graduate study. When the submitted application is complete with the required supporting materials, it is sent to the program that the applicant designated in their application. The faculty in the program review the application and make an admissions recommendation to the Graduate School. Admission to most graduate programs is highly competitive and is based on the applicant’s academic qualifications for graduate study in the designated program area. Programs may have additional admission criteria on their websites, but in most programs an earned undergraduate degree in the same or related major is required, as well as a GPA that would place the student in the upper 25% of their class.

When can I expect my application checklist to be updated?

Please allow 1-2 weeks for credentials to be received and for the processing of your application. This time frame may be shorter if you submit a complete application and possibly longer during peak application periods (December – February). Continue to log into your application dashboard to track missing supplemental materials.

Note: The materials submitted become the property of the University of Maine and are not returned to the applicant.

When can I expect a decision regarding my application?

This will depend on the time of year the application is submitted, the specific program and deadlines, and the timing for the faculty committee review. Most decisions for an applicant looking for fall admission should be sent out to applicants by late March. Spring applicants should receive a decision by early December.

Does the Graduate School make application decisions?

Admission recommendations are made by the individual departments or program review committees. The Graduate School then reviews these recommendations and provides a final formal decision. Applicants will receive an email notification when the decision letter is ready to view in the applicant’s online portal.

I received a notification that my application has been waitlisted, what happens now?

Waitlisted applications have been reviewed by the faculty reviewing committee and are potentially awaiting additional information or they need to determine if they have funding or capacity to take on additional students. Applicants who have been waitlisted are encouraged to connect with the faculty if they have not already done so.

How do I accept an offer of admission?

Replying to an offer of admission can be done through the applicant portal once the decision letter has been prepared. For students who would like to request a possible deferral of admission, we ask that you decline the original offer and select ‘Defer my admission’ in the drop-down menu provided.

How long do I have to accept an offer of admission?

The Council of Graduate School suggests applicants searching for fall admission have until April 15 of the given year to confirm the offer of admission.

May I defer my offer of admission?

You may request to defer your offer of admission through the applicant portal by declining the original offer of admission and selecting the ‘Defer my admission’ option in the drop-down menu. We will forward your request along to the admitting program for their review and approval before we change your admission date.

I accepted my offer of admission, but I need to defer to a future term. What do I do?

If you have already confirmed your offer of admission through the applicant dashboard, complete this form to request an admission deferral. We will forward your request along to the admitting program for their review and approval before we change your admission date.

I was not offered admission and want to reapply next year. How do I reapply?

Applicants who wish to reapply are required to complete a new application and pay the $65 application fee in the online application portal.

Funding Your Program

What funding opportunities does UMaine offer graduate students?

Many graduate students receive funding at UMaine through an assistantship. Navigate to the individual program or department page to see if they offer funding in the form of teaching assistantship (TA) or research assistantship (RA). If the program does not offer funding, accepted students can apply to other graduate assistantships in offices throughout campus. All positions are very competitive. Any job posting that references FAFSA or federal work study is a position that is only available to domestic students.

Other Q’s & A’s

What are the housing options at your University if I attend?

The University of Maine offers two options for on-campus housing for graduate students in Stodder Hall and in University Park. The Commuter and Non-Traditional Student Programs offers a virtual renter’s fair with a list of local renters.