Frequently Asked Questions

young boys working in potato field
“Picking potatoes” has long been an important activity in northern Maine, and children often got time off from school to work in the fields.

What is the Maine Studies Program?

The Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine offers students the opportunity to learn more about Maine through graduate and undergraduate courses and degrees. The program recognizes the value of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to understanding historical and contemporary issues such as Maine’s economy, its environment, and the state’s diverse population and cultures.

What undergraduate degrees do you offer?

There are two undergraduate degrees available. One is a Minor in Maine Studies, available to any UMaine undergraduate student enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program (including online as well as campus-based). For more information you can speak with your academic advisor or the advising office for your college. You can also complete the form found here (it’s a bit confusing) and return it, with your signature, via campus mail to the Maine Studies Coordinator, c/o Maine Folklife Center, 5773 S Stevens Hall. They will sign and forward to the next appropriate person on the list.

The second degree is actually a “track” in the Bachelor of University Studies (BUS) degree, offered by UMaine’s Division of Lifelong Learning. More information on that degree can be found here on the DLL website, or by contacting their advising office at dlladvising “at”

What graduate degree do you offer?

Maine Studies graduate courses are offered through the Graduate School. The degree offered is actually a Maine Studies Track in the Masters of Art in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS). This is a 30-credit degree program for students who have already completed at BA or BS degree, either at the University of Maine or elsewhere. More information on this degree, including application procedures and deadlines, can be found here.

Are your courses online or on campus?

Most Maine Studies classes (course prefix: MES) are online. Currently UMaine uses the “Brightspace” system to deliver course content, and Zoom for online seminars and meetings. All Maine Studies degrees are possible to obtain via online courses. However, students may also take classes on campus if they wish, to a certain extent. This allows them to take classes from other departments that are not online. Students may also be able to take one or two classes from other campuses in the UMaine system, with pre-approval from the Graduate School.

Can I do courses and degrees at my own pace?

Yes and no. All courses are offered during regular university sessions—fall and spring semesters, and during the summer. Students in a class all complete assignments on the same schedule, as set by the instructor. In other words, courses are not entirely self-paced; they are on 7-week or 14-week sessions set by the university and on course schedules set by individual instructors.

For the degrees, students can take as long as they need, as long as they do not exceed university time limits. This is six years for a master’s degree—although students sometimes may take a bit longer, with permission. These and other policies can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Undergraduate degrees are a bit more complicated in terms of time limits. Policies can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.

How do I enroll in a degree?

This depends on the degree. For traditional on-campus degree programs, you can start with the UMaine Admissions Office website. For the online undergraduate BUS degree, contact the DLL Advising Office. And for the MAIS graduate degree, start with either DLL Advising or the Graduate School website here.

How do I sign up for classes?

For current students, as with your other classes, you can usually do this through MaineStreet. This page by the UMaine Graduate School has information about registering for graduate courses, and different situations you might encounter. For new graduate students, you need to register through the MES Program Coordinator in your first semester. New undergraduate students should contact their faculty advisor or their college advising office.

If you have questions specifically about our courses, please contact the Maine Studies Coordinator (use the Contact Info page). If you are new to UMaine and wish to get more advice about enrolling, classes, financial aid, etc., we also suggest contacting the Division of Lifelong Learning Advising Center. They are friendly and helpful, and can guide you to the right people and resources.

What kind of courses can I take?

The Maine Studies Program offers a number of specialized and general courses about Maine Studies. A current list can be found HERE. In addition, the program draws upon courses in several fields, including anthropology, history, women’s and gender studies, art, political science, Franco-American studies, and Native-American Studies, among others. Our course page lists many of these courses as well, although new ones are always being added.

Who usually takes Maine Studies courses?

Students who plan to work in Maine in such fields as business, government, education, health care or social services often take our courses. Students interested in Maine more generally often find that they gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Maine’s history, culture and landscapes through our classes. Those with deeper interests often enroll in the Minor in Maine Studies or the MAIS degree.

How long does it take to get a master’s degree?

For the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, students must complete 30 graduate credits (which can include some transfer credits from prior coursework). Most students complete this degree in 3-4 years, but it depends on your course load and how quickly you finish the master’s project. A student who does two courses (six credits) per semester, plus three credits each summer, can finish in two years.

Do you have any funding available?

The Maine Studies Program does not have funding itself for scholarships or assistantships. However, there may be other sources of funding and financial aid available to graduate students, especially if they are full-time (six credits per semester or more). The Graduate School or Student Financial Aid can provide you with more information about this. Please note that most graduate assistantships are only available to residential (on-campus) students due to work responsibilities.

How do I reach someone for more information?

Please feel free to use our Contact Us page, or email us at folklife “at”