Maine Studies Courses

Upcoming Course Listings

To see current and upcoming course offerings, click on one of the links below. To register, use the MaineStreet Class Search Page.

Upcoming Semesters

Spring 2022 Courses

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Current/Recent Courses

Fall 2021 Courses

Spring 2021 Courses

Summer 2021 Courses



Maine Studies Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered by the Maine Studies Program using the MES course prefix. Many of these courses are also cross-listed by other departments. Instructors include those teaching specifically for Maine Studies and those affiliated with other departments.

To see Maine-related courses offered by other departments, many of which can be used for the Maine Studies Minor and the BUS degree, scroll down.

Undergraduate Courses

MES 101 – Introduction to Maine Studies
An interdisciplinary approach to the study of Maine through sources in history, literature, political science, Native American studies, Franco American studies, and other fields. The unifying theme is the significance of place in understanding the interaction between landscape and people. Course satisfies the general education Population and the Environment and Writing Intensive requirements. Credits: 3

MES 102 – My Maine Experience
In this one-credit, experience-based course, students learn about the landscapes, people, society, and culture of Maine. Students then immerse themselves through personal travel in the variety of local customs, cuisines, and cultures the state of Maine has to offer. Credit: 1

MES 201 – The Maine Coast
How have Maine’s coastal geography, ecology and resources shaped human activity there? How have artists and writers helped construct the Maine coast in the popular imagination? Course also considers how development, climate change and other forces threaten the Maine coast’s fragile environment. Satisfies Population and Environment, Social Context and Institutions, and Writing Intensive Gen Ed requirements. Credits: 3

MES 298 – Topics in Maine Studies [various topics]
Courses using this title and number cover a range of subjects that explore Maine’s people and places at a level appropriate for first, second, and some third and fourth year students. All such courses can be used in the Minor and the BUS degree. Credits: 3.

MES 301 – Rachel Carson, Maine, and the Environment
When Rachel Carson discovered the Maine coast, she found a place that nourished her writing, conservation ideals, and research goals. This course examines various facets of Carson’s life, focusing on her science writing, ethical engagement with the world around her, public reactions to her work, and place-based approach to the environment. Course satisfies Population and Environment and Writing Intensive general education requirements. Credits: 3

MES 350 – Maine Women
This course explores women’s experiences in Maine using historical and current examples. How have Maine’s environment, culture, economy, and history shaped women’s experiences in the state? How have national movements shaped women’s lives in Maine? And how have economic class, race, ethnicity, language, age and other categories intersected with gender in Maine? This course satisfies the Cultural Diversity & International Perspectives and the Western Cultural Tradition Gen Ed requirements. Credit: 3

MES 398 – Intermediate Topics in Maine Studies [various topics]
Courses using this title and number cover more in-depth subjects about Maine at a level appropriate for second, third and fourth year students. All such courses can be used in the Minor and the BUS degree. Credits: 3.

MES 498 – Advanced Topics in Maine Studies [various topics]
Courses using this title and number cover in-depth subjects about Maine at a level appropriate for third and fourth year students. These courses may also be used toward some master’s degrees; see your program requirements for specific guidelines. All such courses can be used in the Minor and the BUS degree. Credits: 3

Graduate Courses

Note: MES 520 is a general course designation, with multiple courses offered under this number. Students can take this course multiple times, as long as the topic differs each time.

MES 501 – Maine Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach
A graduate-level introduction to Maine through sources in multiple fields. Topics include industries such as farming, fishing, lumbering, and tourism; environmental concerns and regulations; economic challenges and opportunities; and demographic trends. This course is required for students in the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Maine Studies track). Credits: 3.

MES 520/IDS 500/MES 601 – A Sense of Place: Maine and Regional Identity
This interdisciplinary course explores Maine as a place with a unique identity and “sense of place.” Examines images of Maine from Vacationland to impoverished rural backwoods, from quaint fishing villages to declining mill towns, from wilderness to gentrified downtowns and suburbs. Drawing on poets, essayists, novelists and historians, the course explores and challenges these constructed images. Required for students in the MAIS degree, MES track. Credits: 3

MES 520 – Maine Women [graduate section of MES 350]
This course explores women’s experiences in Maine using historical and current examples. Through readings and discussion, we analyze Maine women individually and collectively in such roles as workers, reformers, performers, writers, politicians, and mothers. Credits: 3

MES 520 – Folklore and the Environment
Examines the interaction of humans with the environment from the perspective of folklore, and reviews its impact on public policy at the local, state, federal and international level. Credits: 3

MES 520 – Native American Folklore
Students will learn about the folkloric traditions of indigenous peoples of North America, including the U.S. and Canada, with a focus on the Wabanaki peoples of Maine and the surrounding region. Credits: 3

MES 520 – Researching in the Digital Age
In this participatory methods-based course, students learn about the tools and theories of social science research and education in the digital era. Students will create their own projects using audio, video, photography, and other digital media.  Credits: 3

MES 530 – Maine Politics and Public Policy
This seminar examines contemporary issues in the State of Maine and their politics. Attention is given to Maine’s role in national affairs, its natural environment, political parties and elections, the dynamics of the legislative, executive and judicial branches, the structure and operation of local institutions, and the formulation and administration of state and local policies. Credits: 3

MES 540 – Maine and the Northeast Borderlands
This course examines Maine, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces as borderland regions that share cultural and natural characteristics. Students learn about the concept of borderlands in literature, history, economics, public policy, anthropology, and political science. Credits: 3

MES 598 – Directed Study in Maine Studies
This course is for individual students seeking to explore a subject of their own interest in more depth. This can include readings-based courses as well as project courses. To learn more about MES 598 and/or propose a section for yourself, click HERE. Credits: 1-3


Courses in Other Programs and Departments


Students in the BUS and MAIS degrees and the Maine Studies Minor may take some Maine-related courses from other departments with approval of their advisor. The following is a partial listing of undergraduate Maine-related course offered by other departments at the university. For longer course descriptions, see the relevant department websites or the UMaine Undergraduate Catalog.

For graduate courses, see the UMaine Graduate Catalog. You can search for courses using “Maine” as a keyword in either catalog, or browse under subject areas that interest you. Please note that many of these courses will not be offered online, however, so that will limit access for those taking courses as distance learners.


ENG 244 – Writers of Maine
An exploration of the varied nature of the Maine experience as exemplified by writers of fiction, poetry, essays, and other creative genres.

ERS 102 – Environmental Geology of Maine
After developing an understanding of rocks, minerals and geologic time, the course explores the modern distribution of natural geologic resources that limit human activity and influence political and economic decision-making.  The emphasis in the course is on the Maine geologic environment.

FAS 101 – Introduction to Franco-American Studies
This course introduces French cultures of North America, emphasizing Maine and the Northeast region. It examines European origins and later migrations, the impact of gender and class, the social significance of language, individual and collective expression, the effects of assimilation, and the challenges faced today.

FAS 230 / WGS 235 – Franco American Women’s Experience
Examines the immigration experience and subsequent lifestyles of present-day Franco American women and their cultural ancestors. Students will learn about the historical and cultural implications of immigration for these women and the definition they imparted to the culture.

GEO 212 – Geography of Maine
A survey of spatial relationships and characteristics with a brief study of the development of Maine’s landscapes and focus on land use change and conflict, regional inequalities, locational decision-making, environmental management and planning and the personality of places.

HTY 210 – Maine History
This course examines the social, economic, and political history of Maine from prehistoric times to the present. We will discuss the politics and economy of Maine’s past, and also the everyday lives of ordinary people – women, workers, immigrants, Native Americans, rural people and others.

HTY 400 – Doing Nearby History and Folklore in the Classroom
This course provides hands-on workshops for students and especially those in the education field who wish to focus on historical research techniques that can be used in the classroom and elsewhere.

HTY 211 – Maine and the Sea
An overview of Maine maritime history from aboriginal uses through the current state of maritime Maine. Emphasis on the coast’s history, inland Maine’s relationship with the sea, Maine’s maritime relationship to the world, and current historical and archaeological research.

HTY 213 – History of the Maine Woods
Surveys the history of the Maine woods from postglacial times to the present. Topics include alterations in forest ecology, Native American and colonial settlement, and changing economic, industrial, and recreational uses of the woods, as well as spiritual and literary interpretations of the forest environment.

NAS 102 – Introduction to Wabanaki Culture and History
This course focuses on the tribes that make up the Wabanaki Confederacy: Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot. The course examines in detail the worldviews, ways of life, art, literatures, and contemporary issues of the Native Nations which make up the Confederacy.

NAS 230 – Maine Indian History in the Twentieith Century
This course introduces students to the Wabanaki history of Maine and eastern Canada in the twentieth century. The Wabanaki homeland encompasses present-day northern New England, the Maritime Provinces, and southern Quebec.

POS 203 – American State and Local Government
This course surveys the approximately 80,000 subnational governments in the United States, giving special focus to Maine. The aim is to provide information and ideas to enable students to understand the politics and policies of state and local governments generally, and Maine politics in particular.