First-Year courses

Enrollment closes July 15 and seats fill quickly

Supported by a generous donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation as part of UMS TRANSFORMS.

Experiment with Biology

RLE 01: BIO 100

Credits: 4
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

You’re here for the science – jump right in! This research learning experience (RLE) starts with a pre-semester bridge week where you’ll get to know other first-year students and work with peer-learning lab mentors to support your success in BIO 100, a required class for many natural, physical, and social sciences majors. Then, participate in a semester-long independent field research experiment and gain science skills you’ll need for college and beyond.

Person taking notes


Improve your academic reading and writing (2 semesters)

RLE 02: ENG 100

Credits: 3 credits fall + 3 credits spring
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Satisfy a graduation requirement while exploring the ways in which people use writing to make sense of the world and their experiences within it!  

Throughout this class students will work individually and collaboratively to develop reading and writing strategies suitable for responding to research in the field of Writing Studies.  End of term projects will emerge from iterative academic inquiry and will help students more fully understand and contextualize the literate activities of their own lives.

Person taking notes in notebook

Improve your academic reading and writing (1 semester)

RLE 03: ENG 101

Credits: 3
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Satisfy a graduation requirement while exploring the ways in which people use writing to make sense of the world and their experiences within it!  

Throughout this class students will work individually and collaboratively to develop reading and writing strategies suitable for responding to research in the field of Writing Studies.  End of term projects will emerge from iterative academic inquiry and will help students more fully understand and contextualize the literate activities of their own lives.

Person taking notes in notebook

Print in 3D & Explore Offshore Wind


RLE 04: ASCC Green Energy & Materials

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Are you interested in a career tackling big societal problems? Want to work on collaborative team projects? Try engineering with the Advanced Structures and Composites Center!

Through interaction with ASCC researchers, you will be introduced to projects in offshore wind technology and 3D printing that impact climate change, infrastructure, affordable housing and more.

In this exploratory lab style course, you will think like an engineer by completing hands-on design and print/build tasks with your team. You will learn basic engineering principles, gain familiarity with the engineering design process, and practice communicating ideas to others. The course is focused on active participation, creative problem solving, and teamwork. No previous engineering or advanced math experience required.

A woman looks at a 3D printer

Dig into the Past


RLE 05: Archaeology of UMaine

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Must be enrolled in ANT 101

We will excavate a piece of early UMaine to learn about past university life from the traces left in the ground.

Two students measuring hole in ground


Community Centered Research


RLE 06: Community Building & Engagement

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Must be Honors student, registration deadline 6/20/22

Start your academic journey on an island off the coast of Maine with classmates from different majors and colleges. Experience beautiful Hurricane Island’s natural landscape and cultural history. Explore the intertidal zone, research aquaculture with a scallop farmer and try your hand at lobster fishing, hike, build rafts, swim in the ocean, and star gaze while you forge friendships and have moments for quiet reflection. Here we will launch Community Building and Engagement (HON 175), a 1-credit service-learning course which examines what it means to be part of a community and our roles/expectations as members by working directly with community partners in the field.

You will find more information on the experience and the course attached or you can visit the website.


Cook Up Community


RLE 07: Cooking Up Community 

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Food can teach us about who we are and how our identities change over time. In this class, we will take a deep dive into parish and community cookbooks and try our own hands at making some of the recipes we find.

Mixing bowl and whisk

Make a Unique Logo


RLE 08: Creative Practice & Technology

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Engage with high-performance laser cutting and engraving equipment, rapid prototyping, design thinking processes and other ideation concepts to develop and memorably communicate a unique persona or brand identity. Develop ideas through digital means for real-world applications. Solve complex challenges that benefit from a creative and innovative approach through immersing oneself in an interdisciplinary and experience-driven environment.

Laser cutting in wood

Cruise a River


RLE 09: Bootcamp/Marine Data-Get Salty

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Marine Science majors only

Spend time on the coast of Maine at the university’s Darling Marine Center. Collect data from the 42-foot research vessel, the Ira C, in the Damariscotta River estuary. The data will be analyzed during the fall 2022 semester. Enrollment for this course is linked to the School of Marine Science’s Boot Camp.

Boats on ocean


Solve Environmental Problems


RLE 10: Earth Garage (EGarage) – Innovation in Climate Change

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Learn a 21st-century problem-solving approach to help solve urgent environmental challenges. Immerse in an Earth science innovation curriculum with a set of compelling research problems formulated and presented by UMaine faculty members and an Innovation Engineering process to solve them. Select one semester-long topic and navigate a world of interdisciplinary challenges, in consultation with a campuswide framework of faculty researchers and facilities.

View of earth from space


Recycle and Redesign

RLE 11: Embodied

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Students will use recycled/upcycled cardboard to design and build custom-fitted, wearable items that address issues of identity, and the social and functional aspects of attire. Research topics include, but are not limited to: clothing design, inclusive design, costume design, furniture design, adaptive fashion, jewelry, sustainable design/fashion, and wearable art.

Recycle and Redsign


Exploring Our Campus Ecosystem

RLE 12: EES 117

Credit: 2
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Ecology and Environmental Science majors only

What are the signs of fall on UMaine’s campus, and are they shifting with climate change? Students will take a whirlwind tour of field research—from developing hypotheses and designing methods, to collecting field data and analyzing results. Students will answer these questions using UMaine‘s campus as our living laboratory.

Students and instructor in the woods

Harvest Timber


RLE 13: Forestry Work Experience

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Forestry majors only

Gain hands-on work experience in the University Forest working alongside upper-class students and Maine licensed foresters involved in forest inventory, boundary line maintenance, precommercial thinning, timber harvest layout and more. This work experience provides preparation for forest industry summer internships and future jobs. Join University Forest Office foresters in local professional meetings to build professional connections essential for a forestry career in Maine.

Student measuring tree

Raft the Waters

RLE 14: Land-Sea Connection

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

This course focuses on land-sea connections associated with surface water moving through landscapes, rivers, and coastal estuaries. Students will be introduced to science principles and methods used to quantify surface water flows and the relations to movements of particles and aquatic organisms in Maine rivers through classroom examples and discussions, as well as first-hand field experiences in waterways in the Penobscot River watershed.

Students in a raft on river

Explore how we Learn

RLE 15: Education Exploration

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Open to students in the College of Education and Human Development

Explore how students learn best – does Outdoor Education make a difference in K-12 classrooms? Does Service Learning impact student development?  Get to know campus,  then visit Maine’s iconic coast for an outdoor experience including hikes, rock climbs, and exploration. More information can be found here.

Students rock climbing


Play with Electricity


RLE 16: Lights&Buzzers&Motors! Oh My!

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Learn the many uses of electricity by working with devices that convert electrical energy into devices that blink, make noise and move machinery

Two students look at a circuit


Explore Maine, Sea to Summit

RLE 17: Maine Coast to Katahdin

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Visit the iconic Baxter State Park and surrounding locations — to explore a range of Earth observations and work as part of a team to generate new knowledge. Learn how Maine’s landscape provides vivid examples of the forces that shape our planet and influence society.

A professor teaches students on Maine's coast

Play with your food

RLE 19: Play with your Food

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

You will be able to get a taste of diverse topics in food science by investigating a different theme each week. Explore the sensory attributes of food, learn about the chemical profile of apple cider after pressing your own apples, examine sugar cookery by making candy, use food analysis to analyze beverages components, watch food production at work by taking field trips, and more.  Each class will ask and answer questions about how, why, and what else?

Checking temp with food thermometer

Hunt for Viruses

RLE 20: Phage Genomics

Credits: 4
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Required for all microbiology, molecular and cellular biology, and biochemistry majors

Learn about the structure of DNA in genomes, with a particular focus on the role of viral genomes and their role in bacterial virulence. Develop skills in the extraction of nucleic acids from bacterial cultures and sequencing isolated DNA. Assemble bacterial genomes and hunt for viral/phage genomes that potentially contribute to bacterial pathogenesis. These bioinformatic analyses will be conducted in the fall. 

Phage research

Flourish


RLE 21: Research Exploration in Honors

Credits: 4
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Honors students only

The first step to knowing anything else is knowing oneself.  In this class, we will investigate who we are and what we owe to others.  In the first part of the semester, we will read some foundational texts across cultures and use them to help guide our investigations of ourselves – our unique perspectives, values, skills, and strengths.  We’ll take a weekend trip to the UMaine camp at Bryant Pond to spend a weekend in outdoor adventure and self-exploration.  In the second half of the semester, we will focus on understanding who we are in relation to others, what it means to be a citizen, and how to use our unique skills to serve our communities.

To request this course, please fill out this form through the Honors College.

Person sitting on mountain top

Explore the Outdoors

RLE 22: Outdoor Stewardship

Karen BeeftinkRecreation and Tourism Management Program

Credits: 4
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

University of Maine at Machias students only

Engage in outdoor activities such as canoeing and hiking with University of Maine at Machias faculty and student leaders. Explore local outdoor recreation environments, and learn skills and methods for monitoring and managing outdoor recreation resources for recreational activities. Apply the stewardship experience skills to local conservation efforts right on the UMM campus.

A canoe on a lake with mountains in the distance

Create Unhackable Systems

RLE 23: Intro to Blockchain

Matt Graham | Maine Business School

Credits: 3
Bridge Week: Black Bear Bridge

Have you heard of cryptocurrency and NFTs? Interested in learning about blockchain technology that has the potential to reshape the way business is done? This RLE is for YOU.

Why you should join this Research Learning Experience:

  • You will be enrolled in a blockchain-focused section of our required Digital Business Transformation course that will count toward your degree.
  • Save money on tuition.
  • Take part in a Bridge Week Experience a week before classes begin and lay a foundation for success in your first semester.
  • Move into the Business Living Learning Community in Somerset Hall and live and learn with other business students taking similar classes.
A business student sitting with a laptop computer

Use Mindfulness for Better Health 

RLE 24: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Rebecca Schwartz- Mette | Department of Psychology

Credits: 1
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Nursing students only

Following a group bridge-week activity involving a weeklong intensive Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshop, this hands-on course focuses on holistic student success and well-being. Students will experiment with a range of health interventions available through UMaine Nursing’s WellNurse program, including fitness programming, mindful nutrition, massage therapy, wellness workshops, and more! In addition, students will be guided through the research process from the inside out, learning about research design, assessment, analysis, and evaluation using personal data collected via a free FitBit tracker in a series of classes involving both didactic and experiential learning.


Business and the Great Outdoors  

RLE 25: Intro to Business and Bound for Business

Stefano Tijerina | Maine Business School

Credits: 3
Bridge Week: Tailored Bridge Week

Do you love the outdoors? Want to learn about business opportunities in the outdoor industry? This RLE is for YOU.

Why you should join this Research Learning Experience:

  • You will be enrolled in an outdoor industry-focused section of our required Intro to Business course that will count toward your degree.
  • Save money on tuition.
  • Take part in an exciting Bound for Business trip to western Maine a week before classes begin. Meet your classmates and professors and form meaningful connections.
  • Move into the Business Living Learning Community in Somerset Hall and live and learn with other business students taking similar classes.
A photo of students standing on the river bank with a canoe

Enrollment closes July 15 and seats fill quickly