About the University System of Maryland

The University System of Maryland (USM) is the state’s public higher education system. USM’s 12 institutions, 3 regional higher education centers, and system office work closely together to leverage their collective expertise and resources, share best practices, increase the system’s effectiveness and efficiency, and advance USM’s mission to improve the quality of life in Maryland.

Benefiting students, as well as Maryland and its citizens, USM:

  • Offers expansive access to affordable, high-quality educational opportunities.
  • Performs groundbreaking research.
  • Instills a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Promotes economic growth and workforce development.
  • Provides vital services to communities and individuals.
  • Partners with business, governmental, nonprofits, and organizations to improve quality of life.


As a system of higher education, USM creates a dynamic environment that is helping to power Maryland, the nation, and the world forward. USM is a recognized leader in many areas. These include academic and research excellence, innovation, economic and workforce development, and the eff­ective and efficient use of resources.

Educational Opportunities
Highly ranked universities and programs, outstanding faculty and staff­, and innovative academic models are all hallmarks of USM. Providing high quality and a­ffordable academic programs, and increasing student retention and completion rates are among the system’s top priorities. USM offers hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs. Furthermore, USM’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation is researching, developing, and implementing strategies and practices to help increase students’ academic success.

USM faculty and staff­ continue to fuel research and discovery, attracting more than $1.5 billion in external grants and contracts annually. USM research is advancing understanding and practice in many areas, including bioinformatics, cybersecurity, environmental science, food science, photonics, the social sciences, and vaccine development.

Economic and Workforce Development
USM plays a major role in the state’s and the region’s economic and workforce development. USM institutions address critical workforce shortage areas, especially those related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). USM institutions awarded 11,929 STEM bachelor’s degrees—nearly 80 percent of the state’s STEM degrees—in FY 2020. The system also advances commercialization and technology transfer. For example, USM institutions have facilitated the launch of more than 900 companies since 2012.

Effective Use of Resources
Since the launch of its E­ffectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) Initiative in 2004, USM has saved more than $675 million. In addition, USM leads the state in sustainability eff­orts with 77 facilities constructed and/or planned as LEED-certified “Silver” or higher. In 2015, USM launched E&E 2.0, the next generation of the system’s Efficiency and Effectiveness Initiative. E&E 2.0 aims to increase USM’s positive impact on the state of Maryland, enhance student success, continue innovation in teaching and learning, reengineer administrative processes, and reduce costs.

Each year USM students, sta­ff, and faculty contribute millions of hours of service to the community through cultural programs, legal and medical clinics, partnerships with public schools and the business community, and other initiatives.

USM Overview

Featured Publications

USM Institutions

USM Regional Centers

Map of USM Institutions and Regional Centers


The mission of the University System of Maryland is to improve the quality of life for the people of Maryland by providing a comprehensive range of high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities; engaging in research and scholarship that expand the boundaries of current knowledge; and providing knowledge-based programs and services that are responsive to the needs of the citizens of the state and the nation.

USM fulfills its mission through the effective and efficient management of its resources and the focused missions and activities of each of its component institutions.

The USM Vision and Strategic Plan

The vision of USM is to be a preeminent system of public higher education, admired around the world for its leadership in promoting and supporting education at all levels, fostering the discovery and dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of the state and nation, and instilling in all members of its community a respect for learning, diversity, and service to others.

The USM Strategic Plan serves as a blueprint for the USM's future and details how the USM will continue to achieve its vision. In January 2021, the USM Board of Regents' Strategic Planning Working Group launched a one-year process to develop a new strategic plan for the USM, which builds on the progress of the prior ten-year plan while addressing emerging challenges and opportunities over the next ten years.

Links to Learn More About the University System of Maryland