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Special Opportunities

UMBC provides the resources of a larger university with the access of a smaller one. Study abroad, internships, co-op experiences, service-learning, undergraduate research and accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs are all within reach.

The Shriver Center

The Shriver Center, named in tribute to the vision and service of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, links the resources of the campus to urgent social needs — particularly in the areas of education, juvenile and criminal justice, health, the environment and economic development.

The Shriver Center places over 1300 students in co-ops, internships, and research experiences each academic year at hundreds of businesses and organizations, coordinates and manages hundreds of service-learning projects that bring the university’s resources to people in high needs settings and connects students to a range of community-based social-service projects.

By participating in the Center’s programs, students explore the connections between theory and practice and between their academic program and their life’s work. They acquire a better understanding of their own skills and interests and a clearer understanding of their role in the larger community.
All students placed in either professional practice or service-learning programs through the Shriver Center are required to enroll in a zero-credit course (PRAC 094-099). This course provides formal recognition of students’ participation in the programs and assigns a pass/fail grade based on their performance. In addition, most Shriver Center placements can be taken for credit toward a degree.

Internship, Cooperative Education & Research Programs

Through the Shriver Center’s internship, research, and cooperative education programs, undergraduate and graduate students integrate classroom study with professional experience in a related career field. In addition to acquiring new knowledge and skills, students may earn college credit.

The Shriver Center Professional Practice Programs offer both paid and unpaid placements related to students’ major fields of study in more than 500 business and non-profit settings. Internship and research placements are coordinated by both the Shriver Center and academic departments. Recent internship sites include Northrop Grumman, GE, Constellation Energy, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security Administration, T. Rowe Price, SAIC, U.S. Department of State, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, NASA, and the National Security Agency.

The Cooperative Education Program allows students to combine periods of full- or part-time professional experience with academic study. Placements are available throughout the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and out of state. Co-op students in the federal sector often gain non-competitive career conversion upon graduation.

The Center’s Scholars Programs offer competitive internships for students with a 3.00 GPA or above. Scholars students compete locally or nationally for top-level placements that are paid. Scholars programs include the Governor’s Summer Internship Program, which places students with the heads of Maryland state agencies or in the Governor’s Office, the Maryland Department of Transportation Fellows Program, the UMBC Entrepreneur Internship Program, and the Walter Sondheim Jr. Nonprofit Leadership Program.

Service-Learning Programs

The Shriver Center leads over 600 service-learning placements annually for undergraduate and graduate students, which are designed to address social problems and foster civic responsibility. In coordinating placements, the Shriver Center links service experiences to students’ academic interests, allowing them to advance their personal and professional goals while earning credit. Students who participate in service-learning programs are involved in academic course work that includes critical reflection upon their service experiences.

Service-learning placements allow undergraduate students to provide direct service to non-profit organizations and local K-12 schools. Students can choose to serve in the center’s Choice Program or in one of a dozen settings. For example, students tutor Baltimore youth and adults in community-based programs or work in projects such as the College Gardens After-school Program, Best Buddies, Project HEALTH, the Adult Literacy Program, and the Multiple Sclerosis YMCA Swim Program.

The Shriver Peaceworker Program, a graduate-level service-learning program, invites returned Peace Corps volunteers to participate in a rigorous, two-year program integrating three key components: community service, graduate study and ethical reflection. Peaceworkers focus their community service and graduate study in one of four areas of social concern: juvenile justice, education, health, and economic and community development. The program’s goal is to educate and train a new generation of citizens and leaders who can critically, creatively and responsibly address the complex economic, social and cultural problems confronting the United States –– particularly its cities –– today.

K-16 Outreach Initiatives

The Shriver Center is involved in a variety of sustained partnerships with K-12 public schools that address important unmet needs in the community. The Center connects faculty and students to elementary, middle and high schools throughout the region to support a wide range of initiatives. These programs have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), local foundations, and corporate partners to provide stipends for students. UMBC undergraduate and graduate students have worked in classrooms supporting high school science teachers in Montgomery County, have trained teachers in elementary schools in Baltimore City on the use of Smart Board technology, and have tutored and mentored K-12 students through a number of other partnerships with schools throughout the state.

International Work and Service

The Shriver Center also places UMBC students in internships around the world for periods ranging from a semester or to a summer. Also, students pursue community-service placements overseas, acquiring multicultural experiences in countries with extensive social needs. Both paid and unpaid placements are available for service terms of one or more semesters. Sites for overseas internships and service placements have included Australia, Burma, the Caribbean, Ecuador, France, India, the Netherlands and Uganda.

Service Delivery Programs

The Shriver Center’s service delivery programs involve the campus in the direct delivery of services to the citizens of Maryland. Through its field offices in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, professional staff are committed to delivering high-quality, cost-effective services to youth and families in some of our region’s more challenging environments.

The Choice Program

The Choice Program is UMBC’s model community-based, family-centered case management approach to delinquency prevention and youth development. Choice staff members, known as Service-Learning Fellows, provide daily, intensive supervision, advocacy and other needed services to youth and their families. As a member of the AmeriCorps network, Choice Fellows receive an education award upon successful completion of their year of service. UMBC students get an opportunity to learn firsthand about social issues faced by youth and families in at-risk environments through direct involvement as tutors, mentors and project partners.

Choice Jobs provides job skills development to youth. The program operates a concession at Oriole Park that serves as a real-life laboratory for skills development.

The Choice Program welcomes students of all majors to join the Choice team of Fellows following their graduation from UMBC. Additionally, Choice has engaged with graduate students from a variety of majors in research, training development, internships and other special projects. This program is supported by Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services, local management boards, local and federal government agencies, private foundations, and the private sector.

For further information on Shriver Center programs, call 410-455-2493 or 410-455-2494, or visit the Shriver Center. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Public Policy Building,

Short-Term Community Service Programs

The Office of Student Life (OSL) helps students connect with community service opportunities on and off campus. Service programs supported by OSL include Alternative School Break trips, campus blood drives, National Volunteer Week, and various one-day volunteer placements. OSL also will help students develop new service opportunities.  For more information, call 410-455-3457 or visit

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William & Mary by a group of students dedicated to the culture of the intellect for its own sake. Students elected by Eta of Maryland, which is sheltered on the UMBC campus, and its 269 colleague chapters are considered to have given evidence that they share that dedication and show promise of pursuing that intellectual culture for the remainder of their lives. In reviewing potential candidates for election, the chapter seeks to identify those who, because they enjoy the rigor of intellectual challenge and are assuaging an unbounded curiosity, have pursued a broad curriculum of liberal studies well beyond minimal institutional requirements.

Eta of Maryland of Phi Beta Kappa currently uses the following criteria in selecting candidates for election to Membership in Course. It is emphasized that these are only the minimum criteria for consideration for election and that meeting all of these criteria does not guarantee election.

  • 90 credits in liberal studies subjects at a college or university
  • 36 credits at UMBC
  • 3.5 grade point average in liberal studies subjects
  • Completion of General Foundation Requirements in language and culture
  • Competence in mathematics through the precalculus level. Students may demonstrate competence in mathematics by completing high school or college courses or by proficiency examination.
  • Completion of at least six courses (18 credits) in a coherently structured program of liberal studies outside a student’s major discipline

For more information, please contact Michele Wolff, 410-455-2493.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad for a semester, summer or academic year offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a new language, study a new culture, and become a more global citizen.  UMBC encourages students to include a study abroad experience as an integral part of their university education. UMBC students of all academic majors have a wide range of study abroad options through the Office of International Education Service’s Study Abroad Office.

UMBC’s Study Abroad Office serves the university’s undergraduate students in helping them locate academically appropriate, affordable study abroad programs.    Tuition exchanges allow students to pay their regular UMBC tuition and fees, yet attend an international institution, provide one of the most economical ways study abroad. UMBC students may take advantage of tuition exchanges at peer universities in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Through our partners at Towson University and Frostburg State University, UMBC students can expand their exchange options to dozens of additional universities throughout the world.

The Study Abroad Office also works with a wide variety of partner universities and organizations to offer a range of international education opportunities.  With its close links to its partners in the University System of Maryland, UMBC students can participate in programs offered by the University of Maryland, College Park, Towson  University and Salisbury University.  The Study Abroad Office also works closely with American-based universities and organizations to offer a wide range of study abroad opportunities. Through these affiliations students can spend a summer, semester or year almost anywhere in the world – from the United Kingdom, Australia  or Spain to Mali, Fiji or Thailand.  Credits earned on study abroad programs are easily transferred back to UMBC, and can be used for requirements in the major, minor or electives.

Studying abroad offers an incomparable way to learn a new language, and UMBC strongly encourages its language majors and minors to study their concentration overseas.  UMBC sponsors a semester-long program in Mexico for students with intermediate level of Spanish at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Center for Spanish for Foreigners.  Students with advanced French may also participate in our tuition exchange program at the University of Nancy in France.  UMBC’s language majors have also studied in Spain, Argentina, Korea, China, Jordan, Russia, Canada and Japan, among others. 

Knowing a foreign language is not a requirement for studying abroad.  UMBC students can study at universities in the English-speaking world, studying their major in Australia, Wales, South Africa or India.  Many international universities and study abroad programs offer courses in English, even when the main language of the country is not English.   From engineering in Finland to gender studies in Mali, UMBC students have explored their majors while exploring the globe.

Federal financial aid and UMBC merit scholarships can be used for most study abroad programs.  Special scholarships are also available for students participating in these programs.

Interested students should contact the Office of International Education Services’ Study Abroad Office, located in 222 Administration Building, or by phone at 410-455-2624.  Additional information is also available at

Undergraduate Research

UMBC offers many opportunities for undergraduates to gain significant experience in research and independent creative work.

Students frequently collaborate with faculty members in creative endeavors in the dance, theatre and visual and performing arts departments. Science and engineering faculty members offer research positions in their laboratories, including UMBC’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute research laboratory.  Students in humanities and social sciences can develop independent research or participate in a mentor’s ongoing work. Students whose original work is accepted for presentation at a national conference or festival may apply for related travel funds.

Many paid summer research opportunities are available on and off campus. The Office of Undergraduate Education, Career Center and Shriver Center all communicate with students about these opportunities and assist students with applications. Taking advantage of UMBC’s prime location, UMBC students conduct research at facilties such as the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health. Students also pursue internships in scientific laboratories worldwide, including labs at MIT, IBM, AT&T Bell Labs, Harvard Medical School and the Erasmus Institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The Office of Undergraduate Education Undergraduate Research Awards (URAs) provide up to $1,500 in support for students  to work with a faculty mentor on an original project. Recipients are chosen on a competitive basis. Recent projects have included research into color blindness, a study of the care given to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, archeological investigation of the Mycenaean Kingdom of Pylos, and development of a performance piece combining linguistics and theatre.

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Education sponsors Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD), a campus-wide conference featuring work conducted by UMBC students in all disciplines. Recent oral and poster presentations included “Call Me Brother: A Collection of American Immigration Stories” and “A Novel System for Inducible Gene Expression in the Prostate.” Films, artistic exhibits and performances included the original film “Being Human” and the new choreography “My Feet Speak My Words.”

Students also submit their research papers for publication in the undergraduate research journal, UMBC Review. Recently accepted articles include “A Portrait of Jaromir Stephany: Photographer, Educator, Historian” and “Production of Tapered Optical Fibers.”

Faculty members, professional advisors, graduate students, staff and online resources are available to help all students identify appropriate independent creative, scholarship and research experiences. This professional-level experience helps students explore career interests, improve learning and establish mentors. For more information, go to

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Programs

Students interested in pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s master’s degree program should make their intentions known to the appropriate graduate program director. This is usually done early in the junior year, although some programs allow earlier admission. Completion of the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program application form is required at that time; the form is available on the Graduate School Web site,

An undergraduate may apply to participate in an accelerated program even if the desired graduate program is in a department other than the one in which the student is majoring.

A major advantage of this program is that it enables the student to double count up to nine credits toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If admitted, the student follows a prescribed course of study in which a maximum of nine credits of graduate-level courses may be taken as an undergraduate and counted later toward the master’s degree. They may be enrolled on either a part-time or full-time basis.

Students must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School at least one semester prior to the completion of bachelor’s degree requirements. There will be no retroactive admissions to the program once the student has received the bachelor’s degree. The Graduate School application fee of $50 is waived for students applying to this program.

The bachelor’s degree may be awarded after successful completion of bachelor’s degree requirements (usually at least 120 credits); master’s degree requirements depend upon the individual program, but a minimum of 141 total credits are required for both degrees.

This program is selective. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered, and some programs have more stringent requirements. The Graduate Record Examination usually is waived for applicants in this program; some graduate programs waive other application requirements, as well (e.g., letters of recommendation). If admitted, students must develop with the graduate program director a plan of study for the remainder of their undergraduate career. Students in these accelerated tracks must continue to be in good academic standing throughout the course of their studies.

A student admitted to the program may be allowed to take a break between the bachelor’s and master’s careers, but the graduate courses taken as an undergraduate must be “used” toward the master’s degree within five years.

Once students are admitted to Graduate School and are enrolled, they must complete a Transfer of Credit form to transfer up to nine graduate credits taken as an undergraduate into the master’s program. Note that only the credits are transferred, not the grade received.

No more than one master’s degree may be earned through a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program.

Evening and Special-Sessions Classes

UMBC offers academic courses in the evening and on the weekend, as well as during the day. Often, full-time undergraduates schedule evening classes because they find this to be an excellent way to combine class work and part-time jobs. Additionally, UMBC offers many three- and four-credit courses during summer and winter sessions. These are excellent opportunities for students to get a step ahead in their programs and progress toward graduation.

Reserve Officers Training Corps Program (ROTC)

UMBC students may participate in Army and Air Force ROTC programs through other area schools. The Army Reserve Officers Training Corps is an elective course of study that allows full-time college students the opportunity to earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army, Army Reserve or National Guard while pursuing a regular college degree.

Army ROTC is available through The Johns Hopkins University Department of Military Science. Scholarships are available.

For further information, contact the JHU Department of Military Science at 410-516-4683.
Air Force Reserve officer training is available at the University of Maryland, College Park. When participating in the four-year program, students attend classes at College Park once a week. Juniors and seniors may complete the two-year program by attending a four-hour weekly session at College Park.
For more information, call the Office of Air Force Aerospace Studies at UMCP at 301-314-3242.

Career Services Center (CSC)

The Career Services Center’s goal is to provide all students with basic career skills that will prepare them for a successful transition from an academic environment to employment or graduate/professional education. The programs and services of the center are designed to support students as they progress through each year of the curriculum toward the exploration, definition and achievement of their career goals.

Career Counseling/ Coaching

The Career Services Center provides individual career counseling and coaching by appointment year-round and through walk-in hours  Monday through Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. The Center for Career Services utilizes a strength-based approach in working with students to assist in discovering career and employment options. Students also may use Focus, a software program that allows users to conduct a self-assessment and research current information on hundreds of careers.  CareerPath ( provides students with a comprehensive view of UMBC majors and career paths associated with them, as well as a recommended timeline for building a career path.  This unique website also features profiles of successful UMBC alumni from a variety of majors. 

Job and Networking Opportunities

The Career Services Center receives thousands of  full-time, part-time and on-campus job openings yearly. An online job listing service, UMBCworks is available to students 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Part-time jobs are an excellent way to test different industries and earn income. Numerous organizations and businesses also advertise full-time jobs for students who are graduating or may be looking for a new job. Experienced-level jobs are also advertised for alumni. The Center also subscribes to many current publications listing career opportunities. For researching and identifying employers, there is also The Vault online career library.

Five  career fairs are sponsored by the Career Services Center annually: the On-Campus Job Fair, the Career Fair, the Summer and Part-Time Job Fair/Internship Fair (co-sponsored by The Shriver Center), the Diversity Recruitment Event and the Spring Career Fair. These events provide students the opportunity to gather information and speak with employers about employment opportunities and the latest industry trends. The center also co-sponsors the Maryland Career Consortium Job Fair typically held each February. 

For seniors and graduate students, the Career Services Center offers a successful on-campus interviewing program. Interviews are conducted individually with corporate, government and non-profit recruiters in the center’s own suite of private interview rooms. Many companies that conduct on-campus interviews also host Company Information Sessions that provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about the company, network with representatives and find out about their unique interviewing process.  The Career Services Center also hosts Corporate Visibility Days with organizations who seek a level of presence on the UMBC campus.  These “solo” networking events are an excellent venue for students meet recruiters and talk with them in more detail about their career opportunities. 

UMBC taps into alumni for assisting current students with career advice and networking opportunities.  The Professional Network, a component of UMBCworks, is a resource of over 100 UMBC alumni who volunteer to serve as information sources on a variety of career fields to current students.  Career Week, held each Spring, is filled with numerous alumni panels in various industries, networking receptions, dining etiquette seminars, resume critiques and the Spring Career Fair.

Graduate School Preparation

Many resources are available to students who wish to apply to graduate/professional school. The Career Services Center has developed a Graduate School Guide ( and hosts testing information. Students may attend an annual Graduate/ Professional School Seminar to receive information from a panel of experts.

Career Services Center Web Site (

The Career Services Center maintains a dynamic and extensive Website featuring  resources such as online job listings, online workshops, career information resource links, career and job search resources, graduate school information, academic major related information and an events calendar. The website also has dedicated resources for parents and diverse populations. To access the center’s Web site, visit

For more information, call 410-455-2216, or visit the Career Services Center , 212 Mathematics/Psychology Building. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with evening hours available during the school year on Tuesdays until 7 p.m.