Application Guide

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Admission Procedures

Responsibility for admission to graduate study at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County resides with the office of the Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Research and Planning. The admissibility of applicants is a two-part process. The academic departmental graduate admission committee or graduate program director makes an initial determination of the candidate's admissibility. This determination is reviewed by the Graduate School, which then issues an official decision letter. In all cases the University of Maryland, Baltimore County administers its admissions, educational services and supporting services in a manner that does not discriminate by race, religion, age, national origin, sex or handicap. Complete enrollment and degree requirements are outlined in the Graduate School Catalog. All graduate students are expected to abide by UMBC policies, requirements and procedures upon enrollment.

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Admission Criteria and Standards

Grade Point Average (GPA)
The minimum standard for full admission to the Graduate School is a "B" average or 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in a program of study resulting in the award of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign institution. In addition, the student's undergraduate program must reflect successful completion of the prerequisites for graduate study in the chosen field. Official transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions must be submitted to the Graduate School as part of the application packet. Standards for admission to a doctoral program are generally higher than those for admission to a master's program. These standards are based on specific recommendations made by the admitting department in conjunction with the Graduate School.

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Standardized Tests
UMBC normally requires the submission of scores earned on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Aptitude test (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores). Some programs also require applicants to submit scores earned on the GRE Advanced (subject-specific) test or other standardized tests. Consult the website for the specific graduate program for examination requirements. GRE scores are used as part of the data on which admission decisions are based, but they are seldom the sole criterion for admission. Information on the GRE may be obtained from the Graduate School office or from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. UMBC's GRE institutional code is 5835.

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Language Requirements
All applicants are expected to read, speak, write and understand the English language fluently upon entering a graduate program. Applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). International applicants with a post-secondary degree from a U.S. institution will not be required to take the TOEFL.

The minimum acceptable TOEFL score established by the university for admission is 550 for the paper-based test and 213 for the computer-based test; some programs require a higher score. TOEFL information and applications are available from ETS.

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Program-Specific Criteria
In addition to official transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation as evidence of academic potential, some programs require additional evidence of ability to succeed in the respective graduate program. These assessment tools may include a portfolio, an interview or other assessment means. Applicants are encouraged to review the specific requirements of the graduate program to which you are applying.

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Categories and Programs of Admission

Applicants may be offered admission to the Graduate School in full graduate status, provisional status or non-degree status. Students admitted to full status must have submitted complete, official documents indicating a completed baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent foreign educational institution, official standardized test score reports and be fully qualified in the judgment of the individual program and the Graduate School.

Provisional admission is used to admit any degree-seeking student who fails to meet the regular requirements or standards for admission, but who demonstrates potential for academic success in graduate studies. Provisional admission may also be assigned to candidates who lack adequate prerequisites for a given program or who are admitted without complete and/or official documentation.

Non-degree status is designed for students seeking admission for the purpose of enhancing their knowledge by completing one or more graduate courses. A non-degree application form is required for this category of admission.

Students interested in pursuing the Combined Bachelor's/Master's Program should make their intentions known to their departmental chair, undergraduate advisor or graduate program director early in the junior year. Detailed information about this program is available from the Graduate School catalog or from the individual departments.

The Golden-ID Program permits Maryland residents 60 years of age and older to take graduate courses at little cost. The applicant must be at least 60 years old by the date of registration and retired or working no more than 20 hours a week. Qualified individuals may apply as either degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students. This program enables qualified persons to have tuition and some fees waived. Indicate in the appropriate place on the application form your qualification for and interest in this program.

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It can take many weeks to complete the processing and assessment of an application from overseas and at least two months for student visa processing. International applicants, therefore, are encouraged to pay strict attention to application deadline dates and to submit all required documents as early as possible. Some applicants may be requested to have a credentials evaluation performed by an outside agency.

At minimum, international applicants must hold a degree that is equivalent or comparable to a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree , and they must have a cumulative grade point average equivalent to a "B" or first or high second division or comparable class ranking to be considered for admission.

Provisional graduate status and non-degree status are not normally available to international students. Non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. who hold permanent residency status, meet the required language proficiency and possess appropriate academic preparation may be considered for non-degree status.

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Transcripts, Mark Sheets, and Language Requirements
Applicants must provide an official English language transcript and an official native language transcript or mark sheets from each post-secondary institution attended. Each set of documents must list subjects studied, grades or marks received and rank in class or division. See Language Requirements section above for information about language proficiency required of students whose native language is not English.

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Immigration Documents
International students should enter the U.S. in a visa category that permits a designated program of study. Students must receive the immigration form required for obtaining the appropriate visa from the UMBC International Education Services (IES) office. A student planning to attend UMBC must not use another school's I-20 to enter the United States since students are required by law to attend the school whose I-20 they use for entry. International students already studying in the United States who wish to transfer to UMBC must secure proper immigration documents to be granted permission to transfer. Students who arrive unaccompanied in the U.S. but plan to bring dependents later must complete at least one semester of study before requesting visa documents to bring dependents to the U.S. They must show adequate financial resources, as F-2 dependents are prohibited from all employment.

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Financial Resources
Each international applicant must certify that he or she has sufficient funds (exclusive of travel expenses) for university tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses. Acceptable sources of and documents for certifying financial support include:

  • A notarized letter indicating full name, occupation and address from a parent or sponsor who can assure the financial responsibility for the applicant's education and living expenses.
  • An original current statement from a bank confirming that sufficient funds are available. As costs and fees change, it is best to check with the IES Office at UMBC to determine the exact amount required to cover educational and living expenses. A bank statement is valid for six months only. Should enrollment be deferred to a future term for any reason, an updated bank statement is required.
  • Official notification of grant, loan or scholarship indicating name and address of awarding institution, amount of funds, extent of expenses covered and number of years.
  • If an applicant is receiving a full assistantship, no additional materials from the applicant are required. A full assistantship from UMBC is sufficient documentation for purposes of obtaining an I-20.

No international student can be provided with the required immigration form without proof of adequate financial resources. International students on student visas cannot expect to work off-campus to supplement their financial ability, as such work authorization is generally not allowed. Questions regarding financial eligibility should be directed to the IES Office.

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Health Insurance
In addition to having a certificate of immunization, all newly admitted international students are required to have health insurance. Student health insurance is available through UMBC, and all students in F-1 and J-1 status, except those awarded assistantships and those with proof of coverage, will automatically be billed for UMBC's International Student Health Insurance plan.

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Students in their final semester of work toward a bachelor's degree may be offered admission pending the filing of supplementary official transcripts recording the satisfactory completion of the remaining course work and the award of the degree. Students admitted pending receipt of a baccalaureate degree must submit an official transcript reflecting all course work and award of the degree within three months following such award. Applicants engaged in graduate study at another institution are also subject to this policy.

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Offers of admission are made by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Research and Planning and specify the time of entrance. The offer of admission requires a response. If the applicant wishes to accept, decline or change the effective date of the offer, for one semester or one year, the Graduate School must be notified in writing or the offer of admission becomes void. Failure to notify the Graduate School before the first day of class or failure to register for the authorized term voids the offer of admission. The applicant must then submit a written request to be considered for a subsequent semester, and additional credentials may be requested. Students who accept the offer of admission and enroll agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the University of Maryland and the laws of the state of Maryland and the U.S. Government.

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Change of Objective, Termination of Admission, Readmission and Deferral
Students are admitted only to a specified program and only for the specified objective, e.g., course work only, master's degree, doctoral degree. Students who have been offered admission to more than one program for the same term must notify the Graduate School of their choice. When the offer of admission to one program is accepted, admission to the other programs is terminated since students can be registered in only one graduate program at a time. Failure to accept formally an offer of admission into a single program will result in a registration delay. Students must maintain an average grade of "B" or better during the course of their studies and must otherwise satisfy all departmental and Graduate School program requirements.

Admitted students may request to defer their enrollment up to one academic year upon approval from the department and the Graduate School. For example, a student offered admission for fall 2003 may defer his or her enrollment to fall 2004, if approved (deferral is not automatic). If a student cannot or does not enroll within this time-frame, he or she must undergo a new application process, including a new application form, application fee, academic documents and updated language and financial documents. The applicant must compete with the next entering class.

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Maintenance and Disposition of Records
All records, including academic records from other institutions, become part of the student's official file and property of the university. Credentials of applicants who do not register for courses for the term for which they have been admitted, whose application has been disapproved, who do not respond to requests for additional information or whose application is not complete with respect to the receipt of all transcripts or test results, are retained for only one academic year.

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Applicants seeking classification as a Maryland resident for tuition and charge-differential purposes must complete a Maryland in-state status form which accompanies this application for admission. The statement of residency determination as defined by the USM Board of Regents appears on the UMBC website.

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Inquiries Regarding Application Status and Documents
Applicants contacting the Graduate School regarding the status of their application will be asked to verify their identity. Applicants who wish to allow inquiries to be made on their behalf by a friend or family member must send to the Graduate School a letter naming the person(s) authorized to receive such information. Persons other than the applicant inquiring about the applicant's status or file will not be given such information unless this written authorization has been submitted by the applicant.

It takes approximately 8-10 weeks to receive and match all documents to their appropriate files. We request that you do not contact the Graduate School during this time frame, as we will not be able to accurately respond to your inquiries regarding the completion of your application materials.

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Funding Graduate Education
Graduate assistantships (teaching, research and administrative) are available to qualified, full-time, degree-seeking graduate students. Most assistantships are awarded by the program or department in which the student is enrolled. Applications for assistantships should be made directly to the department in which the applicant seeks to study. Some departments have their own financial assistance form which is sent out after receiving the completed application.

All graduate student applicants (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only) who wish to be considered for any assistantship or other form of financial aid must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

More information about assistantships and need-based financial aid may be obtained from the Graduate School catalog, each graduate program or the Office of Financial Aid, (410) 455-2387.

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There is limited on-campus housing for graduate students. Most graduate students find reasonably priced apartments in and around Baltimore. Housing information is available on the UMBC Website.

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Admission to graduate programs is highly competitive; therefore, all applicants are urged to submit accurate, complete and official credentials directly to the Graduate School, and to adhere to the application deadline dates. Supplementary transcripts of work in progress at the time of application should be submitted as soon as available. Delays in the receipt of academic credentials will cause delays in the review process for admission.

It is the applicant's responsibility to see that all application materials are sent to the Graduate School.

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Application Deadlines

U.S. citizens and U.S-educated permanent residents Fall Semester: June 1
Spring Semester: November 1
International Students Fall Semester: January 1
Spring Semester: May 1 of the prior academic year.

Applications will be received until one week before classes start in August (for fall semester) and January (for spring semester).

Some programs have special deadline dates earlier than those; applicants should consult the Graduate School website for special deadlines and requirements.

Mailing Instructions
Complete the on-line application form as instructed. All other materials that need to be mailed to the Graduate School should be sent to:

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Graduate School, (name) Graduate Program
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

Do not send a duplicate paper application to the Graduate School! Reference all other materials mailed in with your on-line transaction number.

Application Fee
Application to UMBC graduate programs requires a $50 fee for on-line submissions, or a $70 fee for paper submissions. For specific details, click here. No application fee waivers or deferrals are granted.

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Biographical Information
Complete this section as instructed.

  • The university uses Social Security numbers to identify students throughout their educational career. A temporary number is assigned to those who do not hold a Social Security number. Those who do not wish to have their Social Security number used for university records must indicate this in a letter accompanying the application for admission.
  • If you attended any college or university under a name different from your current name, please indicate your prior name in this section.
  • Ethnic Heritage is for informational purposes for U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.

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Enrollment Objectives

  • Select your desired program from the Graduate Program listing
  • Indicate which semester you would like to begin studies
  • Indicate your degree objective (one only) and desired enrollment status.
  • If the program to which you are applying has tracks, you must select which track you would like to enter.

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Academic Information
Standardized Test Scores indicate your test score results in the spaces provided and the date(s) you took or intend to take the test(s). Request your official GRE and/or TOEFL score reports to be sent directly from ETS using the addresses that follow:

Graduate Record Examinations Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6006
Princeton, NJ 08541-6006
(609) 771-7290

TOEFL Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
(609) 771-7267

Official examination score reports must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing agency. The GRE code number for UMBC is 5835. Photocopied score reports are not acceptable.

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Educational History
Complete each question in this section, even if you applied to or enrolled at UMBC before. Complete the history record chart as instructed. If you attended a college or university with an ETS Institution Code listed in the GRE Information & Registration Bulletin, please write in the number in the appropriate line/column.

Each applicant must submit an official academic transcript from each post-secondary institution attended. These transcripts must include all undergraduate and graduate course work. Each transcript should bear the signature of the registrar and the seal of the granting institution and should include the years of attendance, courses taken, grades received, class standing and the degree, diploma or certificate conferred. International applicants must provide one official native language transcript or mark sheet, and one official English translated transcript from each college or university attended. Each set of documents must list subjects studied, grades or marks received and the rank in class or division in which the student placed. Students whose universities issue only one set of official records must have their academic records copied and notarized by the university registrar certifying the documents are true copies of the originals. Alternatively if only one set of official records is provided by the institution, the student may submit a photocopy of these records with their application packet and bring the original document to the Graduate School for authentication upon arrival at UMBC.

The UMBC Graduate School will accept official WES ICAP Course-by-Course evaluations as fulfillment of the requirement for official transcripts in the admissions process. The WES evaluation is optional. The Graduate School needs to receive either an official WES evaluation or official transcripts. The WES ICAP Course-by-Course evaluation includes copies of the official transcripts and degree certificates that have been verified by WES, and it includes a course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation must be sent directly from WES to the UMBC Graduate School in order to be considered official.

List references as requested.

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Financial Assistance Information
Respond to the questions as requested in this section. Some departments have their own financial assistance form which is sent to you after receiving your application.

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Please read the Certification Statement and indicate your agreement on the application form before submitting it.

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Letters of Recommendation
Applicants should submit three letters of recommendation from professors or others who can assess the quality of your academic performance and scholastic potential. You are encouraged to use the on-line recommendation form. If you prefer the paper form, the completed forms (or letters) must be sent directly to the Graduate School. If the recommender does not use the form, be certain that your full name, semester and the program to which you are applying are indicated by the recommenders on the letters.

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Statement of Goals and Objectives
Each application for graduate study at UMBC must include a 300- to 500-word statement of the applicant's goals and objectives in pursuing graduate study. Include a description of relevant work experience as appropriate. This must be submitted on the online application.

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Residency Form
Applicants must complete this form as instructed.

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University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, Maryland 21250
(410) 455-1000

Graduate School/Graduate Admissions
Administration Building, 2nd Floor
(410) 455-2537
FAX: (410) 455-1130

International Education Services
222 Administration Building
(410) 455-2624
FAX: (410) 455-1130

Financial Aid (Domestic applicants)
Library, Pondside
(410) 455-2387
FAX: (410) 455-1094
Website Contact Form:

Information including course descriptions and official Graduate School guidelines and policies are available on the World Wide Web

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic background, ancestry, sex, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran's status, or religion in admission to and participation in educational programs and activities, or employment practices in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (revised 1992), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the UMBC nondiscrimination policy:

Adrienne L. Mercer
Director of Human Relations and ADA Coordinator
1000 Hilltop Circle
Administration Building, Suite 703
(410) 455-1606 TTY (410) 455-3233

Admission and curriculum requirements are subject to change without prior notice.

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