The Commons, which opened in January 2002, is the hub of student life on campus. It consists of multiple dining opportunities, the campus bookstore, off-campus student services, the Women's Center, various student lounges, meeting rooms and administrative offices, as well as office space for many of the 220-plus UMBC student organizations, including the Graduate Student Association. Occupying more than 144,000 square feet, The Commons is high-tech, with wireless computer technology and information displays. Architecturally, the facility is transparent with a multitude of glass windows, which provide an appealing environment for the many social activities taking place therein. The Commons' facilities and services make it the place to be on campus.
Commonvision, the UMBC Print and Copy Center, located on Main Street in The Commons next to the UMBC Campus Bookstore, offers color and black and white photocopying, wide format and laser printing, lamination, mounting, and a variety of finishing services. Promotional services for campus events, such as iNet (The Commons video network) and LED displays are available through Commonvision.
The Campus Information Center (CIC), located in the north lobby, provides information about the campus, The Commons facility and its services. Information about scheduled meetings and campus events are available at the CIC counter, which is the first point of contact for many off-campus visitors and new students. Laptop computers with wireless Internet connectivity are available for UMBC staff and students with a valid ID. Tickets to Student Events Board events and other student-sponsored programs may be purchased at the CIC.
The Cabaret, located at the north entrance behind and above the CIC desk, provides a unique venue for entertainment and socializing. The upper floor is home to “Flat Tuesdays", a Mardi Gras-themed lounge, which operates as a 21-or-older club on scheduled nights of the week. Members of “Flat Tuesdays" Pub Club have access to club specials and listserv notices of pub nights and associated specials. The lower Cabaret has a New Orleans-style theme and is open to all. There is weekly programmed entertainment. This is the spot for nightlife at UMBC.
The “Retriever Sports Zone" is located on the mezzanine level of The Commons and is decorated with UMBC sports memorabilia and photographs of UMBC teams. The “Zone" is home to comfortable booth seating that looks out upon a 12-foot TV projection screen and two flat screens that are programmed mainly for sporting events. Food specials from the Retriever Grill, located next door, accompany the programmed sports viewing.
The Gameroom, located above the southern Commons entrance on the second floor, offers videogaming (Xbox) opportunities as well as billiards and Ping-Pong tables. Three flat-screen TVs add to the lounge atmosphere, as does the availability of snacks and beverages available for purchase. Numerous tournaments allow students to compete locally and regionally. There are games and cultural programs provided in The Gameroom, which celebrate the diversity of the UMBC student population. The Gameroom is the place to go to get away and have some fun.
The Off-Campus and Transfer Student Services
The Off-Campus Student Services’ mission is to meet the diverse needs of students who live off campus. The department, located on the third floor of The Commons, maintains information about off-campus living, roommate referral, public transportation, bus schedules and resources available in the Greater Catonsville and Arbutus communities.
Off-Campus Housing is for students who want to live off campus, the Off-Campus Housing (OCH) area maintains housing information and resources. The Off Campus Student Services (OCSS) housing staff assist with housing searches, transition issues, and landlord or roommate concerns.
OCH’s Apartment Locator Listing is available for review. This self-service referral system allows students to look for a roommate or an apartment/ house to share. Off-campus housing postings are available for students online via myUMBC.
Transfer Student Network (TSN)
Transfer and non-traditional students can interact with one another and get to know about upcoming events, workshops or coordinate study groups via the TSN electronic blackboard community. TSN offers bi-monthly workshops, which address a range of academic, social programs and discussion groups. To enroll in TSN, visit http://blackboard.umbc.edu/
OCSS Get on the Bus Programs:
- MTA College Transit Pass
- E-Rideshare and Priority Parking: E-Rideshare is an on-line carpool service available to anyone at UMBC. This is a free, volunteer service for connecting commuting students, or travelers going the same way. Graduate students can sign up for e-Rideshare by logging on to eRideShare.com and entering keyword: UMBC
- Priority Parking: There are a limited number of priority parking spaces available for students who want to carpool or who travel great distances. Applications are available at the OCSS Resource Center located in The Commons, Suite 309. Permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Commons is a unique facility as it centralizes many of the services that students, faculty and staff need on campus. Students are invited to take advantage of all it has to offer. More information can be found at www.umbc.edu/thecommons
UMBC Transit (umbc.edu/transit) you can go from here to “there" without a car, since UMBC Transit operates a bus shuttle system of seven routes that connects the UMBC campus to local apartment complexes, shopping centers, commuting railway/bus connections and downtown Baltimore. The main bus stop on campus is at the intersection of Commons Drive and Hilltop Circle.
Go to the UMBC Transit Web site (www.umbc.edu/transit) for current operational schedules and more information about the following routes:
Arbutus/Irvington Line: Services areas along Westland Blvd, Maiden Choice Lane, Frederick Rd, Yale Ave, Beechfield Ave, and Leeds Ave.
Arundel/Light Rail Line: Services the mall at Arundel Mills and the Light Rail station at Elkridge Landing.
BWI MARC Line: Services MARC/AMTRAK train station in Linthicum.
Catonsville Line: Services Rolling Rd, Bloomsbury Ave, Frederick Rd, Harlem Lane, Ingleside shopping center, downtown Catonsville, Cedar Run Apts., Ingleside Ave, CCBC, and YMCA.
Downtown Line: During the summer of 2009, budget constraints and low ridership made it necessary for UMBC and UMB to suspend the Downtown Line shuttle service linking the campuses. The MTA Bus Route #35 with bus stops on Park Drive and Poplar Road makes 40 stops daily on both campuses. Halethorpe/Satellite Line: Services the BWTech Park, TRC, East Dr, Sulphur Spring Rd, Waelchli Ave, Potomac Ave, Halethorpe MARC station, Francis Ave, Selford Rd and Satellite Parking at South Campus off Rolling Rd.
Route 40/Rolling Rd Line: Services the shopping area at Route 40 and Rolling Road.
Wave ‘n Ride: Is an intra-campus shuttle circumnavigating Hilltop Circle Road from Poplar Road to UMBC Boulevard, running continuously. Simply wave to board curbside – no ID is required. ID is required on all other Transit Lines.
Graduate Student Association
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents and supports the interests and concerns of current and future graduate students and enhances and enriches their academic, professional, social and personal welfare. The objectives of the GSA are to provide forums for the discussion of and recommendation on all matters involving graduate students, support and promote graduate student research, advocate on behalf of UMBC graduate students, encourage and facilitate communication with and interaction among graduate students of different departments and promote a sense of community among graduate students and their families.
GSA comprises an executive board and senate, with student representatives from each academic department that meet as a group on a monthly basis. It also works to set the mission and goals of the Office of Graduate Student Life. All graduate students are automatic members of GSA and are encouraged to participate in the organization. In addition to annual GSA-sponsored social events, GSA co-hosts programs with other academic departments, including the Graduate School and PROMISE.
As an avenue to highlight graduate student research, GSA sponsors an annual Graduate Research Conference, a day-long professional conference in which students have the opportunity to present their research and receive constructive feedback from panels of faculty judges. The purpose of the day is to allow all graduate students the chance to share research and exchange ideas and information. The association also sponsors partial research grants for students working on their theses or dissertations as well as conference travel grants to help defray the costs related to attendance at or participation in scholarly conferences.
On-campus housing is available on a limited- basis (first come, first serve) to graduate students in the Walker Avenue Apartments (443-612-7541 or www.walkeravenueapts.com).
While we attempt to house graduate students with other graduate students, there is the possibility of sharing an apartment with an undergraduate.
Accommodations are available in both residence halls and apartments for students with documented special needs. Students with questions also may contact the Residential Life office, located in Erickson Hall, or call 410-455-8832. For more information, also visit www.umbc.edu/reslife.
A number of apartment developments are located both on and off the campus shuttle bus routes near the UMBC campus in Catonsville and Arbutus – quiet, residential areas offering a small-town atmosphere. Many graduate students also found reasonably priced apartments in and around Baltimore. For more information, visit the Office of Off-Campus Student Services online at: www.umbc.edu/ocss
University Health Services
University Health Services (UHS) is staffed by skilled, caring health professionals who focus on the student’s health and wellbeing. At the heart of their clinical services are nationally certified nurse practitioners. Board-certified physicians from the University of Maryland Medical System provide primary care, consultation and emergency on-call services.
Located on the ground floor of Erickson Hall, University Health Services is committed to providing holistic, high-quality primary and urgent care services for all UMBC students. Services include diagnosing and treating of acute illnesses and injuries, treating and monitoring of chronic illnesses, immunizations, preventative care, routine gynecological care, allergy shots, laboratory testing, limited pharmacy services, massage and acupuncture.
Health educators work hand-in-hand with the clinical staff to see that students get the information they need to maintain good health.
Hours and Appointments
Spring and fall semester hours are Monday - Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During all other times when UMBC is in session, the hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. UHS is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
When UHS is closed, there is 24-hour emergency on-call service available by calling the University Police at extension x55555 (on campus) or 911.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment to be seen at UHS by calling 410-455-2542. Although walk-ins are accepted, without an appointment, the wait may be considerable. There is a $10 fee for most visits to UHS; there may be additional charges for in-house lab work, medications and certain procedures such as EKG, nebulizer treatments, injections and minor surgeries. These charges may be paid at UHS using a UMBC debit card. Charges also can be forwarded to the students account in the UMBC Bursar’s Office.
UMBC, like other schools in Maryland, has an immunization requirement for all students. Immunizations required include two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shots. International, nursing and paramedic students also must have a tuberculosis test. For international students, the tuberculosis test must be done in the United States within three months of entering UMBC. Nursing and paramedic students also must have the vaccination series for Hepatitis B. A certificate of immunization must be kept on file at the UMBC University Health Services. A Mandatory Immunization form is available at the UHS Web site, www.umbc.edu/uhs. All vaccinations are available at a low cost through Health Services.
In addition to having a certificate of immunization, all domestic students are strongly encouraged, and all international students in F-1 and J-1 status are required, to have health insurance. Student health insurance is available through the UMBC campus. The plan provided meets all federal requirements for students on J-1 and F-1 visas and meets the American College Health Association guidelines for health insurance for all international students. Students in F-1 and J-1 status automatically will be billed for the UMBC insurance policy, except for those who hold teaching assistant or research assistant positions. Students interested in the university’s health insurance plan should call UHS at 410-455-2542 for more information. UHS will bill the student’s insurance company directly, whether he or she has the UMBC sponsored-plan or another plan, for services provided there. More information about the UMBC sponsored plan can be obtained at www.umbc.edu/uhs
Information about insurance for graduate assistantships can be found in the Graduate Assistantships section of the Financial Information chapter.
University Counseling Services
University Counseling Services (UCS) provides intake assessment and, when appropriate, personal and career counseling services designed to assist students in achieving academic and personal goals. Services include short-term individual counseling or referral to local providers, group counseling, skill- building workshops, academic major and career choice workshops, consultation and outreach programs and scholarships for older returning women and men. Faculty and staff consultation is also provided. UCS offers support groups for graduate students as well as dissertation support groups when interest is expressed. All UCS services are free of charge to UMBC students. UCS is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services. UCS is located on Center Road in the Student Development & Success Center (across from Erickson Hall). Open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 410-455-2472 for appointments.
Career Services Center (CSC)
The Career Services Center’s goal is to provide all students with career skills that will prepare them for a successful transition from an academic environment to employment or further graduate/professional education. The programs and services of the center are designed to support students as they progress through the curriculum toward the exploration, defnition and achievement of their career goals.
Career Services Center Website
The Career Services Center maintains an extensive Web site featuring online job listings, career information resource links, important announcements, job search resources, graduate school information, academic major related information and an events calendar. To access the center’s Web site visit www.careers.umbc.edu.
The Career Services Center provides individual career advisement by appointment year-round and via walk-in appointments Monday through Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. Programs and seminars are held throughout the school year on topics such as job-search strategies, résumé writing, interviewing, career transitions, career exploration and various special topic seminars.
Jobs and networking Opportunities
To assist students with gaining meaningful employment, all students are issued a free UMBCWorks computer account. This system allows students to sign up for on-campus interviews with various recruiters from the public, private and government sectors and to make their résumés available to employers by posting them online. Employers are then able to query the database and access student résumés/curriculum vitae. Through UMBC Works, students also gain access to thousands of full-time, part-time, on- and off-campus job listings locally, nationally and internationally.
Additional opportunities for professional employment are available at the various career fairs, industry events and Corporate Visibility Days sponsored throughout the year. Seniors and graduate students can also participate in the on-campus recruitment program, where interviews are held one-on- one with corporate, as well as public-arena, personnel recruiters in professional and private interview rooms located in the CSC.
Many students seek part-time employment to help offset their academic expenses. Many departments and offices hire student assistants. Food services, residential life, the university center, the library, university computing and athletics employ the largest number of students. Various on- and off-campus part- time jobs are listed in UMBCWorks.
For more information, call 410-455-2216, or visit the Career Services Center in room 204 of the Mathematics/Psychology Building. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with evening hours available during the school year on Tuesdays until 7 p.m.