Enrollment and Registration Policies

Academic Advising

The program faculty coordinate academic advising. Students are encouraged to seek the advice and counsel of the academic advisor, graduate program director and department when planning their curricula.


Registration Process

Registration is done online (using myUMBC, the campus portal). The student may need to secure the professor's or department's electronic permission to register for certain courses.

Continuous Registration

Once admitted to a graduate program, each student has the obligation to continue a course of study and must register every semester in the academic year (both fall and spring semesters). Failure to comply with the requirement to register every semester will be taken as evidence that the student has terminated his or her program and admission status in the Graduate School. A new application for admission with the consequent re-evaluation of the student's performance may be required of a student wishing to resume a graduate program terminated under this regulation.

A student who is unable to study in a particular semester must apply for a change of status, such as leave of absence or withdrawal.

Leave of Absence

With the implementation of PeopleSoft Student Administration (PS-SA), Leave of Absence (LOA) will no longer be a course. LOA will be a program action.

On the 10th day of classes of any new semester, the registrar will run a report of all active students with 0 credits. Those students will automatically be placed on LOA. The Graduate School will review the list and confer with graduate programs to verify student status.

Students who wish to continue in a degree program, but who cannot study in a particular semester or year, are required to take a leave of absence with the approval of the academic advisor. Leaves are taken one semester at a time.

The five-year period for completion of the master's degree or admission to doctoral candidacy begins with the first semester of enrollment; this "clock" does not stop during leaves of absence. More than three consecutive leaves of absence require the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.


A student who "stops out" of a graduate program without registering for a leave of absence course will need to be reinstated before being able to register for classes. If only a semester or two has been missed, the Graduate School will issue a retroactive leave of absence if the student meets the criteria (e.g., all university debts are paid, etc.)

A student who has been absent from UMBC for a longer period of time and wishes to continue graduate studies may be required to reapply. The student should contact the appropriate program to which he or she was admitted for advice, and the graduate program director will notify the Graduate School about the recommended procedure.

Change of Programs

If a student wishes to change graduate programs after having been admitted and enrolled, the required steps depend upon whether the two programs are in the same department.

If they are in the same department (e.g., Applied Mathematics and Statistics), the student should consult with the graduate program directors (GPDs) in both programs for permission. The GPD in the program to which the student wishes to move will notify the Graduate School that all parties agree with this change, and the Graduate School will make the administrative transfer.

If the two programs are in different departments (e.g., Computer Science and Information Systems), the student must apply to the new program (submitting a new application and fee) and be formally admitted.


If , after registration, a student wishes to discontinue pursuing a degree, a written notice of request for withdrawal from the university must be filed with the Graduate School. Withdrawal forms are available on the Graduate School Web site. The student is entitled to a full refund of fees and/or cancellation of the bill when a written request for withdrawal is received by the Graduate School office prior to the official first day of the university's semester. The registrar's Web site, www.umbc.edu/sbs outlines the registration refund policy. Refunds are computed according to the date the signed request is received in the Graduate School office. Stopping payment on a check, failure to pay the semester bill or failure to attend classes does not constitute withdrawal. Students seeking to re-enter graduate study following withdrawal must reapply for admission through the Graduate School.

Cancellation of Registration

Any newly admitted student who has registered for classes and decides before the beginning of classes that he or she is unable to matriculate that term must file a letter of cancellation of registration with the Graduate School office. If a student fails to submit a letter of cancellation of registration and is granted approval by the Graduate School, there will be a loss of refund. If a student fails to submit a letter of cancellation of registration and is granted approval by the Graduate School, there will be a loss of refund.

Changes in Student Schedules

Tuition and fee charges may change as a result of adding or dropping courses in the first two weeks of classes. The registrar's Web site, www.umbc.edu/sbs outlines the registration refund policy.

Notifying the University of Name and Address Changes

It is the student's responsibility to keep her or his university records updated with respect to name and address changes. Some address changes may be made online through myUMBC. Name changes must be submitted in person at the registrar's office with valid identification. Contact the registrar for further information.

Full- and Part-Time Students

To be certified as a full-time student, a graduate student must be officially registered for a combination of courses carrying nine credits per semester.

Graduate assistants must be registered full-time whether they are appointed to a full assistantship or a half assistantship. To be considered full-time, a student must be registered for a minimum of nine credits.

Special Enrollment Programs

Inter-Institutional Enrollment

It is the university's policy to encourage graduate students enrolled on one campus of the university to avail themselves of course offerings, research facilities and special faculty competencies on the other campuses of the University System of Maryland. The home campus retains responsibility for admission, academic advising, the collection of tuition and fees, grants of financial aid, the academic transcript and the awarding of the graduate degree. The host campus provides, on a space-available basis, access to courses and seminars, research facilities and libraries.

Enrollment Process for Outbound Students (UMBC Home)

  1. The student completes the inter-institutional enrollment form*, which can be found at the Registrar's Website.
  2. The student is responsible for acquiring the UMBC Graduate Program Director's signature on the inter-institutional form.
  3. The student submits the form directly to the Registrar's Office for enrollment.
  4. The Registrar's Office sends the completed enrollment form to the host campus to register the student for the specific course.

Enrollment Process for Inbound Students (UMBC Host)

  1. The student completes the inter-institutional enrollment form*, which can be found at the Registrar's Website.
  2. The student is responsible for acquiring the UMBC Graduate Program Director's signature on the inter-institutional form.
  3. The student then submits the signed form to the Graduate School at UMBC for application processing.
  4. The Graduate School submits the completed inter-institutional enrollment form to the Registrar's Office.
  5. The Registrar's Office then registers the student for the specified course.

*Please indicate on the form if your home/host campus is at Shady Grove.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid
The graduate student taking courses at a host campus pays the tuition and fees required of graduate students on the home campus. Financial aid in the form of scholarships, fellowships, traineeships or loans will be administered by the appropriate officers of the home campus.

It is the responsibility of the student to determine the parking policies of the host campus, and the student must abide by parking policies of that campus. Some campuses honor parking permits from other USM campuses. Some require visiting students to purchase a parking permit for the host campus.

Library Privileges
The graduate student at a host campus enjoys similar library privileges extended to all graduate students on that campus. A temporary one-semester library card will be issued upon presentation of the home campus library card.

Emergency Medical Service
The graduate student at a host campus is granted emergency medical care comparable to that available to graduate students on the home campus. Evidence of payment of the health fee on the home campus or a copy of the approved request for permission to enroll will admit the graduate student to emergency medical service.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit

Subject to requirements determined by the program offering the course, undergraduate students may register in the undergraduate college for graduate-level courses (i.e., those numbered from 600 to 898, with the exception of 799) for undergraduate credit. A student seeking this option normally will be in the senior year; have earned an accumulated grade point average of at least 3.0; have successfully completed, with a grade of 'B' or better, the prerequisite and correlative courses; and be a major in the appropriate or a closely related department offering the course.

Enrollment in a graduate-level course does not in any way imply subsequent departmental or Graduate School approval for credit for a graduate degree at UMBC, except in relation to approved accelerated bachelor's/master's programs.

Undergraduates Taking Courses for Graduate Credit

University System of Maryland undergraduate students who have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the discipline in which the graduate course is to be taken and who are within seven credits of graduation may register in the undergraduate college for certain 600-level and higher courses, which may later be counted for credit toward a graduate degree at UMBC. Except in approved accelerated bachelor's/master's programs, the credits must be in addition to those required for the student's undergraduate degree. Credits in the senior year exceeding those required for graduation cannot be used for graduate credit without prior written approval of the appropriate faculty.

Ph.D. Plus Program

The Ph.D. Plus Program provides tuition-free auditing privileges for all recipients of a UMBC doctorate. The policy carries the following caveats:

  • Permission to audit is subject to availability of space in courses allowing audit registration.
  • The courses available through this program are limited to the discipline in which the degree has been awarded.
  • To take advantage of continued academic endeavors for no tuition charge, students should contact the Graduate School in writing before the end of general registration so the student record may be activated for registration. Any correspondence should include name, present address, phone number, social security number, major and year in which degree was received. Ph.D. Plus students will be responsible for paying some fees; tuition is waived.

Graduate Course Numbering System

Courses are designated as follows:

100-399: Undergraduate courses not acceptable for credit toward graduate degrees

400-499: Junior and senior courses acceptable for credit toward some graduate degrees if specifically approved by the graduate program director

500-599: Professional school courses and certain post-baccalaureate courses only acceptable for graduate degree credit if approved by a graduate program director

600-898: Courses normally reserved for graduate students

799: Master's thesis research

899: Doctoral dissertation research (post-candidacy stage)

901-998: Inter-professional courses only acceptable for graduate degree credit if approved by the Graduate Council

When a course is co-listed at both the 400 and 600 levels, graduate students must register for the 600-level course. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the graduate program director before taking the course. Master's thesis research (799) and pre-candidacy doctoral dissertation research (898) are variable credit courses. Students should register for the number of credits that accurately reflects their involvement in the university research program.

Students must be enrolled in a program throughout their graduate career. To remain an active student during the last semesters before graduation, and if no other course is appropriate, the student may register for a master's or doctoral special study in some graduate programs. The numbers are 7700 (master's special study) and 8800 (doctoral special study) preceded by the three- or four-letter program code. This course registration is appropriate for students who have completed all course requirements, but who must use the academic or support services of the university to complete work to have an incomplete (I) grade changed to a final letter grade, to take a comprehensive examination, to complete required revisions to a thesis or dissertation or to submit necessary documentation and/or forms for graduation.

A minimum of six credits of 799 are required for graduation for the thesis option master's, and only six credits may be counted toward the master's degree. A minimum of 18 credits of 899 are required for the doctorate.

Registration Policy for 899 Dissertation Research

For those doctoral students who have reached candidacy, 899 dissertation research is now a fixed nine-credit course. Tuition and fees will be adjusted so that students will only be billed at the rate of two credits. This applies to both in-state and out of state students. Based on the number of credits, all students registered for 899 will be considered full-time. Those doctoral students who have not reached candidacy should register for 898, to receive credits for pre-candidacy research. 898 is a variable credit course with a range from three to nine credits.


The following symbols are used for grades:

"A","B","C" (Passing), "D,"F" (Failure) and 'I' (Incomplete). Because graduate students must maintain an overall 'B' average, every credit hour of 'C' in course work must be balanced by a credit hour of 'A.' However, a grade of 'A' in thesis or dissertation research will not balance a grade of 'C' in a course, nor will an 'A' in transfer credit balance a 'C' in a course taken at UMBC. A course in which a grade less than 'B' is received may be repeated. On the transcript, 'R' (Repeated) denotes a repeated course. Only the grade on the repeated courses, whether it is higher or lower than the original grade, is used in the computation of the cumulative GPA; however, all grades earned remain on the transcript. On the transcript, 'NA' (Non-Applicable) denotes a course that does not apply to the degree program and does not enter into GPA calculation. Courses in the student's designated degree program that are completed with a 'D' or an 'F' must be repeated. No student may graduate with an unresolved 'F' on the record.

A 'Pass-Fail' (P-F) grading system may be used at the discretion of the department or program for certain types of graduate study and with the approval of the Graduate Council. These include courses that require independent field work, special projects or independent study. Departmental seminars, workshops and departmental courses in instructional methods also may be appropriate for the P-F grading system. The P-F grade option for conventional courses that are being used toward a degree is not available to students at the graduate level.

Plus/Minus Grading

As of fall 2010 faculty have the option of assigning grades that include a plus or a minus (e.g., "B+") to graduate students enrolled in graduate courses. This option is not available for undergraduate students enrolled in graduate courses or graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses. As plus/minus grading is only an option, faculty may, at their discretion, continue to assign only single letter grades (e.g., "B"). By design, the grade of "A" still indicates superior achievement, so "A+" is not assignable. Furthermore, the grades of "D" and "F" still indicate unacceptable performance, so plus/minus grading is not assignable for either. Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 during their entire course of study. The transition to optional plus/minus grading does not change this standard. The following table delineates the grade options and their respective quality points.

Graduate - Grades and Notations

A Superior (4.0 Quality Points)
A- (3.7 Quality Points)
B+ (3.3 Quality Points)
B Good (3.0 Quality Points)
B- (2.7 Quality Points)
C+ (2.3 Quality Points)
C Not Satisfactory (2.0 Quality Points)
C- (1.7 Quality Points)
D Unacceptable (1.0 Quality Points)
F Failure (0 Quality Points)
AU Audit (No Credits Attempted or Earned)

Temporary and Final Grades

Students are expected to complete all the requirements of graduate course work in the semester in which the course is taken, and the graduate faculty is expected to issue final grades ('A,' 'B,' 'C,' 'D' or 'F') by the date listed on the Final Report of Grades.

Students failing to meet this requirement may, upon request, be awarded a temporary grade of 'Incomplete.' Faculty needing additional time for the grading process may award a temporary grade of 'No Mark' or 'NM.'

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete ('I') grade must be changed to a final letter grade ('A,' 'B,' 'C,' 'D' or 'F') for all courses required for the degree. For courses not required for the degree, an 'I' mark may remain on the student's transcript. This policy does not apply to the 799, 898 and 899 research grades, where letter grades, P-F grades or 'I' grades may be assigned. In those cases where grades of 'I' have been assigned, they should be replaced and assigned an appropriate terminal grade when the applicable research has been approved by the examining committee. An 'I' grade in a 799 research course may stand if the student elects, with the program's approval, to pursue a non-thesis option degree, but the 799 course will not count toward the degree requirements.

Appeal of Grade

A student who believes that a final grade in a course is improper and the result of arbitrary and capricious grading may appeal to the dean of the Graduate School. A copy of the 'Procedural Guidelines for Handling of Allegations of Arbitrary and Capricious Grading' may be found on the Graduate School Web site and is on file in all graduate program offices and in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Grading Policies

Several policies are in place to address grades, and these may be found on the Graduate School Web site:

  • Policies and procedures for student academic misconduct
  • Procedural guidelines for handling allegations of arbitrary and capricious grading
  • Policies and procedures for appealing academic dismissal
  • Graduate student mediation procedure

The Academic Record (Transcript)

A graduate student's academic record (transcript) is intended to serve as a complete history of the student's academic progress at UMBC. As such, it cannot be altered except in conformance with stated Graduate School policies governing change of election. Under no circumstances will the academic records be altered because of dissatisfaction with a grade or other academic accomplishment. The university's Disclosure of Student Records Policy describes UMBC's compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Academic Standards

All graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 during their entire course of study. Failure to do so may result in academic dismissal.

Academic Probation

Students who do not maintain a 'B' (3.0) average may be placed on academic probation. To avoid dismissal from the Graduate School, the student must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 by the end of the semester following being placed on probation. In some cases, a student may receive a warning before being placed on probation. Some departments have a policy of recommending that the Graduate School dismiss any student who has received a grade of 'D' or 'F.'

Appeal of Academic Dismissal

The procedures for resolving controversy between the Graduate School and a student who has been dismissed because of poor academic performance, cheating or plagiarism are located on the Graduate School Web site (under Policies and Procedures for the Appeal of Academic Dismissal) and are on file in all graduate program offices and in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Disciplinary Dismissal

The policy regarding behavior judged to be an offense against members of the university community or against the community in general is on the UMBC Web site (www.umbc.edu/sjp/) and is in the Student Handbook distributed at new-student orientation. It is also on file in all graduate program offices and in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.