Student Services

The Commons

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 video gaming (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 assists 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

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 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

UMBC 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 ( 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.

The GSA office is located in The Commons, Room 308. Phone: 410-455-2773. Web site: E-mail:

Residential Life

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

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

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:

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.

Immunization Requirement
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, All vaccinations are available at a low cost through Health Services.

Health Insurance
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

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, definition 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

Career Counseling/Advisement
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.

Women's Center

The Women’s Center is located on the ground floor near the southern entrance to The Commons. The Women’s Center exists to help all women in achieve their full potential in education, career and personal life through academic and intellectual growth, professional development and personal empowerment. The center offers safe space, resource and referral services, and meeting/ programming space for departments and groups on campus whose goals are in keeping with the centers mission. Other amenities include a private lactation and meditation room equipped with a hospital-grade breast pump, meditation and relaxation tapes, meditation cushions and religious/spiritual texts. The Women’s Center welcomes participation from women and men throughout the UMBC community and serves faculty, staff and students. All are welcome so long as they respect women’s experiences, stories and potential.

UMBC Retriever Activities Center

UMBC’s Retriever Activities Center (RAC) Arena seats more than 4,000 spectators for concerts, speakers and athletic contests. The UMBC volleyball team and both the men’s and women’s basketball teams compete in America East Conference competition in the arena.

Indoor recreation facilities include three full-court basketball/volleyball/tennis courts. There is also a weight room and a cardio-balcony with dozens of exercise bicycles, StairMasters and treadmills. In the arena, there is a 1/10-mile jogging track, and the UMBC Natatorium features an eight-lane, 25-meter pool and diving well. Adjacent to the indoor pool is an Olympic sized outdoor pool. Other outdoor recreation facilities include tennis courts; softball, flag football and soccer fields; and beach volleyball courts. There is also a 1/4-mile track at the UMBC stadium. UMBC’s lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, track and field, baseball and softball teams all compete at the Stadium Complex area.

Permanent locker and towel services are available for a nominal fee. Sign-up forms are located at the RAC equipment desk. Semester schedules are posted around the campus and are available at the Recreation Office or on the RAC Web site under recsports at All information about the recreation program is available at the RecSports office. Retriever apparel, including sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, shorts, etc., is on sale daily at the Pro Shop in the lobby of the RAC and at the bookstore.

Parking Services

The Parking Services Office issues permits, manages parking, enforces campus parking rules and regulations. UMBC requires a parking permit for all non-metered spaces throughout the year, Monday through Friday. Metered visitor parking is available for non-permit holders. Meters are located at the parking structures on Administration Drive, Commons Drive and Walker Avenue. The meter fee is 25 cents for 15 minutes. Change machines are located on the metered lots. Meters are enforced Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

UMBC students can apply for a parking permit online by logging on to myUMBC from the UMBC homepage, Student parking registration is accessed from the Business page on myUMBC. A student must be registered for classes to obtain a UMBC student parking permit. For additional information or questions regarding parking at UMBC, visit the Parking Services Web page at or contact Parking Services at or 410-455-2551.

International Education Services

The Office of International Education Services (IES) offers comprehensive assistance to the university's international population. It provides international students with the specific guidance and documentation necessary in order to come to the United States and commence study at UMBC. Once at UMBC, IES gives international students assistance to ensure that they are able to maintain their legal status in the United States for the duration of their program of study. International students and scholars need to contact IES to get help with such matters as F-1 visa extension, change of visa status, obtaining a Social Security number, travel outside the United States, off campus work eligibility and bringing dependents to join them in the U.S. The IES office also sponsors an International Student Orientation at the beginning of every semester and workshops throughout the year to answer questions and give guidance on issues related to federal regulations as they pertain to international students. It is essential that international students give their e-mail addresses to the IES office so they can be placed on the IES listserv and be mindful of updates sent out by IES regarding visa issues and deadlines. Students with questions should address them to or call 410 455-2624. Students are also welcome to visit the office, room 224, Administration Building for additional guidance and should also visit

The IES office also houses the Study Abroad Office (SAO) which helps students identify programs abroad appropriate to their discipline and UMBC coursework. Through study abroad, students develop an understanding and appreciation for other cultures and/or regions of the world. An experience abroad prepares students for an increasingly interdependent world and provides them the opportunity to enrich their academic background and gain new skills and knowledge that extend beyond the classroom. Students can study abroad for a winter session, summer, semester or full academic year. Students with questions are encouraged to visit for an overview of available programs. They may also e-mail with their questions. The Study Abroad Office is located on the second floor of the Administration Building, room 222.

The Shriver Center

The Shriver Center, a division of UMBC, was created to focus the talents and resources of the university on the pressing social and civic needs of American society. The late Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and founding chair of the Shriver Center’s National Advisory Board, described the center as a prototype for “The New American College,” a new paradigm emerging in American higher education that envisions a shift from the traditional scholarship of discovery to a socially connected scholarship of service. The Shriver Center was established in honor of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The center addresses the pressing social needs of Greater Baltimore and America’s other cities, engages faculty in applying knowledge and links the theory of the classroom to the realities of urban life.

The Shriver Center is complex and multifaceted:

  1. It develops and operates UMBC’s applied learning programs, engaging nearly 2,000 students each year in domestic and international work and service-learning placements linked to course work.
  2. It creates and manages model service delivery programs, such as the highly respected Choice Program, which provides community-based, family-centered services to Maryland youth and their families.
  3. It coordinates the efforts of The Shriver Center Higher Education Consortium, 12 colleges and universities in the Baltimore area that have pledged to work together to help solve the problems of Baltimore and other American cities.

The following are among the center’s principal projects and programs for graduate students:

  • The Shriver Peaceworker Program invites returned Peace Corps volunteers to participate in a rigorous, two-year program integrating community service, graduate study and ethical refection. Peaceworkers focus their community service and graduate study on one of four areas of social concern: juvenile justice and crime prevention, education, health and the environment, and economic and community development. The program’s goal is to educate and train a new generation of citizens and leaders who are able to address critically, creatively and responsibly the complex economic, social and cultural problems confronting the United States and, in particular, its cities today.
  • The center’s Service-Learning Program allows students to provide direct service in nonprofit organizations. Students can choose to serve in the center’s Choice Program or one of a dozen community organizations and link their service experiences to structured refection and course work.
  • Cooperative education allows students to combine periods of full- or part-time professional experience with academic study. Placements are available in Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and out of state. While placements exist in both the private and public sectors, co-op students in the federal sector are typically eligible for non- competitive career conversion upon graduation.
  • Internships offer students flexible, part- time experience linked to academic credit. The Shriver Center internship program offers both paid and unpaid placements related to students’ major fields of study or career interests in more than 500 business, government and nonprofit settings

Students may earn graduate credit for their Shriver Center experiences. Credit is awarded by UMBC faculty advisors on the basis of term papers, research reports or other projects consistent with the scholarly work expected of graduate students. Students placed in center programs are also required to enroll in a non- credit practicum course. The course provides formal recognition of students’ participation in the programs, ensures student status while placed and assigns a pass-fail grade based on their performance.

For more information, call 410-455-2493 or visit the Shriver Center on the first floor of the Public Policy Building. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Web site:

English Language Institute

The English Language Institute (ELI) offers English language programs and courses for students, scholars, and faculty. International graduate students may elect to pursue ELI course work to improve their skills in reading, writing, public speaking, pronunciation, research, and more. The ELI offers high quality instruction, small classes and personal attention, and a range of courses relevant to international graduate students’ needs. The ELI also offers an array of academic resources and activities outside of class to increase students’ success in English, including tutoring, advising, a conversation partner program, online English study programs, and more. For more information, contact the ELI at 410-455-2831 or, or visit

Campus Convenience Store

The Campus Convenience Store (yum Shoppe), located on the ground floor of The Commons, offers a large variety of snacks and beverages. The yum Shoppe also stocks a large selection of healthy choices, as well as reasonably priced sundries and health and beauty aids. The yum Shoppe is the only location on campus where one may purchase a non-Coke beverage.

Food Services

Three conveniently located dining areas serve the campus community during the academic year:

  • The Resident Dining Hall, primarily for on-campus residents, is open to the campus community seven days a week during the school semesters for three meals, plus late-night snacks, Monday through Friday, and for brunch and dinner on weekends.
  • Carry-out breakfast and lunch service is available year-round, Monday through Friday, in the Coffee Shop in the Administration Building.
  • The Commons food service is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Campus Bookstore

The UMBC Campus Bookstore, located on the first floor of The Commons, provides required and recommended books and supplies for classroom use. Every effort is made to offer new and used textbooks, and book buy-backs are conducted throughout the academic year. The bookstore also carries study aids, technical and reference materials, school supplies, lab supplies, computer equipment, software, UMBC-imprinted clothing and gift items. The bookstore staff is committed to providing excellent service to students, faculty and staff, and it is available to special order books, supplies, software and computer equipment.

Child Care

The YMCA Child Care Center at UMBC provides pre-school education and child care for students, faculty and staff members. This is a licensed child care center located on campus, serving 2- to 5-year-old children. It implements the Creative Curriculum and works in partnership with the early-childhood education department of UMBC. The child care center is operated by the YMCA of Central Maryland.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering full-day or part-time care. Schedules are tailored to fit parents’ school or work schedules. To visit, call Jennifer Woodard at 410-455-6830 or e-mail

Campus Security

UMBC employs a force of sworn police officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A campus escort service is available from dusk to dawn to accompany students around campus and to and from their residence halls. Emergency blue-light phones, located around the campus, are directly connected to the UMBC police station. For emergencies, call 410-455-5555 or from the campus extension x55555. Also consult the UMBC police department Web site at


The Center for Art and Visual Culture and the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery offer visual art exhibitions that bring exciting works of art to campus and occasionally draw from the university’s extensive photography collections and from faculty and student work. Seminars are frequently offered in conjunction with these exhibitions. For more information about the gallery, visit the Web site at: