Geographic Information Systems
What are the requirements to apply for this program?
Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from an accredited undergraduate program. Applicants should also possess a working knowledge of Geographic Information Systems. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to the GIS program.
How do I apply and where should I send my completed application form and other supplemental documents?
Students should follow the application procedures set by UMBC's Graduate School. The application process is available on the UMBC Graduate School website.
You may apply online or send all the supporting materials to:
UMBC Office of Graduate Enrollment,
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
Students can also apply online.
What are the application deadlines for this program?
For Fall Semester:
- Domestic Students: August 1st
- International Students: January 1st
For Spring Semester:
- Domestic Students: December 1st
- International Students: June 1st
How long till students receive confirmation after applying?
Once all of the materials (application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) have been received by UMBC you can expect to receive a response within 6-8 weeks.
Who should complete the recommendation forms?
At least one recommendation should come from a faculty member with whom the student has worked. The other forms should come from employers, other faculty members and/or advisors/mentors.
Do you offer provisional admissions?
Yes. Students may be admitted provisionally if they meet the admissions requirement but do not yet have all of the required prerequisite coursework. If a student is accepted provisionally it would be expected that they would complete the required coursework either prior to, or concurrent with their first semester’s courses.
Is there a way to get admitted if my undergraduate GPA is less than the required 3.0?
Yes. If a student has a GPA slightly lower than a 3.0 but has considerable work experience, outstanding letters or recommendation, and a very strong personal statement then, that student may be considered for admission.
Is there anything I can do if I did not get admitted but wish to reapply to the program?
Yes. If a student is denied admission into the program it is not necessarily a reflection on the individual student but generally has to do with our concern over that student’s readiness to take on a graduate-level course load. One way to address that concern is for the student to take some courses through our program as a non-degree-seeking student (for more information, click here and scroll down to the to the link for and information on Non-degree students (special advanced student)). If the student then shows a high level of success in those courses he she may consider reapplying to the program. It would also be helpful for the student to earn la letter of recommendation from one of those instructors that would provide compelling evidence that the student is indeed ready to take on a graduate-level course load.
Sometimes a student is denied admission based on extremely poor writing skills (please make sure to proof read your personal statements). If the student suspects that this was a possible cause for denial, the student may want to email the Program Director for any additional recommendations.
While none of this guarantees admission into the program, these are steps that would help provide evidence for the student’s commitment and maturity. Additionally, if the student does reapply and is admitted, up to 6 of those credits taken as a non-degree-seeking student may be applied to the graduate degree.
What does it mean to be a non-degree-seeking student?
“Non-degree-seeking status is for students who enroll in graduate level courses but do not intend to pursue a full degree program. A minimum 3.0 Undergraduate GPA (or permission from an academic department) is required for admission.
Non-degree-seeking status continues for five years from the semester of initial enrollment. You may enroll for classes during this five-year period without re-applying for admission. To re-enroll after an interruption in attendance, contact the Graduate School. If you have previously enrolled in graduate courses at UMBC in the past five years you do not have to pay an additional application fee.
Note: Non-degree-seeking students who wish to apply for a full graduate degree program should be aware that there is no guarantee that credits earned during non-degree status will apply toward a degree program. A maximum of six credit hours can transfer if approved.” You can also learn more about different degree-seeking options here.
Are students in the M.P.S.: GIS program eligible for financial aid through FAFSA?
This program does not offer merit-based financial aid. For more information on tuition and fees, please visit:
Where do I find the course listings, class schedule and timings?
The course listings and the schedule of classes for all UMBC@USG programs is available here.
How do I register for classes?
For admitted students, registration for classes can be done through the academics tab in myUMBC; however, you need to get an account for logging on to the myUMBC portal. To create an account, visit the UMBC OIT webpage on how to create an account. The step-by-step procedure for registering for classes will also be explained at new student orientation.
When will I be able to register for classes?
For students enrolled in the program: an email notification will be sent out mid-semester for the following semester’s registration. Once you have emailed your request for classes to your advisor and have received authorization you will be able to register for classes.
For incoming students registering for the upcoming fall semester: you will have the opportunity to put in your course requests at the end of, or after attending your orientation session. Note that attendance at an orientation session is mandatory for incoming students and you will not be allowed to register if you do not attend,
For non-degree-seeking students: you will be able to register sometime during the week prior to the start of the semester. Specific dates will be listed on the UMBC web site (for more information click here).
Can I get advising on which classes should be taken and in what order?
Yes. While not required, advising (which may be conducted via email) is encouraged for students with questions. General information is provided at orientation and since the program is fairly straightforward this may be sufficient but the Program Directors are available to answer questions either in person, by phone or by email or even, possibly via a chat session.
When are the classes offered?
Most classes are delivered in the evening. Most run once a week for 2.5 hours during the time period between 5:00pm – 10:00pm. Some semesters we will also offer Saturday classes, which may run every week for 2.5 hours or every other week for 5 hours. To view a typical schedule, please visit our Schedule of classes, and click on the link for the Graduate program.
Are classes offered online?
Currently, none of the GIS courses are offered online.
On average, how many times a week would I attend class (part-time)?
Naturally, it depends on how many courses you take but generally, each course meets once a week for 2.5 hours.
How long would the program take to complete for a full-time employee?
This will vary significantly depending on the number of courses taken per semester. There are 30 credits required to complete the degree and each course is worth 3 credits.
Why is the degree M.P.S. rather than M.A.?
The Master in Professional Studies (M.P.S.) is a highly applied program, even more so than the Master of Arts (M.A.), which is generally more applied than the research-oriented Master of Science (M.S.)-type program. The M.P.S. is designed for students seeking preparation to work in fields related to Human Resources, Organizational Behavioral Management, Training, and/or Usability. In addition to providing practical classroom experience, the program culminates with a practicum, in which the student will work in a job related to his or her career path. Finally, the M.P.S. includes interaction with an Advisory Board -- a panel of experts with contacts in the field, who will lend their expertise in shaping the program.
What type of career/job search support does the program or UMBC provide upon graduation?
To assist us in placing students in internships and jobs, we will have support from UMBC's Shriver Center. Our students will also have access to UMBC's Career Services department and the USG's Career Services group. Additionally, we will have access to our Advisory Board members who may also have job opportunities through their organizations and/or may know of opportunities in related areas.
What opportunities/careers are available with this degree?
This is an applied degree, is intended for early to mid-career professionals interested in an understanding of GIS that goes beyond “GIS as a tool for analysis”. This forward-looking program is developing the next generation of GIS professionals: those that have a fundamental understanding of the importance of geography as well as an advanced knowledge of the technologies involved in the end-to-end development of advanced Geographic Information Systems.