At UMBC, students find many resources to help them achieve their academic goals. Listed below are special programs and facilities available to enhance students' academic pursuits.
New Student Orientation Programs
UMBC conducts New Student Orientation for new freshmen and transfer students prior to the fall and spring semesters. New Student Orientation is a mandatory program designed to provide students with information necessary to begin their academic career at UMBC. During orientation, students will learn more about academic requirements, meet with an academic advisor and register for classes. Orientation includes sessions designed to give students an introduction to the culture and values of UMBC and life outside the classroom. New Student Orientation continues with Welcome Week, a week-long series of social and educational events at the start of the semester.
For more information about UMBC's orientation program, call 410-455-3244 or visit orientation.umbc.edu.
Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising provides advising services to exploratory (undeclared) and pre-professional students interested in allied health careers (such as nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy).
Through workshops, an online occupational preference inventory and a variety of printed and online materials, exploratory students are able to assess their interests and find fields most closely matched to those interests. The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising provides information and appropriate referrals to students about academic enrichment and career development opportunities, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and internships. The advising office is particularly active in assisting undeclared students to explore majors and associated careers.
Specialized pre-professional advising supplements the advising provided by a student's major department. This advising helps students develop competitive application portfolios and supports students throughout the complex application process for admission to professional school. The office offers workshops, fact sheets, lists of relevant links to professional societies, program materials from specific professional schools, directories and other resources useful to students planning or considering careers in those fields. The office also develops and distributes a comprehensive calendar of health professions related events on campus, including visits by deans or admissions officers from professional schools. Decision-making and application-preparing support is also provided to students who plan to enter other graduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering.
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising also collaborates with the Registrar's Office to identify students who are struggling academically at UMBC. The advising office coordinates a campus-wide process for evaluating specific cases for the appropriate academic action and/or advising intervention. Students who receive letters about academic warning, probation, suspension or dismissal and have questions about their status or need help planning next steps are assisted by advisors in the office, as are students later seeking reinstatement after a period of suspension. The office works with the Learning Resources Center to provide academic skills training to students experiencing academic difficulties through the LRC 101A course - Academic Success for Lifelong Learning.
The office evaluates student requests to enroll for credits in excess of the normal limits per semester or per special session, based in part on a recommendation from the student's academic advisor in the major. The student's overall academic performance, the nature of the course schedule proposed and how well the student has managed overload semesters in the past are other factors taken into account in these decisions.
Finally, the office provides leadership to academic advising efforts across the campus through regular meetings of the academic advising community and other communications. The office provides extensive support to faculty and professional advisors in the academic departments by sharing key information, encouraging best practices, promoting technological enhancements, and assisting with complex individual student cases.
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising is located in Sherman Hall B-Wing 224. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both appointments and walk-in services are available. A person in the office may be reached by calling 410-455-2729 at any time during service hours.
Learning Resources Center (LRC)
The Learning Resources Center (LRC) is UMBC's comprehensive academic support program. Students use LRC services to fulfill their academic career goals at this honors research university. The LRC collaborates with faculty, administrators, students, and staff to offer programs that maximize academic success. Specifically, the LRC offers these services:
- Free peer appointment tutoring for many 100-, 200-, and some 300-level courses, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, information systems, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, ancient studies, archaeology, philosophy, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Also, tutors work with ESL students on presentation and conversation skills.
- Walk-in peer tutoring in the Writing Center and the Math Lab located in the library. The Writing Center provides tutoring for all writing assignments, The Math Lab provides tutoring for certain mathematics courses in the 100-level sequence through elementary Calculus II. Students may make an appointment for other mathematics courses.
- Supplemental Instruction (SI) in specific courses. Peer SI leaders use active learning strategies to facilitate group discussion and learning.
- The First-Year Intervention (FYI)/Early Alert Program (EAP). Faculty send Alerts early in the semester to all first-year (freshmen and first-year transfer) students about their academic performance and a link to the Action Resource page listing multiple interventions.
- The UMBC Placement Testing Program which provides the required placement tests in mathematics, English composition, and reading for entering UMBC freshmen and transfer students.
- Student success courses in mathematics, college reading, and study skills. LRC courses carry institutional credit, applicable towards billing and enrollment hours, but not towards earned or degree credits.
- Study skills resource materials for developing test-taking, reading, and note-taking skills, as well as time-management strategies.
- Academic coordinators who work with students and the UMBC community to develop programs and activities in mathematics/science, writing, English as a second language, reading, and study skills.
The LRC main office is located in the east wing of Sherman Hall, room 345. The Math Lab and the Writing Center are located on the first floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library. For more information, call 410-455-2444 or visit lrc.umbc.edu
English Language Institute (ELI)
UMBC's English Language Institute (ELI) offers courses for current UMBC and prospective international students who seek to advance their English language skills for specific fields and purposes. In addition to "conditional admission" where students who successfully complete upper-level ELI courses become eligible to apply for UMBC's bachelor's degree program and master's degree programs without taking TOEFL, ELI also offers the "Bridge Program," which lets students apply for both the English training program at ELI and an undergraduate program at UMBC together without a TOEFL score.
The ELI offers varied program and course options all year round:
- Online English Courses: The online courses are designed for advanced English users (Level 5) who are unable to come to the U.S. to study English and want to study English anytime, anywhere in the world to fit their busy daily schedule.
Advantages of ELI programs include access to free individual tutoring, the free "Conversation Partner Program," where each student is paired up with an English speaker to practice his/her English, individualized academic and immigration advising, online course options, English language learning software, immigration advising, and more.
For more information, contact the ELI 410-455-2831, or visit www.umbc.edu/eli.
International Education Services (IES)
As a vibrant research university, UMBC attracts a large population of international students who come from more than 100 countries. UMBC's Office of International Education Services offers comprehensive assistance to the university's population of international students and scholars to ensure all international members of the UMBC community are able to complete their programs of study and research in legal status. The IES office assists international students with the documentation needed to obtain their F-1 or J-1 visas and reports arrival and enrollment data to the Department of Homeland Security.
Throughout the student's stay at the university, IES provides guidance on matters related to travel, off-campus work opportunities, practical training and other matters related to life in the United States. All new international students are required to attend the orientation program sponsored by IES at the beginning of each semester. The program is designed to provide valuable information regarding both the legal requirements of their stay in the United States, as well adjustment to life in the United States and the U.S. academic experience.
The Study Abroad Office, which handles all matters related to academic programs abroad, also operates out of IES. Please see Study Abroad under Special Opportunities for more information on summer, semester, academic year and other short-term international education opportunities.
For further information, contact IES staff at 410-455-2624 or electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ies.umbc.edu.
Office of Student Disability Services (SDS)
The mission of SDS is to ensure that UMBC students with documented disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all University programs, services, and activities through the provision of accommodations and reasonable modifications that allow for equal access and inclusion. Examples of services provided through SDS may include: alternate format texts; readers; scribes; accommodated testing; notetaking assistance; and American Sign Language or cued speech interpreters. Adaptive equipment and assistive technology is available in the office and also in the Albin O. Kuhn Library.
Students with disabilities who would like to request classroom, housing, or program accommodations will need to register for services through submission of disability documentation and scheduling of an intake appointment with a disability specialist. The office is open year-round.
For more information or to register, please visit the SDS website at sds.umbc.edu, visit the office in the Mathematics/Psychology Building, room 212 reception desk; call 410-455-2459 or email disABILITY@umbc.edu.
Office of Academic Opportunity Programs (AOP)
AOP houses programs focused on assisting students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education (low-income, first generation in their family to earn a bachelor's degree and/or members of ethnic and racial groups underrepresented in higher education). The programs include TRIO Programs (Educational Talent Search, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement, Upward Bound, and Upward Bound Math/Science), and the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP).
The McNair Scholars Program serves UMBC students who are low-income and first generation or member of ethnic and racial groups underrepresented in higher education, who are interested in pursuing a PhD. The Program provides experiences that prepare students for graduate education in all disciplines. It involves students in research, mentoring, and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate strong academic potential.
The LSAMP seeks to increase the numbers of students matriculating into and successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in order to diversify the STEM workforce. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, and relevant educational experiences in support of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders.
For more information about any of the programs in AOP, visit the website at aop.umbc.edu. visit our main office in the Mathematics/Psychology Building, room 007, or call 410-455-6763.
The Honors College
The UMBC Honors College is a special opportunity for students seeking to enrich their academic experience by taking small, intensive courses in areas of special interest. Many courses involve in-depth treatment of materials covered in regular class sections, while others resemble graduate seminars in their small size and depth and intensity of scholarship. Admission to the Honors College is highly selective. Academic records are weighed along with individual characteristics such as seriousness of purpose, intellectual promise and mature judgment as reflected in a recommendation and an essay. For high school students, the curriculum, grades and test scores are particularly important. A separate application is required for admission to the Honors College. For a detailed overview of the Honors College and admissions procedures, please see that section of the catalog or honors.umbc.edu. You may visit the Honors College in the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, suite 216.
For more information, visit the Honors College Web site at honors.umbc.edu, call 410-455-3720 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery contains more than 1,000,000 books and bound volumes of journals; more than 2,000,000 photographs, DVDs, maps, music scores, recordings, microforms and government documents. In addition, we provide over 13,000 online journals and 50,000 ebooks and access to streaming video. Course reserves, most of which are online, and extensive computing, printing and photocopying facilities further assist studies. The Digital Media Lab and Equipment Loan program provide access to audiovisual equipment suitable for a wide variety of projects.The Library Media Collection supports academic programs across the curriculum with audio and video recordings, as well as provides music and film offerings for recreational use. The library cooperates with 16 other University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) libraries through an extensive automated system featuring an online catalog of UMBC and USMAI holdings and a discovery tool for locating full-text articles. The library web pages serve as a gateway to the holdings of many other U.S. academic libraries providing online materials and document delivery on request. The Retriever Learning Center is always open - with food and drink available, computers, spaces for group study and close proximity to technical help and tutoring. Highly skilled professionals are prepared to help students locate information needed for study and research in-person at the library, or through phone, e-mail and chat services. A Presentation Practice Room is available for students, faculty and staff, as are several Assistive Technology rooms.
The library's Special Collections include one of the nation's major photographic archives, with photographs by Lewis Hine, Robert Fichter, Ralph Gibson, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Mildred Grossman, Jaromir Stephany, and many others. These photographs are valuable resources in the study of art, as well as other fields in the social sciences and humanities. The Special Collections also contain the Archives of the American Society for Microbiology and several other associations in biology through the Center for Biological Sciences Archives, the Joseph L. Arnold Maryland Collection, the Azriel Rosenfeld Science Fiction Research Collection, the Maryland Traditions Collection and numerous other holdings of rare books. The library has been a selective depository for U.S. documents since 1972 and a full depository for Maryland state documents since 1984.
The Library Gallery
UMBC is exceptional among universities in having a major Gallery in its library building. The Library Gallery's mission is to provide exhibitions with accompanying publications and educational programming across a range of subjects, media and aesthetic purposes that support the UMBC campus mission. In the context of a research university, the Gallery serves as a crucible for the discovery of and encounter with ideas greater than any single book, object, image or concept. Exposing viewers to a broad range of exhibitions is a primary goal of the Gallery. Historical and educational exhibitions, significant photography and materials from the Special Collections department are presented for our students, faculty and staff, and the citizens of the region and the state. The Gallery, thus, contributes to UMBC's status as a center of cultural and intellectual activity.
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
As a technologically advanced campus, UMBC's Division of Information Technology (DoIT) offers students an array of computing services for research, study and collaboration. In addition to a robust, campus-wide network and wifi, computer labs with printing services are available seven days a week. You can even use the same PC lab software online anytime, anywhere, with any device through our virtual desktop environment. Our Technology Support Center (TSC) is located next to the Retriever Learning Center on the first floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library. In addition to walk up and phone support, the TSC also curates the campus' very popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and resolves or escalates most IT support requests through the RT (Request Tracker) ticketing system. To find or request help, visit my.umbc.edu/help.
All entering students should create an account on myUMBC, a campus Web portal to access personal information, campus systems and UMBC's online community. In addition to UMBC's Google Apps for Education (including Gmail), students can check course availability, register for classes, use Blackboard for coursework, retrieve final grades, pay bills, reserve library materials, and much more. Also, with a myUMBC account, students, faculty and staff have access to Box and Google Drive online storage as well as a wide range of software, including Microsoft Office 365, various statistical packages, database and text processors, and many special-purpose software and programming languages. While UMBC requires students to own or assure they have access to a computer, more than 90 percent typically bring a laptop. DoIT provides computing recommendations for students and faculty/staff.
Mobile, Internet Access, and Electronic Services
Over 1,800 wireless access points cover the campus and provide wireless connectivity through all academic buildings and residence halls. Many outside areas are getting wireless connectivity and Internet access is provided to the campus through two, 10 Gigabit/s connections. Also, UMBC is launching a new mobile app (available on the Apple App Store or Google Play) that will provide location specific information integrated with our mobile myUMBC for course scheduling and adjustment. Finally, all administrative services from parking to bill paying are done through myUMBC.
Support for Innovative Teaching & Learning
DoIT supports faculty across all delivery modes in the effective integration of instructional technology into their courses, but also partners with Summer and Winter Programs on a hybrid course redesign program called the Alternate Delivery Program (ADP). In addition, the New Media Studio supports faculty use of digital storytelling in several classes.
DoIT's Audio Visual Services provides and maintains academic media support on campus for classroom technology services, all audiovisual presentation equipment and lecture halls, and the use of audience response systems (or "clickers"). DoIT's AV Services manages the UMBC portion of the University System of Maryland (USM) Interactive Video Network (IVN), which allows students to enroll in upper-level and graduate courses taught at other USM campuses. DoIT also supports web-based, group video conferencing options such as SeeVogh (includes HD and IVN connectivity) Google Hangouts and Skype.
Student Job Opportunities
DoIT provides many job opportunities for students in our AV Services, Networks, CyberSecurity, System Administration, Technology Support Center and Desktop Computing groups. Students with experience in computer technology are encouraged to apply for a position with DoIT through UMBCworks.
Conservation and Environmental Research Areas (CERA)
Established in 1997, the Conservation and Environmental Research Areas (CERA) of UMBC were created to support environmental education, research and conservation at UMBC. At present, CERA covers about 50 acres of the UMBC landscape and is located in two areas. The larger tract, covering approximately 45 acres of the south end of the main campus, has a variety of ecological settings including mature upland forest, early and mid-successional forests, and riparian and wetland environments. The second, much smaller CERA area (about three acres) surrounds Pigpen Pond. There are also several areas within CERA where evidence of previous human occupancy and use can be found. In addition to teaching opportunities for faculty, CERA offers a wide range of opportunities for students and faculty to undertake short- and long-term research projects in various disciplines. Management of CERA is guided by the need to maintain these landscapes as natural areas to be preserved and protected for approved uses in education, research and wildlife observation. Faculty and students who want further information or who wish to use CERA for research and/or teaching are encouraged to contact the CERA Steering Committee (Sandy Parker, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.umbc.edu/cera.