Feb 28, 2024  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Standards and Administrative Requirements

UMBC’s standards and requirements on academic matters are subject to change. New and revised policies go into effect at the beginning of the fall semester following their approval.

The academic policies found in this section are intended to support the primary purpose of a university - the acquisition of knowledge - by establishing standards of performance and acceptable conditions for attending UMBC.

As such, these policies represent the values of the university as developed over time and customarily are enforced vigorously by its faculty and staff. The uniform application of policy affords equitable treatment of students and further, by holding them to high standards, enhances the stature of UMBC and its degrees.

Accordingly, exceptions to policy are granted only in rare instances - not because the university is unfeeling toward individual needs, but because it cares about the integrity of its academic standards and believes that by maintaining that integrity, the university ultimately provides a greater service to the entire community.

Student Responsibility

As a matter of UMBC policy and procedure, students are responsible for the management of their academic careers. They are expected to familiarize themselves with resources such as the undergraduate catalog, the degree audit, and to remain informed of all published degree requirements and academic calendar dates. Failure to do so does not provide a basis for exceptions to academic requirements or policies.

It is expected that students will receive assistance from academic and faculty advisors, but students must assume responsibility for completing published degree requirements. Students are also expected to maintain communication with the university. As e-mail is the university’s primary medium of official communication with students, students are responsible for reading messages sent to their UMBC e-mail addresses. Students are also expected to maintain their current postal address and telephone number in the UMBC Directory.

Application for Graduation

Students must file a formal application for graduation with the Registrar’s Office during their final semester. The deadline for applying for May graduation is February 15; for August graduation, June 15; and for December graduation, September 15.

UMBC commencement ceremonies are held in December and May. Students will be eligible to participate in the December commencement ceremony if they have been granted an undergraduate degree for the previous August graduation period or if they are enrolled for the fall semester in all coursework needed to fulfill a bachelor’s degree.

Students will be eligible to participate in the May commencement ceremony if they have successfully completed all graduation requirements or are enrolled for the spring semester with all coursework needed to fulfill a bachelor’s degree.

Students should review their progress toward completion of graduation requirements in consultation with their academic advisors on a regular basis. While degree audit reports are for advising purposes only and are not official records of academic history or completion of degree requirements, students are encouraged to review their degree audit to assist in assessing completion of general, university and major-specific requirements. Students should consult with an advisor in the appropriate academic departments with regard to the completion of program requirements.


The Schedule of Classes and associated policy and procedural information for each term are made available on the UMBC Web site.

Students enroll in UMBC classes online via the university’s myUMBC Web portal.

Students are responsible for their own course registration. This includes following established procedures for enrolling in courses for which they want to receive credit, as well as dropping courses or withdrawing from courses or terms they do not intend to complete. Students are strongly encouraged to review their schedule via myUMBC prior to the first day of classes to verify their enrollments, class meeting times, and room locations. Students also need to remember that Blackboard access does not equate to official registration in that course.Further, students may not participate in, and will not be awarded credits or grades for, classes in which they are not enrolled.

Unless specifically notified otherwise, students are not enrolled in any class without having completed the registration transaction themselves according to the established procedures. Students should be mindful if placed on waitlists for course sections that the responsibility for enrollment in the courses is assumed at the time the student is placed on the waitlist. This includes financial obligations. Before the term begins, students may have moved from a waitlist status to an enrolled status in a section. Students who have been de-registered from UMBC or from a specific class will be notified in writing via e-mail sent to their UMBC e-mail address.

A student’s first registration in degree-seeking status will occur during orientation preceding their first semester at UMBC. For subsequent semesters, continuing students may register for the next semester during Advance Registration (conducted on a credit-earned priority basis) or during the General Registration period between Advance Registration and the start of the semester. Students may also late register during the first two weeks of a semester; however, a late registration fee is assessed.

Course Load

UMBC considers students enrolled for 12 credits or more in a fall or spring semester or summer term to be full-time students. Part-time status may be defined differently by outside agencies and by some financial aid programs.

To register for more than 19.5 credits in a fall or spring semester, more than 4.5 credits in a winter session or more than 8 credits in one of the two summer sessions, students must have prior written approval from their advisor and the Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising.

Classification of Students

UMBC students are classified according to the number of earned credits as follows:

Freshman 0-29 credits
Sophomore 30-59 credits
Junior 60-89 credits
Senior 90 or more credits

Enrollment at Other Institutions

UMBC students interested in enrolling in courses at other institutions must complete a verification of transferability form in the Registrar’s Office. UMBC will consider for transfer academic courses taken at other regionally accredited institutions, in subject areas that are considered part of a student’s university program, in which he or she has earned a grade of “C-” or better. From Maryland public institutions, courses with grades of “D” may transfer; however, a minimum grade of “C” is required in courses applied toward a major, minor, certificate program or toward general education requirements.

A maximum of 90 credits overall may be transferred from other institutions toward a UMBC undergraduate degree; however, a maximum of 60 credits (65 for engineering majors) may transfer from community colleges or two-year institutions.

Students are responsible for having official transcripts sent to UMBC from the other institutions they attend. Once credits are accepted toward a degree, they are posted to the student’s UMBC transcript. Grades in transferred courses do not replace a student’s grade in any prior attempts of the course. Students repeating a UMBC course at another institution must request that the transferred course be accepted as a repeat (with the UMBC attempt designated as non-applicable to the UMBC grade point average) which may impact the student’s cumulative UMBC grade point average.

Semester courses are available at other University System of Maryland (USM) campuses and participating schools in the Baltimore Student Exchange Program (BSEP) through inter-institutional registration.

To participate in inter-institutional registration, a student’s combined course load for the semester must be at least 12 credits, and at least half of the credits must be taken at UMBC. Grades and credits earned in applicable courses taken through inter-institutional registration will be considered as resident credit and, therefore, will be included in the calculation of semester and cumulative totals on UMBC records.

Students should verify the applicability of the course(s) they intend to take at another USM campus or BSEP school prior to enrolling in the course(s) by submitting a verification of transferability form.

Students must complete an application for inter-institutional enrollment form and have it approved by their academic advisor and the UMBC Registrar’s Office. They are then responsible for completing registration at the “host” campus following the regular registration procedures applicable to resident students at that institution.

Registration for Graduate Courses

For Undergraduate Credit: Undergraduates who have a grade point average of 3.0 in a particular discipline may enroll for credit in 600-level courses, with permission from the department sponsoring the course.

For Graduate Credit:

Seniors who meet certain criteria and are within seven credits of graduation may register as undergraduates for 400- to 600-level courses, which later may be counted for credit toward a UMBC graduate degree. Those credits must be in addition to the 120 required for the baccalaureate degree. Forms permitting undergraduate registration in 600-level courses are available in the Graduate School Office. Forms must be completed with all necessary signatures prior to registration and submitted to the Graduate School. Credits in excess of the 120 required for the baccalaureate degree may be applied to a graduate degree only through prior written approval of the course instructor, the chair or director of the designated graduate program, and the vice president for graduate studies and research.

Changes in Registration

Once registered for a particular semester, students may add or drop courses according the Academic Calendar published on the Registrar’s Office website. After the end of the schedule adjustment period, dropped courses will be reflected on official transcripts with a grade of “W.” Students will receive grades for all courses not dropped by published deadlines. Students who fail to attend class without having dropped the course will receive a grade of “F” unless they have officially withdrawn from the university. Students must follow all registration procedures as published on the Registrar’s Office website each semester.

Withdrawal from UMBC

Students wishing to withdraw from all courses for which they have registered must notify the Registrar’s Office by filing a semester withdrawal no later than the last scheduled day of classes prior to final exams. Their transcript will have a notation of “Withdrawn” for that semester if their withdrawal occurs after classes have begun, and a “W” will appear on the transcript for each course. The effective date of withdrawal, for refund and grading purposes, will be the date the withdrawal is received in the Registrar’s Office.

When withdrawing, students should be certain to follow all procedures: Failure to do so will result in the student remaining academically and financially responsible for the courses in which he or she is enrolled. Failure to attend classes does not constitute official withdrawal and will result in “F” grades for all courses and liability for all charges. Stop payment on checks, failure to pay the semester bill, or failure to attend classes does not constitute official notification of withdrawal and will not release a student from financial or academic liability.

Students who withdraw from a semester prior to Advance Registration for the next semester will be eligible to register for the subsequent term during the General Registration period. Students who do not complete coursework for two consecutive semesters are required to apply for re-admission or reinstatement to the university through the Office of Admissions and Orientation.

Retention of Registration Records

While transcript records are permanently held by the Registrar’s Office, documentation pertaining to the registration for each semester is held for a period of five years. If any questions should arise regarding documentation of enrollment more than five years beyond registration for a course, it will be the student’s responsibility to produce proper documentation to support any claim for change in records. Students are urged to resolve any question regarding academic records in a timely manner.

Grades and Academic Records Grading System

For all courses in which a student is enrolled at the end of the 10th week of the semester, the following letter symbols will be posted to the permanent record: “A,” indicates superior achievement; “B,” good performance; “C,” adequate performance; “D,” minimal acceptable achievement; “F,” failure; and “I,” incomplete work. “W” indicates a course dropped after the end of the Schedule Adjustment Period. “NA” (non-applicable) denotes a course that does not apply to a degree program and does not enter into GPA (grade point average) calculations.

UMBC calculates grade point averages by assigning numerical values to letter symbols:

A = 4 quality points
B = 3 quality points
C = 2 quality points
D = 1 quality point
F = 0 quality points

The semester grade point average is determined by multiplying the credit value of each course by the numerical equivalent of each grade and then dividing total quality points by total credit hours attempted in academic courses taken for a letter grade.

The same method is used to compute cumulative grade point averages. Transfer courses completed at other institutions including at other University System of Maryland campuses (with the exception of courses completed through inter-institutional registration), courses passed under the pass/fail option, zero-credit courses, grades earned for campus-administered credit by examination, incomplete courses and courses repeated for a higher grade are listed on the permanent record but are not included in the grade point average.

Institutional Credit

Physical Education courses and courses that are developmental in nature carry “institutional” credit only. These credits are used to determine semester credit loads (full-time/part-time). Developmental credits are not calculated into the cumulative GPA; however, Physical Education credits are calculated if an F grade is earned in the course. “Institutional” credits are not counted toward the minimum 120 required for graduation.

Pass/Fail Courses

When students have completed 30 or more credits and are in good academic standing at UMBC, they may enroll for one pass/fail (P/F) course per semester for a total of 12 credits toward graduation.

Students may elect to take any course on a pass/fail basis except those explicitly excluded by the department or those used to fulfill general education or major/minor/ certificate requirements. Students may designate a course as P/F during registration or change a course to or from a P/F option within the published time frame as listed in the Academic Calendar.

A pass grade under the P/F option is defined as either an “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D.” A grade of “P” is not calculated in the GPA, but a grade of “F” does impact on the GPA in the same manner as all “F” grades.

Repeating Courses

Any course may be repeated, but if a grade of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” “P,” or “AU” already has been earned for that course, the subsequent attempt does not increase the total credits earned toward the degree. Credits for repeated courses will only be counted once toward graduation requirements. Only the highest grade will be used in the computation of the cumulative grade point average; however, all grades earned remain on the permanent record. Some courses are repeatable for additional credits as specified in the course descriptions. In these instances, all credits and grades will be applied to the student’s record.

UMBC has several limitations that apply to repeating courses: Students may not register for a course more than two times. They are considered registered for a course if they are enrolled after the end of the schedule adjustment period. Students may petition the Office of Undergraduate Education for a third and final attempt of a course taken at UMBC or another institution. Additionally, students may not repeat a course for a higher grade once they have successfully completed any subsequent course of a higher level in an academic sequence (for example, students may not retake FREN 101  after successfully completing FREN 102 ). Students may petition the Office of Undergraduate Education for permission to repeat a course out of sequence.

Permission to repeat a course for a second attempt at another institution may be granted by the Registrar’s Office upon recommendation by a student’s faculty advisor. Grades in transferred courses do not replace a student’s grade in any prior attempts of the course. Students repeating a UMBC course at another institution must request that the transferred course be accepted as a repeat (with the UMBC attempt designated as non-applicable to the UMBC grade point average) which may impact the student’s cumulative UMBC grade point average.

Students who wish to have a course taken at another institution applied as a repeat of a UMBC course must complete a request for verification of transferability in the Office of the Registrar. Judgments with respect to course equivalency are made in consultation with appropriate academic departments. Appeals may be made to the dean of the appropriate college.

Auditing Courses

Students who wish to show that he or she has attended a course but does not seek academic credit, may register in a course as an auditor. The notation “AU” is listed for audited courses for which no credits are attempted or earned.

Audited courses count as zero-credit toward all enrollment certifications, such as full-time enrollment. Part-time students must pay tuition and fees for audited courses.

Courses may be designated to or from an audit option within the published time frame as listed in the Academic Calendar. When the audit option is selected, the respective faculty teaching the audited class may set certain criteria which the auditor must meet for purposes of registration.

Incomplete Grades

A grade of “I” may be submitted at the discretion of the course instructor under exceptional circumstances for course work that is qualitatively satisfactory but, for reasons beyond student’s control, cannot be completed. Incomplete (“I”) grades may not be awarded unless specifically requested by a student. All work must be completed before a date specified by the instructor, which will typically not be later than the last day scheduled for final examinations during the next regular semester. If a grade change has not been submitted by the date grades are due at the end of the regular semester following the one in which the “I” was issued, a grade of “F” will be awarded automatically, unless the instructor requests a one-time, one semester extension of the “I” grade to the Registrar’s Office.

Students should not re-register for the course in the semester during which the work is to be completed. The outstanding course work must be completed under the guidance of the original instructor by the date specified, even if the course is not offered, the instructor is not in residence, or the student is not enrolled in the university.

Incomplete coursework must be completed or “I” grades will be converted to “F” grades before degrees can be awarded.

Grade Changes

An instructor may change a grade already submitted to the registrar on written certification and approval by the department chairperson and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education. Once the degree is awarded, the transcript is “locked,” and no changes may be made to a student’s record.

Credits by Examination

Degree-seeking undergraduates may establish as many as 60 credits toward the bachelor’s degree by UMBC-administered examinations or by the College-level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP) or the International Baccalaureate (IB). Credits by examination earned through CLEP, AP or IB may be used to fulfill General Education Requirements, when equivalent to a UMBC general education course.

UMBC-administered examinations may be available once a student has completed at least 12 UMBC credits with an average of 2.0 or better. If he or she has fewer than 12 credits, the student may petition the provost to waive the minimum credit requirement if he or she wishes to use the examination to establish credit based on previous training or experience. Departmental credit by exam does not apply toward general education requirements.

Students must earn a grade of “C” or higher to establish credit-by-examination. P/F is permissible within regulations applying to P/F courses at UMBC. Grades of “D” or “F” are posted, even though no credit is earned. These exams may not be used to repeat a course.

Credit-by-exam may be earned for a course by obtaining approval from the head of the department sponsoring the course. A completed request for credit-by-examination form, signed by the department chairperson, then is forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for approval. After payment of a non-refundable fee of $5 per credit, the exam may be administered. Grades then are forwarded to the Office of the Registrar.

College-level Examination Program (CLEP)

A list of approved CLEP examinations and required scores is included in Appendix II.

Test scores must be forwarded to UMBC directly from the Educational Testing Service. Credits for CLEP examinations are not used in computing the GPA, nor are they applied to the minimum number of credits needed to qualify for honors at graduation. CLEP credits may be used to fulfill General Education Requirements if the test has been determined as equivalent to a UMBC general education course.


In response to a student’s written or electronic request via myUMBC, the Registrar’s Office issues official transcripts of scholastic records for students and alumni. Transcript requests should include full name, former name where applicable, address, dates of attendance and the complete address to which the transcript is to be sent. In compliance with federal regulations, a written request must be signed by the student.

Requests for transcripts should be made at least two weeks before they actually are needed. Transcripts are not furnished for any current or former student who has an outstanding financial obligation to the university.

Confidentiality of Records

UMBC maintains records of matters relevant to the educational process of each student. These records cannot be disclosed to individuals other than the student except by written consent of the student, by legal order or in carefully circumscribed instances based on the University System of Maryland’s clearly defined policy, which complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. See Appendix VII  for a copy of this policy.

Students have the right to have certain information that is considered “directory” information withheld from the public by notifying the Registrar’s Office in writing at least once each year of their desire to have this information withheld. Contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.

Academic Honors

Graduation Honors

Degree candidates whose cumulative grade point average at the time of graduation is between 3.5 and 3.7499 receive the degree Cum Laude; between 3.75 and 3.9499, Magna Cum Laude; between 3.95 and 4.0, Summa Cum Laude. To be eligible for these honors, students must complete at UMBC a minimum of 45 credits that are applicable towards GPA calculations.

President’s List

If students earn a semester grade point average of 4.00 or higher for a semester in which they are enrolled for at least 12 hours of graded credits (no P/F), they will have the notation of “President’s List” posted to the transcript for that semester.

Dean’s List

If students earn a semester grade point average of 3.75 or higher for a semester in which they are enrolled for at least 12 hours of graded credits (no P/F), they will have the notation of “Dean’s List” posted to the transcript for that semester.

Semester Honors

If students earn a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher for a semester in which they are enrolled for at least 12 hours of graded credits (no P/F), they will have the notation “Semester Academic Honors” posted to the transcript for that semester.

General Honors

During their freshman and sophomore years, students admitted to the Honors College enroll in honors courses (typically at least one each semester) that have limited enrollment and provide an opportunity for close interaction with distinguished members of the teaching faculty. Detailed requirements for the Honors curriculum can be found on the Honors College web site, www.umbc.edu/honors.

Departmental Honors

Advanced-level honors work is generally undertaken by juniors and seniors in the department of their major field of study. Those departments that offer departmental honors programs enrich the major by providing special courses and unique opportunities for independent study and research under the guidance of departmental faculty. To graduate with departmental honors, students must complete at least nine credits in departmental honors courses, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their major, and satisfy any other requirements specified by their major department.

Academic Standing

Minimum Standards for Continued Enrollment

All undergraduates with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or above are in good academic standing and are academically eligible to return for subsequent semesters.

Academic Warning

A student in good academic standing whose current semester GPA falls below 2.0 for any fall or spring semester will receive an academic warning and may be required to participate in advising, tutoring or academic skills interventions designed to improve academic performance, as well as a possible limit on the number of credit hours attempted. Academic warning is not recorded on the student’s official record.

Academic Probation

A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 as of the end of a fall or spring semester will be placed on academic probation. A student may be enrolled in classes during a probationary semester, but may be required to participate in intensive advising, academic skills courses or workshops, and may be required to limit the number of credit hours attempted. Academic probation is recorded on the student’s official record.

Academic Suspension

Following two consecutive semesters on academic probation, a student whose cumulative GPA and current semester GPA are both below 2.0 will be academically suspended from the university as of the start of the next regular semester.

A student who has received a suspension notification may attend the upcoming summer or winter session but is ineligible to be enrolled for the next fall or spring semester or any subsequent term unless formally reinstated. Academic suspension is recorded on the student’s official record.

If the cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 but the current semester GPA is 2.0 or higher, such a student will be placed on academic probation for an additional semester.

Reinstatement after Suspension

The Academic Actions and Reinstatement Committee reviews all reinstatement applications. Courses completed at other institutions while the student was suspended from UMBC will be considered for transfer credit under the usual rules for transfer. Generally, a reinstated student will have subsequently completed at least 12 credits of academic work at another institution, with a GPA of at least 2.5, or the student will have been absent from UMBC for a significant period of time.

Academic Dismissal

After a student has been reinstated, the first instance of a cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 at the close of a fall or spring semester will result in academic probation. The second consecutive semester of a cumulative GPA less than 2.0 will result in dismissal from the university if the student’s current semester GPA was also below 2.0. In general, a student who has been academically dismissed will not be considered for future reinstatement. If the student’s cumulative GPA is below 2.0 but the semester GPA is 2.0 or higher, the student is placed on academic probation for an additional semester.

Academic Clemency

Students who are readmitted or reinstated after a lapse of five calendar years or more may petition to have up to 16 credits of failing grades excluded from the calculation of their cumulative records. Upon approval of the petition, the specified courses will be designated as non-applicable (NA) on the transcript. These credits will not be counted toward graduation requirements. Students must file the petition through the Office of the Registrar during the first semester of return to UMBC. Courses approved for exclusion from grade point average calculations may not be changed thereafter, even if the student changes his or her major. Approval of the petition is neither automatic nor guaranteed.

Non-applicable Semester

Students may request to declare a particular single semester, in which at least nine credits were attempted, non-applicable to their record. To qualify, the student must have earned a minimum of 90 credits, at least 45 of which were earned at UMBC, and the quality of the work for the specified semester must be clearly out of line with the rest of the student’s record. In order to be considered for a non-applicable semester, the GPA for the specified semester must have been less than 1.5. Additionally, the student must clearly have changed the focus of their academic program. Students may petition the Office of Undergraduate Education to be considered for a non-applicable semester, in which an email of support from the student’s academic advisor will also be required.

If the request is approved, the semester will be marked on the permanent record as non-applicable (NA). Credits attempted, credits earned and quality points will not be used in calculating the cumulative grade point average. To receive a degree, students will have to repeat any courses required for graduation that were taken during the semester made non-applicable. Approval of the petition is neither automatic nor guaranteed.

Academic Integrity at UMBC

Integrity lies at the heart of the academic endeavor. The Undergraduate Student Academic Conduct Policy (Policy) defines and strives to ensure academic integrity at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The Policy describes the process for addressing allegations of undergraduate student academic misconduct. The underlying philosophy of this Policy is that members of the university community view academic integrity as a serious institutional value and that academic misconduct incidents should be resolved by Faculty Members and students in a cooperative manner.

Some cases of academic misconduct may seem more serious than others; however, all instances of academic misconduct as described in the Policy should be reported to the Academic Conduct Committee. Filing a report, even when the offense does not appear to be extensive, flagrant, repeated, or intentionally deceitful, produces two worthwhile results: it creates a record that can identify a student whose misconduct is repeated in more than one course or over more than one semester, and it clarifies that UMBC takes academic misconduct seriously.

To that end, the UMBC Faculty Senate adopted the following statement:

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. [To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student or Faculty Handbook.]