May 22, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Enrollment and Registration Policies

Continuous Enrollment

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

Leave of Absence

Students who wish to continue in a degree program, but who cannot study in a particular semester or year, should notify their Graduate Program Directors and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Progressions and Academic Services in the Graduate School using the Leave of Absence Request Form  .

A leave of absence is NOT required for summer or winter terms.

The five-year period for completion of the master’s degree or for admission to doctoral candidacy begins with the first semester of enrollment; this “clock” does not stop during leaves of absence. If additional time is needed to complete your degree or to reach candidacy, you can submit a request for an extension to the Associate Dean’s office.

Failure to enroll after two consecutive semesters of leave of absence will result in your enrollment status changing from active to discontinued, unless approval has been granted in advance by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School for additional semesters of leave of absence.

A student who is not enrolled, is not eligible to utilize university resources.


Students who wish to return to their programs after being discontinued for exceeding the leave of absence period must complete the Returning Student Request Form , obtain the Graduate Program Director’s signature, and submit the signed form to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the desired term of re-enrollment.

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

Program Change

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

If they are in the same department (e.g., Applied Mathematics and Statistics), the student should consult with the graduate program directors (GPDs) in both programs for permission. The GPD in the program to which the student wishes to move will notify the Graduate School that all parties agree with the change.  The student will need to initiate the process using the Program Change form found on the Graduate School website.

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


If, after registration, a student wishes to discontinue pursuing a degree, a written notice of request for withdrawal from the university must be filed with the Graduate School. Withdrawal forms are available on the Graduate School Web site.

Course Load

The Graduate School at UMBC considers graduate students enrolled for a combination of courses carrying nine credits or more in a fall or sprng semester to be full-time students. Full-time status may be defined differently by outside agencies and by some financial aid programs.

Graduate Assistants must be registered full-time in each Fall or Spring semester whether they are appointed to a full-time assistantship or a half-time assistantship.

Policy on Double Counting Courses


For students pursuing more than one Masters degree (either concurrently, or sequentially), coursework may not be utilized twice (i.e. “double counted”) in fulfillment of each degree.   The exception is coursework taken through the accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s program at UMBC, which permits transfer of up to six credits (see section below).   Students holding a UMBC Masters degree, and embarking on a Doctor of Philosophy degree also at UMBC, may (upon approval and acceptance of the graduate program) apply courses earned at the Masters level, toward the Ph.D. (this policy also applies for Masters students submitting a Change in Program for the Doctor of Philosophy).

The Awarding of Graduate Level Transfer Credit For Master’s Degree Students

The Graduate School will award up to six semester-hours of transfer credit for academic coursework taken at a regionally accredited institution of higher education in subject areas that are considered part of the student’s UMBC master’s degree program curriculum. The Graduate School will consider awarding transfer credit for academic coursework taken at institutions of higher education with other accreditation based on criteria such as course content and expected learning outcomes.

UMBC students enrolled in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program may transfer up to nine or twelve graduate credits used toward the baccalaureate degree into the master’s degree program. Credit determinations are dependent upon individual graduate program specifications.

Students requesting the review of transfer credit must complete the Request for Transfer of Credit form after matriculation into The Graduate School. This form must be approved by the student’s advisor and the graduate program director or chair for first and second approval, and then submitted, along with the official transcript(s) showing the course(s) and grade(s) for which transfer credit is requested, to the administrative offices of The Graduate School for final approval and processing. Transcripts from universities outside of the United States or Canada must be accompanied by WES credential evaluation.

Additional criteria shall apply to the review of transfer credit(s):

  • coursework may be considered for transfer credit provided it was taken within five years of matriculating into the UMBC master’s program;
  • a grade of “B” or better must have been earned in the coursework to be transferred;
  • coursework may not have been utilized for fulfillment in any other program for which the student has been awarded a degree with the exception of coursework taken through the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program at UMBC.

In all instances, the number of credits and equivalence of a transferred course that a student may apply toward a master’s degree at UMBC is determined by the appropriate program faculty and The Graduate School in accordance with Middle States Commission on Higher Education standards.
For academic coursework deemed transferable, the Graduate School will award transfer credit; however, grades earned at other institutions will not be included in the UMBC GPA calculation.
Transfer Credit Appeal
Students who wish to appeal transfer credit determinations or wish to dispute a course equivalency must do so in writing to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Applying Credits From a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Toward a Master’s Degree
The number of credits that a student may apply toward a master’s degree from a post-baccalaureate certificate program is determined by the graduate program.

Transferred credit(s) for Doctor of Philosophy students
Transfer of credit for courses taken at other institutions is not required for doctoral students.  Courses approved and accepted by the graduate program are included in the Graduate Record form at the time of admission to candidacy.

Auditing a Course

A graduate student who wishes 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. Audited courses are not eligible for financial aid, nor are they considered when determining financial aid eligibility.

Tuition and fees for audit courses are the same as those charged for credit courses.

When the audit option is selected, the faculty teaching the audited class may set certain criteria which the auditor must meet, such as class attendance.

Inter-institutional Enrollment 

Inter-Institutional Enrollment

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

Enrollment Process for Outbound Students (UMBC Home)

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

Enrollment Process for Inbound Students (UMBC Host)

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

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

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

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


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

Library Privileges

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

Emergency Medical Service

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

PhD Plus Program 

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

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

Graduate Course Numbering System

Courses are designated as follows:

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

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

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

600-898: Courses normally reserved for graduate students

799: Master’s thesis research

899: Doctoral dissertation research (post-candidacy stage)

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

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

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

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