Undergraduate Degree Requirements
UMBC confers baccalaureate degrees on undergraduate students who successfully complete a course of study that meets minimum university requirements, general education requirements, major requirements, and if elected, minor and/or certificate requirements. Students may elect to complete the requirements, if applicable eligibility requirements are met, of multiple majors and/or degree programs, post-baccalaureate degrees, combined degrees, and/or accelerated bachelor's/master's programs.
The university reserves the right to change any provision or requirement at any time within a student's period of enrollment. If a change is made, however, the student has the option of following the requirements in the catalog in effect at UMBC when he or she began public higher education within the state of Maryland for the first time, provided continuous enrollment (without a two-year break). This option applies to major requirements as well as to minimum university requirements and general education.
Minimum University Requirements for an Undergraduate Baccalaureate Degree
To receive an undergraduate baccalaureate degree, students must complete each of the university requirements listed below, without exception.
Minimum Academic Credits
Without exception, students must complete a minimum of 120 academic credits to receive a UMBC degree. Academic credits exclude developmental level coursework and physical-activity courses.
Minimum Grade Point Average
Without exception, students must have a minimum cumulative UMBC grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 to receive a UMBC degree. The UMBC GPA excludes LRC, ELC, pre-college-level coursework, physical-activity courses when a grade of "P" is earned, and academic courses taken as P/F earned with a "P."
Minimum Upper-level Credits
Without exception, at least 45 of the minimum 120 credits required for graduation must be in UMBC courses numbered at the 300-level or above or their equivalents.
Minimum Resident Credits
Without exception, students must complete at least 30 credits of course work at UMBC (referred to as resident credit) to receive a UMBC degree. Of the 30 resident credits, 15 must be upper-level (courses numbered at the 300-level or above).
Writing Intensive Course (WI)
Without exception, students must complete one writing intensive course; a designated WI course may count for the major or a distribution requirement, or it may be taken as an elective. The WI course must be completed at UMBC; transfer courses may not to be used to fulfill this requirement.
Two Physical Education Courses
Students must pass two activity courses in physical education. Credit for physical education courses is considered institutional credit, and as such, it does not count toward the 120 academic credits required for graduation. Exemptions are made if a student reaches his or her 30th birthday prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which the student initially enrolls at UMBC, if the student is in the military (active duty, veteran, reservist), if the student is a varsity athlete, or if he or she is physically disqualified, for which he or she may receive a waiver from the physical education department.
General Education Requirements
UMBC's general education requirements enable students to develop functional skills and competencies important for academic and lifetime success. Each general education requirement enhances one or more of the following areas: written and oral communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency and information literacy.
Recommended competency areas for General Education Programs have been established by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and adopted by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Additional information regarding the general education requirements at UMBC is available at: http://oue.umbc.edu/home/general-education/
Students must complete the general education requirements with a grade of "C" or better. Courses taken on a P/F basis may not be applied to general education requirements.
To fulfill general education requirements, students will complete courses distributed across six broad areas of academic inquiry:
English Composition (ENGL 100)
English composition lays the foundation for the writing, research, and critical thinking skills that students need to succeed in their coursework and engage thoughtfully with complex issues. This requirement emphasizes strategies for analyzing and composing arguments in a variety of media, and stresses the importance of the context, purpose, and audience for different arguments. Students work extensively with sources, researching and synthesizing information and using it to support and develop their ideas. The goal is to equip students to be clear, persuasive, careful writers and thinkers who use these strategies across disciplines, and use them, as well, in approaching questions in the world around them.
Students must complete English composition within the first 30 credit hours of enrollment at UMBC.
To prepare college graduates for an increasingly complex and technological world, it is necessary to develop problem solving abilities, including analytical and logical reasoning skills. Mathematics courses build upon a student's fundamental mastery of high school algebra (as evidenced by the placement exam or equivalent course work) to provide a foundation in mathematical concepts and techniques used not only in mathematics and statistics but also in a wide variety of other disciplines.
Arts and Humanities
Courses in the arts and humanities explore the human condition and its cultural expression, past and present. Arts and humanities courses consider the ethical and value systems which form the basis of thought, artifacts and individual and collective life. They examine a wide variety of sources -- from literature, philosophy, the visual and performing arts and religion, to popular culture and patterns of everyday activity -- to critically evaluate significant intellectual and artistic issues.
The social sciences seek to understand attitudes, beliefs and social behaviors of individuals, groups and institutions, and identify factors that influence them, both past and present. Attention is devoted to the complex interactions among individuals, environment and social institutions. Finally, the social sciences seek to develop, implement and evaluate procedures that can change attitudes and behaviors at both the individual and group level and address issues of social inequality/inequity.
The sciences seek explanations for how nature functions at scales ranging from the subatomic to the universal. Courses in the natural sciences foster an understanding of the fundamental principles underlying modern scientific thought. In addition to describing what is currently known, science courses teach skills and methods that facilitate inquiry about the natural world, and provide opportunities for students to test those explanations against current scientific knowledge and to communicate their ideas to others.
Language and Culture
The language and culture requirements recognize the global nature of society in the 21st Century, the importance of inter-cultural communication and the need for modern citizens to broaden their horizons. Languages beyond English offered in the UMBC curriculum range from ancient to modern, representing most major language groups of the world. Courses designated for the culture requirement generally focus on subject matter beyond the borders of the United States, while recognizing the multi-cultural perspectives of global experience and the value of inter-cultural and comparative approaches to culture study.
Students must satisfy the requirements of a major program which provides the focal point of a student's undergraduate study and ensures depth of knowledge in that field.
Students may choose to major in an established discipline within one of the available major curricula or develop a self-designed program within the framework of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. A list of major programs, with links to departmental websites is available at: http://www.umbc.edu/academics/degrees.php
Students should declare a major program as soon as practical but not later than by the completion of 45 credit hours of course work by filing a Declaration of Major form in the Registrar's Office. Students who transfer to UMBC with at least 45 credit hours of course work should declare a major program during their first semester.
Minor Requirements (if applicable)
Students may elect to declare a minor, which is a survey of an academic field, but in less depth than a major program. Students are encouraged to discuss the opportunity with their academic advisor to determine if it is appropriate. Some programs may require completion of a minor in conjunction with the major. A list of minor programs, with links to departmental websites is available at: http://www.umbc.edu/academics/degrees.php
Minor programs are recognized only when completed concurrently with and as part of a bachelor's degree program.
Undergraduate Certificates (if applicable)
Students may elect to declare a certificate as part of their degree program to achieve mastery of a skill or content area. Students are encouraged to discuss the opportunity with their academic advisor to determine if it is appropriate. A list of certificate programs, with links to departmental websites is available at: http://www.umbc.edu/academics/degrees.php
In general, students must complete the requirements of a certificate in conjunction with and as part of a bachelor's degree program. Special exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Registrar's Office at the point of a student's graduation audit.
Multiple Major and Degree Programs
Students may elect to complete the requirements of multiple major and degree programs:
Multiple Major Programs
Students who elect to complete the requirements of multiple majors must submit a Declaration of Major form with the Registrar's Office to declare their major intent. Upon filing the form, the primary, secondary, third or more major will be specified.
When pursuing multiple major programs involving the same bachelor degree type (e.g., Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Arts [or] Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Science), the student must complete the requirements of both major programs, complete the general education requirements for only one major since they result in the same degree and a minimum of 120 degree credits. All requirements of both major programs must be completed at the time of graduation.
When pursuing multiple major programs involving different bachelor's degree types (e.g., Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science [or] Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts), the student must complete the requirements of both major programs, complete only the general education requirements of the primary major that was specified on the Declaration of Major form and a minimum of 120 degree credits. All requirements of both major programs must be completed at the time of graduation.
Students who successfully complete multiple majors will receive only one diploma with the primary major printed on the diploma. The secondary, third or more major(s) will be listed on the official transcript.
Students who elect to complete the requirements of multiple degrees must submit a Declaration of Major form with the Registrar's Office to declare their degree intent.
Students electing to concurrently complete programs involving the same bachelor degree type (e.g., Bachelor of Arts and a second or more Bachelor of Arts [or] a Bachelor of Science and a second or more Bachelor of Science), must complete the requirements of all degree programs, complete the general education requirements for only one degree since they are the same and a minimum of 30 credits above the 120 credit minimum for each additional degree at the time of graduation.
Students electing to concurrently complete programs involving different bachelor's degree types (e.g., Bachelor of Arts and a second or more Bachelor of Science [or] a Bachelor of Science and a second or more Bachelor of Arts), must complete the requirements of all degree programs, the general education requirements applicable to all degrees and a minimum of 30 credits above the 120 credit minimum for each additional degree at the time of graduation.
Students who successfully complete multiple degrees will receive one diploma for each degree earned.
Students who have graduated and wish to complete an additional degree program in a discipline or major not completed during their prior degree program are required to complete all requirements of the additional degree program and a minimum of 30 degree credits.
If students wish to enroll in a combined degree program in medicine, law or dentistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), they must satisfactorily complete 90 credit hours at UMBC, including all general education and major requirements, prior to entrance to the professional school. After completing the first year at UMB and on the recommendation of the dean of the professional school and the provost at UMBC, students will be awarded the baccalaureate degree from UMBC.
Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Programs
Students interested in pursuing an accelerated bachelor's/master's degree program should make their intentions known to the appropriate graduate program director. This is usually done early in the junior year, although some programs allow earlier admission. Completion of the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program application form is required at that time; the form is available on the Graduate School Web site.
An undergraduate may apply to participate in an accelerated program even if the desired graduate program is in a department other than the one in which the student is majoring.
A major advantage of this program is that it enables the student to double count up to nine credits toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees. If admitted, the student follows a prescribed course of study in which a maximum of nine credits at the 600 level or higher may be taken as an undergraduate and counted later toward the master's degree. They may be enrolled on either a part-time or full-time basis.
Students must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School at least one semester prior to the completion of bachelor's degree requirements. There will be no retroactive admissions to the program once the student has received the bachelor's degree.
The bachelor's degree may be awarded after successful completion of bachelor's degree requirements (usually at least 120 credits); master's degree requirements depend upon the individual program, but a minimum of 141 total credits is required for both degrees.
This program is selective. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered, and some programs have more stringent requirements. The Graduate Record Examination usually is waived for applicants in this program; some graduate programs also waive other application requirements (e.g., letters of recommendation). If admitted, students must develop a plan of study for the remainder of their undergraduate career with the graduate program director. Students in these accelerated tracks must continue to be in good academic standing throughout the course of their studies.
A student admitted to the program may be allowed to take a break between the bachelor's and master's careers, but the graduate courses taken as an undergraduate must be "used" toward the master's degree within five years.
Once students are admitted to Graduate School and are enrolled, they must complete a Transfer of Credit form to transfer up to nine graduate credits taken as an undergraduate into the master's program. Note that only the credits are transferred, not the grade received.
No more than one master's degree may be earned through a combined bachelor's/ master's degree program.