Jul 03, 2022  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Resources

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.

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center provides centralized support services to all undergraduate students at UMBC. Through a coordinated approach and an unwavering commitment to student success, the Academic Success Center fosters a welcoming environment that provides a one-stop opportunity through Academic Policy, Academic Learning Resources, and Academic Advocacy for students to achieve their academic goals and claim their future with a UMBC degree.

Academic Policy

  • Academic ombuds services
  • Admissions interviews involving prior academic misconduct
  • Course repeat petitions
  • General undergraduate academic policy questions
  • Grading method petitions
  • Late-add petitions
  • Non-applicable semester petitions
  • Petitions regarding the General Education Program and/or University Requirements
  • Petitions regarding undergraduate commencement participation

Academic Learning Resources

  • Appointment tutoring
  • Computing Success Center
  • Drop-in tutoring
  • Early Academic Alerts
  • Internationally certified tutor training program
  • Math and Science Tutoring Center
  • Placement testing
  • Proficiency-building courses
  • Supplemental Instruction Peer-Assisted Study Sessions
  • Workshops (math, writing, study skills)
  • Writing Center

Academic Advocacy

  • Coordinated care to connect students to appropriate university resources and services
  • Early outreach with students to enhance persistence, progression, and timely degree completion
  • Guidance for students in navigating institutional policies, processes, and petitions
  • Individual student appointments for academic success
  • Response to individual student inquiries and faculty/staff referrals to assess and address academic matters that may be barriers to graduation

Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising

The Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising (OAPA) provides advising services to exploratory (undeclared) and pre-professional allied health students (such as nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc.).

Through one-on-one appointments, workshops, and online materials, exploratory students are able to assess their interests and find fields most closely matched. OAPA  also hosts the annual MAJOR EVENT, an opportunity for students to explore academic programs at UMBC and gain confidence in future or current choice of academic major and/or minor. In addition, the office provides information and appropriate referrals to students about academic enrichment and career development opportunities, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and internships.  

Specialized pre-professional advising for allied health professions 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 schools. OAPA hosts an annual Allied Health Symposium where students have an opportunity to interface with allied health professionals and school representatives to learn more about their intended profession. The office also offers personal statement review sessions and supports the pre-professional student societies on campus.

OAPA supports students who are facing academic difficulties. The office oversees the academic actions process which includes reviewing academic probation, suspension, and dismissal cases. It also provides advising support to EDUC 113 - Academic Success for Lifelong Learning (2) .

The office also reviews students' requests to enroll for credits in excess of the normal limits per semester (19.5 for fall/spring, 8 for summer, 4.5 for winter).  

OAPA 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. The office can be contact via phone at 410-455-2729.

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:

  • Intensive English Program (full- or part-time study): These courses are non-credit and for those who want to improve overall skills of English language used in daily life.  The skill levels start from basic (Level Intro) up to advanced (Level 5).
  • Academic English Program (full- or part-time study): This program is designed for more proficient English speakers at intermediate and advanced levels (i.e., Level 4 through 6) who want to study in an undergraduate and graduate program after their program completion.
  • Special Skill-Focused Courses: TOEFL, GRE and TOEIC preparation; accent reduction; business/professional English, and more.
  • Extra-Intensive English Programs:  Full- or part- time study in January or August.
  • TESOL Training Course (on-campus or online): For those who want to explore the fields of TESOL and TEFL and those who want to teach English to non-native adult English speakers in the U.S. or abroad.
  • 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.

  • 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.

More information is available at 410-455-2831 or by visiting the ELI website.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISS)

As a vibrant research university, UMBC attracts a large population of international students who come from more than 100 countries. UMBC's International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS), in the Center for Global Engagement 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 ISSS 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, ISSS 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 ISSS 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 Education Abroad Office, which handles all matters related to academic programs abroad, also operates out of the Center for Global Engagement. Please see Education Abroad under Special Opportunities  for more information on summer, semester, academic year and other short-term international education opportunities.

Further information is available by contacting CGE staff at 410-455-2624, at educationabroad@umbc.edu, or visiting the Center for Global Engagement website.

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.

Students may get more information or register by visiting the SDS website, visiting the office in the Mathematics/Psychology Building, room 212 reception desk, calling 410-455-2459, or emailing 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 Program 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. 

More information about any of the programs in AOP is available at the AOP website, at the main office in the Mathematics/Psychology Building, room 007, or by calling 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. A detailed overview of the Honors College and admissions procedures is available at the Honors College  page of the Catalog or the Honors College website. Students may also visit the Honors College in the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, suite 216, call 410-455-3720, or e-mail honors@umbc.edu.

Library Resources

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, the library provides 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, scanning 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 17 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. Study rooms, a Presentation Practice Room, and several Assistive Technology rooms are available for students, faculty and staff.

Special Collections

The library's Special Collections include one of the nation's major photographic archives, with photographs by Ralph Gibson, Mildred Grossman, Lewis Hine, Lotte Jacobi, Jaromir Stephany, Alfred Stieglitz, and many others. Archival collections include: the Center for Biological Sciences Archives (CBSA) encompassing manuscripts, personal papers, and archives generated by individuals and institutions involved in the biological sciences; the Baltimore Sun newspaper archives, including Sun newspapers dating to the first issue in 1837, photographic prints and negatives, and historic labor and financial records; the Azriel Rosenfeld Science Fiction Research Collection, containing science fiction and fantasy books, periodicals, criticism, and reference works, original manuscripts and personal papers, and a large collection of amateur press fanzines; the Alternative Press Center (APC) Archive; UMBC University Archives; Maryland history, including the Joseph L. Arnold Maryland Collection, the Maryland State Art Council's Maryland Folklife Program, and Maryland Traditions records. These diverse and unique collections support the research of faculty, staff, students, and outside scholars across multiple disciplines.

The Library Gallery

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 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. the Gallery promotes accessibility of Library collections, particularly the nationally recognized Photography Collections. Exhibitions drawn from the Photography Collections bring to fruition research related to the holdings and result in the publication of catalogues which make valuable scholarship accessible to a wide audience of students, faculty, staff, and 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. Students can even use the same PC lab software online anytime, anywhere, with any device through the virtual desktop environment. The 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. Students can find or request help at the myUMBC Help website.

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.

Student Computing Requirements

To help ensure students are equipped for academic success, UMBC requires all undergraduate students to be technologically self-sufficient. Minimally this requires students to have a reliable personal computer (preferably a laptop) and internet access. To assist students in preparing for these essential IT needs, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) provides a wealth of resources and support, including minimum specifications to consider when purchasing a computer. More informatin is available at the Student Technology Resources website.

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.

Connected Classrooms

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.

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, cera@umbc.edu) or visit the CERA website.