Admissions & Requirements
The first step of the admissions process is submitting your application. An applicant must meet certain verifiable criteria to be considered for the admission process. This criteria, outlined below, includes minimum grade point average (GPA) and language proficiency requirements.
In all cases, UMBC administers its admissions, educational services, and supporting services in a manner that does not discriminate by race, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
GPA & Transcripts
The Graduate School recommends applicants have at least a 3.0 GPA or “B” average when applying.
For transcripts from schools abroad, the UMBC Graduate School will accept official WES (World Education Services) ICAP Course-by-Course evaluations but note that these evaluations are not required.
Students who are unable to meet the minimum GPA standards may still be admitted to graduate study by demonstrating outstanding performance on one or more of the graduate aptitude tests or by providing letters of recommendation from evaluators who can speak to the applicant’s performance as a student or in a professional capacity.
Standards for admission to a doctoral program are generally higher than those for admission to a master’s program. The terms of this admission are based on specific recommendations made by the applicant’s department in conjunction with the Graduate School.
Standardized Tests (GRE)
Many programs require the submission of GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Aptitude test scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing). Some programs further require GRE Advanced (subject-specific) scores, or scores from other standardized tests. Required tests are listed on each program’s page.
GRE waivers are occasionally granted by the department for applicants in certain situations. For example, a mid-career student whose undergraduate experience is not recent or is different from the graduate field of interest. Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for your program of interest to inquire about a waiver.
For more information on these standardized tests including practice tests, test dates, and test registration:
Contact Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing Service, call 1-866-473-4373 (citizens of United States and Canada) or 1-609-771-7670 (all other countries) or visit the website at www.gre.org.
Our ETS Institution Code
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take an English Language Test outlined on our International Admissions page.
The Graduate School will allow the transfer of up to six credit hours 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. UMBC students enrolled in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program may transfer up to nine or twelve graduate credits that were used toward the baccalaureate degree into the master’s degree program.
Click here for more information on the transfer of credit policy.
Some programs require additional evidence of ability to succeed in the respective graduate program. These assessment tools may include a portfolio, an interview, or other assessments. Applicants are encouraged to review the Program Descriptions and Required Documents on this website.
Click here for a more in-depth reading of our Admission Policies.
An application fee is required for online and paper submissions before an application will be processed.
Exceptions to this policy are for current Peace Corps volunteers, Horizons participants, McNair Scholars, Project 1000 applicants, and employees of UMBC whose application fees are automatically waived.
The Graduate School can no longer provide fee waivers based on financial hardship. You can check with your department to find out if they are offering fee waivers. Contact information can be found on the program pages.
Application Fee Exceptions
Aside from the qualifying instances mentioned above, there are a few exceptions to the application fee submission for returning students. While you may still be required to submit a new application, the fee will be refunded after the submission of the new application through CollegeNET. To make your fee refund request, please contact our office at email@example.com.
A new application fee is NOT required if you are one of the following:
• Non-degree student applying for a degree-seeking status.
• Non-degree student returning after an absence of one (1) or more semesters (contact the Graduate School for reinstatement)
• UMBC undergraduate student applying to the Accelerated Program.
• Degree-seeking individual changing their application to a different program before admission decision is made.
• Master’s applicant changing application to doctoral program (same program) before being admitted.
• Master’s student applying to doctoral program (same program) after enrolling.
• Doctoral student changing to Master’s program.
All other applicants must pay the application fee, which must be paid at time of submission before the application will be processed.
Newly admitted students may defer their admission to the Graduate School for up to one academic year (or two semesters). The Deferral of Admission form, along with detailed instructions on the deferral process, can be found on our Student Forms page.
New Application Exemptions
Outlined below are the few times that students and alumni are not required to submit a new application to the Graduate School:
• Doctoral graduate returning to take additional courses in the same program
• Non-degree student returning after an absence of one or more semesters (contact the Graduate School for reinstatement)
• Degree-seeking applicant changing application to a different program before an admission decision has been made
• Master’s applicant changing application to a doctoral applicant within the same department before an admission decision has been made
• Master’s student applying to a doctoral program in the same department after enrolling
• Doctoral student changing to a master’s degree program
Certificate & Non-Degree Admissions
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs
UMBC offers several post-baccalaureate certificates, which have been approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. If you are not already a UMBC graduate student, you must apply to be considered for a certificate program. Please note that a certificate is not the same as a degree, but earning a certificate can enhance your knowledge and perhaps your career prospects.
As a certificate applicant you will be asked to provide an official transcript from your bachelor’s degree granting institution, and depending on the program, you may be required to submit additional materials, such as letters of recommendations. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required for consideration, unless this requirement is waived. For more information, please contact the specific academic department.
Non-Degree Seeking Students
If you wish to apply as a non-degree student, please apply online today. In addition to the application, the Graduate School will need an unofficial copy of your undergraduate degree transcript to confirm that you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
If you are a current UMBC graduate student and wish to obtain a certificate while you are pursuing a higher degree (Master’s or PhD), please use our Application for PBC Enrollment form and submit to Kathie Nee (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Graduate School upon obtaining the required signatures.
Available certificate programs are listed along with our degree programs.
Non degree seeking students will be permitted to register five (5) business days before the start of classes.
This policy has been developed to give earlier access to our degree seeking students in high demand courses.
UMBC’s Graduate School Office
UMBC Graduate School
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD, 21250
Available Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
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