Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

What degrees do you offer?

See the Graduate Programs Overview page to learn about the program and how to find an advisor.

What is the deadline to apply?

For the PhD and MS, we accept applications for the fall semester. The deadline to apply for domestic students is February 1st. If you are an International student the deadline is December 31st. Students in our accelerated program may apply to enter the program in the spring semester upon graduating in December.

For the MPS in GIS, we accept applications on a rolling deadline. We encourage students to begin in the Fall semester.

What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

The minimum GPA for admission is 3.0 overall, and 3.3 in the major.

What are the GRE and TOEFL score minimum requirements?

We do not require GRE scores.

All international applicants must submit a TOEFL score. This is a requirement of the Graduate School.

Details on the TOEFL requirements can be found here.

What is the process for applying to the Accelerated Master’s Program?

You must meet with your advisor to first learn if you are eligible.  This is best done during your Junior year. You apply to the program, which will allow you to enroll in graduate courses your senior year which can then be transferred to the Graduate Program.  However, you are not enrolled in the Graduate Program until you apply your Senior year. NOTE: You must secure permission each semester your senior year to take graduate courses.  Forms are available on the Graduate School website to move through this process.

What research opportunities are available to students in your program?

For more information about opportunities in our Department, I strongly recommend investigating the interests of our faculty members and then selecting and contacting the member(s) of our faculty with the strongest synergy with your own interests.  Information about our graduate faculty is available on our Department webpage. Finding a faculty member who fits well with your interests and is eager to advise you is one of the most important ingredients to success in graduate school.

Current Students

How far in advance of graduation should I have my thesis/dissertation to my committee the semester I want to graduate?

11 weeks prior.  As a general rule, this means ~Mar 1 for Spring, June 1 for Summer, and Oct 1 for Fall.

Does the “Research Advisory Committee” that meets at end of my 2nd semester of enrollment have to be the same as the “Examination Committee”?

No. The goal of this committee is to advise you on what coursework you should be taking in light of your interests.

I am a Master’s student.  How long do I have to finish my degree?

All requirements for the Master’s degree must be completed within a five-year period. This is a UMBC Graduate School Policy.

I am a PhD student. How long do I have to advance to candidacy?

You must be admitted to candidacy within five years after admission to the Doctoral program. This is a UMBC Graduate School Policy. You must also be making good progress toward your candidacy and degree requirements outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook.

What courses are eligible to fulfill the statistics requirement?

Any graduate-level statistics course is eligible. STAT614, Environmental Statistics, is routinely offered, but may not be ideal for some students.  As such, you should discuss other options with your advisor and/or committee members.

I am a Ph.D. student. Do I need to defend my proposal the same semester I take my comprehensive exams?

No. You must successfully defend your proposal no later than the semester following passing your comprehensive exams.

I am a Ph.D. student and proceeding with defending my dissertation this semester.  The Graduate School requires that I have two readers look at my dissertation and sign off that it is “ready to be defended”. What does this mean?

This is a UMBC Graduate School Policy. This means that the research that the committee and the student agreed would constitute the dissertation has been completed, and the written document describes the work. By signing the form, the readers are recommending that the defense should go forward.  It by no means that passing the defense is a forgone conclusion.

I am a Ph.D. student and will be defending this semester.  Do I need do give a public seminar?  What is the timeline?

Yes.  It is up to the student and the committee as to the timeline, but it should be prior to the defense.  Ideally, having it occur prior to the defense the same day is desirable because the committee is available.