COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates for Prospective and Current Graduate Students

The Graduate School has been working diligently to ensure continued service to our prospective students, current students and faculty.

For Prospective Students and Applicants

The Graduate School has recently implemented a number of technological upgrades to our admissions system. This allows us to remotely process your application. Despite this temporary closure, our admissions processes will continue.

We do ask that applicants provide electronic documents, when able, to ensure the speedy review of their application. Applicants can upload documents via their checklist in the application system or email them directly to and we will attach them for you. Unofficial copies of transcripts and test score screenshots from ETS websites are accepted for initial review during this time. Please be aware that if you are admitted, we will require your official documents to be delivered by the end of your first semester at UMBC. If you are unable to obtain an electronic version of your documents, or have any concerns about your application, please reach out to Mike Suica, Manager – Recruitment and Admissions, at or .

Below is a list of links with updates from our required standardized testing agencies. ETS is making home testing available in a number of affected regions.





During this temporary closure our departments will have continued remote access to up-to-date application files. Deadlines remain unchanged for the upcoming Spring semester. Click here to apply.

For Newly Admitted Students

Orientation for the fall 2021 semester is now live online in Blackboard. Click here to access the online orientation.

DeferralStudents may defer their admission to UMBC by up to one year (or two semesters). The Deferral of Admission form and detailed instructions on the deferral process can be found on our Student Forms page.

Keep in mind that if you have already registered for classes before you defer, you must drop those classes or you will receive a bill. If you do register and complete payment for courses, and decide to drop those courses before the dates listed on the Academic Calendar, you will receive a refund. New student registration begins June 1st.

For Current Students

UPDATED MARCH 25TH – Special Instructions for Conduct of Master’s Thesis and Ph.D. Dissertation Defenses During COVID-19

While UMBC is the status of mandatory remote operations due to the COVID-19 virus, which may last for two or more weeks, the Graduate School authorizes that all final examination defenses for Master’s Theses and Ph.D. Dissertations may take place remotely, using synchronous, electronic access technology. In other words, “fully virtual” defenses for all Committee members and the student, will be allowed, without express approval of the Associate Dean. Please click the link above and review the full set of policy changes and instructions on how to conduct defenses during this closure.

Graduate Grading Method Options for Spring 2020

As we continue to pull together as a community to work through the uncertainty and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain unwavering and steadfast in our commitment to student academic success. We recognize current circumstances, including the shift to a remote and online learning environment, may present challenges. We are committed to delivering continuous and uninterrupted academic support, including the GSA writing advisor, PROMISE Success Seminars, and dissertation completion coaching, to ensure every student has the opportunity to be successful. In addition, to offer students maximum support and flexibility, we have made several adjustments to our Spring 2020 academic and enrollment policies, which are described below. Most importantly, we have collaborated with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Graduate Council, and graduate student leaders to make these important policy adjustments.

The academic and enrollment policies detailed in the document above will allow graduate students the opportunity to make the most informed decisions possible regarding their coursework, based on their individual circumstances, to ensure continued academic progress and degree completion. We hope that this flexibility will enable students to adjust to their new academic environment and focus on doing well in their coursework to successfully complete the Spring 2020 semester without the need to withdraw.

For Spring 2020 only, students in the Graduate School may convert course letter grades to P/F, for purposes of preserving the GPA, until June 10, 2020.   Students may also withdraw from a course until that date.  If a D or F is earned in a course, the student should use the course withdrawal option.  Before any of these options is taken, however, the student is strongly urged to consult with the instructor of the course, and the GPD.

Students may complete a course withdrawal by submitting an RT ticket to the Registrar’s office, which should include the student’s name, campus ID, and specific information about the course being dropped.  Students who wish to petition for letter grade conversion to P/F can initiate a DocuSign form (which requires approval of the GPD and the Associate Dean) at the following site:

Resources for Students with UMBC Aetna Student and Graduate Assistant Health Plans

In response to COVID-19, Aetna Student Health has important information about your plan to share with you. We will share any updates as they are confirmed.

Applied Learning Experiences During COVID-19: Internships, Cooperative Education, Research Experiences, Field Placement, and Service-Learning & Community Engagement