UMBC Graduate Program Descriptions

For more information about how to apply to your UMBC graduate program of interest, check UMBC’s site online. In addition, check your department’s specific web site for application requirements. Please find a brief synopsis of the numerous UMBC programs below:

Biological Science


Computer Science

Economic Policy Analysis

Education/Instructional Systems Development

Emergency Health Services

Engineering, Chemical & Biochemical

Engineering, Civil & Environmental

Engineering, Computer

Engineering, Electrical

Engineering Management

Engineering, Mechanical

Ethics, Applied & Professional

Historical Studies

Imaging & Digital Arts

Information Systems

Intercultural Communication

Marine-Estaurine Environmental Science

Mathematics, Applied

Molecular Biology, Applied

Physics, Applied

Physics, Atmospheric

Public Policy

Sociology, Applied


Biological Science: The M.S. program in Biological Sciences is designed to offer a broad, multidisciplinary modern education in the life sciences coupled with the development of in-depth expertise and research training within a specialized area. Because many current problems in the biological sciences overlap traditional disciplinary boundaries, a single graduate program is offered rather than the traditional separate programs in botany, microbiology, zoology, and other areas. The research of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences covers a broad range, from structure and function of nucleic acids to the feeding behavior of animals. Therefore, this program provides a diversity of opportunities for research and graduate education in biology. Back to top

Chemistry: The department offers a M.S. program in Chemistry which covers the traditional sub-disciplines of analytical, biochemical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Students with an interest in biochemistry also have the option of the inter-departmental programs in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology and toxicology. Upon acceptance into a graduate program, students are assisted by the Graduate Committee in planning and implementation of the degree program until a major advisor is chosen. Back to top

Computer Science: The Department offers a graduate program leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science. This program provides advanced instruction, training, and research opportunities that prepare students for careers and that foster marketable skills in business, industry, academia, and government agencies. The program reflects state of the art knowledge in major theoretical and applied aspects of computation and its applications. Back to top

Economic Policy Analysis: A joint program, offered by the Department of Economics and the Policy Sciences Graduate Program, the M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis will provide students with a broad perspective on policy formulation along with focused training in economic analysis. Special emphasis will be placed on teaching students the tools of data analysis commonly used by economists. The M.A. in Economic Policy Analysis is designed for students from a variety of backgrounds who share an interest in learning to become skillful in using quantitative techniques to analyze issues of public policy. The M.A. is flexible enough to accommodate students with different backgrounds, interests and career objectives. The program is designed for students from a variety of undergraduate majors, including but not limited to: economics, political science, information systems, mathematics, computer science, sociology, history, and business. Back to top

Education/ Instructional Systems Development: The UMBC Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is a NCATE and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) approved graduate program for career changers and recent graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree seeking initial teaching certification. Students are introduced to pedagogy, including curriculum planning, instructional design, assessment and human development as well as a subject-specific methods course. In keeping with Maryland’s Redesign of Teacher Education (1996), the MAT incorporates competency-based course work and a Professional Development School internship program for every student in the program. Graduates of this program will meet all Maryland certification requirements, receive initial teacher certification in their area of specialization, and extend their understanding of issues germane to teaching and learning.

The Master of Arts degree program in Instructional Systems Development (ISD) is designed to accommodate students with liberal arts baccalaureate degrees, persons with a background and employment in education, and individuals employed in non-school organizations (industry, business, professional associations, government agencies) who perform instructional and training activities. Instructional systems development is a theoretically based, deliberate, orderly process of analysis, design, and development of instruction and curricula and their systematic operation, evaluation, and maintenance to ensure continued effectiveness and relevance. Knowledge, student performance, instructional objectives, teaching strategies, and evaluation of learning are conceived in the ISD process as interrelated components of a total instructional system.

The department provides three professional concentrations within the ISD master’s degree program: training systems; school instructional systems (experienced school personnel and post baccalaureate teacher certification); and ESOL/bilingual instructional systems. Primary among these options is the opportunity to obtain post baccalaureate teacher certification in one of the following four areas: early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education (e.g., mathematics, sciences, English, social studies, foreign language), or (teaching) English to speakers of other languages (ESOL)—(K-12). Back to top

Emergency Health Services: The concept of emergency health services graduate study at UMBC encompasses all EMS system components. The education program is primarily focused on preparing professionals for leadership roles requiring skill in planning, research development, and organizational operations. The curriculum, characterized by three separate options, is designed to provide graduate-level training and education to health care providers, researches, educators, policy-makers and administrators. Three options are available to the graduate emergency health major. While each option follows a common core of 12 semester hours options of administration, planning and policy, preventive medicine and epidemiology, and education are designed to meet the varying needs and interests of our graduate students. Back to top

Engineering, Chemical & Biochemical: UMBC’s Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering. Research is focused in biochemical, biomedical and bioprocess engineering and covers a wide range of areas including fermentation, cell culture, downstream processing, drug delivery, protein engineering and protein stability. Supported by a committed, accessible faculty, the graduate program provides students with the opportunity to play an active role in breakthrough research. Department-based discoveries which have lead to recent patents include the development of a novel optical biosensor for green fluorescent protein that will have tremendous value for furthering bioprocess optimization and the creation of new techniques for displacement chromatography in protein purification. Back to top

Engineering, Civil & Environmental: Welcome to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Exciting things are happening at the Department. Approval of the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering/Water Resources was recently granted and the Department is actively recruiting students for the fall 2004 semester. See for further information. Back to top

Engineering, Computer: The Department offers a graduate program leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Engineering. The program provides advanced instruction and research opportunities in a broad range of Computer Engineering areas and is focused on both the theoretical and practical aspects of the state of the art in Computer Engineering. The Ph.D. program emphasizes research as a major element of its degree requirements. Fields of specialization in Computer Engineering supported within the department include VLSI design and testing including mixed signal analog and digital design, systems hardware/software design and testing, computer networks, and digital signal processing. Back to top

Engineering, Electrical: The Department offers a graduate program leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering. The Department provides a diversity of courses offerings and research interests. Further, our interactions with the medical and dental schools at UMAB, with the Mathematics and Physics Departments at UMBC, and with the Electrical Engineering Department at UMCP, encompass a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary instruction and research as well as strictly electrical engineering instruction and research. Back to top

Engineering Management: Sponsored jointly by UMBC and the University of Baltimore, the Master of Science in Engineering Management focus is on providing students with a basic and focused set of advanced business/management skills coupled with advanced skills in a specific technical area commensurate with students’ interests and likely technical employment area for which advanced knowledge would be necessary. The combination of these advanced skills and knowledge will aid students to assimilate and integrate practical technical experience to the management of technology-based enterprises. Back to top

Engineering, Mechanical: UMBC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering. Research is focused in biomechanics, design and manufacturing systems, mechanics and materials and thermo fluid mechanics. Collaborative efforts by mechanical engineering department faculty-student research teams have led to a number of notable discoveries, including a new kind of percussion drill bit, an automated machine for assembling fireworks and a controller for a pump with no moving parts. The department plays a vital role in the design and development of systems that harness energy and motion-with important applications in industries from manufacturing to medicine. Back to top

Ethics, Applied & Professional: An inter-disciplinary and inter-campus program in Applied and Professional Ethics was initiated in 1996 as a joint program sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The program is a response to the growing interest in ethics of both health care and the practice of medical and legal professionals. The program aims to provide students with a rigorous philosophical training in ethical theory and moral reasoning and courses in which this knowledge is applied to issues in the ethical practice of health care, law, research, and other professions. The focus of the applied courses is on noteworthy issues such as those arising in clinical bio-ethics, issues of justice in law and health care policy, and the ethical conduct of scientific research. Back to top

Historical Studies: The Master’s of Arts program in Historical Studies is designed to accommodate a variety of interests or career paths, including those students who are considering a formal academic career in history, those who are engaged in teaching, those who desire to deepen their knowledge of history, or those who wish to enter the growing field of "public history" and to seek work in museums, archives, libraries, or other historical institutions. The program is characterized by a core emphasis on academic training in historiographical methods and theory; in current conceptual tools and techniques for organizing historical evidence; and in primary research in a large number of subject/area specialties. In addition, the program includes the option of a Public History track which offers an opportunity to explore the practice and theory of "public history" in fields such as archival management, historical editing, construction and administration of public history sites, the writing of institutional or policy history, and the use of electronic media techniques in exhibits and Internet sites. Back to top

Imaging & Digital Arts: The Imaging and Digital Arts program’s primary goal is to create a laboratory for the generation of new images and artistic solutions using the most relevant and engaging media available. Students in the IMDA M.F.A. program are given access to a continuously updated range of tools and methodologies for making art and to courses in art history and theory that reflect current critical discourse. As a whole, the Department of Visual Arts is committed to recognizing conceptual and technical changes in art and incorporating those changes into both our undergraduate and graduate curricula. The IMDA course of study offers an interdisciplinary approach to new methods of image making in which students develop technical and intellectual flexibility. The program coordinates computer art, video, filmmaking, photography, installation, and interactive and hybrid forms of display, along with art theory and criticism. Students work toward gaining greater technical proficiency and conceptual understanding of several media, thereby extending the limits of any one specialized field or method of approach. Back to top

Information Systems: The Information Systems Department is one of the largest academic programs at UMBC. There are over 1000 undergraduate majors, about 300 master’s students, and over 40 doctoral students. The IS Department offers a M.S. degree for computer and information systems professionals who wish to further their knowledge and experience in the area of information systems. This program may also be of interest to individuals whose undergraduate academic backgrounds are not in a computer or information systems discipline but who meet the department’s admission requirements. Back to top

Intercultural Communication: The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at UMBC has had an interdisciplinary focus since the mid-1970′s and is composed of specialists in linguistics, the social sciences, second language pedagogy, bilingual education, and literary, film and culture studies. The M.A. in intercultural communication is an alternative to traditional foreign language and literature programs. The M.A. in intercultural communication is an unusual combination of traditional study and intercultural communication. It strives to prepare students to analyze and deal effectively with the complex intercultural dynamics of globalization. Through its interdisciplinary character and various concentrations, the M.A. in the intercultural communication brings together students and faculty from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, as well as North America in intercultural study and research. Participation in the program is a significant intercultural experience. Back to top

Marine-Estaurine Environmental Science: The goal of the Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences program is to train students with career interests in some aspect of environmental science involving terrestrial, freshwater, marine, or estuarine systems and leads to both the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees. The program is University System-wide and interdisciplinary, allowing students access to facilities and faculty of the entire University System in order to plan a program best suited to their particular interests. Areas of specialization include: ecology; environmental chemistry; environmental molecular biology and biotechnology; environmental science; fisheries science; and oceanography. Back to top

Mathematics, Applied: The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in both applied mathematics and statistics. In addition to the traditional applied mathematics and statistics tracks at the master’s level, the department offers an industrial mathematics track and applications-oriented tracks in environmental statistics and biostatistics. The department has a history of research emphasizing applied mathematics and applied statistics. Back to top

Molecular Biology, Applied: An intensive program providing a laboratory-based training in Biotechnology designed for students of Biological Sciences with an interest in a career in the Biotechnology industry will help graduate students gain experience with the techniques of biotechnology and molecular biology, work in a supportive environment emphasizing achieving mastery of the field by intensive, hands-on study, expand your knowledge of the theoretical basis of Molecular Biology, and rapidly advance in your field based on your extensive expertise. Two routes are available to the M.S. degree in applied molecular biology. An intensive program completed in 9 months is intended for students who have completed their Bachelor’s degree study. For UMBC undergraduates majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or Biological Sciences, there is the option of completing some of the requirements for the M.S. degree using courses taken during their baccalaureate career. Back to top

Physics, Applied: The Applied Physics program is structured to provide concentrations in materials/solid-state physics and optics, with several research opportunities in each area. The research in the materials/solid-state physics concentration includes the classical and quantum properties of condensed matter, with emphases on solid-state, surface physics, and polymer physics. The research in the optics concentration includes the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter, with emphases on optical and infrared spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, atmospheric optics and physics, light scattering, quantum optics, optical information processing, and photonics. Back to top

Physics, Atmospheric: The M.S. and Ph.D. Programs in Atmospheric Physics provide students with a fundamental background in graduate applied physics combined with an in-depth grounding in the fundamentals of atmospheric physics. This program includes both survey courses at the 600 level and specialty courses, stressing atmospheric radiation and remote sensing at the 700 level. These courses cover a wide range of topics in atmospheric physics, global climate change, observational techniques, and satellite data analysis. An extremely wide range of thesis topics is available to the student via both the tenure-track faculty and the JCET faculty. Facilities and data-sets at NASA/Goddard will be readily available to students depending on their research interests. Back to top

Public Policy: UMBC has been in the vanguard of public policy education since the inception of its Public Policy Graduate Program in 1974. This interdisciplinary program, which offers both a master’s and a Ph.D., is designed for highly motivated individuals who wish to pursue advanced graduate studies in public policy and public policy analysis. The graduate program prepares students for positions in a variety of fields including policy analysis, high level administration, research, consulting, and teaching. The curriculum provides students with an understanding of 1) the policy making process and the forces affecting it, and 2) the basic tools and concepts for analyzing public policy. In addition to a common core curriculum, students choose a specific policy area or social science discipline in which they are expected to concentrate and gain extensive knowledge. The major areas of focus are health policy, public management, evaluation and analytic methods, urban policy, and social policy. Back to top

Sociology, Applied: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a graduate program leading to a Master’s of Arts degree in applied sociology designed to prepare students to be analysts/researchers primarily in the areas of health or aging but with the opportunity to focus on related areas of sociology. The student will take core courses in basic methodological areas of sociology and specialty courses in medical sociology or the sociology of aging. Students may elect to focus on related substantive areas of sociology. The aim is to provide the student with advanced quantitative training in sociology coupled with the development of expertise within an area of specialization. Back to top

Statistics: The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in both applied mathematics and statistics. In addition to the traditional applied mathematics and statistics tracks at the master’s level, the department offers an industrial mathematics track and applications-oriented tracks in environmental statistics and biostatistics. The department has a history of research emphasizing applied mathematics and applied statistics. In an independent Canadian study, UMBC’s statistics group was ranked 22nd in the world in research productivity. Back to top