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Online M.S. in Information Systems

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the diploma state the degree was earned online?

A: No. The diploma reads “Master of Science in Information Systems”. UMBC does not differentiate between Online or On-Campus students on the diploma or transcripts. Both programs are academically equivalent.

Q: What is the tuition rate?

A: The tuition rate is posted in the tuition section of our website. This rate includes tuition, textbooks and materials, and delivery of those to your home. There are no other course fees.

Q: Is the tuition rate the same as on campus?

A: The tuition structure for the Online Master’s program is different from that of the on-campus graduate programs. There is no residency requirement for the Online Master’s program, and all students enrolled pay the same tuition rate.

Q: What are my payment options?

A: Students can pay online with a credit card or checks. UMBC offers a monthly payment plan, details are at http://www.umbc.edu/sbs. We also work with employers’ tuition assistance or tuition voucher programs.

Q: Can we use financial aid?

A: Yes, the program is approved for federal financial aid. Please refer to http://www.umbc.edu/financialaid for more information. Active Duty military and Veterans should visit http://veterans.umbc.edu/ for more information.

Q: What are the admissions requirements?

A: Admission requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field, with a GPA of 3.0 of higher. Provisional admission may be offered for those with a GPA between 2.75-2.99, if there is supporting documentation of qualifications. Such documentation may include but not be limited to, published papers and technical reports, professional IT-related certificates, recommendation letters, and a personal statement. Please call or email if you have questions about the provisional admission category.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?

A: The length of time to complete the program depends on the number of courses you take per semester. While the length of time to completion varies among students, the average completion time is about 3 years. All UMBC MS students, (online and on-campus) have a maximum of 5 years to complete their degree requirements. Students who are not able to finish the program within 5 years may submit a request for extension in advance. Extension decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can students transfer credits?

A: The Graduate School allows up to 6 credits (2 courses) to be transferred, with approval from the Director of the Online Master’s program. To be eligible, those courses must have been offered at a graduate level from an accredited institution, you must have earned a grade of B or better and you must have taken that course within the past 5 years. The credits cannot have been used towards a previously earned degree. The Graduate Program Director requires a course description and syllabus to review before determining if courses are appropriate for transfer. The policy, which allows students to take up to 2 courses outside of the curriculum, is available on the Degree Requirements page.

Q: Do students have to come to campus to take exams?

A: Students in the Online MS program are not required to come to campus at any time, except the final Master’s thesis defense, if a student chooses the thesis option. All course work, including tests and quizzes, are completed online through our online classroom platform called Blackboard.

Q: Is TOEFL or IELTS required for international applicants?

A: Yes, the Graduate School requires such language test scores to be submitted if an applicant has earned a degree from a country where English is not the official language. However, if an applicant has been living and working in the US several years or longer, we can often request a waiver of this requirement. You should contact the program manager at onlinems@umbc.edu to discuss this option.