Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are applicants required to submit GRE scores?

The GRE is no longer required. However, you are welcome to submit them. The scores provide information that can supplement transcripts, recommendations, and the applicant’s statement of goals to help the admissions committee decide if our program – a research-oriented program, with strong components in both writing and quantitative methods — is suitable for the applicant.


Q: Who do I contact for help with the on-line application?

If you are having issues with the online application  platform, please contact the Graduate School directly. The contact information for the Graduate School can be accessed here: – 410-455-2537 or


Q:  How can I get a waiver for the application fee?

At this time, the Graduate School does not allow discretionary app fee waivers. You are eligible for a fee waiver if you fall into one of these categories: current Peace Corps volunteers, Horizons participants, McNair Scholars, Project 1000 applicants, and employees of UMBC. There are also a few exceptions for returning students.

Visit for more information and to request a waiver if you believe you are eligible.


Q: How does the dual degree program work, like the JD/PhD?

For those who are interested in our partnership with  UB School of Law, UMB Law, or any of the joint degree programs, please take a look at details regarding combined programs:  You will apply to each program separately,  and work out with each program’s advisors which credits count for what. You can apply to one program first, and then the second program once you have started the first degree, but be sure to apply to the second program at least one full semester before completion of the first.


Q: Are there opportunities to take courses at other Baltimore area institutions through perhaps an inter-university consortium?

Yes, we offer consortium options. This is something that would need to be approved by both your faculty advisor and our Graduate Program Director.


Q: How many students are admitted into the MPP or PhD program annually?

There are no quotas and caps on admission and enrollments, so we are fortunate to be able to admit all applicants that meet our requirements.


Q: What are alumni doing now? How can I learn more about them?

We have a network of alumni who are very active and send us internships, etc. There is also an  organized alumni office that tracks alumni data, so we can help students connect with alumni in  their fields of interest or at specific organizations. Visit our alumni page: And our select alumni profiles:


Q: Can I defer enrollment if admitted?
As you hear of your admission to the program, you may choose to  defer enrollment for up to 1 year. Please follow the deferral instructions on the Graduate School  website here:


Q: Am I able to focus mostly on health policy (or other policy area)?

Yes, Health Policy is a designated area of specialization. You can also design your own combination of courses to suit your interests. To access the list of specializations, please visit our website here:


Q: Regarding concentrations within PhD for Public Policy, can students change their focus within  the first year?

Yes, absolutely. The online application will ask you for your primary area of  interest. We use this information to get you connected with a faculty advisor in that area. You  will work with your faculty advisor to tailor your courses (beyond the core) to your interests. To  review the listing of available specializations, please visit our website here:


Q: What is the timeframe for consideration once I apply? How to take/register for classes before acceptance into a program?

There are two admissions application deadlines.

Domestic Application Deadlines:

for spring 2024, complete application by November 1;
for fall 2024, complete application by April 1
Ph.D.January 15 (Fall admission only)

To be automatically considered for a GA position for AY 2024, apply by February 1.

International Application Deadlines:
Same as above

Non-Degree Seeking:
July 15 (Fall), December 15 (Spring)

Any student can take up to 6cr as a Non-Degree seeking student. You will submit a separate  non-degree seeking application. To review the application process for ND status, please visit the  Graduate School website here:


Q: Can I get the application fee waived?

At this time, the Graduate School does not allow discretionary app fee waivers. You are eligible for a fee waiver if you fall into one of these categories: current Peace Corps volunteers, Horizons participants, McNair Scholars, Project 1000 applicants, and employees of UMBC. There are also a few exceptions for returning students.  Visit for more information and to request a waiver if you believe you are eligible.


Q: What is the difference between Full time and part time enrollment?

Full Time rate of pursuit at the graduate level is 7cr-9cr per  semester. Part Time status at the graduate level is 1cr-6cr per semester.


Q: How do I apply as an international student?

The Graduate School has a great landing page found here:

The best resource and advocacy for  international students:


Q: What are the funding opportunities for the program/Am I guaranteed funding if admitted?

All full-time applicants to our graduate programs are also considered for a Graduate research Assistantship with faculty when they apply to the program, there is not a separate process. Graduate assistants work 20 hours per week with a faculty member on campus conducting research or providing teaching assistance. Full-time Graduate assistantships typically include a stipend, 10 hours of tuition remission and University health benefits. Please note these positions are highly competitive and acceptance to the program does not guarantee funding. To view UMBC graduate funding opportunities, please visit the UMBC FA and Scholarships page here:

Public Policy also has a list of funding opportunities specific to our programs available once you are enrolled:

To be considered for a GA position for AY 2024, apply by February 1.


Q: Are graduate level classes being offered remotely?

As of Fall 2023, most courses are offered in person as well as a select number of courses with hybrid format. For updates on  University operations during COVID-19 please visit the University COVID 19 website here:


Q: Are there internship opportunities? Will you help me find an internship?

We circulate internships to our students, and we are informed of opportunities frequently from  alumni, board members, faculty, and other community members. Some internships may be in  DC, some are remote, many are Baltimore-based or at the state level, where our network is  strongest. We have a Career Center at UMBC that can assist with your internship search.  Their webpage can be found here:


Q: Are there Study Abroad opportunities? 

At this time, we do not offer study abroad as part of our curriculum.


Q: What is the Accelerated or BA/MPP program? How do I start taking graduate level classes as an undergraduate?

For those students who are current UMBC undergraduate students, you may want to consider  applying to our Accelerated Program. For more information on the Accelerated Program and  the process for applying, please visit the Graduate School website here: The First step is to make an  appt with undergrad advisor to make sure you have time in your schedule to take UP TO 4  grad classes. THEN contact Shelley Morris in Public Policy.


Q: How long will it take for me to finish my degree?

If attending part-time, depends on how many courses you take at once. Many of our  students work full time and take classes part time. For full-time enrollment, most finish the PhD in 4-5 years. Full-time MPP is usually completed in 2 years. Many Part-time MPP students take 3- 3.5 years. Working full-time and taking courses full-time is not advised.


Q: Is it typical for PhD students to go into academic, tenure-track careers?

Our alumni tend to go into practice as opposed to Academia, but we do have alumni that pursue instruction. Some alumni go into academics, and we have alumni who are deans, professors, etc. Many other alumni work for non-profits, think tanks doing policy research, or at the local, state, or federal levels of government.


Q: If someone is applying to the PhD program and is not accepted, are they considered for the  master’s program, or would this be a separate application?

You can request via the Graduate School to be considered for the MPP in that circumstance.


Q: Where do students live?

Most graduate students live off-campus and secure their own housing. Graduate Housing options are visible here:


Q: How can I learn more about or get in touch with Faculty?

Explore profiles and reach out to any faculty member via email to learn more about their  courses and advising methods. . You can also learn  more about faculty (and student) activities in our quarterly newsletters: . You can also follow us on twitter  @UMBCPubPolicy for program news and relevant events.


Q: Is the writing sample required for the Application?

The writing sample is not a requirement. If  you have a sample of your academic writing it can be submitted as supplementary on the online  application platform. If you choose to submit a writing sample, please keep your submission to  10 pages or less.


Q: What is the ICARE NRT Interdisciplinary Program?

The ICARE NRT master’s degree is a 2-year  interdisciplinary degree program with a dual mission of diversity, equity, inclusion, and  justice combined with research focused on improving the health of Baltimore Harbor.  Students will be mentored by a UMBC faculty member and a non-academic scientist from a  government agency, non-profit, or industry. Prospective students apply to both the MPP program  and the ICARE program. Now accepting applications for Fall 2024 funded masters programs (Application deadline is Jan 1 for ICARE). Apply to both programs – ICARE AND MPP. using  this page as guidance: If you plan to apply to the ICARE  program, contact Public Policy faculty Dr. Jane Lincove or Dr. Yusuke Kuwayama, who are  both involved with the program. They can be reached through their faculty pages: ICARE is sort of a concentration. The degree you  receive is the MPP, but you take skills-specific classes, and get field-work experience.

If you want to talk to ICARE program staff to learn more about the details of the program,  contact them here:


Q: Are there any resources for Military Veterans within the application/admission process?

Yes,  you can find support on the Veterans website here:


Q: What are Shriver Peaceworkers/are there resources for returning Peace Corps volunteers?

Each year the Shriver Peaceworker Program invites a group of  returning Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) to participate in a two-year service-learning  program integrating graduate study, community service, and ethical reflection. Participation in  the program is limited to Peace Corps volunteers who have successfully completed their service  overseas. RPCVs who are interested in applying to the Public Policy program to receive funding  through Shriver Peaceworker Program should contact Joby Taylor ( or  visit their website. The application fee is waived for current PCVs.