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Frequently Asked Questions

What is study abroad?

Study abroad is the opportunity offered to every UMBC student to earn credits toward his or her degree by studying outside of the United States.  All UMBC students are strongly encouraged to add an international component to their education through spending a summer, winter, semester, or academic year abroad.

Who can study abroad?

Second semester sophomores, juniors, and first semester seniors in good academic standing are eligible for semester- and year-long study abroad programs.  Freshmen may apply for summer and winter-term programs.  While each program has slightly different eligibility standards, usually a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA) is necessary to study abroad.  Students who do not have the required GPA may consult the Study Abroad Office for special approval procedures.  Students currently on academic probation are not eligible for study abroad programs, and must wait until their academic situation improves before applying to a study abroad program.

When should I study abroad?

UMBC strongly suggests students to have at least second-semester sophomore standing before they study abroad.  We advise students to begin looking and researching a study abroad program during their freshmen year.

What about the 30-credit rule, residency requirement?

Effective fall 2013,  students will be able to complete the minimum resident credit requirement at any point in their undergraduate career with the stipulation that at least 15 of the 30 credits be taken at the upper level (courses numbered at the 300 level or above) at UMBC.

Where can I study abroad?

Just about anywhere!  Academically accredited programs of study exist in almost every corner of the world.  Foreign language proficiency is not a requirement, as there are numerous programs in English.  The only restriction is that UMBC students may not participate on a study abroad program in a country with an active US State Department Travel Warning.

Will I earn credit for a study abroad program?

With prior approval, the credits and grades you earn overseas will be entered on your UMBC transcript, reflected in your UMBC GPA and will count toward graduation.  It is possible to fulfill major, minor, electives and general education program requirements (GEPs) while studying abroad.

Isn’t study abroad expensive?

Studying abroad can be an affordable experience.  Many study abroad programs, particularly our tuition exchange programs, are very affordable, costing roughly the same as tuition, room and board plus your travel expenses.

Will my UMBC financial aid and scholarships transfer?

Most forms of federal and state financial aid (including subsidized and non-subsidized student loans, Pell Grants, and Maryland State Grants) can be used to finance summer, semester and academic year study abroad programs.  Most UMBC and outside merit scholarships can also be used for almost any study abroad program. Additional scholarship money is also available.  Pell grants are also available for winter programs.  Are you a pell grant recipient?  If so, you are eligible to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

  • UMBC Merit Scholarships are guaranteed to transfer for one semester only. You must apply prior to departure to have UMBC Merit Scholarships transfer for more than one semester.
  • Meyerhoff Scholars must take at least two science courses abroad.
  • Maryland State Aid can only be used on Maryland state programs.
  • For Private Scholarships you need to confirm requirements with the scholarship provider and contact the SAO if they require support documentation.

What about my Maryland 529?

UMBC students have been able to use their Maryland Prepaid College Trust fund to study abroad by contacting College Savings Plans of Maryland with a letter stating tuition payment (from the SAO) and an enrollment verification form showing registration in AWAY 098/099.  It is your responsibility to ensure the transfer of your college savings and what support documentation you will need in order to facilitate the transfer of those funds, the SAO cannot do so on your behalf

How do I get started?

It is important to start planning early for your study abroad experience.  Begin by attending a Study Abroad 101 session, the twice-weekly preliminary group advising sessions. After attending, research the different Study Abroad Program options. Be sure to make a list of course titles, their descriptions or the syllabus (if available) for the courses of interest at the overseas institution all before meeting with your academic advisor to discuss your created list. After meeting with your academic advisor, you can meet with a study abroad advisor by setting up an appointment on our advising page.