Pre-Transfer Recommendations

All Main Campus CNMS departments recommend that transfer students plan to enter UMBC in the Fall semester, rather than Spring. Spring entrants may have more limited options for course selection due to the offering pattern of certain upper-level major requirements and course sequences (e.g., Fall only, Fall-to-Spring sequencing). Extended time to degree may result from a poorly-timed transfer.

Avoid splitting “paired” courses between two institutions, e.g., Principles of Chemistry 1 & 2, Introductory Physics 1 & 2, etc. Splitting up a course pair increases the risk that you’ll have “gaps” in your knowledge base that you will have to compensate for when you get to the next (or more advanced) course at UMBC. For example: The year-long Principles of Chemistry sequence is similar in content from one institution to another, often even using the same textbook. However, School A may cover Chapter 15’s material during Principles of Chemistry 2, while School B (using the exact same textbook) covers Chapter 15 during Principles of Chemistry 1. If you transfer from School A to School B in between Principles of Chemistry 1 and Principles of Chemistry 2, you will have to teach yourself the material from Chapter 15, because you’ve missed it in both places. If you must transfer mid-sequence, look for one of UMBC’s Transfer Seminars (TRS201) associated with the second part of your interrupted “pair,” or check in with your professor/TA at the start of the semester for their recommendations of resources that will help you fill any “gaps.”

It is very difficult to do multiple semesters consisting only of four or five technical courses (15-16 total credits). For STEM majors who start at UMBC as freshmen, we generally recommend that they spread their General Education requirements and any non-STEM elective courses that they wish (or need) to take throughout their UMBC career. This gives them a bit of a mental “break” from their science and math coursework each semester. Transfer students should consider saving some General Education requirements for completion at UMBC, or look into non-science elective coursework that they could take upon arrival at UMBC to give themselves the same kind of relief.

UMBC’s evening and fully-online course offerings are VERY limited, especially in the sciences and mathematics. Students who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree on a part-time basis should be aware that many courses required for their CNMS major are only offered during regular business hours (M-F, 9a-5p). Making degree progress on a part-time basis is possible, but typically in a 2-to-3-days-per-week strategy, rather than a day-or-evening fashion. If you intend to work while attending UMBC, please make plans to accommodate the reality of our scheduling.

UMBC has a Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement. Students who successfully completed coursework in a language through Level 4 in High School are considered sufficiently proficient. Transfer students who have this level of experience should submit their High School transcripts to UMBC at the time of application in order to have that proficiency documented, even if the High School transcript is otherwise optional for the student’s application. Students of international origin may have additional methods of documenting Foreign Language Proficiency – more information can be found on the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication’s web site. If a student will need to take additional coursework to meet the minimum requirement, we recommend that they complete that requirement as close to their initial language experience as possible, in order to avoid loss of skill. Students should look into how Foreign Language coursework may be used to fulfill General Education requirements for their Associate’s Degree.

Follow this link to Major-Specific Coursework Recommendations
Other Recommendations and Resources
  • Visit campus, if you can, before transferring. If you plan to live off-campus and commute, figure out what your commute will be like, and find out what your options are for alternate transportation (public transportation, carpooling, etc.). Get a feel for the physical size of campus, and all the logistics that go with it – finding parking, getting something to eat (or a place to eat what you bring with you), and make a list of all of the departments/offices that you use at your current institution that you’ll need to find here.
  • Think about how you might get involved on campus. Students who get themselves connected to other students (and faculty and staff) early on in their academic career can reap a lot of benefits from those connections – study groups, research opportunities, and internship connections, just to name a few. As a transfer student, you may feel like you’re intruding on groups that have formed before you got here, but don’t believe that feeling! Half of the students in CNMS have transferred from another school, so there are a lot of people who understand what it’s like to become part of a new community. They are willing to welcome you in…you just need to have a little courage, and seek out opportunities to find your place!


summerstemlogo Summer STEM at UMBC promotes academic success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by providing high-quality, introductory STEM courses, academic support, and professional development activities during UMBC’s summer sessions. Summer STEM at UMBC offers the required courses STEM majors need to graduate on time and is open to visiting students, incoming new students, and current UMBC students.
With the help of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UMBC, Anne Arundel Community College, The Community College of Baltimore County, Howard Community College and Montgomery College have entered into a collaboration, resulting in the STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative. Through this program, students have access to tools and resources to assist them in the selection of a STEM major, to choose an appropriate institution for transfer, and guidance in navigating the transition from community college to four-year institution.

Some of the resources available through the STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative are specific to the five collaborating institutions, but transferring students from other institutions may find the information helpful, regardless of their school of origin.

Credit When It's Due UMBC’s “Credit When It’s Due” program helps students who have transferred from a Maryland Community College complete the requirements for an unfinished Associate’s Degree (A.A. or A.A.S.) through UMBC coursework. CNMS strongly encourages students who have completed at least 15 credits at their MDCC (60 credits overall) to investigate this opportunity.  Graduate schools, Professional schools, and employers like to know that the people that they are bringing into their institution/company have the perseverance to see something through to completion. Finishing your Associate’s Degree can help you demonstrate that!