Graduate Student Resources


Dissertation House

The Dissertation House is comprised of a series of workshops, meetings, and seminars that are held on college campuses and at conferences to facilitate successful completion of the doctoral degree. The workshops emphasize writing the dissertation, preparing for the defense, and communicating with faculty.

The Dissertation House is sponsored by PROMISE, The UMBC Graduate School, The UMCP Division of Graduate Studies, and the Council of Graduate Schools’ Ph.D. Completion Project.

Graduate Student Association Writing Advisor

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) has an in-house writing advisor available to all graduate students. The writing advisor can assist in providing fact-checking, content structure, style formatting, or simply a second opinion.

Schedule an appointment with the writing advisor by emailing

Graduate Assistant Handbook

The Graduate Assistant (GA) Handbook is a compilation of University policies and practices governing graduate assistantships. The Graduate School strongly recommends that all GAs become familiar with the Handbook.

Support Programs

English Language Institute

The English Language Institute (ELI) at UMBC welcomes you to learn English as a second language! The ELI provides excellent educational tools, caring instructors, and high quality training with state of the art technology and is a place for everyone to build and enhance English skills.

The ELI can also assist current international students to further enhance their academic English skills through courses such as professional English, pronunciation, and also GRE preparation courses. The ELI also assists UMBC as a whole by providing cross cultural services in an ever changing world.


PROMISE is the hub of professional development for all graduate students and postdocs at UMBC and throughout the University System of Maryland. PROMISE provides a community of learning and support from the time you arrive on campus to the proud day that you depart for the next stage of your career. In your time here, we hope you come to rely on PROMISE for seminars on preparing job application materials, building teaching skills, enhancing your writing and writing productivity, and learning to effectively network to build a community of peers and mentors.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Many workshops and networking opportunities are announced by our Office of Postdoctoral Affairs on our student portal, myUMBC. Workshops on how to develop portfolios, writing proposals, and academic articles may help hone your writing ability and develop your professional skills. Visit and follow the group on myUMBC for the latest event announcements.

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Senate is built from elected graduate students representing academic as well as cultural diversity at UMBC. Four senators come from each college (COEIT, CNMS, CAHSS) and another four senators come from the graduate student population at-large. The Graduate Senate has overarching control of the organization, exerted during Official Meetings of the Graduate Senate. Between these meetings, the elected members of the graduate student body constituting the Executive Council (EC) are given the authority by the GSA Governing Documents to make decisions on behalf of the Graduate Senate.

In order to provide more and better opportunities for intellectual, professional, and social development, the GSA has initiated a Grants Program that supplies funds for reimbursing graduate students for their expenses.


The mission of GEARS is to provide a platform for students to showcase their creative achievements, present research accomplishments, and share their experiences with peers. GEARS aims to provide a friendly atmosphere to promote collaboration, improve communication skills, and to celebrate the hard work of UMBC graduate students. Noteworthy events for this year’s symposium include:

  • Student Visuals, Art Showcase
  • Graduate Achievements Presentations
  • 3 Minute Thesis Competition
  • The Gritty Talks: Short TED-Like Talks for Graduate Students
  • Social Hour
  • PowerPoint Roulette
Graduate Student Organization

The Graduate Student Organization is a group of students that seeks to have representation at the Graduate Senate Meetings. A GSO represents a graduate program or a non-department related group of students.

Graduate Assistant Advisory Council

The Graduate Assistant Advisory Council (GAAC) was created under the University System of Maryland (USM) Meet and Confer policy. This policy facilitates formal discussions between Graduate Assistants (GA’s) and University Administration about employment issues such as compensation and benefits. The GAAC functions independently of the GSA, providing a platform specifically for GA’s to voice their concerns. We strive to productively work and coordinate with administrators to continue a good work environment and bring about positive changes for graduate assistants. We listen to Graduate Assistants and dialogue with the administration about any work-related issues. We listen to you; we speak on behalf of you.