Some, Many of my classes were lecture hall sized, I could count on one hand the professors who actually knew my name, but those few were the most amazing teachers I have ever had. Favorite class would be Philosophy 100 or 152 with Jim Thomas, probably one of the best teachers ever. Least Favorite class is a tie between Biology, Chemistry, and Physics... Many of the lower level courses the teachers do not know your name because the class size is pretty large, but when you get to the upper levels they tend to learn your name, usually.... Many students study all the time, of course there are the typical slackers but most study often, it also depends on the major, you will find science majors studying a lot more and social science majors doing more reading and paper writing, not necessarily always the case but a generally. Class participation is common in some classes, but not all, it really depends. Some classes base grades on participation in which case there is a lot more participation. Also some of the bigger classes use a clicker system so people answer but 200 people can answer in a minute, which is pretty neat and can help with participation. Some students have intellectual conversations outside of class, but it really depends on who you are talking to. Students are pretty competitive, even though none of my classes had a true curving system where only a few could get an A. That was one good thing, if grades were low teachers would "curve", but only to make grades higher, never to fit a curve. The most unique class I took, and also one of the best was the Psychology of HIV/AIDS. This class can really change your perspectives on the world and opens your eyes. A very informative and awesome class!!! My major/department is mixed good with bad. It has many very very good professors, as well as many very bad professors. There are about 5 professors that are awesome and absolutely amazing (only counting teachers I've had, but I've avoided certain ones based upon other students reviews), but the rest are just not very good at all. I have had bad experiences with advising. My advisor was assigned to me, and I know many of my friends were able to choose their advisors and have had better outcomes. From the start, since I had a sort of double major (Psychology and Pre-Allied Health), my advisor never really knew what was going on, they were never prepared, never knew what I had to take/needed to take, thankfully I was on top of things and always knew, with the exception of one semester that could have changed my life. So here's the short version, I went to my advisor after making some adjustments to my schedule to take 21 credits so I could graduate early, and I asked my advisor, "If I take all these credits will I be able to graduate?", I wanted to be sure everything I was taking would count. My advisor said yes, and I can imagine you know where this is going, of course 1 of my 21 credits "didn't count" because of a rule about repeating something, a rule that was in a handbook that no one really reads(word of advice, if you go to UMBC, read the handbook/course catalog that is given to you, not the one online or else you will not see ALL of the rules and it will be your fault!!). Basically my advisor did not catch this, and I did not know it was a rule, so I was told on the day after registration for the next semester ended, that I had not graduated. About a month of trying to resolve this issue with no help, I finally went to the top (once I found out how to reach the top), and they were able to help resolve the issue, but you can imagine the distress when you have a job, and are told that you in fact do not have a degree, and it is too late to register for classes for the current semester so you will not receive your degree until after the summer semester, all because of a rule you did not know about and your advisor did not catch (which is a departmental rule, so the departmental advisors should know about it). Basically they were able to say that it was not my fault, and sign me up for an alternate winter class that I had taken but not for credit, and I was able to get my degree, but I was lucky, someone else may not have been so lucky. I spent time with maybe 2 professors outside of class getting help. The academic requirements are fine I suppose. The education at UMBC is in my experiences geared towards going to graduate school and doing research. Not really getting a job.
The school work on its own isn't very hard but it's just a lot of WORK. You need to stay on top of your game and take things head on. High school procrastination is definitely something that you cannot carry on with you once you start college. Everyone says that your first semester of college isn't really a big deal. False. Although the first semester of your college career may not be a big deal in actuality, it really hits the core when you find out close to finals week that you're failing more than half of your classes because you slacked off after attending the first two days of classes, deciding that it wasn't necessary to attend lectures that were not mandatory. However, even if your professors say that classes are not mandatory, I beg of you - go to class! By going to class, talking to the TAs, asking questions, and visiting office hours, professors will know you by name and may even bump you up a decimal of a point or two at the end of the year if you're on a borderline grade. I may sound like another repetitive professor in the classroom, but trust me. I just got done with my first semester of college and boy, did it hit hard. But it really isn't all about books, books, books. Sure, you're going to hear every single student in the library cafe talking about their mind-boggling with new ideas and the struggle of figuring out what they want to major in when they're done 3/4 of their college career. And then you'll see those kids who just hang around the Commons the whole time in the Game Room or Sportszone but pass all their classes. My point being here is this--whether you work your lazy little butt off or your smarts are inked in to your genes, you can do it while having fun. There isn't much competition between peers and friends are easy to make. With so much diversity, it would be impossible not to make friends. Then when the time comes to skip a class because of a family emergency and you send out a mass email to the class roster for the notes you missed, you can count on getting a handful of replies that supply you with more notes than you could have ever even imagined of taking. UMBC is a very career-oriented school. if you come in with a path set in mind, it will be that easier for you to get your requirements done. But for those of us who still aren't sure what we want to do with our lives or haven't even begun to think about it, well, that is where general graduation requirements come in. You can take any gen ed. classes that you like your first semester of college if you aren't sure of what to take. Or you can do the basic math, science, english, and humanities class. But of course, if you're the plan ahead type of guy or girl, you may already be able to get into Biology141, Chemistry101, Math150, and a linguistics course which is what I did seeing as I am majoring in Major Languages and Linguistics while on the Pre-Med track. Oh, yes. The pre-med track. For all of you pre-professional students out there who want to go into pre-law, pre-vet, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmarcy, or pre-med, hear me out. You DO NOT need to major in a science related field to go pursue a career in any one of these fields. You can major in photography or music or english and still become a world renowned cardiologist. Your major defines YOU. Your pre-professional track only guides you to the classes that you will be required to have completed in order to apply to your school after undergrad--in my case, Medical school. I know this is a lot to take in, especially if you're a senior in high school right now and have no idea what to do with your life. But taking it one step at a time and with the help of the people around you, you will master it all. College is just the game. Life itself is the real thing. This is just the beginning.
Academics at UMBC are tough but you will learn a lot. Depending in your major, classes can range from 25 students to 300 students. The smaller the class, the more likely you will get to know your teacher. If you make the effort, you can still get to know your teacher in a 300 people class. Depending on the class, class participation may not be common. For example, in my cell biology class we did not participate in class but we had to answer questions using a clicker device during lecture. Students are studying all the time and especially during finals week, but we can still maintain an active social life. The school is very competitive especially for any pre-professional concentration that you maybe in. There is added pressure to do well from faculty and advisors. The competition is something that is not outright apparent. The most unique class I have taken is Shakespeare in Film. I liked the class, it was very interesting and I learned about filming techniques and how directors has different interpretation of Shakespeare's plays. I am biology, public health, and history major. The biology major is interesting and I learn a lot. This major is my most challenging major because of the amount of knowledge they tell us during one semester is a lot. The great thing about this major is that there is a curves in most of the class, allowing you to have lower grade and still be able to get an A. The professors in this department are hard but they mean well. Many times I do not talk to my professors and just talk to TA's when I need help. My public health major is interesting but I feel that the classes are not as challenging as biology. The professors in this major are nice and will prepare you for getting into graduate school by having recruiters come to class and talk to us about overall graduate school process. The professors in this major are very approachable and understanding. My history major is challenging but in a different way from biology because the professors do not want you to regurgitate facts but to think analytically at the problems faced in that part of history we are talking about. The professors for the most part are nice but some of them tend to expect way too much for an introductory class. The academic requirements for this school are tedious but are not too bad. There is a lot of requirements and depending on your major there may be additional requirements. I believe that it is manageable. Our education is geared towards finding a job or continuing toward further education.
Honestly, academics is though here at UMBC. The president has stated that getting a B in a science or engineering course is like getting an A in other major state universities. While they don't try to flunk you due to overcrowding, you have to work hard and know your stuff. The administration even advises retaking courses if needed. There are some students that study all the time, and others avoid it without care. This is even within the same major. It really varies, but in general, there is some concern for academic effort amongst students. It's certainly not a very competitive campus, but the classes still hold students to a high enough standard on their own. Those who excel, so so in a seemingly relaxed and non edgy manner. Early classes can have a few hundred in them, and half of the professors will take a real effort to learn your name, others will not care. Later, classes get smaller and more personalized. Most courses present learning purely for the sake of learning, but there is a clear focus at UMBC to assist students in their professional endeavors. There is UMBCworks, visits by major companies for mock interviews, and other advising offered. There are several very interesting courses offered here. One that I recently took was the History of Rock and Roll. I highly recommend it as it was presented wonderfully by Dr. Morin and provided not only a chance to listen to samples of all kinds of rock twice a week, but also to learn about the history that created it. There were also some very inspiring lessons given that made me think about my life in general. And the grading was super easy to boot! It's also noteworthy that the study abroad department is very dedicated to seeing that all students get the chance to go where they wish if they are so inclined. Very cool!
I've noticed that unlike other school, many of the courses here are only 3 credits unless it's a science or math course. But don't let the credits fool you, UMBC has some pretty rigorous courses even at the 100 level. Many of the classes here (at least the ones I've taken) have your grade consist of a few exams and possibly a paper, you're not given any busy work. This may be great for some people or a struggle for others but either way, you'll need to study hard if you want to make it in this university. Many of the professors I've interacted with are nice and usually respond to your emails fairly quickly. If you need help, all you need to do is ask them a question because many of them are eager to answer; they don't want their students to fail because that would look bad on their part. I'm currently a political science major and a psychology and philosophy minor and have taken classes in all three fields. All of the classes are uniquely interesting and won't completely destroy your life with studying and work. The most unique class I've probably taken so far is abnormal psychology (psych285) where my professor (who is a psychiatrist) goes into grave detail about he disagrees with many aspects of psychology and his arguments are actually convincing. He tells many tales about former patients he's had that coincide with the particular disorder we were learning about the stories are so bizarre, it really makes you remember the material. I wouldn't say that students are competitive at all but a lot of them are really focused on their education and want to get the most out of their money.
I do not recall a single professor who did not know my name, and were not helpful when I had questions about the lecture material, or just plain simply wanting to know about the course content deeper. Although there are some classes that uses lecture halls, those are usually the lower-level undergraduate classes like the PSYC 100 or PHIL 150. The upper-level courses rarely ever uses lecture halls (meaning there isn't more than 100 people in class), and the biggest upper-level class volume I encountered was maybe about 30-40 people. Class participation during the lecture is not mandatory; however, it really depends on the size of the particular class, and most professors do encourage class participation. I do not really consider the students at UMBC being competitive when it comes to academic area of campus life, however, those who do have a GPA above 3.75 or higher usually are inducted to honor societies that are invitation only such as the ones I am part of: Golden Key international Honour Society, Sigma Alpha Lambda, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and so on, where you get certain privilages and helps aid in school financial matters, scholarships, better job placement, and being able to make new friends who are just as equally academically inclined as you are.
We are a mid-sized school which means that in the intro science courses have 300 people in them. However, that doesn't mean that teacher-student relationships do not exist! As long as you sit in the front of the class and go to office hours, there won't be any problem forming a relationship. My favorite class, ironically, was Organic Chemistry. Although, this class was definitely challenging, the professor I had definitely made the material easier to understand. I wouldn't say the students are competitive in a mean way. We all want to do well in our classes but we help each other achieve our goals. The classes here are definitely harder than at other schools. From what I have heard, UMBC tries to fit it more material than other schools. UMBC is definitely a science oriented school and the majority of students are biology majors but we do have a lot of english, history, theater, and other arts majors. This past year, the cast from one of the plays one a national competition and got to perform at the Kennedy Center in DC. The President of UMBC was recently on 60 Minutes and he explained that UMBC prepares their students for careers and life. I highly agree with this and have gained so much knowledge and life skills since starting at UMBC.
As a member of the new Media and Communications major at UMBC I am proud to say that we offer a huge diversity of majors, minors, and certificates and UMBC. Class sizes at UMBC are small and very involved, professors attempt to learn all their students names and always encourge students to email questions. Office hours are also required by all the teachers. My favorite class would have to be between Professor Hummel's Television in American History and Professor Snyders Video Games and American Culture class, both classes were exciting and interesting to participate in and I really learned a lot. Most students try and study about 2-3 hours a day and take the weekend off unless its finals week. I love all my professors in the Media and Communications department and find it fun when we meet outside of classes and are able to talk about media in a social friendly manner. UMBC requires a lot of their students but it's doable if you choose to simply do a major and minor. For me I'm doing a double major and a education certificate so five years here at UMBC looks likely. The Shriver Center on campus helps students find jobs and internships, and we have several very larger job fairs come to campus each semester so when you graduate many students have jobs.
Academics for the most part are very personal. In most of my classes (speaking from the humanities disciplines and not the big seminars in science and engineering) the professors establish good relations with the students. I have had many incredible teachers, some so so, and a few bad. Most of the professors will know my name by the end of the semester, know me after the class has ended in the following semester if I make and effort to talk to them outside class, and will usually at least recognize that I was in their class at one point. Students study a lot here; it is a very hardworking school. We have had great discussions in class, always made more enjoyable by the oddballs in the class, and many times the discussions continue or start outside the classroom. I feel UMBC depending on your major trains you for your job and for the sake of learning. As a humanities major, I am receiving skills that will help me get a job that could require strong writing and critical thinking, but most of my classes have a major part that exist for the sake of learning and the professors love to impart that knowledge to us.
-yes, classes are usually 30-100 students -Favorite = Philosophy, the teacher was hilarious. Worst = Fluid mechanics, teacher was horrible -Varies, some never study, some never do anything else -Class participation is common when teachers ask questions. Otherwise there is only 1 jackass in every class that will interrupt to ask a stupid question -Intellectual conversations happen outside the classroom -Students are fairly competitive - engineering projects, intramural sports, and unfortunately World of Warcraft -Scuba diving -My professors in the mech/E department are for the most part nice and approachable, but some are grumpy old men. I've never just hung out with any professors. -UMBC used to have very high academic requirements, which have dropped a lot recently due to less applicants. With UMBC making the tourney I believe application rates will increase a lot, and thus the academic requirements will also increase back to normal -Getting a job, there is a Career Service Center which is constantly setting up job fairs, resume critques, mock interviews, etc