Current Student FAQ’s


How is student advising done in an interdisciplinary setting? All LLC students are assigned a program advisor upon admittance in the program. This advisor is an LLC faculty member. It is the responsibility of the student to identify and ask a UMBC faculty member to be their dissertation advisor, based on their research. This typically occurs after the first or second year.
How many credit hours must students in the LLC Program complete? The LLC Program requires a minimum of 57 credits (billed for 41 of these). See Course Progression Outline for details.
How long will it take to get my Ph.D.? Students can earn their degree in four years but many do not. We accept part-time and full-time students.
Is there a maximum allowable time to complete my Ph.D.? A student must be admitted to candidacy within 5 years after admission. After candidacy is achieved, students have 4 years to complete their research, dissertation, and final oral examination.  See Student Progression Diagram.
Are leave of absences allowed? Yes. A student should work with their program advisor and research advisor if they will be unable to register for classes during a fall or spring semester. After 2 consecutive semesters of leave, a student is automatically dismissed.
Can a student begin coursework in the spring or summer? Admitted students should begin in the fall with LLC 700. Non-degree seeking students may begin at any time.
Does the program offer online or hybrid courses? There are some LLC courses offered as hybrids and there are courses offered through affiliated departments that may be taken online or as hybrids.
Can I take any courses from other USM institutions? With prior approval from your program advisor, it is possible to take classes at other USM institutions and apply them to your LLC Ph.D.
Can my dissertation be on an applied subject, for example, the design and execution of a new community program? Absolutely, but each student’s program of study must have a solid theoretical foundation and rigorous research focus.
What is the process after I pass my comprehensive exam? Students who pass their Comps should have completed all of their coursework requirements except for LLC 890, Research Proposal Seminar, and two semesters of LLC 899, Dissertation Doctoral Research. They will then need to form a dissertation committee, orally defend their proposal, and then file for Candidacy with the Graduate School and enroll in LLC 899. At least 6 months before they plan to defend their dissertation, students must formally submit their committee list to the Graduate School.
What is the quickest that I could graduate after achieving Candidacy? A doctoral candidate can defend their dissertation within the second semester of LLC 899, providing that they have filed their Committee form at least 6 months prior with the Graduate School.
What if I won’t be able to defend my dissertation until too late in the semester to graduate? The Graduate School establishes a date each semester by which all paperwork needs to have been filed in order to graduate.  Candidates must defend their dissertations well in advance of this deadline.  Therefore, if a dissertation defense occurs after that date but by the very beginning of the next semester, they can avoid taking LLC 899 in their last and final semester. To clarify: If a doctoral candidate successfully defends their dissertation, makes any necessary and required changes, submits the dissertation to, and has it accepted by, the UMBC Graduate School, all before the end of the drop/add period of that next semester, then the doctoral candidate may request a registration waiver for LLC 899 and if approved, then not register in that semester and graduate (if the doctoral candidate has also filed all of the appropriate forms before those separate deadlines).