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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 (having successfully competed coursework and comprehensive exam) within 5 years after admission. After candidacy is achieved, students have 4 years to complete their research, dissertation, and final oral examination.
Are leave of absences allowed? Yes. A student should work with their program advisor and research advisor if s/he 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 advisors and the Program Director, it is possible to take appropriate 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 comps? Students who pass their Comprehensives should have completed all of their coursework requirements except for two semesters of LLC 899, Dissertation Doctoral Research. They should file for Candidacy with the Graduate School and enroll in 899 either in the same semester, or the next. While taking 899 they will form a dissertation committee, do their oral proposal defense, and then formally submit their committee list to the Graduate School. Students must approach prospective directors of their dissertation committee themselves, and although it is likely that the faculty member who directed the comprehensive exam will agree to direct the dissertation, it is the student’s responsibility to ask.Students must orally defend their dissertations no earlier than 6 months after submitting their committee list and getting it approved.
What is the quickest that I could graduate after achieving Candidacy? A doctoral candidate can defend her dissertation within the second semester of LLC 899, providing that she has filed her Committee form at least 6 months prior.  This is challenging because there are several Graduate School forms to complete and deadlines to meet, but it can be done.
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 her 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).For example: If a student has successfully defended her dissertation by the first weeks of the Fall semester, has made any necessary and required changes requested by her committee, submits her completed and correctly formatted dissertation to, and has it accepted by, our UMBC Graduate School, all before the end of the drop/ add period in the Fall semester, then she does not need to register for LLC 899 (or any course) and she will still be eligible to graduate in December if she has filed all the appropriate forms before those separate deadlines.