Innovative Academics & Research
Initially UMBC was a branch campus of College Park, and the curriculum mimicked what was available at the flagship campus. By fall 1967 UMBC’s own academic identity had begun to emerge. A divisional structure was established instead of colleges, including the four Divisions of Humanities, Mathematics, Science, and Social Sciences. Students could readily take courses in the various departments within a division, often crossing disciplinary boundaries. With this interdisciplinary structure already in place, the Faculty Senate approved the implementation of Option I and Option II in April 1969. Option I, the traditional approach to higher education, offered some flexibility in the courses of study and classes required for the B.A. degree; Option II offered almost complete flexibility in designing a course of study, with approval by an appointed faculty committee. Option II was quite experimental both nationally and within the University of Maryland. Renamed in 1979, the department of Interdisciplinary Studies is still a valued alternative for UMBC undergraduates.
"Created in 1985 by the Board of Regents, the UMGSB represents the administrative arm of the combined graduate and research programs at UMBC and UMAB – the University System's doctoral research campuses in the Baltimore area... It was the Regents' intention that the combined graduate and research programs at UMBC and UMAB serve as one of the University of Maryland System's two principal centers, with UMCP's graduate and research programs operating as the University's other principal center. The concept of the two principal centers for graduate education and research was expressed initially in the University of Maryland's 1981 long-range planning study, The Post-Land Grant University, and was endorsed by the Board of Regents in March, 1984."
-- "The University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore (UMGSB)," January, 1991. University Senates records, Collection 52, Box 14, Folder 36.
Still an on-going partnership, the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore (UMGSB) offers several joint graduate programs between UMBC and UMB.
In April 2004, the Erickson School of Aging Studies was established with support from John Erickson, who gave a $5 million commitment to the school. The goal of the Erickson School is to "become the preeminent resource for education, research, and policy on services for the mid-life and older population." Erickson is a hub for research activities on long-term care quality, consumer direction, and other topics exploring the policy and sociocultural dimensions of aging in our country. Through the Erickson School and the doctoral program in Gerontology (housed jointly at UMBC and the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore), UMBC students and faculty have been able to contribute and bring greater visibility to aging-related issues of both local and national importance.