Is University of Maryland Global Campus Legit?

UMGC (University of Maryland Global Campus) may or may not be for you. However, you need important points to help you make this decision. The way I structure this post is that at the end of reading it, you’ll be able to decide for yourself. As the title says, we’ll be answering a very important question: is University of Maryland Global Campus legit? Yes, it is, and you’ll get to know why and if this school is for you.

UMGC is a little bit of both a trusted school and a questionable one for some students. However, this university is part of the Maryland public university system, which makes it legit. Some people view UMGC as a degree mill due to its heavy online presence—this is why I consider it a little bit of both.

I understand how tough and stressful it can be to search for the right grad school program, so I’m here to help with your UMGC decision. The way we will approach this topic is that we will look at the pros and cons of this school. You can then measure these points to determine if you should apply for this school or not. Yes, this is a kind of University of Maryland Global Campus review.

Is University of Maryland Global Campus Legit?

UMGC is 100% legit, and a public university. It is not a diploma mill simply because it is an online school. The essence is to encourage flexible education while also giving out reputable degrees. Moreover, this university is regionally accredited in the US. UMGC is not necessarily prestigious, but as a public university part of the University of Maryland system, you’ll usually hear good stories about this school.

It is not a bad school at all. However, it takes a lot of self-learning because it is an online school. You have to spend time with the materials to actually learn. If you are not excellent at self-learning, then you’ll have a problem. Meanwhile, like most schools, UMGC has experienced its own waves of lawsuits. However, none of them have ever tarnished the school beyond repair. In fact, this online school is largely reputable and affordable.

Pros of UMGC

Having confirmed to you that UMGC is 100% legit, let’s look at the major pros of this school that make it stand out. These are reasons that make up the ideal school, and why you should seek admission here.

1. Flexible and Online Program

One of the things I really appreciate about UMGC is its semester structure. The semesters last 12 weeks, which means ample time between them. During these 12 weeks, you take a single class worth 6 credits. Yes, you will receive a lot of information in a condensed period, but the classes are online and entirely flexible. The workload is quite manageable, especially considering the amount of time off between semesters.

If you are working-class, you can balance this program with a full-time—it’s what a lot of people here are doing. Although the coursework requires a good amount of time, the online format eliminates commuting and allows you to complete work at your own pace. Of course, without fixed class times. You can watch lectures and do assignments whenever they fit into your schedule. It’s not necessarily easy or quick, but it’s feasible to keep up with when you can work on it in your own time.

There isn’t a fixed schedule, so you can still find time for work, grad school, hanging out with friends, socializing, exercising, lifting weights, and stuff like that. However, if you are a typical content creator, it will be difficult for you to create YouTube videos and TikToks during the semester. It doesn’t mean you can’t manage to do it. So, if you are juggling a lot of activities outside of school and work, you can accomplish those tasks if you really put in the effort and try hard. It’s definitely doable. You often hear scary stories about people balancing school and work and not having time for anything else. Sure, grad school is time-consuming, but you’ll still have moments for other activities if you manage your time wisely.

2. UMGC is Regionally Accredited

UMGC is a regionally accredited university, so it is a legit school that adheres to standards set by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its programs are credible as this is a well-regarded school. It’s from a Maryland state school system, and these schools have solid reputations. The technical programs at this school have received numerous awards. The cybersecurity teams, for example, have been recognized in several international contests, and the data science program at UMGC has also earned accolades, including mentions in magazines and online articles.

3. UMGC is Dirt Cheap

UMGC is cheap. Indeed, when you look at other options, it’s very affordable. The cost for in-state tuition for an entire year is roughly $10,000, and this doesn’t even include scholarships or financial aid. When you compare this to UMD or UMBC, which costs about twice as much for in-state students, it’s a significant difference. So, here is some data I gathered from a UMGC publication in response to a National Review post made by an American Enterprise Institute resident, Jason Delisle who compared this school to some other institutions.

  1. Average annual cost to attend UMUC is $12,299, which is 30% less compared to an average of between $17,681 and $21,645 for the other schools.
  2. UMUC graduates owe 33% less on average reported debt upon graduation. The typical total debt after graduation for a UMUC student is $19,000, compared to an average of $28,496 for the other schools.
  3. Salary after attending UMUC is $49,900 compared to an average of $39,836 for the other schools.

Unless you are completely without funds, you shouldn’t have to worry about student debt when you graduate. You won’t also need to purchase textbooks—UMGC provides all the necessary reading materials.

If you engage in any form of support that pays you to go to school, including grants from the government or your job, or scholarships, it should cover most of your costs. This means you may have to pay little or nothing at all from your own pocket. All the course materials are free and available to the public, so there’s no extra expense for those either.

4. Access to Important Information

UMGC certainly provides you with the necessary knowledge. You’ll have access to all the important information for the course you are studying. Sometimes, the amount of information can seem overwhelming because they include a lot in a single week, but they do offer plenty of resources. They divide the materials into required and optional readings, and just getting through the required ones can be quite the task.

If you have some experience in your particular field, it should allow you to skip over certain things you’re already familiar with. As a result, you’ll save time each week. You can also download and save all the materials on your laptop to review later.

Cons of UMGC

Now, let’s talk about the aspects of the program that should make you consider not applying for admission here—the cons.

1. A Lack of Flexibility in the Coursework

The curriculum consists of 6 classes that you must take sequentially, one at a time, with each class serving as a prerequisite for the next. This structure means it will take 6 semesters to complete the program, with each class worth 6 credits. Other programs do offer a mix of core classes and electives for personalization and specialization, but this program does not. You are locked into a fixed path with no room to tailor your learning experience or choose subjects that align more closely with your interests or career goals. So, what is offered is what you have to take without customizing your educational journey.

2. Irregular Materials

Another downside is definitely the course material itself. They assign a lot of reading every week, and if you are without a prior background, you’ll likely be learning everything they teach for the first time, week by week. This can become quite overwhelming and sometimes frustrating. This is because you are not provided with a textbook, so the information comes from various sources.

In a textbook, information is presented in a sequential order that builds on what came before. However, with articles from different places, there’s often repetition, which can feel like a waste of time instead of progressively learning and building upon previous knowledge. They try to offset this by offering a wealth of resources for free from different places.

Returning to the topic of having a background, the coursework is very time-consuming but not too difficult if you have a background. However, for those without such a background, it will likely be difficult. You’ll have a lot to cover each week, and it will be tough. In the data management class, for example, you will start with SQL, covering it from A to Z, then move on to Tableau, and finally to Python. Learning all of this for the first time in one class over 12 weeks is like going through a mini boot camp for each topic. It’s a lot to absorb in a short period, and retaining it all is tough. I’ve seen friends who are new to programming struggle with learning Python and SQL quickly and then trying to complete comprehensive assignments using Tableau, which they never encountered before, all within a week.

4. The Discussion Boards

Discussion boards at UMGC are not the most engaging aspect. It seems like an odd choice to include them. For those who might not be familiar, every class at UMGC includes a discussion board. Here, students are expected to respond to a weekly prompt from the professor and also comment on posts from at least two other students. Your grades depend on both your initial response and your comments on others’ posts. However, this setup doesn’t really encourage meaningful conversation. Most of the time, the replies are pretty basic, like “Great post!” or “Nice job.” Occasionally, you may find a really thorough and insightful post, but those are rare exceptions rather than the rule.

Is UMGC a Respected School?

Let’s talk about the reputation aspect. I’ve done quite a bit of research, and from what I’ve seen, UMGC really does have a solid reputation as a reputable institution. However, there are a few things that might raise some eyebrows. For starters, the fact that it’s an online school can be a bit off-putting for some, especially those who aren’t too familiar with this mode of learning. Then there’s the issue with course materials – occasionally, you may find that the links provided don’t work. This happens more often than you’d think, almost like a regular occurrence every couple of weeks in some classes, where the links just lead nowhere.

UMGC has also been quite upfront about making the degree more attainable. Now, I wouldn’t say they make it easy because that’s not the case, but they have implemented certain measures to make the process smoother. This includes shorter semesters, accelerated courses, and these large 6-credit classes where they expect you to cover a lot of ground quickly. Not having traditional textbooks and relying on free online resources can also contribute to the perception that they are perhaps making it a bit too convenient to earn a degree. While this university is not diluting the quality of education, some view these approaches as less rigorous compared to more elite programs.

Continuing with the reputation, let’s talk about Maryland state schools. They are good, but not exactly on the same level as the more prestigious universities out there. For example, College Park is seen as a much better school, and there are many other schools considered more prestigious. This isn’t to say UMGC is a bad school; it’s just that it’s easier to find universities with a higher prestige. So, if having a prestigious university on your resume is your main goal, UMGC might not be the best fit. But honestly, prestige shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. The way things are going, having a master’s degree is becoming more of a basic requirement than a standout achievement.

UMGC is Not Perfect for Everyone

UMGC is good for the people it’s meant for, including:

  • People who are already working and just need to tick a box. These are basically people learning on the job and don’t depend much on UMGC.
  • Military personnel. If you are in the military, you may not have a lot of spare time. UMGC is military-friendly and either free or really cheap for service members.
  • Parents or anyone else who’s short on free time.

For everyone else, such as someone planning to be a full-time student, UMGC is not perfect for you. But, if you choose UMGC because it’s cheaper and you can’t afford to go to UMD or UMBC, you can still make it work. You’ll just need to put a lot of work into your studies than what is expected.

Even with a full course load, you’ll find you have plenty of free time. Use this time to improve on the skills you’ll need for the job you want. Suppose you want to be a web developer. You can buy a book on full-stack development. Whenever you are not busy with class assignments, you try to build your own websites.


So, yes, the University of Maryland Global Campus is legit. It is okay for working adults or the military who want to check a box. This online school has a regional accreditation, and the course schedule is very flexible. The cheap tuition should also be a reason you consider this school. UMGC, like anything else in life, is what you make of it. They really do provide the tools needed for success and to advance your career. But if you are thinking of going to UMGC to change your career direction, then you should really look at all your choices. It’s not a bad fit for you; in fact, it could be the perfect fit. However, this is when you need to carefully consider everything. The program is a challenge with its fast-paced format and large classes. So, you might find it hard to learn and remember everything if it’s all new to you. It might work out for you, or it might not. You’ll need to make a thoughtful decision.

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