Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prospective students may benefit from reviewing the following responses to frequently asked questions about the Master in Science (MS) and Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science programs.

What is the difference between the MS and Graduate Certificiate in Regulatory Science programs?

Although both programs offer academic (i.e., university-issued) credentials, the MS in Regulatory Science is a degree program, while the Graduate Certificate is certificate (i.e., not a degree) program. Both programs are offered exclusively online, but the Graduate Certificate is designed for students who seek a more limited course of study or commitment than required of the MS in Regulatory Science program. Students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program complete the first two courses of the MS in Regulatory Science program, for a total of 12 credits, while students enrolled in the MS in Regulatory Science program must complete five courses, for a total of 30 credits. However, students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program can apply for the MS in Regulatory Science program at a later date, if desired, and apply their completed courses towards the master's degree. Students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program who seek to complete the master's degree must apply for the MS in Regulatory Science program, with potentially no additional application documents needed beyond what was provided in application for certificate program.

Do I need to travel to Baltimore, MD, to attend classes in the program?

No, the program is exclusively online.

What are the class timings?

The majority of course materials involve pre-recorded lectures (i.e., voice over slides), homework and reading material, and assignments, which will be available through Blackboard, our e-learning system. Each course is designed for progressive student learning, but also allows for time-flexibility. Students can access materials at convenient times in any part of the world as long as they have access to the Internet. Some course materials are presented live (i.e., in real-time). Approximately every two or three weeks, there will be a live one-hour web conference, which will help keep students on-track. These web conferences will occur between 4:00-5:00 p.m. US Eastern Time (i.e., Baltimore/Washington time).

What time commitment should I expect to make for this program?

The MS in Regulatory Science program is a sequence of five six-credit courses. Six credits is a challenging, but doable, commitment for motivated working professionals. Students will progress in the program by completing one six-credit course each semester as illustrated on the Course Schedule webpage.

Each six-credit course consists of about 70 hours of pre-recorded lectures, seven hours of live web conferencing, and 13 hours of active-learning instruction. In addition, there are individual projects, as well as team presentations and mini-reviews. The fall and spring semesters are approximately 15-16 weeks and typically start towards the end of August and the end of January, respectively. The summer semester is approximately eight weeks, and typically starts at the end of May or beginning of June.

Taking into account instruction time and project requirements, we estimate a time commitment of one day per week during fall and spring semesters. For the summer semester, we estimate a time commitment of approximately two days a week. Of course, the learning needs and time commitment of each student will be different. Please refer to the Graduate School Academic and Registration Calendar for official course dates.

If I am interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate, can I take any two of the five courses that are offered in the MS degree program?

No, the Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science features only the first two courses of the MS in Regulatory Science program, for a total of 12 credits. Those courses are: Drug, Biologic, and Device Regulation (Fall Semester) and Drug and Biologics Discovery (Spring Semester).

Is a thesis required? How will I be graded?

A thesis is not required, but grading in each course is determined from student activities. There are no exams. Grades will be determined from projects, online presentations, and mini-reviews, which afford students to learn more about sub-specialty topics that are of greatest interest to them. These activities will reinforce principles from pre-recorded lectures and active-learning instruction sessions (e.g., online videos, online reading references, and online discussions).

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program is designed for a student to complete the degree in just less than two years. Students begin the program in fall, and complete the program in spring after approximately 19 months. The program needs to be completed within six years. Each course is offered once a year, such that taking a semester off will require a one-year break as the five courses are sequenced and must be taken in order. Such breaks are permissible, but we encourage students to commit to the program and complete it over the 19-month / five-semester schedule.

Can I request a course waiver or partial course waiver?

No.

Is the MS in Regulatory Science degree equivalent to other master's degree given by the University System of Maryland, or will it be listed as an online degree on my diploma and transcript?

Yes, the degree issued to students who complete the MS in Regulatory Science program is equivalent to all other master's degrees given by the University System of Maryland. More information about the University System of Maryland is available here.

How can I interact with the lecturers?

Blackboard, our e-learning tool, supports a variety of interactive mechanisms. Each course will have a discussion board established for students to pose questions and receive input from the class as well as the lecturers. There will be pre-specified virtual office hours for faculty. Students can contact faculty via e-mail, phone and/or other tools (e.g., Skype). Additionally, every two or three weeks, there will be a live one-hour web conference, which will help keep students on-track. These web conferences will occur between 4:00-5:00 p.m. US Eastern Time (i.e., Baltimore/Washington time). Students also have the option to attend the program's annual field trip to the FDA, which is headquartered nearby in White Oak, Md., and are encouraged to freely attend the many M-CERSI workshops held on campus and at FDA each year. These workshops are co-sponsored with the FDA.

How can I interact with other students?

In addition to web conferences involving the entire class, each student will be a member of a team. A few team projects are due over each semester. Web-based software will be provided to you for you to speak and interact with other students.

How can I interact with senior regulatory science professionals?

In addition to having access to faculty from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, as well as the many lecturers from industry and regulatory agencies, program students have access to the Regulatory Science Advisory Panel. Dozens of lecturers who work for companies and regulatory agencies have volunteered to serve on this panel with the goal of making knowledgeable scientists available to program students for career consultation.

Are GRE scores required for admission?

Students applying to the MS in Regulatory Science program are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test if they have less than five years work experience in the field of regulatory science. A GRE subject test is not required. Students applying to the Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science program are not required to submit GRE scores.

Are TOEFL/IELTS scores required for admission?

Applicants to the MS and Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science programs whose native language or language of the home is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the examination of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Visit the Graduate School website for more information.

Can the TOEFL/IELTS requirement be deferred, exempted, or waived?

The Graduate School will not defer the requirement for those students who are required to take the test. TOEFL/IELTS are admissions exams. However, please note the following exceptions:

  • The Graduate School will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for a non-native speaker if s/he has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a U.S. (or UK/Australian/Canadian) institution.
  • The Graduate School will exempt the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for citizens of the countries listed here whose entire educational experience (primary through tertiary) was conducted in English.

Others who feel that exemption from English language testing is warranted must address an appeal directly to the Graduate School. However, please note that the appeal will likely be denied.

I am an international student. Can I obtain a student visa if I am accepted into the program?

International students are not eligible for F-1 student visa sponsorship from the University of Maryland, Baltimore due to the entirely online curriculum of the MS and Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science programs. Students can participate in the program from outside the US without a need for a US student visa.

Likewise, because the program is offered completely online, the Certificate of Finances Form for non-US citizens is also not required.

What is the approximate cost for tuition?

In-state and out-of-state tuition are approximately $19,000 and $32,000 for the entire MS in Regulatory Science program, respectively. Tuition costs for the Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science program are approximately 40 percent of these amounts. This figure does not include additional fees charged by the University. Exact tuition costs and applicable fees are available on the website.

Can I pay the tuition and fees in installments?

Students can elect to participate in the University's installment plan. It splits the total cost of the semester into three payments (August, September, and October for fall; and January, February, and March for spring). There is a $10.00 administrative fee per semester to participate in this plan, and your application to participate must be processed before each semester starts.