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What is a graduate student organization?

Graduate student organizations (GSOs) represent the needs, interests and culture of UMBC graduate students.  GSOs provide a forum for student led activities, events, projects and educational initiatives that directly impact UMBC and the external community.  UMBC GSOs are approved by the GSA Executive Board and Senate. They have formalized Constitutions and Bylaws.  Graduate students from a variety of different disciplines create and participate in GSOs. GSO involvement and participation enhances the overall graduate student experience and serves to enrich the lives of those willing to lead them.


How are GSOs different from undergraduate student groups?

It is important to formally recognize and respect that graduate student organizations are different from undergraduate student groups in that they are comprised of professionals who have already successfully completed undergraduate studies.  Many members of GSOs hold full time positions and have responsibilities outside the university environment.  Because of this fact, the GSA is committed to coordinating on their behalf with UMBC departments in Finance, Food services and Scheduling, so that specialized services can be provided to support and promote their overall objectives.


How do graduate student organizations promote UMBC?

GSOs are designed to provide graduate students an outlet for socializing, creativity and scholarship that is in addition to graduate degree studies.  GSOs are comprised of elected officers who direct the organization and encourage community participation.  Elected officers facilitate interaction with UMBC faculty and formally represent the interests and concerns of their organization in the GSA Senate Meetings.  GSOs are the ultimate voice of the graduate student population and directly affect UMBC programming and the overall image of UMBC.


What are GSO responsibilities?

Roles are determined by elected officers and specified in GSO constitutions.  These roles may differ from organization to organization.  However, the following standard set of responsibilities apply to all GSOs once formed and officially recognized.  GSO elected officers, as student leaders are expected to:


  • Represent the needs of the graduate student community and conduct GSO operations ethically and responsibly.
  • Direct overall organizational “Vision”, describing how the GSO expects to contribute to its constituents at UMBC. GSO Vision is a reflection of how things will be and to what the organization aspires to in the long run.
  • Ensure transfer of knowledge and responsibility to newly elected officers before departure of previous officers and inform the GSA of any contact information changes.


How can UMBC departments support a GSO?

The GSA encourages departmental interaction with graduate students who have a desire to start a GSO.  The GSA provides co-sponsorship and funding for GSO events on an annual basis and will facilitate overall training on UMBC provided services.  However, your department can provide additional support through direct funding and contribution to GSO accounts.  Since many GSOs have a Vision that is consistent with the goals and educational directives of the University, individual departments are encouraged to formally sponsor a GSO.   Please contact the GSA leadership team for further information on GSO sponsorship opportunities at