University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a young school, but it has built an impressive record since its founding in 1966. UMBC’s 10,000-plus undergrads have their choice of 55 majors and 35 minors, a number of which aren’t commonly found at other schools. There’s an interdisciplinary Asian studies program, a game development track, an entrepreneurship minor and a degree in aging services. Among the dozens of master’s and doctoral programs in UMBC’s graduate school: human-centered computing, atmospheric physics, and an interdisciplinary language, literacy and culture doctoral degree.
Top degrees for undergrads are biology, computer science, social sciences and psychology. Students can also apply for the Honors College — a small, selective community of about 500 students with its own dedicated liberal arts curriculum and a residential community for freshmen.
UMBC is located between Baltimore and Washington D.C., meaning its students have plenty of access to major companies, research libraries and cultural attractions. The school is also home to incubators for businesses specializing in biotech, clean energy, cybersecurity and more. UMBC prides itself on its diverse campus and student body, and student housing includes 10 living-learning communities centered on themes such as women in technology, visual and performing arts, and humanities. Even the school’s mascot is a bit of a standout: It’s a Chesapeake Bay retriever, who shows up to cheer on UMBC athletic teams — the Retrievers.