Research Advising

I frequently meet with the PhD, Masters, and undergraduate students conducting research under my supervision. The students interested in one of my research areas should send me an email describing their status and future plans along with a recent CV. I should be able to get back quickly. In addition to the Information Systems students, our research group has traditionally included the Computer Science and Health Administration and Policy Students.

The following are some of the points that require attention from our research students depending on their academic level:

PhD Students

  • Prospective students interested in our PhD program can contact me. Before applying, please review the departmental pages about the application requirements carefully including the TOEFL and GRE requirements. In the application package, the statement of purpose (SOP) should effectively describe the applicant's research goals along with how well they fit into our research direction and activities. The applicant's CV (also part of the application package) should include all of the pertinant details about the current status and past accomplishments.
  • If/when accepted, meet with me right away to make research and course plans.
  • I know we see each other regularly but let's remember to sign and submit the annual evaluation form. This form is a formality but it does need to be submitted to the graduate school.
  • My advice for the new PhD students is to take the comprehensive exam as soon as possible and get rid of it.
  • PhD students should submit their proposals and the PhD candidates should submit their dissertations to the committee members on time. Otherwise, their presentation can be delayed. Follow the dates published by the grad school.

Master's Students

  • If there are plans for applying to the PhD program, advance planning will be necessary because of the GRE timings and application deadlines.
  • Independent study course (3 credits) and masters thesis (6 credits) option allow students to explore a research topic and gain in depth knowledge. My advise to the MS students is to take advantage of those opportunities rather than just taking courses to finish the PhD program.
  • Note that only three credits can be taken for the masters thesis in one semester.

Undergrad Students

  • There are tremendous advantages in getting involved with research as an undergraduate. The IS and CS undergrad students interested in conducting research should enroll in an independent study course. Contact me and your undergrad advisor.
  • HAPP students should contact me preferable 1.5 months before each semester to explore the possibilities.

Course Advising

Master's Students

If you are an MS student automatically assigned to me as my advisee, you will need approval for your course registration. This process can be easily handled remotely via email. Please review and remember the following key points:

  • Register early! Remember that classes fill up extremely fast. Professors cannot possibly monitor and control whether students register, whether they register on time, etc. Unlike what some people may think, professors cannot get students registered on classes that are full (there is literally no seat available in some classrooms).
  • Remember that if you are an international student you need to take enough credits to fulfill your full time student status requirement. It is very important to maintain this status.
  • Review this useful chart regularly:
  • In all your communications with me, please remember to include your campus ID number and UMBC user name.
  • Download your latest electronic transcript from myUMBC in pdf. You will need it in the following steps and you will email it to me as an attachment together with your request for approval.
  • Do read your program requirements. Make sure that you are familiar with them. Remember that, ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to fulfill the program requirements.
  • Make sure you have enough time to allocate and complete your courses successfully. Not being able to do so is one of the top reasons for failure at the graduate level. On average, a graduate course takes 3 hours in the class and 9 hours outside of the class weekly (also add the commute time). These are average numbers. Being realistic always pays off. Use the below list as a guideline when calculating your workload.
    • Working more than full time (more than 40 hours a week): At this pace, even taking one course will make you very busy.
    • Full time (40-hour work weekly): Normal load will be 1 course a semester, you should know that 2 courses a semester will make you pretty occupied. If you attempt to take 3 courses, then you should certainly expect to have scheduling and time management problems.
    • Part time (20-hour work weekly): Normal load is 3 courses. More than 3 courses would be difficult.
    • Not working: 4 courses a semester can be done but I would still recommend 3 courses if you would like to concentrate and receive higher grades.
  • If this is your first semester, you should take the fundamentals first unless they are waived. Remember that you cannot take more than 2 core courses before finishing the fundamentals. These are:
  • You should start taking core courses as soon as possible preferably in your first semester. Not taking them in the first semester is acceptable only if you have to take fundamentals first or you have time to take only one of them:
  • When the core courses are completed, go onto elective courses. These courses can change from semester to semester.
  • Master's students can take no more than two courses outside of their program. Note that this rule does not state outside of the IS department, it states outside of the program. All non-IS courses fall into this category even if they are offered by the Information Systems Department.
  • Visit the course listings at , click on a particular semester and then click on the Information Systems.
  • Please compose an email to me from your official UMBC email address, attach your latest electronic transcript (in pdf), summarize your status and standing in the program, and clearly list the course information by copy-pasting from the course listing web page you found in the previous step. A sample email would be similar to what you see below.

    Dear Dr. Koru,

    My UMBC user name is __. My UMBC campus ID number is __. My latest electronic transcipt is attached (in pdf). I have completed all of the fundamental courses. In __ semester, I would like to register for:

    1. IS 636 Structured Systems Analysis and Design 3 credits (PermReq) Grade Method: REG Course meets in ITE 457. [3658] Tu………4:30pm- 7:00pm (TBA) KORU, G
    2. IS 601 Foundations of Information Systems 3 credits (PermReq) Grade Method: REG Course meets in ITE 454 [3643] 0101 M……….4:30pm- 7:00pm (ITE 239) GUO, Z


    Student Name

  • I'll contact you and Shannon Keegan to indicate whether the registration is approved or not.

Optional-Practical Training

There is a lot of applied training opportunities in our labs. I encourage students to pursue those options in the first place to get some practical experience. OPT outside of the university needs to be checked by the International Education Services (IES). For me to approve this, you need to provide the following documents in an email.

  • A signed offer letter from your OPT sponsor clearly stating your name, offered position, and the nature of the practical training work. Note that the practical training should be in the area of Information Systems
  • Your most recent unofficial transcript extracted from your UMBC records.

I will email you and the IES office to indicate whether this request is approved or not.

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