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University of Baltimore

Special to SunSpot

The University of Baltimore (UB) was originally founded in 1925 by a group of civic leaders who wanted to provide low-cost, part-time evening classes in business and law for working adults.

The University's mission hasn't changed much in 75 years, although its size and stature have. In 1975, UB became a state institution. In 1988, it joined the University System of Maryland, where it now occupies a unique niche. It is the system's only upper division and graduate institution, meaning that students either transfer here for their junior and senior years or come for graduate school.

UB comprises three separate colleges: The Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts, the Robert S. Merrick School of Business and the School of Law. Degree programs at UB are practical in nature -- they are highly specialized and designed for students who want to get a good job after graduation or improve their existing career options. Some interesting undergraduate programs include corporate communications, criminal justice, health systems management and forensic studies.

UB offers several unique graduate degrees, including publications design, taxation, marketing and venturing, interactive design and information architecture, and a webMBA program that was recognized in 2002 by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best online degree programs in the country.

Through the School of Law, students can pursue combined professional degree programs by merging law with business, criminal justice, taxation or policy science.

UB is all about accessibility. Many classes are offered at night or on the weekends, and the tuition is quite affordable. More than 50 percent of UB students attend classes part time, and as many as 89 percent of them have full-time jobs. A commitment to academic excellence prevails at UB. Ninety-four percent of faculty members have terminal degrees in their fields, and all faculty members teach both graduate and undergraduate students. Since there are no teaching assistants at UB, all undergraduate courses are taught by professors.

UB doesn't have residence halls, and many students commute from Baltimore's neighborhoods or the suburbs. There is, however, plenty of housing available in the surrounding area and in the artsy Mount Vernon neighborhood, a few blocks south of campus. The Center for Student Involvement maintains lists of current vacancies in the area. The newly refurbished university-affiliated Queen Anne Belvedere Apartments, located on Charles Street, are now available to students, as well.

UB has more than 50 student-run clubs. In keeping with the school's career-minded culture, many of the clubs are professional in nature, such as the marketing club, Environmental Law Society, Students for Public Interest and the Women's Bar Association. Other special interest groups include the Black Student Union, Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, International Student Association, Republican Caucus and the UB Post student newspaper.

UB is easily accessible even to those without their own vehicles. A light rail station is located near campus, and , with commuter rail service, is just a block north. Those options might even be easier than driving, as parking on campus is difficult. There are several university-owned lots and garages, all of which require a long walk through some rough sections of the city. But security personnel and vehicles patrol the campus, and shuttle service and personal escorts are available for those who would prefer not to walk to and from class alone.

In between classes, students often grab a quick bite at on Charles Street. Jay's has a small, inexpensive pub on one side and a carryout serving sandwiches, salads, burgers and beverages on the other. Farther south on Charles Street is The Brewer's Art, an artsy, renovated brownstone with creative food, home-brewed beer, couches and dark lighting.

UB is located near Baltimore's cultural corridor, with the , , and The Maryland Institute College of Art, all within a few blocks. North of campus on Charles Street is the , a renovated movie house that shows a variety of new foreign and independent releases and camp classics in five theaters. In the same block, students who are inclined to late-night revelry enjoy , where students can unwind to jukebox melodies until 4 a.m.

UB is not your traditional college. You won't find grassy quads, marching bands and students playing catch on warm spring days. But you will find a highly regarded faculty, career-oriented degree programs and reasonable tuition, as well as like-minded, serious students who are smart enough to recognize an educational value when they see one.

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