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Health Insurance for Graduate Students

Purchasing health insurance is important for maintaining physical and mental well-being while in graduate school. Unexpected healthcare expenses can be disruptive to students’ academic progress.

As of Fall 2020, all students enrolled full-time in a master’s or doctoral program at the University of Maryland, College Park campus must have health insurance coverage. Full-time students are those who are enrolled for at least 48 units for the semester or 36 units for a 12-week term. Part-time students, non-degree-seeking students, students enrolled in certificate programs, exclusively online programs, and/or programs at the Shady Grove campus are encouraged but not required to have health insurance, unless the student's immigration status requires insurance. 

* Students who will not be physically on campus at any time in Fall 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions are strongly encouraged to maintain health insurance but are temporarily exempt from this policy. Students who are able to arrive on campus for the spring semester are eligible to enroll in the university's Student Health Insurance Plan during the 6-week open enrollment period starting on January 1, 2021. Students who are exclusively online during Fall 2020 and would like to request a temporary exemption to this policy, please complete this Temporary Exemption Request Form.

Please view the full policy in the Graduate Catalog.

Students holding a graduate assistantship can choose to 1) enroll in a Maryland State Employee Health Insurance Plan, included in the benefits for the assistantship 2) enroll in the University’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), or 3) enroll in an external plan*

Students not holding a graduate assistantship can choose to 1) enroll the University’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or 2) enroll in an external plan*.

* If enrolling in an external plan, or if covered by someone else’s plan (a parent or a spouse), please complete the External Health insurance Reporting Form on the Academic HealthPlans (AHP) website (


  • Academic HealthPlans (AHP) services the university's Student Health Insurance Plans (SHIP). SHIP is available to all graduate students, including Graduate Assistants. Visit the Graduate Student AHP website at to learn more about SHIP. 
  • All Students are eligible to enroll in SHIP during open enrollment or if there is a qualifying event.  Open Enrollment Dates are found at To see if you are eligible for a qualifying event, please click here.      
  • Graduate Assistants are eligible to enroll in the Maryland State Employee medical, prescription drug, and dental plans. Please visit the UMD Human Resource Benefits page to learn more about the state employee plans.
  • The UMD Health Center provides resources year-round.  
  • Use the Maryland Health Connection to view options available through the state. You can enroll in a plan during the open enrollment, if you qualify for Medicaid, or if recently have had certain life events.
  • Use the portal to view options for purchasing short-term insurance plans.


Health Insurance FAQs


Health Insurance Definitions and Terms