UMUC is a product of the University of Maryland's evening program for adults that began in the 1920s. The origins of UMUC date back to 1947, when the College of Special and Continuation Studies, or CSCS, was established within the University of Maryland's College of Education. In 1953, Raymond Ehrensberger, chancellor of the institution at that time, wanted to change the name to something more meaningful and less awkward for people to say and remember. Early suggestions for the name included College of General Studies, College of Adult Education and University College.
In 1959, Chancellor Ehrensberger persuaded the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents to change the name to University College. Just over a decade later, University College was incorporated as University of Maryland University College—UMUC—independent of University of Maryland, College Park, and became one of the original five institutions that make up the new University of Maryland network.
To most people, the words "university" and "college" may sound and mean the same, and "University College" would be redundant in its name. The name "University College" was adopted from the British university system to depict an educational institution offering "courses and programs from all academic departments outside the university's walls and normal class times." Within the collegiate universities of Europe, the practice of giving one college in the university the name "University College" is common. In England, for example, one of the 39 colleges of the University of Oxford is called University College.
UMUC is not a division of the University of Maryland, College Park, but rather a separate institution within the University System of Maryland. UMUC is a college in the traditional sense of the word, and associated with university, hence, "University College." The "University of Maryland" prefix indicates the historical origin to which the college belonged. In the university's name, "University College" represents the specialized concentration on professional development, while "University of Maryland" represents the affiliation of the university with the University System of Maryland.