Multi-factor Authentication

In an effort to secure your University email account, UMW is enabling multi-factor authentication (typically shortened as “MFA”).  You will still use your email address and password to access your UMW email account, but you will also need another authentication mechanism to verify your identity.  This can take the form of a phone call, a text message, or a notification to an app on your smartphone.  Employing MFA on your UMW account will help prevent unapproved or malicious access to your account.

We strongly recommend setting up at least two mechanisms, the Microsoft Authenticator app and either a phone call or text message to a different number.  This allows you to continue accessing your email in the event you lose or replace your phone.


Microsoft has produced a 3½ minute video to step you through setting up multi-factor authentication here.


Below are instructions for configuring MFA for your UMW email account using the Microsoft Authenticator app.  You must remember to reinstall and set up the Microsoft Authenticator app if you get a new phone.

  1. Log in to your email with your browser.  Sign in using your (for faculty and staff) or (for students and alumni) account username and password.
  2. You should see a prompt that more information is required.  Click “Next”.
  3. The next screens will walk you through setting up the Microsoft Authenticator app.
  4. Download the Microsoft Authenticator app onto your selected device.
    Microsoft Authenticator app store
  5. Open the Authenticator app.  You will be prompted to agree with the Privacy statement.  Tap “I agree”.
  6. You will then be prompted to set up the Authenticator app.  Select the “Scan a QR code” option.
  7. Click “Next” on the computer.  The computer screen will then display a QR code.
  8. Scan the QR code with the app.  The app should automatically detect the QR code with it comes within the indicated screen area on your phone.
  9. After the QR code is processed, your screen should have an entry for “University of Mary Washington” with your email address.
  10. When you click “Next” on the computer screen, you will be prompted to try out the Authenticator app.
  11. You will be prompted to approve the request on your smart phone.  Tap “Approve”.
  12. After a second, the computer screen should update to indicate that the notification was approved.  Click “Next”.
  13. You will be prompted to create an application password.  Enter an 8-character name and click “Next”.  Continue following the instructions on the computer screen until the setup is complete.



If you do not have a smart phone, you have the option to receive a code via text or a phone call.  For either of these methods, follow the instructions above to step 4.  Then click the link indicating “I want to set up a different method” in the lower left of the screen.  Follow the instructions on screen to complete the multi-factor authentication setup.

  1. Mobile Phone call or text:
    If you do not have a smartphone, we recommend this option. Be advised that you must have access to your mobile phone in order to access your UMW email. You must also update the phone number for your mobile device if the number changes.

    • After filling out the requested information, click the “Contact me” button.
    • If “Call me” is selected, you will receive an automated voice call to the registered number. Answer the call and press ‘#’ to authenticate.
    • If “Send me a code by text message” is selected, then a text message will be sent to the registered device containing a verification code. Follow the instructions of the text and either reply to the text or enter the verification code into the sign-in interface.
  2. Office Phone Call:
    After filling out the requested information, click the “Contact me” button. An automated voice will call the registered number. Answer the call and press ‘#’ to authenticate.