Information for Prospective Students

All of the 8 Honors College logos

Application Process for New First-Year Students

First-year applicants to the University of Maryland are automatically considered for admission to the Honors College when they submit a completed undergraduate application to the University by the preferred November 1 deadline and are admitted. There is no separate addendum or special application for the Honors College.

Invitations to the Honors College are extended to new first-year students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and promise. Students' applications are carefully evaluated on the basis of academic achievement in high school, rigor of high school program, application essays, letters of recommendation, participation in extracurricular activities (including work and home responsibilities), and standardized test scores. There are no numerical thresholds (such as a minimum SAT/ACT or GPA) to be considered for Honors College admission although most successful applicants are among the most academically motivated and talented students in our pool by these measures. The Honors College welcomes a nationally and internationally diverse group of students each year. There is no quota for in-state versus out-of-state students.

Once students are admitted to the Honors College (in late January), students are then asked which of the Living-Learning Programs capture their interest. There are seven to choose from: Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES)Design Cultures & CreativityEntrepreneurship and InnovationGemstoneHonors HumanitiesIntegrated Life Sciences; and University Honors.

In addition to participating in a living-learning program, Honors students may also wish to participate in a Departmental Honors Program in their academic major. Entrance to most Departmental Honors Programs is by application in the sophomore or junior year.


The shield logos for the Honors programs

Transfer Students

Students on campus

Transfer students to the University of Maryland who are interested in applying to the Honors College have several options. All students who join the Honors College have access to Honors seminars, H-version courses, events and opportunities.

Students transferring the equivalent of one year of coursework to the university

Students who are transferring approximately one year of coursework to the University of Maryland can apply to join the University Honors living-learning program in the Honors College. Admission is highly competitive and the number of spaces available varies considerably from year to year. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 is required to apply. The Transfer Student Application to University Honors for fall 2019 will be available by May 1, 2019. Applications are due by August 1, 2019.

Students transferring more than one year of coursework to the university

Students should consider applying to a departmental honors program in their major or college. Students who were not previously in the Honors College and are admitted to departmental honors automatically become members of the Honors College. Students should review the entrance and academic requirements for the departmental honors program in their major for more information.

Students interested in cybersecurity

Students should consider applying to the ACES Minor in Cybersecurity. Students who were not previously in the Honors College and are admitted to the ACES Minor automatically become members of the Honors College. The application is available every fall and spring semester.

Additionally, there are different options available depending on a student's number of credits and major. For example, students may join University Honors and enroll in departmental honors.


Please contact Dr. Erin Wessell, Associate Director, at

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Current UMD Students

Current University of Maryland students may be admitted to the University Honors Program in the Honors College on a space-available basis, normally after two semesters of coursework at Maryland.Admission for current Maryland students is highly competitive and the number of spaces available varies considerably from year to year.

Click here to apply as a current Maryland student to University Honors. Applications for fall 2017 are due by August 1, 2017.

Current Maryland students may also join the Honors College by applying to a Departmental Honors Program in their major (normally in the sophomore or junior year). Please review the entrance and academic requirements for the departmental honors program in your major for more information.

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Advice For Newly-Admitted Honors Students

Which Honors living and learning program is right for you?

Now that you’ve been invited to the Honors College at the University of Maryland, it’s time for you to consider which living and learning programs interest you most. To submit your preferences, use the web link in your letter from Prof. Susan Dwyer, Executive Director of the Honors College.

Feeling overwhelmed? Remember, we’re here to help! Here are a few tips to guide you as you consider the Honors living and learning programs.

Think about all of your interests. The Honors living and learning programs are designed to help you explore you interests, regardless of your major. For example, if you’re majoring in engineering but you’re also really interested in the arts, Honors Humanities or Design Cultures and Creativity might be great options for you.

Take the time to learn more. Visit program websites, watch our brief program videos, and contact us when you have questions. 

Keep in mind that there are a few restrictions.

    • Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students requires students to live in Prince Frederick Hall.
    • Entrepreneurship and Innovation requires students to live in LaPlata Hall.
    • Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) requires first-year students to live in LaPlata Hall. ILS starts with sophomore-level biology courses. Candidates must therefore have taken AP Biology (and earned a score of 4 or 5) OR be currently enrolled in AP Biology OR be receiving comparable college credit.


Consider Some Advice from Our Current Honors Students

TiaraTiara '17 
University Honors
Major: Hearing and Speech Sciences 
Hometown: Bowie, MD 
The University Honors program is a great fit for me because of the flexibility and sense of community that it provides. I really enjoy the opportunity to take enriching honors seminars that are outside of my major coursework. I chose to take honors seminars that were different from my personal interests, and I am glad I did because I learned so much about myself and had a wonderful experience. When submitting preferences for living and learning programs, I would advise students to think about their personal interests and to make sure to take the time to research all of the different programs so they can make an informed decision! 


RachelRachel ‘17
Design Cultures and Creativity (DCC)
Major: Kinesiology
Hometown: Columbia, MD
When I entered UMD as a freshman, I wasn’t set on a specific major, and I really had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. But, I did know that I wanted a better grasp on the technologies preeminent in our daily lives.  My honors program, Design Cultures and Creativity, provided me with that understanding and more. The DCC curriculum helped me hone my creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Everybody I have encountered in DCC wants to harness the power of emerging media and technologies to make some contribution to society, and that's incredibly inspiring. When you’re trying to figure out which honors program is for you, I would recommend you start by looking at the websites for each honors program. Then, contact the Honors College to ask any specific questions you may have. When I was choosing between DCC and another honors program, speaking with students in DCC helped me realize that it would be the right choice for me.


Kenya ‘18
Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students
Major: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Hometown: Clinton, MD
Being in ACES as a Chemical Engineering major has been a great experience. It has given me the chance to gain knowledge in two different fields in addition to giving me a competitive edge when pursuing opportunities in the technology industry. My favorite thing about ACES is the hands-on experience available through class projects, community building activities, and internship opportunities with organizations such as the National Security Agency and Northrop Grumman.  My advice to you as you select your Honors living and learning program is to consider all of your different interests. College is a great opportunity to explore different fields as you try to decide what you want to do with your future.


MichaelMichael ‘17
Honors Humanities
Major: Bioengineering
Hometown: Nottingham, MD
Honors Humanities provided me with an opportunity to engage in a variety of liberal arts style classes outside of the technical classes I took for my engineering requirements.  The program brings students together through a variety of activities, making it one of the most closely knit communities on campus. I would advise new Honors students to think about which program(s) most aligns with their interests and can really help to enrich their experience at UMD.


BenBen ‘16
Integrated Life Sciences (ILS)
Majors: Physiology and Neurobiology and Business Management
Hometown: Clear Spring, MD
The Integrated Life Sciences program was a great fit for me because it introduced me to a new way of thinking about science that will undoubtedly help me as I prepare for a career in medicine. This program transformed the typical memorization way of learning to a more critical understanding that applies to numerous topics. The students and faculty that make of this program are also incredible and I met some of my closest friends through this program.


LaraLara ‘17
Major: Government & Politics
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Going into college, I knew that I wanted to have a rigorous, fruitful academic experience, and I thought that a four-year interdisciplinary research program like Gemstone would fit that goal.  As a Government & Politics major, I know that there are always new discoveries to be made on the political science research front, so why not get started early on as an undergraduate student? Gemstone is a tight-knit community where students really get to know each very well, regardless of your cohort, major, or Gemstone team. Being in the Gemstone program certainly requires work and effort on your part, but it’s truly worthwhile in the end--the skills, experiences, friends, and connections you make throughout the process are invaluable.


PraneetPraneet ‘16
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Majors: Computer Science and Finance
Hometown: Frederick, MD
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) was a great fit for me for several reasons. Over my undergraduate career, I've learned that I want to work on developing corporate strategy and help develop a business. This interest was directly shaped by my involvement in EIP. One of the fundamental questions you learn to answer through EIP is how to scale a business and how to build a business, and I really enjoyed thinking about this issue for a variety of business ideas. Also, the diversity of the students in the program and all their different majors exposes you to many different types of thinking. As you consider the different living and learning programs, take advantage of the opportunity to complement your majors with a different set of courses. I found it to be very rewarding throughout my undergraduate career, and you may as well! 

Additional Information

AdmissionInformation on admission to the Honors College for new first-year students.

Student ProfilesMeet some of our incredible Honors students

Honors College OverviewLearn more about the Honors College

Spend a Day with an Honors StudentHigh school students can visit the Honors College with a current Honors student

FAQsVisit our Prospective Student Frequently Asked Questions page

Honors College Living-Learning ProgramsExplore the Honors College's Living-Learning programs