Panel of ILS students at an information session.

Through the ILS admission process the staff work to identify exceptional students who have performed well in college-level courses in the life sciences and who are interested in participating in meaningful basic and/or clinical research experiences in the life sciences while living together with like-minded students. Two cohorts of Honors College students, prospective first-year students and rising second-year students, are eligible for admission into ILS. Because the students in both cohorts enter at the same stage in their life sciences education, ILS students admitted in the same year will take the same sequence of ILS courses together.

Prospective first-year students 

Successful applicants exhibit outstanding performance in advanced placement courses in biology (at the level comparable to an AP Biology score of 4 or 5), in other college-equivalent courses, or in freshmen-level biology courses taken at UMD or other universities. Typically, entering ILS students have also earned advanced placement or college credit in at least one other science and/or calculus course, plus other courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Entering first-year students having this background will be prepared to succeed in the rigorous ILS program. Other criteria for evaluating ILS applicants include: significant prior biological or biomedical research experience and other life experiences, which suggest that your career goals match well with the ILS program. Judging from the strong demand in previous years, it is anticipated that ILS admissions for this year will be highly competitive.   

Admissions process: Admissions to ILS is a two-step process.

1. The first step involves the standard application for freshman admissions to the University. The University selects the most accomplished group from all freshman applicants, and then offers these students the opportunity to participate in the Honors College. A critical step in filling out the application is to indicate your intended major as an entering freshman. Use the descriptions of common life science majors to help guide your selection of an appropriate intended major.

Students studying together.

2. The second step requires each prospective honors student to state their preferences for the different living-learning programs in the Honors College. The Honors College provides a confidential website to indicate your strong preference for participating in ILS.

Since ILS attempts to select an entering class composed of students having similar academic backgrounds, it is important for prospective students to provide a short explanation for their ILS preference on the Honors College website.  Because several ILS courses have prerequisites that can be satisfied by Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other college-level courses in biology, other sciences, and mathematics, it is important for ILS applicants to provide both 1) AP and IB test scores and college-level grades you have already received, and 2) AP, IB, and college-level courses you are currently taking this year.

Rising second-year students 

ILS students at the Epley Rec Center challenge course.

ILS recognizes that some outstanding first-year students in Honors were not able to enroll in AP and other college-level biology courses during high school, or have only recently decided that ILS might be the appropriate living-learning program for their career objectives. Thus, ILS offers a second entry point for rising second-year students on a competitive, space-available basis.

Rising sophomores interested in applying to ILS must currently be enrolled as first-year students in the University Honors program in the Honors College. This admissions process will not be open to honors students participating in other thematic living-learning programs.

However, it should be noted that entering honors students should not plan on being admitted to ILS as rising second-year students. Depending on the variable admissions yields of prospective first-year students, there may only limited slots available for rising sophomores in certain years. The application for second year admission opens after each fall semester.