General Information

The Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) Program at the University of Maryland seeks to engage and inspire honors students interested in all aspects of biological research and biomedicine and prepare students for future successes in the most challenging programs in graduate, medical, dental, or other professional schools. Several recent national initiatives, e.g., BIO 2010, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians, and Vision and Change, have called for the transformation of undergraduate education in the life sciences. The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences has partnered with the Honors College to create the ILS program, which offers nationally recognized innovations in the multidisciplinary training of life science and pre-medical students. Admission to ILS is contingent upon 1.) university acceptance into the Honors College and 2.) outstanding performance in college-level biology courses, which can be demonstrated by a high score on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Biology exams, or as high grades in introductory courses taken at the University of Maryland or other colleges.  


ILS students come from a wide range of backgrounds but are united by their common academic interests in the life sciences, their commitments to personal excellence, and their desires for productive and worthwhile careers in research, medicine, and education.

ILS students in Ecquador.

The Student Experience 

The overall goal of a living-learning program is to facilitate the development of meaningful academic, professional, and personal relationships among fellow students as well as with faculty, staff, and mentors. ILS students live together in LaPlata Hall where the ILS faculty and staff have their offices. Technology classrooms and study rooms are conveniently located in LaPlata Hall and other adjacent residential halls in the Ellicott Community.  The Eppley Recreation Center, LaPlata Beach, North Campus Diner, and Football Stadium are all located just outside LaPlata's doors. Given the importance of the residential experience in living-learning programs, all ILS students are required to live in the ILS residence hall in their first year in the program. ILS strongly recommends but does not require second-year students to continue living in the ILS residence.

ILS students on a dock near the water.

ILS students play an active role in ILS community programming. They are involved in planning, organizing, and implementing community events, peer mentoring and service for the ILS community, as well for the Honors College. Visit our Calendar of Events tab and Facebook page to see recent programs. 

Read the Spring 2012 edition of Odyssey, the Newsletter for the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences to learn more about the importance of living-learning programs. 

Dr. Cooke working with students in his HLSC 207 class.


Over two years, ILS students enroll in a sequence of four accelerated courses in integrated organismal biology, genetics and genomics, a choice between biomathematics and biological modeling or cell biology, and a capstone scholarship-in-practice experience (totaling 15 credits). 

This sequence serves to integrate fundamental principles across all sciences and to encourage students to apply their knowledge toward addressing complex real-world problems in the life sciences and biomedicine. The sequence complements but does not completely duplicate the requirements for the biological sciences major or for other majors. Thus, ILS students can major in any academic discipline, as long as they are prepared for and interested in the rigorous ILS curriculum.

ILS student working on his research project.


ILS students are expected to have meaningful experiences in basic biological, biomedical, or clinical research on the UMD campus or at federal research agencies and biomedical institutes having international renown for research excellence, e.g., NIH-Bethesda, FDA-College Park, USDA-Beltsville, and Smithsonian Institution-Washington, DC. The ILS staff and students work together to establish a network of dedicated ILS mentors from various l institutes to offer unique opportunities for training future biological researchers and clinical physicians.

ILS students at a service location holding shovels.


One of the objectives of the ILS program is to create a community that fosters collaboration and inspires action in the world. This objective is best achieved by encouraging students to participate in engaging service-learning opportunities that promote the development of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make a difference. Through active participation in service, followed by critical reflections on the experience, students are able to take what is learned in the classroom and relate it to the world around them.



ILS is thrilled to announce that the Honors College will be offering the David Goff Scholarship to one second-year ILS student in the Fall 2017 semester.  Students interested in pursuing the $1,000 scholarship must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher, be strongly committed to pursing a career in medicine (e.g., clinical medicine, medical research, public health, or another allied health field), and complete an application that includes an essay, curriculum vitae, and letter of recommendation.  

For any questions and complete application, ILS students must contact Dr. Todd Cooke, Director of the ILS Program in the Honors College. All the application materials, with the exception of the letter of recommendation, should be assembled into a single PDF document that should be emailed to Dr. Cooke at, using the subject line “Goff Scholarship and LAST NAME.”

Green Office Program

In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint and promote a sustainable future the La Plata Honors College Office is participating in the Green Office Program sponsored by the University of Maryland's Office of Sustainability. 

The purpose of the green office program is to engage staff, faculty and students in a dynamic initiative that promotes best environmental practices at the University of Maryland. The program seeks to motivate environmentally friendly behaviors by providing definitive guidelines and reducing confusion about best practices. The program operates through a network of representatives (GO Reps) with Dr. Boots Quimby (serving as the current GO rep for the La Plata Honors College Office.

The goals of the Green Office program are to:

  • Engage the campus community in activities that will strengthen the University of Maryland's position as a national leader in sustainability
  • Recognize and reward leadership in sustainability
  • Educate participants about how and why to take action
  • Support the University's Climate Action Plan and Strategic Plan
  • Further integrate sustainability into campus culture
  • Conserve water, save energy, minimize waste and save money
  • Promote campus policies that support sustainability

For more information on the Green Office Program
For more information about campus sustainability