Panel of ILS students at an information session.

Through the ILS admission process, our staff identify exceptional students who have performed well in college-level courses in the life sciences and who are interested in participating in meaningful research experiences in a community with like-minded students.  ILS students take the same sequence of ILS courses together.  Please see our FAQs for additional details regarding admissions.

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.   

Students studying together.

1. The first step is to apply for admission to the University of Maryland. The University selects the most accomplished group from all applicants, and then offers these students the opportunity to participate in the Honors College. When applying, choose your major carefully with the descriptions of life science majors to help guide your selection of an appropriate intended major.

2. Students who have demonstrated academic excellence will be invited to join the Honors College as part of their admission offer to the University of Maryland. These notifications will be sent electronically to the student’s Coalition account. Acceptances are released in late January, so make sure to check your account!

If you’ve been invited to Honors, you must select your preference of Honors College program by February 15, 2019 for best consideration. There are seven programs to choose from to see what is the best fit for your talents and goals.  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 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. ILS is a highly competitive program, so if you are sure we are a good fit for you don’t wait to make your preferences!

3. When you’ve decided to matriculate at the University of Maryland, confirm your enrollment and apply for housing by May 1, 2019. Every new first-year student who desires to live in campus residence halls (a requirement for first-year ILS students) must complete the 2019-2020 Campus Housing and Dining Agreement by this date to be eligible to live on campus.

Sophomore admission

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.