Frequently Asked Questions

Please also see below for information specific to HiLS.

General Program Questions

Is it possible to complete the MLS on a part-time basis?

  • Yes! The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Some of our students choose to attend part time, taking 1 – 2 classes per semester and completing the program in 3 (or more) years. For a full-time student, the program can be completed in 2 years. The MLIS program must be completed within 5 years of initial registration.

Can I complete the MLIS coursework online?

  • Yes! The MLIS Program at Maryland can be completed totally online.

Online courses involve the same level of academic rigor as courses taught on campus. Graduates of the online program also receive the same MLIS degree as in-person students.

  • The program requirements are the same as the in-person MLIS. The only difference is the availability of courses. Please do note that not all of our specializations are offered in both formats, so be sure to check the format of your intended area of study. Online students are welcome to take classes in-person as well, as long as immunization records are submitted to the University Health Center.

Can I complete the program in under two years?

  • Yes! It is possible to complete the program in a year and a half, by taking 4 classes per semester, though it is not recommended. If this is an option you’re interested in pursuing, we suggest that you meet with an academic advisor to determine the best course plan.

Is it possible to work while completing the program?

  • Absolutely! Many of our students hold part-time and even full-time positions during their studies. iSchool classes are held Monday through Thursday, and are held from either 2:00-4:45PM or 6:00-8:45PM. Master’s level iSchool classes meet once a week. All online courses are held asynchronously, which allows students to complete coursework on a more flexible schedule.

Do I need experience in a gallery, library, archive, or museum?

  • No, there is no admissions requirement for information institution work experience (though of course it helps!). iSchool students come from a variety of backgrounds and relevant work experience. All students, regardless of previous experience, will develop their skills through class projects, internships, and their final capstone or thesis project.
HiLS - Program Specific Questions

Do I need to take the GRE to apply to HILS?

  • No. The History Department and MLIS Program no longer require the GRE for admissions to the HiLS program.

How do HiLS Admissions work?

  • Applicants who apply to HiLS must be accepted to both the MLIS Program and History Program to be admitted to HiLS. In the event that an applicant is accepted to the MLIS Program, but not History, the MLIS Program will reach out to see if they would like to be admitted to just our Program.

How long does it take to complete HiLS?

  • Most students complete the Program in 3 years, but have 5 years to complete the degrees.

Can I complete the HiLS Program fully online?

  • No. While the MLIS portion of the degree can be completed online, the History requirements cannot be completed online at this time.
Career Questions

What is the career path for someone pursuing the MLIS degree?

  • Academia
  • Government
  • Archives
  • Public Libraries
  • Museum/Cultural Heritage
  • Nonprofit
  • Information Technology
  • Corporate/Business
  • School Library

What kind of jobs do graduates tend to get?

  • MLIS Program graduates work for organizations such as the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Central Intelligence Agency, International Monetary Fund, Discovery Channel, National Agricultural Library, and National Geographic.
Admissions Questions

Is the GRE/TOEFL required?

  • Prospective students applying to the MLIS Program or the HiLS Dual Degree Program are not required to submit GRE scores.
  • You are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores if you do not hold a degree from a U.S. institution or from one of the English speaking countries listed on the Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements page.

What kind of GPA/test scores are you looking for?

  • Applicants must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework. (The average GPA for students admitted for Spring 2019 was 3.47.)

What are you looking for in the Supplementary Application Essay, versus the Graduate School’s Statement of Purpose?

  • The Statement of Purpose tells us why you want to pursue graduate education at UMD, and what experiences have brought you to seek an education at the UMD iSchool.
  • The iSchool’s Supplementary Application looks toward the future; specifically, we look for applicants who demonstrate an understanding of the information profession and have relatively clear career goals or interests.
  • Regardless of work and educational experience, prospective students must demonstrate their ability to adapt, collaborate, work creatively, take on leadership roles, and continually update their tech skills.

What if my transcripts are in a language other than English?

  • Applicants must upload a scanned official copy of all previous degrees/diplomas and transcripts issued in the original language with a literal English translation.

I don’t have to submit standardized test scores but my application is still marked incomplete.

  • Standardized test scores must be manually processed by the University and it can sometimes take a little while for the scores to be marked as received on the application. This holds true even when there are no test scores to be submitted (i.e., no required GRE scores, or you atten
    ded a U.S. institution.)

How can I confirm my recommendations have been submitted?

  • The online application will indicate when each of your recommenders has submitted their recommendation. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that recommendations have been completed, so please make sure to check that each of your recommendations has been received.
Acceptance & Enrollment

I’m still waiting to hear from the Graduate School about my admissions decision. When can I expect to receive my official notification?

  • Depending on the volume of applications being processed at the time, it can take the Graduate School several weeks to review applicants who have been recommended for admission. The Graduate School processes applications from all across campus, and this can be an extremely busy time for their office, so please be patient as they work to review your application.

How do I respond to my offer of admission?

  • Your official acceptance letter from the Graduate School will contain information about how to respond to your offer of admission. You must follow the link in your acceptance letter to accept or decline your offer of admission.

Can I defer enrollment to the MLIS program?

  • Yes! Upon being admitted by The Graduate School into the MLIS Program, a student can choose to defer their enrollment for up to one academic year. To defer your admission, you must reach out to the iSchool Student Services Office to declare your intent to defer, and to which semester you want to defer your start.
  • If you do not declare your intent to defer, your student account will be deleted and you will be required to reapply to the College of Information Studies. The new application will be evaluated on the basis of admission standards existing at the time of reapplication.
Getting Started

How do I set up my University ID (UID) and campus email?

  • To set up your account please visit: Be careful in selecting your userID as it will be your official email for the University of Maryland.

Where can I find my University ID (UID) number?

  • Your student ID number is listed on the bottom of your initial acceptance letter from the Graduate School. If you’ve misplaced your letter and have not yet set-up your UMD email account, you can contact the iSchool Student Services Office.

Why do I need to get a student ID?

  • Your student ID serves as your library card and is used when you need to access resources like the University Health Center, and is needed to use the UMD shuttle system. It also acts as a key for workspaces and the library after-hours.

Where do I get my student ID?

  • You can get your ID on the first floor of the Mitchell Building on the College Park campus 8:30-4:30PM Monday – Friday. Call (301) 314-8240.

Who can I talk to about my Maryland Residency classification?

  • Please read over the information provided by Residency Reclassification Services. If you have questions please contact them at (301) 314-9596 or

Do I have to submit my official transcripts by mail?

You may submit your official transcripts by mail, or deliver them in person. Transcripts can be mailed to:

University of Maryland
Enrollment Service Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
Room 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, Maryland 20742

You may also bring your official transcript in an official/sealed envelope in person to the Graduate front desk which is located in:

University of Maryland
The Graduate School
2123 Lee Building
College Park, Maryland 20742

Are there any technology requirements? What kind of laptop/software should I get?

Students coming into the iSchool should come prepared with a basic level of technology skills and access. These skills are necessary for effectively functioning in a graduate program.

Basic Skills

  • The iSchool does not have a preference for Mac or PC computers, so students should select their preferred format.
  • All students should have a working understanding of Microsoft Office suite or equivalent software.
  • Students need to be able to effectively navigate the Internet.
  • In general, students will need consistent access to a computer and high-speed internet.
  • Students will often use various medias including online video conferencing, email, discussion boards, blogs, social media platforms, and other Web-based technologies to “attend” class sessions, communicate with professors and peers, and complete assignments, so students should be willing and able to learn new platforms quickly.

University Email

All students are required to set up a University ID that is used to access most online University systems and serves as a student’s email address. Students who wish to use a personal email account to receive University emails must set up mail forwarding using Testudo.

  • University of Maryland provides its students with great resources through its TERPware service. All students have the ability to download (for free!) the Microsoft Office Suite and the Adobe Creative Suite to their personal computers, in addition to other useful software.
  • The University Libraries offer an array of services including equipment borrowing; printing, faxing and binding

Are there accessibility services on campus?

  • Yes! The Accessibility & Disability Service (ADS) office is located in Room 0106 of the Shoemaker Building ((301) 314-7682, voice/TTY). This office assists with arranging for interpreters for hearing-impaired students, providing readers for visually-impaired students, and providing writers for students with physical impairments. They provide wheelchair-bound students with a listing of all the access points on the College Park campus including locations of parking spaces, ramps, restrooms, etc.
  • To receive accommodations, students must contact ADS and set up an in-person registration interview. After this interview, ADS can then provide students with an “accommodation letter” which students must give instructors at the beginning of each semester.
  • Both the east and west entrances of Hornbake Building (South Wing) a
    re handicap accessible. Elevators and ramps are available in Hornbake Building (South Wing).

Are there services for international students?

  • Yes! The University of Maryland provides international students with extensive support services upon entering an academic program. The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) assists international students as they transition to the American college experience. Their office is located in 1126 H. J. Patterson Hall.
Registration & Courses

How do I know what courses to register for?

The MLIS Curriculum page provides guidance about how MLIS students typically complete their degree, as well as links to resources like the program checklist, student handbook, and the iSchool Two-Year Course Plan. All MLIS students, both in-person and online, must complete the MLIS core: LBSC 602, LBSC 631, LBSC 671, and LBSC 791.

How do I register?

You register for classes using Testudo. You can find detailed instructions on registration in the 2019 How to Register Guide.

Can I waive any core courses?

Yes! Students who have successfully completed coursework and/or have work experience that provides a comparable, systematic coverage of the skills, knowledge, and issues covered in a required course may be able to waive the course.

To apply for a waiver a student must complete the waiver form, including appropriate documentation of coursework or professional experience along with a statement indicating why he or she should be able to waive the course. Students will receive a decision (via email) within 1 – 2 weeks after all required documents have been received.

Can I transfer credits and apply them toward my degree at UMD?

Yes! Students may transfer up to 6 credits earned from an institution other than the University of Maryland, College Park. To be eligible for transfer, courses must have a grade of B or better, be graduate-level, and cannot have been applied to a previous degree. They must be less than five years old at the time of the request. For more information about taking courses outside of the iSchool and transferring credits, please visit the Forms page.

Can I transfer credits from my time as a Non-Degree Seeking Student?

Yes! You may transfer up to 9 credits. Please note that if you started your academic career as a Non-Degree Seeking Student and have since been formally admitted to the iSchool, the credits do not automatically roll over to count toward your graduate degree. You must complete the Inclusion of Credit form. A signed Inclusion of Credit form must be submitted to the Student Services Office for processing and submission to the Graduate School.

How many courses should I take?

Full-time students take 3 courses their first semester, and 2-3 courses in subsequent semesters. Part-time students take 1-2 courses per semester. We do not ever recommend taking more than 3 courses in a semester.

International students are required to maintain a full-time status, which often means taking 3 courses per semester. MLIS students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework within five calendar years from their first registered semester. At least 24 of the 36 required credits must be LBSC, INST, or INFM courses taken in the iSchool.

How do I drop a course?

Students can drop a class via Testudo within the deadlines set by the Office of the Registrar’s Academic Deadlines. Students who don’t drop a course by the posted deadline will be financially responsible for all or a portion of the course. Students can add and drop courses before the first day of classes without penalty and receive a full refund.

How much time should I plan on spending on coursework outside of class?

This will vary greatly from student to student, but a good rule of thumb for estimating workload for a graduate class is 2-3 hours a week per credit hour. So a 3 credit course would take somewhere between 6-9 hours a week outside of class time.

How do I know what textbooks are required for my course?

For every class you take, you should check the class Testudo listing to see if there are textbooks required for the course. Note: many iSchool classes will not have required textbooks.


  1. Find the listing for your individual course.
  2. Select the course section for which you are signed up.
  3. Click the stacked book icon to the right of your section number. This will inform you of any required textbooks.
  4. Keep in mind, not all instructors list their required materials on Testudo. If you still have questions about required readings for your courses, feel free to contact your course instructor to verify.

What is the difference between the field study and the thesis?

The field study, taken after the completion of at least 18 credits, is designed so that students may apply and expand their skills as they prepare to join their desired community of practice (e.g., public library, academic library, archive, etc.). A field study assignment requires a minimum of 120 hours, carried out as a regular number of hours each week of the semester. Students must complete their field study hours during the semester in which they are registered for the field study course. For more information, visit the iSchool Field Study Database.

The Master’s Thesis option allows students to develop and complete a substantial research project with the oversight of a faculty member. It is particularly well-suited for students who anticipate pursuing a doctoral degree or a professional job where they are expected to conduct or evaluate research. The Master’s Thesis requires substantial independent initiative and work. The Master’s Thesis option requires the complete of 9 credit hours spread over at least 2 semesters, but it is strongly encouraged to be completed over 3 semesters. Students interested in the Master’s Thesis must take INST 701 Research Methods in Information Studies before registering for LBSC 799 Master’s Thesis Research.

Minimum Computing Requirements

The iSchool requires that students participating in any of its programs have regular, consistent, and
daily access to a computer with the following minimum specifications:

  • 13 Inch Display or above
  • 3.0GHz CPU (Intel i5 or equivalent)
  • 8Gb RAM
  • 256 HDD (solid-state recommended but not necessary)
  • Integrated webcam and microphone

Warranty and accidental damage coverage is strongly recommended.

Please note that this is a minimum specification and that specific programs and fields of study may require a computer with capabilities beyond this minimum. If you have questions about the computing requirements for your program, please contact your academic advisor. It is strongly recommended that students purchase personal laptops to ensure that they have regular access to computing required to complete coursework in a timely manner. Students may purchase laptops from anywhere that computers are available. The UMD Division of IT operates the Terrapin Technology Store from which computers can be purchased by students at discounted prices.

Assistantships & On-Campus Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities on campus

Many students wind up working on campus, either as graduate assistants or in hourly positions. The portal provides listings of many of the open graduate assistantship positions. Hourly opportunities will most commonly come through on the student listservs.

How do I apply for/get a Graduate Assistantship (GA)?

Graduate Assistantships or GA positions are available through university offices and departments, and are opportunities you apply to individually. GA positions include a stipend, health benefits, and tuition remission. The amount of tuition remission and stipend ranges will depend on whether the student is at the master’s or doctorate level and whether the assistantship is a 9.5-month or a 12-month position.

GA positions do not become available on a regular schedule. They become available as students leave the positions (if the funding is still available) and when new positions are created (typically these are grant funded). All that to say you’ll see position postings at various points throughout the year and can apply as they become available. The best advice is to keep your eyes on the University Jobs page for new opportunities. Keep in mind that many departments outside the libraries have GA positions.

What does a graduate assistantship entail?

Assistantships are typically either full-time (20 hrs/week) or part-time (10 hrs/week) positions, and can be designated as either a teaching assistantship (TA), research assistantship (RA), or administrative assistantship (AA). Masters students typically hold administrative assistantships, and, more rarely, RAs or TAs. These positions include a stipend and some amount of tuition remission, as well as access to benefits. The amount of tuition remission varies depending on the assistantship, but a 20-hour GAship usually includes full tuition remission.

Tuition, Billing & Financial Aid

Do you provide scholarships or assistantships for incoming MLIS students?

The MLIS Program is able to award two incoming students per semester full funding through Teaching Assistants. Scholarships are also available to current students. We also encourage students to pursue external funding opportunities with organizations such as the American Library Association, Beta Phi Mu, and related professional organizations. A list of some of these resources is available below. Students should also review the Graduate School’s Funding page and information provided by the Office of Financial Aid.

Current students fund the costs of the program through a combination of savings, loans, scholarships, graduate assistantships, and full or part-time work. Many of our students work full-time and complete their degree on a part-time basis. In 2018-19, about 1/3 of our students were able to find graduate assistantships on campus during the academic year. Students are encouraged to apply to assistantships outside of their College as the iSchool is only able to offer a few positions. Graduate assistantships are posted on

Who do I contact for more information about financial aid?

Specific questions regarding financial aid must be directed to the Office of Financial Aid. Financial Advisors are available by appointment, which can be set up by phone at (301) 314-9000 or via email at For more information see the Financial Aid Office webpage:

What kind of loans and University funding are there?

Take a look at the Office of Student Financial Aid webpage. For quick reference, this page can be reached from the bottom of the Testudo home page by clicking on “Financial Aid.” Once on the Student Financial Aid webpage, click “Check Your Financial Aid Status Online” and log in using your university username and password. From there you can click “View Monthly Billing Statement” which will again prompt you to log in using your university username and password. You should now see your “eBill Menu” where you can view your bill by selecting the appropriate date from the drop-down menu, pay your bill, view your student account, and add email accounts to receive information about billing updates.

Are there any external websites that provide information on financial assistance for prospective MLIS students?

The following web pages have detailed information about funding opportunities for prospective students:

American Library Association: Scholarships and Financial Assistance
I Need A Library Job (INALJ)
Library Land Index

Additionally, many professional organizations have dedicated scholarship pages for MLIS students. Be sure to pay attention to the eligibility criteria as some scholarships have strict guidelines as to how many credit hours can be taken prior to applying.

American Association of Law Libraries
ALA Scholarship Program
American Indian Library Association
American Theological Library Association
Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA)
Association of Jewish Libraries
Beta Phi Mu
Bound to Stay Bound (administered through ALSC)
DC Library Association
Delaware Library Association
Maryland Library Association
Medical Library Association
Music Library Association
Pennsylvania Library Association
Society for American Archivists
Special Libraries Association
Theatre Library Association
Virginia Library Association
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

Arriving on Campus

Where should I live?

Graduate students have many different housing options available to them. A great place to begin your search is the Off-Campus Housing Services Office located in the Stamp Student Union. This office works in cooperation with local landlords, homeowners, and students to provide extensive, up-to-date computer listings of vacancies. This office can also provide maps of local areas and brochures on tenant information. Their website includes a searchable database of available housing in the area.

The University also owns two small apartment complexes named Graduate Hills and Graduate Gardens that are reserved exclusively for graduate students. Both are managed by Southern Management Corporation. Because of their convenient location and affordability, competition is strong for these units. For an application and additional information, contact Southern Management Graduate Hills and Graduate Gardens Apartment Homes, 3426 Tulane Drive, Suite #3, Hyattsville, MD 20783 (888-633-6173).

How do I get to campus?

Check out the UMD Transportation site for lots of information on how to get to the College Park campus by free UMD shuttle, via the Metro, on foot, by bike, or by car. They also have a number of apps that you can use to help navigate to the campus.

Where do I park?

Information regarding student parking can be found on the Department of Transportation Services website. Students may register for parking online or by visiting Transportation Services at Bldg #202 Regents Drive Garage (Open 8:15 am – 4:00pm, weekdays; 301-314-PARK;

Carefully read the documentation about parking regulations as it will explain, among other items, when unrestricted parking is allowed on campus for those with a permit. Note that some parking lots on campus are restricted at all times, so please check the parking regulations and signs posted at the entrance to each lot. The University parking regulations are very specific concerning conditions under which parking is restricted or banned in the parking lots and on the campus street. Illegal parking, expired meters, and other infractions of the parking code are strictly enforced. Payment of all fees, including parking tickets, must be made before graduation.

Where can I eat on campus?

The Stamp Student Union has a variety of food options. You can find a listing of restaurants and hours here:

Kosher options are available at the Hillel Center.

What spaces are there for graduate students at the iSchool?

Students at Maryland’s iSchool have many options of places to go to study, socialize, or sit quietly for a few minutes between classes. The UMD Graduate Student lounge is located in the Adele H. Stamp Building (Room 1121) and is open from 9am – 5pm. The Grad Student Lounge has computers available for use, games, and free coffee (from 9-4 every Thursday).

Within Hornbake South, students also have places to go. The 4th floor houses the iSchool Student Lounge (room 4114), and the 2nd floor has a computer lab available for iSchool student use (room 2108). The computer lab’s hours are 9am – 6pm.

We also have the campus’ first Quiet Room available in 4117C. You may use this room for quiet study and it also serves as a lactation room. Make sure you sign the sheet attached to the door when you are using it.

Online Students

What time are online classes held?

All online courses are held asynchronously, which allows students to complete coursework on a more flexible schedule.

What platform does the iSchool use for online classes?

UMD uses the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS), powered by Canvas. It provides an online environment for students and instructors to extend the classroom with assignments, collaboration, teaching, quizzes/exams, etc. ELMS also supports third-party integrations such as: Campus Pack, Panopto, Mcgraw-Hill, Cengage, Pearson, Nook study, ShareStream, course reserves and more. ELMS also includes Design Tools which enable faculty members to rapidly build course shells and painlessly build and style the content in a course. They improve the quality, consistency, and accessibility of courses while allowing instructional designers and instructors to do more in less time.

What is the tuition and fee structure for online students?

Courses taught online are offered under section numbers that begin with ML (ex: IN
ST603 ML01). Courses listed under that section code are NOT subject to fees associated with a physical campus. Fees for online courses using the ML section code are assessed on a per-credit hour basis. The technology fee is assessed based on full-time or part-time enrollment status. The College of Information Studies has non-standard tuition and fees. Please visit the Office of the Bursar website for more information.

Are there any requirements to be on campus?

No! All students are welcomed and encouraged to visit our campus, but there are no mandatory events. Every year before the fall semester, the College of Information Studies hosts a college-specific New Student Orientation where you will meet faculty & staff, connect with other students, and learn about the ways you can get the most out of your time with the iSchool. The morning session will be spent collectively as a college, and then after lunch, students will be in program-specific breakout sessions with faculty, staff, current students, and fellow incoming students.

I registered as an LBSO student. Can I still take a class on campus?

Yes! Online students are welcome to take classes in-person as well, as long as immunization records are submitted to the University Health Center.

Can online students take part-time classes?

Yes! It’s fine for online students to be part-time. We only need to know if you’re not going to take any classes in a semester. The MLIS program must be completed within 5 years of initial registration.

Can online students transfer credits from another institution?

Yes! There are certain stipulations for transferring credits. No more than six semester credit hours of graduate work may be transferred from another institution, unless the program has special approval by the Graduate Council. The courses must be graduate level and have been taken for graduate credit at the original institution. The credit must not have been used to satisfy the requirements for any other degree. For more information, please visit Transfer Credit Services.

Are there specializations I can complete totally online?

Yes! We currently offer the following specializations in the online format: Diversity and Inclusion, Individualized Program Plan, School Library, and Youth Experience (YX)



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