Policies, Forms, Handbooks

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Academic Policies, Forms, and Handbooks for Graduate Students

Graduate Student Handbooks

Each graduate program in the College of Information Studies has a handbook with university and iSchool policies and procedures that are specifically relevant to each graduate program. If you have a question that isn't covered in the handbook, contact your program manager for more information.

The student handbook should be your first stop for information about program policies, course planning, and degree requirements. Students should use the handbook for the year they began the program (i.e., a student admitted for fall of 2018 should use the 2018-2019 handbook).

► HCIM Student Handbooks

► MIM Student Handbooks

► MLIS Student Handbooks

► PHD Student Handbooks

Policy and Administration

The Graduate School at the University of Maryland provides baseline policies and procedures for all graduate students. Additionally, the iSchool has established additional policies and procedures that are college-wide and oftentimes specific to your academic program. It is up to the student to familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures in The Graduate Catalog and in their own particular student handbook.

University of Maryland faculty and staff are committed to academic integrity, and we expect all students and scholars to abide by the Code of Academic Integrity as detailed by the university. Students involved in academic dishonesty will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Declarations, Forms, & Waivers

The iSchool provides flexible academic programs that may be changed or altered to accommodate students' needs by using the following file documentation. Click on the headings below for available request forms and waivers. Please email all completed paperwork to ischooladvisors@umd.edu.

► Declaring/Changing Specialization

All MIM students are required to choose a specialization by the end of their first semester in the program. MLIS students only need to declare a specialization if they are pursuing the School Library specialization. Although specializations do not appear on your diploma or transcript, students are encouraged to include specializations on a resume/CV to emphasize their area(s) of expertise.



► Waiving or Postponing Courses

Waiving Core Courses

If you have professional or academic experience that provides a comparable and systemic coverage of the skills, knowledge, and issues covered in a required course, you may be able to waive the course. Complete the waiver form, including appropriate documentation and a written statement. Please allow 1-2 weeks to be notified of the program’s decision.

Postponing A Core Course

Each graduate program has timeline requirements for core courses. After speaking with your advisor, If it is not possible for you to finish the core course in the appropriate amount of time, you must complete a form.

MIM - Request to Postpone A Core Course

MLIS - Request to Postpone A Core Course

Please submit your completed form to ischooladvisors@umd.edu.

Waiving Field Study/Internship


Students may request a waiver of LBSC703 or LBSC707 if the student has a minimum of two years of continuous relevant professional experience. (Please note that School Library students may not seek a waiver of LBSC744 (Internship in School Library), as that is required for certification.)

Even though there is a waiver process, students are strongly encouraged to complete the field study for the hands-on experience and the ability to build a professional network.


As of Fall 2015, the MIM internship consists of two mandatory courses, INFM736 and INFM737. No exceptions made.


Students may request a waiver of INST717 if the student has a minimum of two years of continuous relevant professional experience. Waiver requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

► Independent Study

Students who want to research a topic or pursue a subject more in depth than is covered by coursework may register for up to nine credits of an Independent Study. This type of coursework does not substitute field study and/or internship requirements. After finding a faculty member willing to serve as the supervisor, submit an Independent Study, Thesis, and Doctoral Course Instructor's Approval Form.

► Transferring Credits

If you wish to transfer credits from another institution, or include credits from a different campus department, schedule a meeting with your advisor. Please note that any courses that were applied to the completion of another graduate degree are not eligible for transfer. All forms must be submitted to your advisor at ischooladvisors@umd.edu.

Non-Degree Seeking Student (formerly Advanced Special Student)

Students may request to include up to nine credits taken as a Non-Degree Seeking Student. The credits must be less than five years at the time of request, and the student must have earned a grade of a B or higher.

► Leave of Absence

University of Maryland policy dictates that graduate students have five academic years to complete their program of study. In the event of childbearing, adoption, illness, or dependent care, students should complete the Leave of Absence Form and submit it to ischooladvisors@umd.edu, and it will be sent to the Graduate School for review. A leave of absence stops the five-year degree clock.

Master’s and Pre-Candidacy doctoral students who plan to be away from the University and do not plan to graduate must submit a Request for Waiver of Continuous Registration to ischooladvisors@umd.edu. A waiver of continuous registration does not stop the five-year degree clock.

► Taking iSchool Courses

UMD Students Requesting to take iSchool Courses Graduate students outside of the iSchool may request to take an iSchool course by submitting a Registration Request for iSchool Courses Form.

Undergraduate students who are not in the InfoSci major need to submit a Request to Enroll in an Undergraduate INST Course Form.

Non-Degree Seeking Students (formerly Advanced Special Students)

Non-Degree Seeking Students may request to take an iSchool course by submitting a Non-Degree Seeking Student Course Registration Form.

► Courses outside the iSchool

Courses from other UMD Departments

Eligible coursework must be graduate-level and relevant to your degree program. Students who wish to take a course outside of the iSchool, but within the University of Maryland, must have that course approved by their academic program in the iSchool. To submit the course for program approval, please fill out this webform. Please also note that even though the iSchool program may approve a course from another department being used toward your iSchool degree, students should request permission from that course's instructor specifically before registering for the course.

Courses from other University System of Maryland Institutions

To take courses at other universities within the University System of Maryland, submit a written petition to your advisor regarding the course’s relevance. If approved by your program, follow the procedures for inter-institutional enrollment through the Office of the Registrar. Upon completion of the course, and earning a B or higher, submit the Request for Transfer or Inclusion of Credits.

Courses outside the University System of Maryland Institutions

Students can potentially transfer up to six graduate credits from institutions outside the University System of Maryland. Submit the Request for Transfer or Inclusion of Credits form along with a written petition explaining the relevance to your degree program.

Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

Students may take courses at other area universities at no extra cost as part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area if the desired course is not available at the University of Maryland. More information can be found here or by contacting UMD’s Consortium Coordinator at DCConsortium@umd.edu.

► Applying for Graduation

All students intending to graduate must apply for graduation via Testudo by the appropriate graduation deadline. School Library Candidates must submit the School Library Media State Certificate Checklist when applying for graduation. Forms should be submitted to the Director of the School Library specialization.

► Independent Study, Thesis, and Dissertation Permissions

If you are interested in completing an independent study, registering for thesis or dissertation coursework, or any other course that requires instructor permission, please fill out the Instructor's Approval Form. Keep in mind that you will need to obtain instructor approval before completing this webform. Please check your program handbook for regulations about thesis and independent study work.