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application process

First-year applicants to UMD are automatically considered for invitation to the Honors College when they submit a completed undergraduate application by the early action deadline of November 1 and are admitted. There is no separate application for the Honors College.

Invitations to the Honors College are extended to new first-year students who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and promise. Students' applications are carefully evaluated on the basis of academic achievement in high school, rigor of high school program, application essays, letters of recommendation, participation in extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores. Please note, for the Spring and Fall 2022 semesters, UMD is test-optional. Applicants for the Spring and Fall 2022 semesters have the option of choosing whether to submit an SAT/ACT score and whether those scores will be considered in the review of their application for admission. If students choose not to submit test scores, they will still be fully evaluated for admission, invitation to Honors, and considered for all merit scholarships. Please see the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website for further information.

After students are invited to the Honors College, they are asked which living-learning programs capture their interest. The eight available living-learning programs are: Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES), Design Cultures & Creativity (DCC), Gemstone (GEMS), Honors Global Communities (HGlo), Honors Humanities (HoHum), Integrated Life Sciences (ILS), Interdisciplinary Business Honors (IBH), and University Honors (UH).

In addition to participating in a living-learning program, honors students may wish to participate in a departmental honors program in their academic major. Students must apply to most departmental honors programs in the sophomore or junior year.

Learn more about visiting the Honors College

three fresham in matching UH shirts sit on bench and smile


The University of Maryland offers a variety of merit-based and need-based scholarships to new and current students. Merit-based scholarships are awarded solely on academic or creative talent. Need-based scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. Scholarship awards are independent of admission to the Honors College. There are no separate applications for merit scholarships.

All students who apply by the November 1st early action deadline are automatically considered. Merit scholarship award notifications are mailed beginning in mid-March. All students who wish to be considered for need-based aid should fill out the FAFSA. Students can be awarded both merit and need-based scholarships in the same academic year.

Freshman applicants admitted to the Honors College are automatically considered for the most prestigious merit scholarship offered to incoming UMD freshman, the Banneker/Key Scholarship. The Banneker/Key scholarship can cover up to the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and a book allowance.

Learn more about UMD scholarships:

Past events

April 15, 2020: UMD Honors College - Parent & Family Online Q&A Session