Academic Advising, Planning, Petitions and Waivers | Maryland's iSchool - College of Information Studies - Masters Degree - University Of Maryland

School of Informatics and Computing

Graduate School

Masters Program

School of Library and Information Science

Academic Advising, Planning, Petitions and Waivers

The College of Information Studies has established procedures to ensure that students move through the program from matriculation to graduation as efficiently as possible. Therefore, students should consult the information in this handbook and in the Graduate School Catalog for guidance. Additional information is provided via the iSchool website and emails sent through To maximize securing preferred courses and semester schedules, all students (especially part-time students) should do long-range planning.

Certain courses may be offered only during spring or fall semesters or only during the summer; others may alternate between day and evening sections. Courses may also alternate between the College Park campus and the Universities at Shady Grove. Students should consult their advisors, the Two-Year Course Plan, and the Student Services Office for information on course sequencing and patterns.

Deadline for Program Completion

The HCIM, MIM, and MLIS programs must be completed within 5 years of initial registration. However, few students need that much time. Most students graduate in 2 years.

Each degree requires a major commitment of time for study and research in addition to the hours spent in the classroom. Typically, a student should plan to spend a minimum of three hours of time on course work for every hour spent in class.

Continuous Registration Policy

The Graduate School enforces a Continuous Registration Policy. To abide by this policy, students must be enrolled each fall and spring semester unless there is a sound reason for not enrolling in a semester. Failure to follow the policy will result in automatic dismissal by the Graduate School and from the program. The form to request a Waiver of Continuous Registration can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Request for Waiver of Continuous Registration:

Master’s and Pre-Candidacy Doctoral students who plan to be away from the University and do not plan to graduate or make use of any University resources (University libraries, laboratories, recreation facilities, or faculty time) are eligible for the Waiver of Continuous Registration for up to two semesters. Doctoral candidates are not eligible.

A student must:

  • Submit the Petition for Waiver of Continuous Registration Form
  • Submit a brief statement explaining the request.
  • Forms should be submitted to the Student Services Office.
  • NOTE: The Waiver of Continuous Registration does NOT justify an extension for the time (maximum 5 years) required to fully complete the degree.

The Graduate School Leave of Absence Policy

Graduate students may request a leave of absence of up to two consecutive semesters for any of the following reasons: childbearing, adoption, illness, and dependent care (children, ill or injured partners, or aging parents.)

A student must:

  • Submit a brief, general statement explaining the request.
  • Consult advisor and receive written approval on the Request for Leave of Absence form.
  • Submit completed form to the Student Services Office for approval and the Students Services Office will submit it to the Graduate School.
  • NOTE: A leave of absence justifies an extension for the time required to fully complete the degree.


iSchool students have the benefit of full-time academic advisors through the Student Services Office. These advisors are available for current and prospective students by phone, e-mail, or in-person by appointment; during established group advising sessions; or during walk-in hours. They are the best resource for navigating iSchool degree programs and all University, Graduate School, and iSchool policies.

Students are encouraged to consult with an advisor before registering for courses after their initial enrollment. New students should meet with their assigned advisor prior to registration for the spring semester of their first year.  Otherwise, students should feel free to consult their advisors on an as-needed basis.

Advisor approval is not required to register for the core courses and the required management course. MLIS students in the School Library specialization must receive advisor and instructor approval for LBSC 744. Further regular meetings with an advisor to discuss progress and/or changes in the plan of study are recommended.

Course Prerequisites

Some courses have prerequisites, while others have suggested prerequisites. If a student has experiential or academic background that may be the equivalent of the specific academic prerequisite for a course, he or she may contact the instructor for written permission to enroll.

Waivers and Extensions


If a student has sufficient qualifying education and/or experience in the field, the student may request a waiver for a specific required course or courses. A letter of this request must be sent to the Student Services Office, and then it will be forwarded to the appropriate Program committee. The letter should describe the reasons for requesting the waiver and provide the necessary qualifying information. The student must receive advisor approval and the approval of the faculty member who teaches the course. Students may request that they be allowed to take a more advanced course in lieu of a required course, e.g., LBSC 750 in lieu of LBSC 650 (for MLIS students) or INFM 787 in lieu of INFM 603 (for MIM students). The Committee will notify the student of the decision in writing.

A waiver does not reduce the total number of credits required for the master’s degree. Rather, a waiver excuses the student from taking a specific course and allows the student to take another course to complete the 36-credit requirement.

To waive a core course:

  • Consult advisor and receive written approval to move forward.
  • Consult with an instructor who currently is teaching or has taught the course in the past (be prepared to provide documentation showing how you have satisfied the content of the course).
  • Forward advisor and instructor approvals to along with a statement indicating why you should be able to waive the course.
  • Allow 2-4 weeks after all required documents have been received, for review of your petition.
  • You will be notified of the decision via email.

To postpone a core course:

  • If it is not possible to finish the core courses in the first 18 credits of your program, you need to complete the Request to Postpone a Core Course form for your program. The form can be found on the Waivers & Forms page.
  • Consult advisor and receive written approval to move forward.
  • Submit form to the Student Services Office.


Degree requirements must be completed within five calendar years from the initial enrollment in the program. A student who has failed to complete all requirements by the prescribed deadlines may submit a written petition to their Program’s Committee for a one-year extension of time in which to complete the outstanding requirements. The Committee may grant this extension and must then notify the Graduate School in writing of its decision. The Graduate School will confirm this decision in writing to the student.

In the petition to the Program Committee, the student must be specific about how and when he or she expects to complete the remaining courses in the program plan. State the reasons for needing the extension clearly. Reasonable factors, such as illness and unforeseen family or work responsibilities, will be considered.