MLIS Admissions | Maryland's iSchool - College of Information Studies - Graduate Program - University Of Maryland

College of Communication and Information

College of Communications

Masters Program

Masters Degree

MLIS Admissions

What do we look for in an MLIS applicant?

Like so many things it is, to a certain extent, something that “you know when you see it.” There are, however, certain characteristics that make an applicant and/or student stand out. These are characteristics that best-reflect the skills needed and the personality best suited for working in the field of information as it is now.

  • Adaptability

    Access to and the availability of information is ever changing. Those who choose to work in the information field have a responsibility to adapt with these changes. Whether it’s learning new classification systems or learning new methods of instruction, those entering the information profession must be willing and eager to continually learn and adapt to how people use information and the kinds of services that they need.

  • ​Collaboration

    The information profession requires that members be able to work with others effectively and to build partnerships within and across different organizations. The ideal candidate demonstrates his/her ability to collaborate and work with others towards a common purpose.

  • Creativity

    Whether there are issues of funding, changing user-expectations, or changing demographics within a service community, those in the information profession must be prepared to go beyond the status quo, beyond the “but we’ve always done it that way.” Our students have a willingness to try new techniques, programs, and services, and they actively seek information about trends and best practices. They also have a willingness to take risks, to fail, to learn, and to try again.

  • Leadership Potential

    We put great focus on the development of leadership skills that will help students effectively navigate the changing needs of the organization they join. Our students have a strong ability to communicate and are able to adapt their leadership style to their environment. They are self-reflective enough to know when to be constructively aggressive and when to provide others with the opportunity to lead.

  • Tech-Savvy

    The technology we use to identify, organize, and access information is changing at an ever-increasing pace. Students in the MLIS Program must be tech-savvy and have a desire to continually adapt and update their tech skills. Students should be eager to learn how to use new devices, be comfortable with social media platforms, apps, analyzing data, and develop coding skills. To all this, students must approach technology through the lens of usability and accessibility.

  • Service-Oriented

    At the heart of the information profession is service. Applicants and students have an obligation to focus on the end-user and to providing inclusive services for the user’s benefit. Students must ensure that services whether they be programming, literacy instruction, data analysis, or records management be designed and implemented based on the actual needs of their users.


  • Spring
    • September 30, 2016
  • ​Fall 
    • December 15 - ALL History and Library Science Applicants
    • January 17, 2017 - Best Consideration for all non-HiLS applicants
    • March 15, 2017 - Final Deadline

Admissions Criteria

All applicants to the College of Information Studies must meet the minimum requirements set by the University of Maryland Graduate School. These are:

  • Applicants must have earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution.
  • Applicants must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • Applicants must provide an official hard copy of a transcript for all of their post-secondary work.

Average GPA and GRE Scores of MLIS Students:
The average GPA for students admitted for Fall 2013 was 3.55, and the average GRE percentile rankings for those recommended for admission were 84% Verbal, 48% Quantitative, and 61% Analytical. Typically, for GRE Scores we want to see students with scores that are at or above the 50th percentile.

Required Application Materials**

**History and Library Science Dual Degree applicants should review their application materials here


Graduate School Application

All application materials are submitted electronically through the Graduate School’s ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. 

Graduate School Applications are updated once a year and made live on August 15. Applications may be started before August 17 and information will be saved but cannot be submitted until after August 15. If you begin the application before August 17 the questions and structure of the application will reflect the previous year's content. 

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean. 

Help with the Application

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobson’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the ApplyYourself applicaiton process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.

Statement of Purpose

  • 1000-2000 word statement addressing the following two questions: 
    • What are your reasons for undertaking graduate study at the University of Maryland, College Park? Indicate, if appropriate any specific areas of research interest. You may wish to discuss past work in your intended field or allied fields, your plans for a professional career, or how you developed your interest in or knowledge of your chosen subject.
    • What life experiences have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree at a large and diverse institution such as the University of Maryland? Among theitems you might care to include would be your financial, community and family background, or whether you are the first person in your family to pursue higher education or any other factors that you believe would contribute to the diversity of our academic community. You may also wish to give the graduate admissions committee some examples of your determination to purse your goals, your initiative and ability to develop ideas, and/or your capacity for working through problems independently.

500 Word Targeted Essay 

Essay requirements can be found here:
Submit the essay on the "Upload Requirements" page under "Supplmentary Application."

Employment History 

Applicants should submit their recent employment history in the "Employment History" section of the application. The employment history section is used for data collection and to better understand our applicants. Application decisions are not impacted. 

Current Resume/CV

A current resume or CV should be uploaded in the "Uploads Requirements" section of the application. 

3 Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation should come from current/former faculty members, employers, colleagues, and in rare cases personal references. Letters should not come from family members or those unable to speak to your ability to complete a graduate degree. 

GRE Scores

Applicants to the MLIS program may waive the GRE requirement if they meet the following criteria:

  • Domestic applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher are not required to submit a GRE score
  • Domestic applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher AND who have earned another graduate degree are not required to submit a GRE score

** ALL international applicants are REQUIRED to submit GRE scores

GRE scores must be sent directly to the College of Information Studies - UM from the Educational Testing Service.

  • Institution code 5814
  • Scores must be no more than 5 years old at the time of application


Applicants must send official, sealed undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all post-secondary schools they have attended. Transcripts uploaded to the application are considered "unofficial," but they can be used for application review. If an applicant is admitted to UMD they must submit official transcripts. 

Transcripts should be mailed to:
University of Maryland College Park
Enrollment Services Operation -- Attn: Graduate Admissions
Room 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, MD 20742

International Graduate Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.


Deferring Admission

Applicants who are accepted to the MLIS program may defer their program start date by up to one academic year. If an applicant wishes to attend after the one year deferment has passed he or she must reapply to the program.   

To defer admission the admitted student must submit this request PRIOR to the beginning of the original entry semester. If this is not requested before the start of the semester; the student must reapply for admission to the program. An applicant wishing to be considered after the file has been deleted must again pay the required Graduate School application fee and reapply to both the Graduate School and the College of Information Studies. The new application will be considered on the basis of admission standards existing at the time of reapplication.

To request a deferral students should send an email stating specifically that you wish to defer, the semester in which you intend to enroll, and their UID to The Program Coordinator and/or or a Student Services Office representative will confirm that the request was received and that the Graduate School has been notified. 

Contact Information

Admissions questions should be directed to:

Student Services Office
College of Information Studies
Room 4110, Hornbake Building South
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-4325
Tel: (301) 405-2038
Fax: (301) 405-9145