Admissions – Doctor of Philosophy in Information Studies (PhD)

Admission to the UMD College of Information (INFO) graduate programs is through the UMD Graduate School, with supplemental program-specific application criteria and materials as described below. The UMD’s Graduate School accepts applications through its TerpEngage application system. If you still have questions, please contact us at

Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the admissions committee 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.

Admission Requirements & Steps
  1. Complete the UMD Graduate School application, including the $75 application fee.
  2. Upload transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses at each institution you have attended.
    • In the online application to the Graduate School, you will be able to upload a copy of your unofficial transcript in the Previous Education section. The copy of your unofficial transcript is sufficient for the purposes of the review process of your application. However, if you are offered admission and choose to enroll in the University of Maryland, you will need to submit your official sealed transcripts. Click here for more information about delivery/submission of official transcripts.
    • 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. If you do not meet this requirement, please provide more information and context about your GPA within the Statement of Purpose.
  3. Provide a Statement of Purpose describing your experiences and interests that will help you succeed in the program. If your undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0, please provide more information about that in this statement. In the Statement of Purpose, applicants must respond to the following questions:
    • What is the specific area of your research interest? How have you developed your interest in this area?
    • What skills and/or prior experience will help you pursue your research interest?
    • Which faculty members (please name between 2-4) at the UMD INFO College would you be interested in working closely with, and why?
    • What are the goals you would like to achieve in your doctoral study at the UMD INFO College? What is your plan to achieve your goals
    • What kind of career would you like to develop after earning your Ph.D.?
    • To help us understand your background and skills, feel free to optionally include:
      • Descriptions of challenging professional or academic projects that you have successfully completed;
      • Notes about coursework that demonstrates your quantitative skills or writing and argumentation skills;
      • Links to, as appropriate: relevant projects you have completed, papers or articles that you have published, code you have written, or visualizations you have created.
  4. Submit contact information for three references
    • In the application, enter the names and contact information for three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation. Letters should come from current/former academic and/or professional references.
    • Letters of recommendation are due on the application deadline. Applicants have the ability to send recommendation requests before submitting the application. There is a “Save and Send Request” button for each recommender. The recommendation form is emailed within a few minutes of clicking this button.
  5. Upload a current resume or CV
  6. Upload an academic writing sample
    • One academic writing sample is required. A second academic writing sample is optional.
  7. Submit exam scores
    • GRE/GMAT (optional for all applicants): INFO faculty use the GRE scores in widely diverging ways. Some find standardized tests to be less useful indicators than essays and grades; others find the GRE to be a useful measure of quantitative reasoning and/or perseverance when facing a difficult challenge. If you choose not to submit GRE scores, we highly encourage you to include other potential indicators of your skills and experience in your Statement of Purpose, such as:
      • Descriptions of challenging professional or academic projects that you have successfully completed;
      • Notes about coursework performance that demonstrates your quantitative skills or writing and argumentation skills;
      • Links to, as appropriate: relevant projects you have completed, papers or articles that you have published, code you have written, or visualizations you have created.
    • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (required for most international applicants):
      • International applicants do not need to submit the English Proficiency Score if they received their degree from an education institution in the U.S. or a nationally recognized university in one of the countries listed at the bottom of the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements page. Note: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE is required.
      • See the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements for instructions on submitting scores and minimum score requirements. The University of Maryland’s TOEFL Institution Code is 5814.
      • You can find English language proficiency requirements here. Please note that your English proficiency scores (including listening, writing, reading, and speaking sub-scores) must satisfy the criteria for full enrollment to be accepted to the PhD program. The PhD is a very rigorous program that requires an excellent command of the English language. Therefore, Bridge and Intensive English programs are not an option for applicants to the PhD program. Please see the minimum English Proficiency Scores Requirements for full admission below:

        iBT TOEFL Requirements 

        iBT TOEFL Requirements for Full Enrollment
        Total 96
        Speaking 22
        Listening 24
        Reading 26
        Writing 24

        IELTS Academic Requirements

        IELTS Requirements for Full Enrollment
        Overall 7
        Listening 7
        Reading 7
        Writing 7
        Speaking 6.5

         PTE Academic Requirements

        PTE Requirement Requirements for Full Enrollment
        Total 68
        Writing 68
  8. Additional information (if applicable)
    • In-state tuition/Maryland residency: If you are a resident of the State of Maryland or believe you qualify as one, be sure to fill out the Maryland Residency section of the Graduate Application. If you have questions about Residency Classification, email
    • International applicants: The University of Maryland (UMD) is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international student community. The UMD office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students. International applicants are encouraged to explore the services the ISSS office offers and contact them with related questions. The UMD Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; however, it is not a guarantee of attendance. After receiving an admission decision from the graduate school, admitted international students will receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland, which will require the submission of additional documents. Please see the UMD Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.
Tips and Recommendations for INFO PhD Applicants
  1. Identifying key faculty – It’s a good idea to reach out to the faculty that you want to work with because they will most likely review your application. An awareness of the research being done in the INFO College and a readiness to talk about how you could add to it is incredibility beneficial. Additionally, drawing connections between your own research interests and the work of specific faculty demonstrates that you are familiar with the INFO College and can offer a detailed proposal for why you would be a good addition to the program. Search through our directory to find faculty that are accepting PhD students.
  2. Contacting faculty – It can be helpful to get in touch with potential advisors before you apply. They can tell you directly whether or not they’re looking to take on new PhD students and whether or not your research interests are a good match with theirs. However, as individual faculty members do not make admissions decisions on their own, they cannot answer whether an applicant will be accepted or not before they apply.
  3. Recommendation letters and TOEFL scores – Make sure you give your recommenders plenty of time to write and submit their letters and, if you’re an international student, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to take the TOEFL and send in your scores. We cannot review incomplete applications, so it is essential that these are submitted on time.
  4. Holistic application review – There is no one single factor that determines a successful application. The INFO College takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications, meaning that we take into account several factors (e.g., personal statement, faculty match, transcripts, recommendation letters, TOEFL scores, etc.) rather than only a few factors when making admissions decisions. Additionally, it is not individual faculty members that make admissions decisions. Instead, admissions decisions are made as a collective INFO community.
  5. General timeline for application review – Once the application deadline has passed, the INFO College faculty and staff spend the next several weeks reviewing applications. During this time, some faculty might ask the applicant for an interview as part of their deliberation. Around the end of January through early February, the INFO College makes its first round of admissions recommendations to the Graduate School. The Graduate School then makes final admissions decisions and applicants are notified via email, usually around the end of February through early March. The INFO College usually makes a second round of admissions recommendations around early to mid April and all application decisions are made by the end of April.


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