MLIS Admissions

APPLY by January 15, 2020

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Fall 2020 MLIS Admissions Checklist

The University of Maryland College of Information Studies (iSchool) Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree prepares students to be socially engaged and technologically focused information professionals, ready to create, educate, and innovate. Your application provides essential information about your professional goals and background so we can determine if the program is a good match for you.

UMD Graduate School Requirements

  • Complete the UMD Graduate School application form.
  • Submit the names and e-mail addresses of three references.
  • Upload transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses at each institution you have attended (Unofficial transcripts may be submitted initially; official transcripts will be required upon admission and enrollment).
  • Provide a 1,000 to 2,000-word Statement of Purpose describing your experience and interests.
  • Upload a current resume or CV.
  • Maryland State Residency Information: 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, please direct them to
  • Pay the application fee of $75 to the UMD Graduate School.

UMD MLIS Program Requirements

Additional HILS Admission Conditions and Materials

To be considered for Fall 2020 for MLIS and/or HILS, your application must be completed and submitted by January 15, 2020, at 11:59 pm, EST.

As you work on your application, be sure to follow the Special Instructions and Helpful Hints below.  If you need additional information or assistance with the application process, contact us at

Special Instructions and Helpful Hints

General instructions for completing the UMD Graduate Application are available in the Graduate School’s Step-By-Step Guide to Applying. For the Master of Library and Information Science application keep in mind the following application-specific information:

On the UMD Graduate School application form, in box 16 (p.1) and box 34 (p. 2), you should enter "LBSC/LBSO" for the Proposed Graduate Program/Department.

Write a brief (1000‐2000 word) statement addressing the following two questions:

  1. 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.
  2. What life experiences have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree at a large and diverse institution such as the University of Maryland? Among the items 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 pursue your goals, your initiative and ability to develop ideas, and/or your capacity for working through problems independently.

The Statement of Purpose should be a 1000-2000 word statement that addresses specific reasons, interests, and life experiences of the candidate. Furthermore, the responses should correspond with the specific topic in the two purpose statements. Be specific about aspects of library and information science you find interesting, and why. Outline how joining the MLIS program will advance your expertise in library and information science.

Application essays should be uploaded under the Supplementary Application (option number 3) selection.

We are interested in finding out more about what you want to do in this program and in your career. Please answer the following questions. Each response should be between 150-200 words. You must answer the mandatory question, then choose 3 of the optional questions to answer. Please incorporate any relevant experience (work, volunteer, internship, etc.) in the field, where appropriate.


Mandatory Questions:

  1. Which specialization are you most interested in, and why?
  2. If you have selected the Individualized Program Plan, please go into some detail explaining what knowledge and skills you wish to gain through your coursework. Answer in 150-200 words.

Please choose 3 of the following questions. Answer each in 150-200 words.

  1. Find and briefly describe a current job opening that you could see yourself pursuing upon completion of the MLIS degree. How will the MLIS program prepare you for this?
  2. Imagine you could create any class for the MLIS program to offer. What would the class be called, and what skills/content would you learn?
  3. Being an information professional can mean many things. What kind of information professional would you like to be?
  4. Students often tell us they love books. How can a love of books help you as an information professional?
  5. Reflect on an experience where you have had to navigate adversity. Describe how you persevered.
  6. One of the MLIS program learning objectives is to "apply user-focused strategies to work inclusively and equitably with diverse populations." What diverse perspective(s) do you bring to the MLIS program?​

School Library Specialization Candidates Only

School Library candidates must upload the materials listed below in addition to the admissions essay (supplementary application) listed above. Please upload this on the Upload Requirements page. All documents should be submitted as one file under the Supplementary Application Two (option number 4) selection.

The Master of Library and Information Science with a specialization in school libraries provides you with many opportunities to advance your career in library science. To ensure the program is a good fit for your background, interests, and abilities, it is important for us to have a good understanding of your goals and how you see those fitting with the activities you would be doing if accepted into the MLIS program. To help us access this aspect of your application, please provide short answers (125 words or less) to the following questions:

  1. What will it mean to be an excellent school librarian in a school?
  2. What skills do you need to learn to be an excellent school librarian?

We will be looking for the following points in your essay:

  • Describe the roles and responsibilities that a school librarian may play in a school, and how do these roles and responsibilities contribute to the overall teaching and learning environment in the school?
  • Demonstrate a thoughtful consideration of what skills are needed to be a good school librarian, and what you expect to learn in the UMD MLIS program.
  • Address the need for a school librarian to reach diverse learners and maintain a positive and engaging learning environment for all students; and

Upload and complete:

Recommendation letters help us estimate if you will be successful in the MLIS program. It is in your best interest to request that your recommenders focus on your predilection for information management. Recommendations should be provided by faculty and employers who can best speak to your ability to succeed in this graduate program. Note that recommendations should not come from family, friends, or peers.

Individuals who know you well and have completed technical graduate programs are best able to comment on your capacity for graduate school and information management. If you have been out of school for a while, references with current knowledge about your strengths and skills will be more effective than professors whose knowledge is limited to your past academic performance.

The Statement of Purpose and Supplementary Application are the primary way of telling us about your experiences, interests, and goals in joining our program, so please be open and honest.

Keep in mind:

  • Authentic essays help us understand you as an applicant. We are interested in learning about you and how an MLIS degree can shape your future.
  • We value academic integrity, so avoid presenting us with unoriginal work (purchased, written, edited, or borrowed from other sources).
  • Express yourself clearly and concisely! Avoid advanced vocabulary words that are meant to impress.
  • Avoid repetition. If you already said it on the statement of purpose, don't repeat it in the supplementary application.

Is the GRE/TOEFL required?

We only require GRE scores for our History/Library and Information Science (HiLS) Dual Degree Program applicants. Prospective students applying only to the MLIS program are not required to submit GRE scores.

You are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores if you do not hold a degree from a U.S. institution or from one of the English speaking countries listed on the Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements page.

What kind of GPA/test scores are you looking for?

Applicants must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework. (The average GPA for students admitted for Spring 2019 was 3.47.)

What are you looking for in the Supplementary Application Essay, versus the Graduate School's Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose tells us why you want to pursue graduate education at UMD, and what experiences have brought you to seek an education at the UMD iSchool.

The iSchool’s Supplementary Application looks toward the future; specifically, we look for applicants who demonstrate an understanding of the information profession and have relatively clear career goals or interests.

Regardless of work and educational experience, prospective students must demonstrate their ability to adapt, collaborate, work creatively, take on leadership roles, and continually update their tech skills.

What if my transcripts are in a language other than English?

Applicants must upload a scanned official copy of all previous degrees/diplomas and transcripts issued in the original language with a literal English translation.

I don't have to submit standardized test scores but my application is still marked incomplete.

Standardized test scores must be manually processed by the University and it can sometimes take a little while for the scores to be marked as received on the application. This holds true even when there are no test scores to be submitted (i.e., no required GRE scores, or you attended a U.S. institution.)

How can I confirm my recommendations have been submitted?

The online application will indicate when each of your recommenders has submitted their recommendation. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that recommendations have been completed, so please make sure to check that each of your recommendations has been received.