FAQs from Prospective Students

The first step of your journey is to apply
through 
The Graduate School.

Apply Now

FAQs from Prospective Students

What is the graduate application deadline?

January 8 is the application deadline for admission in August of the same year. All decisions regarding admission and financial assistance are made by the Department’s Admission Committee based on completed application materials after Graduate School processing of the application.

What if the January 8 deadline is missed?

For full consideration, apply by Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.  Applications received after that date will continue to be considered until March 1, but will be at a disadvantage.

What if required exams have been taken or official transcripts have been ordered but are not yet available by January 8?

Transcripts and exam scores are accepted as they arrive after the deadline. However, if an application is not completed by the deadline because exam scores, official transcripts, or letters of recommendation arrive late, assistantship and fellowship offers may have already been made.

Is spring or summer admission possible?

There is no spring or summer admission process. Applicants are considered for admission only for the fall term because core course sequences begin only in the fall.

Can I apply to multiple programs at the University of Maryland at the same time?

Can applicants apply for both the Master’s and Ph.D. programs in AREC at the same time?

No. An applicant who prefers to enter the M.S program should apply for the M.S., and one who prefers to enter the Ph.D. program should apply for the Ph.D. program. If a student already in the M.S. program wants to switch to the Ph.D. program, an additional application to the Graduate School is required.

Can applicants apply to other graduate programs at the University of Maryland at the same time?

Yes. An applicant can apply to multiple programs, but must fill out a separate application with accompanying materials for each program to which application is made. A non-refundable $75 application fee must be submitted for each program in which entrance is sought. To do so, use the same screen name and password to apply for multiple graduate programs. After submitting the first online application, login with the same screen name and password. Click the button labeled “Start New Application.” However, students may not enroll in more than one degree program at the same time.

Where can I find information about available graduate courses?

Where can additional information for international students be found?

I have several questions about Letters of Recommendation...

Can I send a photocopy of letters of recommendation to the Department?

No. The Department does not accept photocopies of letters of recommendation, nor does the Department accept any application materials directly. Applicants should enter applications and supporting materials online.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted in support of each application

Who should write the letters of recommendation?

Letters should be from current or previous professors or others who can assess the quality of an applicant’s academic performance and scholastic potential. Letters from non-academic sources are generally viewed as less reliable.

How are letters of recommendation submitted?

The Graduate School strongly encourages applicants to have their recommenders submit letters of recommendation supporting an applicant’s admission electronically through the application system. Electronic submission of application materials streamlines the review and admissions decision process for applicants. 

How does electronic submission of letters work?

The applicant should not attempt to submit or send the letters of recommendation. They are to be confidential and not reviewed by the applicant. Once an application has been entered into the campus system and an applicant has been directed to complete the Supplemental Form, the applicant is asked to list the names and email addresses of each of the chosen recommenders. The recommenders will then be contacted automatically by the Graduate School with instructions on how to submit their letters on-line. Both the applicant and the recommender will be notified when the electronic letters have been received.

Can recommenders be asked to email letters of recommendation to the Department?

No. The Department does not accept letters of recommendation by email. They must be submitted online or sent by mail to the Graduate School. The Graduate School strongly encourages applicants and their references to submit their letters of recommendation supporting a candidate’s admission electronically through the application system. Electronic submission of application materials streamlines the review and admissions decision process for students. Sending paper copies of recommendation letters increases processing and review times for applications.

What are the minimum scores for admission (GPA, GRE, and TOEFL requirements)?

What are minimum GPA and GRE score requirements?

Minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) and GRE exam (Graduate Record Exam) score requirements have not been established. Admission is competitive among the pool of applicants given the capacity constraints of the Department. Higher scores in some areas can compensate for lower scores in others to a limited extent. However, the Graduate School of the University of Maryland has established a set of minimum admission criteria as follows:

  • 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 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • Applicants must provide official hard copies of a transcript for all of their post-secondary work.
  • Applicants who are required to provide TOEFL scores must meet the minimum Graduate School requirements for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). 

Who is required to provide a TOEFL exam score?

Students who have or will be awarded a degree from an institution in the United States, United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa, Anglophone Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, or the Commonwealth Caribbean prior to enrolling in the University of Maryland are not required to have a TOEFL exam score submitted. For US citizens or permanent residents with foreign credentials, if the applicant’s native language is not English and the applicant does not hold a degree from an institution in one of the above, then a TOEFL score is required.

Please visit the International Student & Scholar Services website for the most up-to-date information about TOEFL requirements.

International Student & Scholar Services

Does AREC offer a Part-time graduate program?

No. The Department does not offer a part-time graduate program at this time.

I have questions about incomplete prerequisites...

What if grades do not appear on transcripts for prerequisite courses still in progress? Can admission be dependent upon completion before entering the AREC graduate program?

Finishing the prerequisites before the start of classes is sufficient. However, all else equal, chances of admission are higher if all prerequisites are completed before applying. The main reason is that grades earned in prerequisites are considered by the Admissions Committee in the evaluation of applications.

Are exceptions made if not all the prerequisites are met?

The Admission Committee may exceptions for some prerequisites, but generally will do so only if the rest of the application is more outstanding and essential prerequisites have been completed. So chances of admission are higher if all prerequisites are completed. More important, not having all of the prerequisites will make the first year of the program more difficult (and it is already quite challenging even for students who have completed all of the prerequisites).

Adequate calculus and basic economics are essential. Linear algebra and intermediate microeconomics are important. Intermediate macroeconomics is less essential.

What are the chances of being admitted into the program?

All decisions regarding admission and financial assistance are made by the Admission Committee. Many inquiries are received from students who have not applied but are interested in determining their chances for admission and financial assistance. Such an assessment is not possible because the Admissions Committee evaluates applications only after all materials have been received from all applicants who meet the application deadline. Thus, all interested prospective students are encouraged to apply.

Can the Department provide an assessment of the probability of admission based on GPA and GRE scores, a list of courses taken, and work experience?

No. Because of the large number of completed applications, an assessment of an individual's probability of admission cannot be made without evaluating an individual's completed application compared to the completed applications of all other applicants.

Are applications from some universities more likely to be accepted than other applications?

The Admissions Committee considers applications from many different universities worldwide. Preferences have not been established for specific universities, although the interpretations of GPAs may not be comparable. More important is the proficiency in individual subjects demonstrated by transcripts. Experience has shown that a baseline level of preparation in specific areas of mathematics and economics is important for completing the required coursework. Therefore, these factors are considered in the admissions process. Preparation is more important than the universities attended.

Are standards for admission to the Master’s program lower than for admission to the Ph.D. program?

No. The standards for acceptance into the Master’s program are the same as for the Ph.D. program. The Admission Committee does not differentiate between Ph.D. and Master’s applicants when applications are evaluated.

If denied admission, can an applicant reapply?

Yes. Application materials are retained for one year. If an applicant is denied admission, another application can be submitted for the following year. A new application and application fee are required. Applicants can request that supporting materials from a prior application be used for a new application or updated materials can be submitted at the applicant’s choice.

What are the required application materials?

In addition to the completed application form, the Department requires and admission decisions depend on:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores;
  • One copy of the transcript of record from all institutions attended after high school;
  • Three letters of recommendation;
  • Statement of purpose

Students from non-English-speaking countries are also required to demonstrate English proficiency by providing scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants with international credentials or who currently hold a U.S. visa can find more information from the office of International Student & Scholar Services, as well as from The Graduate School

I have questions about submitting test scores...

Can photocopies of GRE and TOEFL scores be sent to the Department?

No. The Department does not accept photocopies of test scores, transcripts, and other supporting materials, nor does the Department accept any application materials directly. Applicants should enter applications and provide supporting materials such as the Statement of Purpose through the admission system. However, test scores must be submitted directly by testing agencies.

How must test scores be provided?

The Graduate School of the University of Maryland will only accept official test scores sent directly by the testing agencies. Testing agencies that administer the GRE and TOEFL exams must be asked to report test scores to the University of Maryland, College Park. The University’s institutional score reporting code for the GRE and TOEFL tests is 5814. No department code is necessary.

Can the required exams be retaken in order to increase chances of admission?

The GRE and TOEFL exams can be retaken with the new scores submitted as often as desired. However, the Admissions Committee will consider all prior scores available. Also, unless these exams are taken sufficiently early, the new scores may not arrive before a final decision is made. The Admissions Committee evaluates applications as soon as practicable after January 15.

What are the Non-Degree or Visit Graduate Student Policies?

Are non-degree options at the graduate level available?

Non-degree options in the University of Maryland’s Graduate School include Visiting Graduate Students and Advanced Special Status Students.

What are the qualifications for a Visiting Graduate Student?

A graduate student matriculated in another graduate school who wishes to enroll in the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, and who intends to return to the graduate school in which he or she is matriculated, may be admitted as a Visiting Graduate Student.

How is admission as a Visiting Graduate Student obtained?

To apply, the applicant must submit a completed application and pay the $75 application fee. Transcripts, letters of recommendation and test scores are not required. In lieu of transcripts, the applicant must submit a letter from the Graduate Dean at the applicant’s home institution confirming that the applicant is in good academic standing and that courses taken at the University of Maryland will be transferred to the home institution.

What are the qualifications for an Advanced Special Student?

Non-degree seeking students wishing to take graduate classes at the University of Maryland can apply for admission as Advanced Special Students if qualifications as a Visiting Graduate Student are not met. Advanced Special Students must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and fulfill other admissions criteria for Advanced Special Student required by the Graduate School. Please visit the Non-Degree Admissions page from The Graduate School for more information.

How can application for Advanced Special Student status be made?

Advanced Special Students must apply online, pay the $75 application fee, and supply official undergraduate and, if any, graduate transcripts. Advanced Special Students are not eligible for any form of financial aid, including fellowships, assistantships, and work study assistance. Non-degree programs do not require an ASF to be completed.

Can an Advanced Special Student apply for a degree program?

Up to 12 credits taken as an Advanced Special Student can be transferred to a degree program upon admission to a degree program.

What steps are required for an Advanced Special Student to be accepted into a degree program and transferred credits?

Even though courses are taken as an Advanced Special Student, the standard application process must be followed to obtain admission to a degree program. After and contingent upon admission, the transfer of credits into the degree program is accomplished using the form entitled ‘Request for Transfer or Inclusion of Credit for the Master’s Degrees.’ available at

Can international graduate students apply for Advanced Special Student status?

International students are generally not eligible to enroll as Advanced Special Students, although some exceptions apply for students holding an F-1 and J-1 Visa.  In these cases, University of Maryland graduates currently on OPT or academic training may apply for admission as Advanced Special Students.  Another exception is where an academic department has set up a special group exchange program with an institution abroad. International students interested in becoming Advanced Special Students in these circumstances should consult with the University of Maryland Graduate School for further information.

What is the Statement of Purpose?

Applicants must submit a statement of their goals and objectives in pursuing graduate study in a Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose should be submitted electronically by uploading it with the on-line application. The statement is important and should not be completed routinely. The statement provides evidence by which the Department can make a judgment as to whether the applicant has chosen the department that best suits the student's objectives.

Can applicants submit additional documents to the Department for consideration by the Admission Committee?

No. The Admission Committee will look only at the materials submitted to the Graduate School and uploaded by the Graduate School for consideration. If applicants send a certification, research paper, or other application materials that are not required, they cannot be considered as an official part of the file.

I have questions about submitting transcripts...

Can unofficial transcripts be submitted?

Yes, the online application requires applicants to upload a scanned copy of their official transcripts/diplomas in English. International applicants must send transcripts and diplomas in one combined PDF. Upon admission by the Graduate School, a hard copy of the official transcript(s), coming directly from the applicant’s respective institutions (in a sealed envelope), will be required for enrollment.

If I enroll, where do I sent my official transcripts?

University of Maryland
Enrollment Service Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
Room 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, Maryland 20742

What transcripts and official degree certificates does the Graduate School require?

The Graduate School requires transcripts for any institution or coursework that is not on a degree-seeking transcript. For example, if an applicant did a study abroad program and those courses are not reflected on his/her primary institution’s transcript, then that study abroad institution’s transcript must be uploaded into Hobsons. International applicants must send transcripts and official degree certificates in one combined legible PDF (English/native languages together). If you have already earned your degree and your transcript does not state that a degree was conferred, the applicant must also include a copy of his/her diploma/degree certificate.

Can photocopies of transcripts be sent to the Department?

No. The Department does not accept photocopies of transcript, nor does the Department accept any application materials directly. Applicants should enter applications and supporting materials online.

What if a transcript or academic credentials are not in English?

An official copy of all previous degrees, diplomas, and transcripts issued in the original language must be submitted and accompanied by an official English translation. 

How is a Grade Point Average (GPA) calculated?

The GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points accumulated in courses for which a grade of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or F has been assigned by the total number of credits attempted in those courses. Courses for which a mark of P, S, I, NGR or W has been assigned are not included in computing the GPA. Each letter grade has a numerical value: A+, A, A- = 4; B+, B, B- = 3; C+, C, C- = 2; D+, D, D- = 1; F = 0. Multiplying this value by the number of credits for a particular course gives the number of quality points earned for that course.

Can I transfer credits into the AREC graduate program?

Students can transfer up to 6 credits from an accredited outside college or university into an M.S. program. Credits cannot be transferred into the Ph.D. program, but the Department may adjust a student’s course expectations accordingly. If an applicant has taken credits within the last five years at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a non-degree student or a student in another degree program, the applicant can petition to include up to 12 of those credits in a current degree program.

All inclusion or transfer of credit is dependent upon permission from the Department and approval of the Graduate School. All decisions regarding inclusion or transfer of credit are made by the Admissions Committee. This assessment cannot be provided prior to admission to Department’s graduate program.

How much is the tuition?

How much is the tuition?

Information about tuition fees is available from the office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering.

How can I apply as an In-State applicant?

More information is available from the residency reclassification page from the Office of the Registrar. 

Can I schedule a visit to the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics?

The Department welcomes visits from prospective students.

To assure that prospective students get information effectively and efficiently, and get all of their questions answered, prospective students are encouraged to join in the Department’s prospective student visit day, which is scheduled after acceptance is determined. The visit day gives prospective students a chance to get to meet the faculty and staff, and a chance to visit with current graduate students and have questions answered from their perspective.

The Staff Graduate Coordinator is available to assist in the application process over the phone or by email. Please be aware that a visit will not increase chances of being admitted to the program. The Admissions Committee does not evaluate candidates based on personal interviews. Due to the volume of interest, qualifications are evaluated only after an online application is completed.

Photo Credit: Christina Mohrmann / Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve