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FIRE provides first-year UMD students with an inclusive faculty-mentored research experience that drives accelerated career readiness and opportunity.

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Research Experience

Authentic Methods

Use authentic & contemporary practices, dealing with real-world gotchas and uncertainties


Engage in the process of creating new knowledge.


Do work that is broadly relevant to the greatest challenges of our time.


Repeat or revise aspects of your research to address problems or inconsistencies, rule out alternative explanations, or gather additional data.


FIRE uses research experience, unforeseen outcomes, and even disappointment as vectors by which we empower our young professionals to embrace the power of uncertainty. 

Career Readiness


Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Critical Thinking

Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Equity & Inclusion

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures.


Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.


Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits.


Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.


Opportunity for All

FIRE welcomes students of all backgrounds and levels of previous experience. 

Confidence in Next Steps

The research experience and professional development FIRE provides help students have experience and qualifications to pursue internship and at-graduation opportunities with confidence.

Shared Responsibility for Growth

Professional development and opportunity growth for all FIRE students is supported by everyone in the FIRE community - FIRE staff, faculty, Peer Research Mentors, and students.  FIRE students experience the personal and societal benefits of supporting each other while simultaneously growing themselves as individuals.

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First Fall Semester



First Spring Semester



Summer Between First & Second Years - Optional Part of FIRE Experience



Second Fall Semester



Second Spring Semester & Third Fall Semester - Optional Part of FIRE Experience

FIRE Semester 1

In the first semester, you come to develop initial capacities in selecting and evaluating literature, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration with teams, communication, and professional management of research projects.  All of these outcomes help you select and succeed in the FIRE stream that you join in your second semester.

FIRE Semester 1 is a 3-credit course and generally requires a weekly time commitment of 1 hour for class, plus additional time for asynchronous course activities.

Course Information for Participating Students:  

The course for FIRE Semester 1 is FIRE120.  

This course earns 3 credits of General Education Scholarship in Practice.

FIRE Semester 2

In the second semester, we start square-zero training, deep immersion, and research mentorship within the specific research stream you have chosen.  You will come to understand the broad research mission of the group and the components of it that you will own.  You develop a close community with your fellow stream members and the stream FIRE Faculty Leader.

FIRE Semester 2 is a 2-credit course and generally requires a commensurate time commitment of roughly 6 hours per week (1 hour of class, 5 additional hours of research, and ongoing training).  As compared with FIRE Semester 1 & 3 which are both 3-credit courses, we have purposefully worked to design FIRE Semester 2 to be a manageable research experience that helps you continue your FIRE progression while you learn to navigate the many challenges of being a first-year UMD student.

Course Information for Participating Students:  

The course for FIRE Semester 2 is FIRE198.  

This course earns 2 credits.

FIRE Summer Opportunities

The mid-point of the FIRE sequence is the summer between a student's first year and second year.  FIRE students can apply during the spring of their first year to be a part of our FIRE Summer Research Internships.

FIRE Semester 3

In the third semester, you transition from trainee to experienced practitioner.  You drive your research project to completion and communicate the results to a broad audience and potentially national conferences.

FIRE Semester 3 is a 3-credit course and generally requires a commensurate time commitment of roughly 9 hours per week (1 hour of class, 8 additional hours of research, and ongoing training, and summative research accomplishment).

Course Information for Participating Students:  

The course for FIRE Semester 3 is FIRE298.  

This course earns 3 credits of General Education Scholarship in Practice.

FIRE Leadership Opportunities

FIRE participating students who complete all 3 semesters of the FIRE experience are eligible to continue with FIRE as Peer Research Mentors

The Benefits of Completing the FIRE Experience

Your research experience, career readiness, and opportunities are all academically and professionally advanced by the completion of the FIRE experience. 


Please read more about the many benefits of the FIRE program.

Frequently Asked Questions about FIRE

Does participation in FIRE require me to live on campus and in a specific dorm?

No.  FIRE is an opportunity for first-year UMD students that do not require on-campus residency or impact dorm assignment in any way.

Are the FIRE courses in addition to my degree?

Yes, with FIRE Semesters 1 & 3 earning a total of 6 credits of your General Education course requirements.  FIRE Semesters 1 & 3 are 3 credits, FIRE Semester 2 is 2 credits and you register for these courses in addition to your other courses during your first three semesters at UMD.  Because FIRE helps you get an important part of your General Education completed (the Scholarship in Practice requirement), FIRE courses support the completion of your degree in addition to giving you immersive research experience and faculty relationships.

If I start FIRE am I required to complete the three-course sequence?

No.  While the vast majority of students who begin with FIRE complete the three-course sequence and earn their FIRE transcript citation, we also have a small minority of students who discover that either research experience is not right for them or that they have other interests they wish to pursue.  You can opt out of FIRE at any time.

When I join FIRE, am I guaranteed to be placed in the FIRE stream I most prefer?

No.  We have a holistic stream preferencing process by which students are matched with FIRE streams during FIRE Semester 1.  We have found that greater than 90% of our students are matched with one of their top two choices.

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