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There are lots of great reasons to join FIRE.

This page identifies some of the biggest benefits FIRE students enjoy through participation in the program.

access to research


The FIRE program provides first-year students with accelerated access to research at a top-tier university. There are a variety of opportunities to choose from, including in the natural sciences, social sciences & humanities, and technology & applied sciences.

All FIRE-participating students grow through exposure to authentic research methods, engaging in the process of discovering new knowledge, doing work that is broadly relevant, repeating and revising work, and managing uncertainty.


Every FIRE stream is led by a FIRE Faculty Leader. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with a small cohort of FIRE students (~35) over multiple semesters and they get to know their students incredibly well.

faculty mentor
course credit


FIRE students earn course credit for their participation in the program.

Completing the program also fulfills the university's GenEd: Scholarship In Practice requirement. This means no matter what a student's major is (or might become), FIRE provides meaningful, portable credits that help students advance towards graduation.


When students join a FIRE stream, they start at the same time as everyone else and go through the experience together as a cohort.

Even though FIRE students earn course credit, the research experience encourages interaction and collaboration. FIRE students are not sitting in a lecture hall; they are peers in a lab on  working on shared objectives.

leadership opportunities


FIRE students take ownership of a part of their FIRE stream's research mission and drive research results to completion.

FIRE students also have the option to apply for a Peer Research Mentor position after completing the program. Students in this role serve as senior student researchers and help onboard and mentor the next cohort of FIRE students.


FIRE students go through a unique experience that helps them develop as both researchers and professionals.

All FIRE-participating students grow through the development of skills in communications, critical thinking, equity and inclusion, leadership, professionalism, and teamwork.

professional experience
transcript citation


Students who complete FIRE earn a transcript citation and a graduation cord.

(Our pictured alum was very accomplished. The FIRE cord is the red & black one.)


The FIRE Researcher micro-credential affirms a FIRE student's research experience.


Once earned, FIRE students can opt to publicly display the digital
micro-credential on places like LinkedIn and Portfolium.


Metadata will confirm that it was 

awarded by UMD, and it includes specific information on research methods training, and accomplishments.

researcher micro-credential
free t-shirt


Need we say more?

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