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Information to help prospective students and families understand the FIRE program at UMD.


There are three different pathways to joining FIRE for Fall 2021.

One - Invitation

Your letter of admission to UMD may have contained an invitation to join FIRE.

You must use UMD's online application portal to confirm your invitation by May 1, 2021.

Please note the following:

  • accepting your invitation to FIRE is a separate process from confirming your enrollment at UMD.

  • accepting your FIRE invitation does not complete your confirmation to UMD.

  • completing your UMD confirmation does not accept your invitation to FIRE.

Two - Application

If you did not receive an invitation with your letter of admission to UMD you can still apply to join FIRE.

After January 1st, you can submit your application to FIRE here

We kept the application short - you just need to submit your name, your UID number (communicated in your admission letter), and a valid email address. No essay questions and no letters of recommendation.

Please note:

  • We are unable to reply to or act on applications until after May 1st.

  • The sooner your apply, the better your chances are.

Three - Freshmen Connection

If you are a part of Freshmen Connection, you have a different opportunity to join FIRE.


When scheduling your fall semester, request to enroll in a section of FIRE Semester 1 dedicated to Freshmen Connection students.

Please note:

  • The specific section is FIRE120-FCB1.

  • Once this section fills, we are unable to admit additional Freshmen Connection students.

  • We are unable to consider applications to the FIRE program for Freshmen Connection students.


How do FIRE classes work?

FIRE is structured so that you earn course credit during each semester of program participation.  Classes only meet once a week in a classroom setting.  You will spend the majority of your FIRE time in the research environment dedicated to the research stream that you join.

FIRE courses do not utilize exams to measure how students are learning - we instead ask you to commit to training and research engagement.


You can read more about our courses here.

Does FIRE have a stream for my major?

When considering our research streams, we encourage you to think about which streams might interest you.


Guidance we provide students includes:

  • the research focus.

  • the research skills you will gain

  • opportunities to build your skills and research awareness both inside and outside your major.

  • opportunities to engage broad societal challenges that interest you.

​When and how do I join a stream?

All FIRE students take FIRE Semester 1 during their first fall semester at UMD.  

During this course we take a number of steps to help students in this process:

  • We lead students through an exploration of FIRE research streams

  • We host the FIRE Summit to give all new FIRE students the chance to meet FIRE leaders, faculty, and students who are completing the program.

While we​ are not able to guarantee students spots in specific streams.  We find that the vast majority of FIRE students are able to join a stream in their preferred cluster (natural sciences, social sciences, and applied sciences & technology).

Can international & transfer students be a part of FIRE?

Yes - as long as Fall 2021 will be your first semester on campus.

If admitted, can I wait until next year?

Only first-year students are eligible for FIRE. You cannot defer participation in FIRE.

Why was I invited to FIRE?

We recruit students whom we hope will benefit from and enjoy an authentic, hands-on research experience.  We work in close partnership other first-year programs at UMD to select students invited to FIRE.



Join us via Zoom on February 15 at 2pm EST (link). Learn more about FIRE and ask current FIRE students questions.

Additional questions about the FIRE program can be directed to FIRE Director - Dr. Patrick Killion (

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