FAQs from Prospective Students

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Frequently Asked Questions from Prospective Students

Application Components

Q: What do I need to submit for a complete application?

A: In addition to the completed online application form, the Department requires these additional components:

  • 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


Due to the volume of interest, only complete application packets will be considered.


Q: When is the application deadline?

A: The application deadline is January 6th for admission in August of the same year. Applications for 2023 are now closed. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2024 semester for the MS or PhD program is January 5th, 2024. All decisions regarding admissions and financial assistance are made by the Department’s Admissions Committee considering only complete applications processed by the Graduate School. Any application materials (transcripts, exam scores, and letters of recommendation) received late are not guaranteed consideration.


Q: What is the Statement of Purpose?

A: Applicants must submit a statement of their goals and objectives in pursuing graduate study in a Statement of Purpose. The statement demonstrates the applicant’s interest in the area of agricultural and resource economics and is a tool the committee utilizes to determine how an applicant’s goals align with those of our department. The Statement of Purpose should be submitted electronically by uploading it with the online application.  


Q: Can applicants submit additional documents to the Department for consideration by the Admissions Committee?

A: No. The Admissions Committee will look only at the materials submitted to the Graduate School via the application portal and uploaded by the Graduate School for consideration. If applicants send a certification, research paper, or other application materials that are not required, they will not be considered.


Letters of Recommendation

Q: How many letters of recommendation are required?

A: Three letters of recommendation must be submitted in support of each application.


Q: Who should write the letters of recommendation?

A: Letters should be written by current/previous professors or others who can assess the quality of an applicant’s academic performance, past and current research work, and overall potential for our graduate program.


Q: How are letters of recommendation submitted?

A: Recommenders must submit their letters electronically through the application system. They will be notified by the system once applicants have provided us with their names and contact information.


Q: Can I send a photocopy of a letter of recommendation?

A: 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.


Q: How does electronic submission of letters work?

A: 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 electronically. Both, the applicant and the recommender, will be notified when the electronic letters have been received. The applicant should not attempt to submit or send the letters of recommendation on behalf of the recommender. They are to be confidential and not reviewed by the applicant. 


Test Scores

Q: How must test scores be provided?

A: 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.


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

A: No. The Department does not accept photocopies of test scores, transcripts, and other supporting materials, test scores must be submitted directly by testing agencies to the Graduate School.


Q: Who is required to provide a TOEFL exam score?

A: 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. 

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.

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

International Student & Scholar Services


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

A: The GRE and TOEFL exams can be retaken with the new scores submitted as often as desired. However, the Graduate Committee will consider all prior scores available. Unless these exams are taken sufficiently early, the new scores may not arrive before a final decision is made. The Department evaluates complete applications as soon as practicable after the application deadline.



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

A: 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 the Graduate Admissions System portal. 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.


Q: Can unofficial transcripts be submitted?

A: Yes, but only to kick off the process. Official transcripts are required if an applicant is admitted and for first semester enrollment. 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 to the program, 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.


Q: Can photocopies of transcripts be sent to the Department?

A: No. The Department does not accept photocopies of transcripts, nor does the Department accept any application materials directly. Applicants should enter all documents and supporting materials in the Graduate Admissions System portal.


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

A: 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. 


Q: If I accept admission and plan to enroll, where do I send my official transcripts?

A: Students can bring their transcripts in person or via mail. To be deemed ‘official’, academic records must be either original or verified copies that bear the institutional seal and official signature of your institution. You will need to submit a hard copy of each official transcript in a sealed envelope during your first semester of enrollment, as well as show proof of the degree awarded. Proof of the degree awarded is typically in the form of submitting an attested copy of the degree certificate in a sealed envelope, or bringing the original degree certificate into our office. If the authenticity of your academic documents is in question or if they are indiscernible, you may be required to obtain an evaluation from a foreign credential evaluation service. In this case, you would be contacted by the Graduate School.


For more information, refer to the Graduate School Website.



Q: What are the chances of being admitted into the program?

A: All decisions regarding admission and financial assistance are made by the Admissions Committee. Many inquiries are received from students who have not applied but are interested in determining their chances for admission and financial assistance. Such assessment is not possible because the Admissions Committee evaluates applications only after all materials have been received by the application deadline. Thus, all interested  individuals are strongly encouraged to submit a formal and complete application.  We are committed to being inclusive and provide students from diverse backgrounds an equal opportunity to be considered for admission in the program.


Q: Is spring or summer admission possible?

A: Applications are only accepted for fall semester.


Q: What are minimum GPA and GRE score requirements for admission?

A: 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). 


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

A: No. Applicants should apply for only one program at a time. If a student already in the M.S. program wishes to switch to the Ph.D. program, an additional application to the Graduate School is required. For more information on this, contact the Graduate School or the Department’s Graduate Coordinator.


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

A: Yes. An applicant can apply to multiple programs, but must fill out a separate application with accompanying materials for each program to which an application is made. A non-refundable $75 application fee per program applies. To apply to more than one program, 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.” Students may not enroll in more than one degree program at the same time.


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

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


Q: If denied admission, can an applicant reapply?

A: 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.


Course Offerings

Q: Where can I find information about available graduate courses?


AREC Courses

UMD Schedule of Classes


International Students

Q: Where can International Students get more information on applying to the program?


International Student and Scholar Services

Non-Degree/Visitor Options

Q: Does AREC offer a part-time graduate program?

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


Q: Are non-degree options at the graduate level available?

A: Non-degree options in the University of Maryland’s Graduate School include Visiting Graduate Students and other Non-degree seeking Students.

For more information on Non-Degree Admissions, visit the Graduate School website.


Prerequisite Knowledge

Q: What are the fundamental prerequisites required to succeed in the Agricultural and Resource Economics program?

A: Proficient knowledge of calculus and linear algebra, and fundamental concepts of economics and microeconomic theory are essential elements for successfully completing classes and succeeding in the program. Intermediate macroeconomics knowledge is helpful.


Q: “What if” grades do not appear on transcripts for prerequisite courses still in progress? Is admission dependent upon successful completion before full admission to  the AREC graduate program?

A: Successful completion of  the prerequisites prior to  the start of classes is required. 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.


Q: Are exceptions made if not all the prerequisites are met?

A: The Department may make 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. Chances of admission are higher if all prerequisites are completed. 


Q: Can I transfer credits into the AREC graduate program?

A: Students can transfer up to 6 credits from an accredited college or university outside of University of Maryland 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 on a case-by-case basis.

All inclusion or transfer of credit depends on Department permission and Graduate School approval. All decisions regarding inclusion or transfer of credit are made by the Admissions Committee. This assessment cannot be provided prior to admission.



Q: How much is tuition?

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


Q: How can I apply as an In-State applicant?

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



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

A: AREC welcomes visits from interested and admitted students.

Admitted Student Day: applicants who have been admitted to the program are invited to join us for a full day of activities that aim to provide an in-depth review of the program coupled with opportunities to speak with faculty, staff and current graduate students. Admitted student day is typically held 6 - 8 weeks after admission notifications have been sent out.


General campus and department visits: individuals interested in exploring our program and campus are welcome to visit as well. Please know that a visit will not increase chances of being admitted to the program. 

The Graduate Committee does not evaluate candidates based on personal interviews or visits.

The Graduate Assistant Director is available to answer questions, respond to inquiries, schedule a visit as well as assist with the application process. Contact information: 301-405-1820 or by email.

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