Skip to main content
LS students flash thumbs up

Life Sciences

Exploring the entirety of the natural world, from tiny microbes to complex ecosystems


We live on a vast planet, alongside billions of other living organisms—both visible to the naked eye and not. Life Sciences introduces students to the interdisciplinary nature of the life sciences and explores how we might best apply the knowledge we gain to better our community, our nation and the world we share with our fellow inhabitants.

Discussing a range of topics, including molecular biology, human genetics, ecology, evolution, conservation and ethics, students in this Scholars program seek to answer big questions:

  • How do we use our knowledge and skills to improve various aspects of human health? 
  • How do we create a sustainable future for all life forms?
  • How do the life sciences interact with our daily lives (religion, politics, relationships, business, the arts)?

Ultimately, students discover how they might build toward careers to help their fellow human beings and other life on this planet.

This program offers a close community of students who share a common passion for life sciences, broadly defined, and an enduring concern for the well-being of others. 

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • The story of the human body: Evolution, health and disease
  • Future city: Urban nature as healing gardens
  • Professional development: Finding an internship
  • Movie: The Serengeti Rules
  • Cathedrals of Science: The human scientists behind science
  • Individual journeys defining success for Life Sciences Scholars

The program actively encourages involvement in opportunities to explore the extensive breadth of professions related to the sciences. The relationships and experiences [of Life Sciences] go beyond the typical expectations associated with large, competitive education institutions.

Leela Johnson
Leela Johnson '22

Other Learning Opportunities

Life Sciences Scholars students connect what they have learned in class with practical experiences outside the classroom. Students:

  • Learn from working scientists through lectures, such as at the Carnegie Institute for Science;
  • Take local and regional field trips to places—such as the U.S. Botanic Gardens and western Maryland—that underscore the connection of the life sciences to the real world; and
  • Work individually or in small groups to research and prepare presentations on selected topics each semester.

They build upon that experience in their second year in the program to participate in research or an internship. Life Sciences students have:

  • Participated in cancer research at the National Institutes of Health;
  • Shadowed a dentist in the Dominican Republic as well as in his local practice; and
  • Interned in the Green Office Program in the university's Office of Sustainability.

Finally, we offer students the opportunity to participate in global learning experiences specially tailored for their interests. Past trips have visited biodiversity-rich locations such as Alaska, Australia and Belize.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete 2–3 Life Sciences–related science courses (including 2 specific lab courses) that will count toward their Life Sciences Scholars citation. In most cases, these will also fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquium, practicum and supporting course(s)—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Life Sciences Citation Checklist.

Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Ecology and Evolution + Lab (exceptions may apply for those in non–Life Sciences majors) 4 credits
General Chemistry + Lab (exceptions may apply for those in non–Life Sciences majors) 4 credits
Introduction to the University 1 credit
1–2 courses toward degree and major requirements 3–7 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Molecular and Cellular Biology + Lab (exceptions may apply for those in non–Life Sciences majors) 4 credits
Academic Writing 3 credits
2–3 courses toward degree and major requirements 6–9 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements 12–16 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 2–3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements 9–12 credits

Residence Hall

Centreville Hall

Office Address

1212 Centreville Hall

Office Phone



Portrait of Beth Parent

Beth Parent

Program Director, Life Sciences (on leave Fall 2023)
Portrait of Erin Thomson

Erin Thomson

Assistant Director, Life Sciences

Social Media Etc.

Life Sciences News

Showing 1 - 6 of 17
  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2022, Founders Circle Award winners

    Students in College Park Scholars’s Citation Class of 2022 began their University of Maryland (UMD) careers in the fall of 2020, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent their first year almost entirely online: Some Zoomed into their program colloquium from their double-turned-single dorm rooms; others attended virtually from their families’ homes, away from campus.

  • 6 Scholars Alums Selected to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    The University of Maryland has announced its senior marshals for Spring Commencement, slated for Friday, May 20. Six College Park Scholars alumni number among the 60 graduating seniors serving as marshals:

  • In Memoriam: J. Lee Hellman, Founding Director of Life Sciences Scholars

    College Park Scholars is mourning the passing last week of Dr. John Lee Hellman, the founding director of the Life Sciences Scholars program—one of the four original programs in College Park Scholars. He served as director of Life Sciences from its launch in 1994 until 2009. Hellman was a lifelong Terp, having earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his doctorate, from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). After earning his Ph.D. in 1975, he went on to serve as a professor in the Department of Entomology in the then–College of Life Sciences. (Entomology is now a joint department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences.)

  • 10 Scholars Alums to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    A significant number of Scholars alumni will be serving as Senior Marshals at the University of Maryland commencement this Friday, May 21, 2021. Senior Marshals are graduating seniors who display the highest levels of scholarship, service, extracurricular activity and personal growth.

  • Despite Being Virtual, Scholars Showcases Promote Personal Interaction

    For most University of Maryland (UMD) students, the end of the spring semester heralds the start of finals. But for sophomores in College Park Scholars, for the past 24 years, this time of year has signified Academic Showcase. The event, one of the largest exhibitions of undergraduate student learning on campus each year, typically involves more than 600 Scholars sophomores presenting on their capstone projects to fellow students, faculty, parents and other members of the UMD community.

  • Scholars Alumni Named to Prestigious Maryland Medallion Society

    Several Scholars alumni were named to the Maryland Medallion Society during the 40th Annual University of Maryland Student Leadership Awards this month. The Medallion Society is a prestigious group consisting of 20 of the brightest student leaders at the university:

Back to Top