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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 Erin Thomson

Erin Thomson

Assistant Director, Life Sciences
Portrait of Auran Zaman

Auran Zaman

Graduate Assistant, Life Sciences

Social Media Etc.

Life Sciences News

Showing 1 - 6 of 22
  • Biologist Nicholas Fletcher Named Director of Life Sciences Program

    Nicholas Fletcher, a lecturer in the University of Maryland’s Department of Biology, has been appointed director of the College Park Scholars Life Sciences program.“We are delighted to welcome Nick Fletcher to College Park Scholars and Life Sciences. Nick is a creative and caring teacher whose commitments to hands-on learning and inclusive community align perfectly with core Scholars values,” said College Park Scholars Executive Director Marilee Lindemann. “We look forward to working with him to extend the proud legacy of Scholars Life Sciences in exciting new directions.”

  • Fourteen Scholars Named Class of 2024 Senior Marshals

    Senior Marshals are graduating seniors who have demonstrated the highest levels of scholarship, service to the campus community, extracurricular involvement, and personal growth. The University of Maryland Senior Marshals represent graduating seniors who have demonstrated the highest levels of scholarship, service to the campus community, extracurricular involvement, and personal growth.

  • Two More Programs Added to Scholars for 2024-25

    COLLEGE PARK, MD. – College Park Scholars in Fall 2024 will add two programs to its roster of two-year living-learning experiences for academically talented students, but one will look and sound familiar.Data Justice will debut, and the University of Maryland’s CIVICUS program will relaunch with a new name: Civic Engagement for Social Good.The expansion will bring the number of Scholars programs to a record of 13 and provide 150 additional first-year students with the opportunity to begin their college journeys as members of an intellectually rich and socially vibrant Scholars community.

  • Study Finds 2021 Cicada Emergence Changed Forest Food Webs

    When Brood X cicadas emerged by the billions in 2021 after 17 years underground, dozens of species of birds pulled up a table at a bug buffet, helping to create a cascading series of ecological effects, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and other institutions. In their publication featured this month on the cover of the journal Science, the team from UMD, including College Park Scholars Life Sciences program alum Grace Soltis, George Washington University and Georgetown University quantified the widespread changes the periodical cicada emergence had on the feeding patterns of birds and its downstream effects on forest food webs.

  • Scholars Celebrates Citation and Founders Circle Award Winners at Annual Ceremony

    When the Citation class of 2023 entered the University of Maryland, they were already adjusting to a rapidly changing world being constantly reshaped by the Covid-19 global pandemic. One thing that didn’t change – their commitment to excellence in the classroom. All who successfully completed the requirements of their respective Scholars program received their official Scholars citation. But there were some that went above and beyond the expectations, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

  • 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.

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