Admissions and Contact

BioFIRE students

  • Reside together in Somerset Hall (required for first-year students who are living on campus; optional for second-year students).
  • Enroll in one-credit seminars (one in the fall, one in the spring) that promote career exploration and strategies for a successful transition to college.
  • Enroll together in a cluster of first-year foundational science courses, including introductory biology, general chemistry, and calculus.
  • Participate in the First-year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE), a three-semester sequence of courses that prepare them for and immerse them in a faculty-led research program. These courses are companions to the required biology and chemistry coursework and fulfill General Education requirements.
  • In your fourth semester, you can continue in the BioFIRE research program as a peer mentor to first-year students or apply your research skills as an apprentice in a faculty research laboratory.
  • Are strongly encouraged to participate in community activities and events, such as study groups, tutoring, field trips, scientific lectures, and social activities.
  • Are eligible for summer research fellowship awards for continuing their FIRE research.


BioFIRE enrolls highly motivated students with interests in the chemical and life sciences and limited previous exposure to scientific research. Most invitations will be made at the time of admission to the University of Maryland, but a limited number of students may be invited afterward on a space-available basis. Students may be directly admitted to the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences or may be in Letters & Sciences. Students participating in another living and learning program (e.g., Honors College, College Park Scholars, Carillon Communities) are not eligible.

If you received an invitation to BioFIRE:

To confirm your spot in the program, you must do the following by May 1:

*Every new first-year student who desires to live in campus residence halls must complete the 2024-25 Housing/Dining Services Agreement by May 15, 2024 to be eligible to live on campus.  The BioFIRE program will work with Resident Life to ensure your housing in the BioFIRE Living and Learning Program dormitory. 

If you have not yet been invited to BioFIRE, but are interested in being considered:


Dr. Kaci Thompson
Director, BioFIRE
Assistant Dean, Science Education Initiatives
College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences