Frequently Asked Questions

BioFIRE is part of FIRE, the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience. Students in BioFIRE enroll in the same 3-part research course sequence as other students in the FIRE program. Additionally, they are part of a living and learning community based in Easton Hall. While it is true that all BioFIRE students are automatically part of FIRE, the reverse is not true. Because of the limited capacity of the BioFIRE program, not all students in FIRE who are interested in the biological and chemical sciences can be accommodated in the living and learning community.

A student can only participate in one living and learning program. If you are invited to multiple living and learning programs, you will need to choose between them.

There are many benefits: a community of support, early access to research, the ability to develop close mentored relationships with faculty members, fellowships for summer research, peer mentors, tutors in first-year science subjects, and the ability to participate in a variety of professional and personal enrichment programs. 

We aim to recruit a diverse and enthusiastic group of students who share an interest in the chemical and life sciences. We are looking for students who are ready to work hard and participate fully in all of the things that BioFIRE has to offer. Priority is given to students who have not been offered admission to other living and learning programs (e.g., Honors, College Park Scholars) and those who have not yet received college-level credit for introductory biology courses. 

Most BioFIRE students are invited at the time of their admission to the University of Maryland. If you have already received an invitation, you simply need to accept it through your Terp Application Portal. If you have not yet received an invitation to BioFIRE but would like to be considered, you can indicate your interest by completing a brief online preference form. Students will be admitted on a space-available basis beginning around May 1, when we know how many students have accepted their invitations and how many spaces remain.


UNIV 100 is a one-credit seminar-style course that is required for biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and neuroscience majors. It is recommended for many other majors. For all students, UNIV 100 helps ease the transition to college and gives students valuable insight into UMD opportunities and expectations. In addition, the BioFIRE UNIV sections serve as an orientation to the BioFIRE program and help us get to know each student better so that we can help them reach their academic, personal, and professional goals.

The stream matching process happens in the fall semester, as part of the curriculum of FIRE 120 (the first course in the three-course FIRE sequence). In FIRE 120, you will have the opportunity to learn more about each stream and talk with faculty and students who are currently affiliated with each stream. Near the end of the fall semester, you will submit a preference form indicating your top 3 choices of streams to join. Based on this, the FIRE program will sort all students into one of their top choices. You’ll be notified of your placement before pre-registration for the spring semester, and you’ll be able to register for the FIRE 198 section for your stream once your registration appointment arrives. If you don’t register by the end of pre-registration, your spot in that stream will be opened up for other students who are interested. If you change your mind about your stream, you can register for any stream with open seats.

You are free to choose from among all current FIRE streams, which vary widely in focus. For more information on current streams, visit the description of research streams on the FIRE website.

You can join any stream that interests you; it does not have to relate to the biological or chemical sciences. Current FIRE streams span the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering. You can read more about what each stream is doing on the FIRE website. While you are free to choose any stream, in our experience students who intend to pursue careers in the biological and chemical sciences are most satisfied with their experience when they select streams that align with these interests. 

 You assuredly will meet students of all majors, both in the dorm and in your classes. The University also has hundreds of student organizations that can help you pursue your other passions, spanning every interest area imaginable. For more information on student organizations, visit the Student Organization Resource Center.

 The BioFIRE program selects several students each summer to receive a $1000 summer research fellowship to help defray the costs associated with participation in the FIRE summer research program. Awardees are selected based on exemplary achievement in their spring semester FIRE research course and their demonstrated commitment to the BioFIRE community.

There are many ways to contribute to the BioFIRE community after your first few semesters. We recruit upper-class BioFIRE students to serve as tutors and peer mentors for first-year BioFIRE students. You can also continue with your research stream as a FIRE peer mentor, helping the incoming students learn research techniques and collaborating with your stream's faculty leaders on advanced research projects.