Frequently Asked Questions
Many applicants have questions as they prepare their applications. In an effort to make the master’s programs admissions process as seamless as possible, a number of Frequently Asked Questions have been compiled below.
What is the best way for me to find out more about the Smith School of Business?
You've already begun the process by browsing the Smith School's website. The best way to find out more about us is to visit our campus and meet with Smith staff, faculty, and students. You can do so by attending one of our events. Throughout the year, it is possible that an admissions representative will be attending an MBA forum or fairs in a city near you.
What are the program prerequisites?
Applicants must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in order to be eligible for graduate study at the University of Maryland. The Smith MBA assumes no prior knowledge of or background in business. However, due to the quantitative rigors of our program, the admissions committee requires that admitted applicants demonstrate strong quantitative skills prior to matriculation.
The admissions committee will review each applicant's GMAT/GRE score, undergraduate and/or graduate (where applicable) academic performance, and work experience in making this determination. If in the opinion of the admissions committee, an applicant has not demonstrated strong enough quantitative skills for academic success, an admitted student may be asked to successfully complete a calculus or statistics course prior to enrolling at Smith. Applicants who are admitted will be notified in their admission letter if and only if they are required to complete additional coursework.
When should I submit my application?
Ideally, you should submit your completed application as early in the admission cycle as possible. Since admission and financial aid decisions are made on a rolling basis, early applicants are at an advantage. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. See list of application deadlines.
What are the admissions requirements?
If something is missing from my application, will it still be reviewed?
Applications are not reviewed until the application package is complete. The admissions committee will not consider any incomplete applications. The only items missing from the online application should be the official test scores (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL), which are to be sent directly from the testing services. In order to be considered for a particular deadline, you must have taken your test(s) by that deadline.
If I applied last year and was not accepted, how do I reapply?
If you choose to reapply, you must submit a new application package which includes: application, application fee, transcripts, updated résumé, and two essays. The second essay question is the required reapplication essay. Recommendation letters previously submitted electronically with the online application do not need to be resubmitted. If you previously submitted your official test scores (GMAT, TOEFL, etc.) to the University of Maryland, you do not need to resubmit these items with your reapplication.
Is work experience a requirement for the MBA program?
A solid professional background with several years of work experience better positions an MBA student for competitive internship and post-MBA opportunities. Therefore, it also strengthens an applicant's profile for admission. An application is not complete unless it contains the applicant's résumé.
What is an acceptable grade point average?
The admissions committee recognizes that there are many aspects to an undergraduate experience and encourages applicants to share the details of that experience in an optional essay. Few accepted applicants have a grade point average below 3.00/4.00. Those who do have exceptional characteristics in other areas. See the most recent profile of MBA students at Smith.
What is an acceptable GMAT?
The Smith School does not use a cut-off system for GMAT scores. However, applicants with comparatively lower GMAT scores should be prepared to demonstrate exceptional qualifications in other areas.
My GMAT/GPA/work experience is lower than I'd like. Is it still worth my time to apply?
Yes. Every application is considered in its entirety. If you have weak points in your application, the admissions committee will search for stronger points to counterbalance them.
Does every applicant to the MBA program have to take the GMAT or GRE?
Yes, the GMAT or GRE is required for all MBA applicants.
Is the person writing my recommendation required to use the online form provided?
While the online form is strongly preferred, your recommender is not required to respond directly on the form but should answer all of the questions provided. The form should be signed and submitted along with any attached responses.
How do I schedule an interview?
Interviews are granted exclusively at the invitation of the admissions committee after your completed application has been received and reviewed. Candidates who are invited to interview but do not conduct an interview will not receive an offer of admission. Interviews are conducted either in-person or via Skype.
If I have been admitted, may I defer my admission?
Admitted students begin their MBA program in the semester for which they have applied. If a student needs to request a deferral for an emergency medical reason, the admissions committee will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.
Is there a spring start date?
No. The Smith School of Business only admits new full-time MBA students for the fall semester.
Is the MBA program accredited?
Yes. The MBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business is accredited by AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB International is the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting.
When do classes begin?
The full-time MBA program begins mid-August with a mandatory orientation program. Incoming students begin pre-skills coursework and interacting with the Office of Career Services as early as May late June to prepare for this unique experience.
When and where are classes held for the Full-time MBA program?
Full-time MBA students must be prepared to fully engage in the curriculum Monday through Friday. When classes or exams are not in session, group work and career-prep activities abound! All full-time MBA students take their courses at the College Park campus in Van Munching Hall.
How long does it take to complete the degree requirements?
The requirement for a Master of Business Administration is 54 credit hours. This program is completed in two years over the fall and spring semesters with an internship between year one and two. The degree requirements for dual degrees range from 66 to 90+ credit hours. These programs take on average three to four years to complete. See the complete list of dual degree programs.
Can I take classes during the winter or summer terms?
No. Given the integrative and cohesive nature of the full-time MBA curriculum, except for study abroad opportunities, students are not permitted to take courses outside of the full-time cohort during the winter or summer terms.
Can students have part-time jobs while in the full-time MBA program?
Admitted applicants should enter the full-time MBA program prepared to devote 100% of their time to the robust curricular and co-curricular activities and engagements of the program. While many of our full-time students work as half-time graduate assistants in the business school, we find the typical external part-time job does not allow for the flexibility in hours required by our students. Therefore, we strongly discourage full-time MBAs from attempting to work part-time during the program.
How many credits do program participants take per semester?
Typically 15–17 hours per semester are completed.
Can I waive out of classes and complete less than 54 credits?
While it is possible to waive a few core courses, the waivers do not reduce the total number of credits required for the degree.
The following core courses may be waived if the following conditions are met.
BUSI 610 Financial Accounting
CPA license and department chair approval
BUSI 611 Managerial Accounting
CPA license and department chair approval
BUSI 630 Data Models and Decisions
Successful passing of waiver examination
BUSI 640 Financial Management
Successful passing of waiver examination
Are transfer credits accepted?
Transfer credits are not accepted into the full-time MBA program.
Transfer credits can possibly be accepted for the part-time MBA programs in rare situations. For example, a student is unable to complete an AACSB-accredited MBA program in California due to a job transfer to the DC Metro area. All transfer credit requests are at the discretion of the Masters Programs Office, but requests will only be considered if all criteria below are met. Transfer credit requests from schools in the DC Metro/Baltimore/Northern Virginia area cannot be considered.
In order to be eligible to transfer any credits towards your part-time MBA, you must meet ALL of the following criteria. (A maximum of 9 credit semester hours may be transferred into the program):
Students must have been enrolled as an MBA degree-seeking student at the time the credit(s) were earned.
Currently enrolled as a degree-seeking student in an MBA program.
Courses must be from an MBA program that is accredited by AACSB.
Credits may not have been used to meet the requirements for any degree previously earned.
The Masters Programs Office deems the courses appropriate for a University of Maryland degree.
Earned a "B" or better in the courses offered for transfer and a "B" or better average in all graduate work taken at the institution from which the credits are being transferred.
Credit will not be given for any course work taken more than five years before the anticipated date for completion of the MBA degree
What is the cost of the Smith MBA program?
Click here for a detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other costs. Determination of in-state status is made by the Residency Classification Office at the time an application is under consideration. For a complete list of residency requirements, please contact Residency Reclassification Services.
How do I apply for financial aid?
At the Smith School, merit awards are granted in form of scholarship and graduate assistantship. All full-time MBA applications submitted by the priority scholarship deadline will be considered for merit-based awards. The priority deadline for U.S. citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents is January 15. International students’ priority deadline for scholarship application is December 15. If an application is received after the deadline, it will still be considered for a scholarship and graduate assistantship pending there are still available funds. Award notifications are extended simultaneously with the offers of admission.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents are encouraged to apply for additional financial aid in the form of loans.
What exactly defines an "international applicant"?
The University of Maryland at College Park defines an international applicant as any applicant who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
I have a three-year bachelor's degree from outside the United States. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Candidates with a three-year bachelor's degree from outside the United States may apply.
I'm an international student. I have been living in the U.S. for several years. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?
If you have earned a degree at a U.S. institution or at an institution in a country whose native language is English (i.e. Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, English-speaking Canada, etc.), you will be waived from the TOEFL exam. Otherwise, all students are required to take the TOEFL and submit their scores. TOEFL scores are valid for two years.