Frequently Asked Questions

Many applicants have questions as they prepare their applications. In an effort to make the MBA admissions process as seamless as possible, a number of frequently asked questions have been compiled below.

MBA & MS Admissions Office

2303 Van Munching Hall
College Park, Maryland 20742-1815
Phone: 301-405-2559
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

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 email and connect with the Admissions Office. You can also attend one of our events to connect with Maryland Smith admissions staff and current students.

What are the program prerequisites?

Applicants must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university prior to starting the program. The Smith MBA assumes no prior business knowledge or background. 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 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?

Learn more about application requirements for international and domestic applicants.

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.

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?

No. The GMAT/GRE is optional for the MBA program. The admissions committee will thoroughly review the candidate's academic record, work experience, industry certifications, essays and recommendation letters. Please note that some dual degrees DO require the GMAT/GRE. Carefully review requirements for any program you wish to apply to as a dual degree with the MBA.

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 review of your completed application. 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 virtually.

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. In preparation, incoming students begin pre-skills coursework and interact with the Office of Career Services as early as May or 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 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 credits 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.


Waiver Requirement

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.

What is the cost of the Smith MBA program?

See financial aid & tuition for a detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other costs. Determination of in-state status is made by the Residency Classification Office when 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 the form of scholarships and graduate assistantships. 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. The priority deadline for international students is December 15. If an application is received after the deadline, it will still be considered for a scholarship and graduate assistantship if there are still available funds. Award notification is extended with the offer 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?

For applicants with 3-year bachelor's degrees, you are eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • If you will be awarded a master’s degree by the time you begin graduate study at the University of Maryland, or your 3-year bachelor’s degree was earned in a country with 13 years of pre-university formal education, then you are eligible for graduate study.
  • We will also consider those with a 3-year bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate diploma from a nationally recognized institution to be eligible.
  • If your 3-year bachelor’s degree would qualify you for admission to academic graduate programs in the country in which it was earned, then you are welcome to submit an application which will be reviewed by the department to determine whether you are a strong enough candidate for an exception to be made.
  • The 3-year bachelor’s degree must already have been earned at the time of application.
  • The 3-year bachelor’s degree needs to be in a field closely related to the field of study that you are applying to with strong grades in order to be considered for an exception.

You are not eligible if your sole qualification is a 3-year bachelor’s degree from a country with 12 years of pre-university education, and your degree would not qualify you for admission to an academic graduate program in this country, then you are not eligible to apply to the Graduate School.

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.

See the complete list of countries exempt from submitting the TOEFL or IELTS.

I want to apply to the University of Maryland and I need to submit an English proficiency score, but testing centers for the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are closed in my area. What can I do? 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and the IELTS Indicator as we would accept a regular iBT TOEFL or Academic IELTS.  These tests can be taken online from home.

If you are from Mainland China we understand that you can not take either of these special exams and so we are accepting the TOEFL ITP Plus for China.

If you are from Iran we understand that you also can not take either of these exams.  The Maryland English Institute is therefore planning to remotely administer a TOEFL ITP exam for applicants in Iran in mid-July.  If you would like to take this exam, please send an e-mail to by June 30 at the latest.  The Maryland English Institute will then reach out to you with the date and time for the exam and all other information.  

The TOEFL ITP exam has a total score of 677.  A score below 560 requires placement in Intensive English.  A score between 560 and 589 requires placement in the English Bridge Program.  A score of 590 or higher only requires placement in an Advanced English Writing course in the second semester at UMD.  Unlike the TOEFL iBT or IELTS, the TOEFL ITP does not have a writing section which is why placement in the writing course would be given instead of full admission.  We do not have any minimum sectional score requirements for the TOEFL ITP.

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