The status will be “under review” until a decision of admit or decline is reached. This means that your application can be under review for weeks or even months depending on when you submitted it. Note that we admit applicants on a rolling basis as our faculty win new research awards, however we typically decline applicants to whom we are not able to extend offers by the 3rd week in May for Fall term applicants, and by the 1st week of January for Spring term applicants.

Admission to our Department largely depends on a faculty member indicating a willingness to advise a new student and to support the new student with a graduate research assistantship (GRA) to conduct research on a topic for which they have GRA funding. Faculty members make their own decisions about which applicants have the best background for conducting research in their lab based on information on application forms. Some faculty members conduct phone interviews and/or on site campus visits for promising applicants. Applicants who will be self-funded, e.g. with a NASA, SMART, or NSF fellowship or support through their place of employment, should bring this to the attention of the faculty with whom they would like to work.

For Fall term applicants, the admission process typically starts in early January and can continue through the middle of the summer as faculty win new research grants and identify applicants they wish to advise and to whom they would like to extend an offer of support as a graduate research assistantship (GRA). For Spring term applicants, the admission process typically starts in mid-November and can continue through the beginning of January as faculty win new research grants and identify applicants they wish to advise and to whom they would like to extend an offer of support as a graduate research assistantship (GRA). Note that typically, over 90% of all new graduate students start in the Fall term.

In these cases, at least one faculty member has expressed interest in retaining you in the applicant pool although we have not identified a funding mechanism to provide support for you and thus cannot admit you. In those cases please contact Leslie Davis at from the departmental office for questions or information about your specific case, including discussion of having your application remain in consideration for the following semester.

We admit students on a rolling basis throughout most of the year to start in the spring or fall term as our faculty members win new awards.

We typically decline applicants to whom we are not able to extend offers by the 3rd week in May for Fall-term applicants, and by the 1st week of January for Spring-term applicants. The admission process often starts with an email or call from a faculty member to better assess an applicant’s interest in a specific (and funded) research project.

Once a faculty expresses their interest in working with a student, the Assistant Graduate Director prepares an offer letter that is reviewed by the prospective advisor and Director of the Graduate Program, and sent out to an applicant. Returning a signed offer letter to us indicates you are admitted to our Program!

Please apply to our Ph.D. program if that is your ultimate goal. It will be apparent from your application form that you do not already have an M.S. degree. Research projects are funded for different scenarios, (e.g. a 2 year M.S. project; a 5 year M.S. and Ph.D. project, or 3 year Ph.D. project) and as a result, faculty often are seeking students with a variety of backgrounds and graduate degree goals.

GRE scores are required for all international applicants and optional for domestic applicants. We expect scores at or above the minimum rankings of 85th percentile for M.S. applicants and 90th percentile for Ph.D. applicants.

For more information, please refer to The GRE Guide to the Use of Scores from the Educational Testing Services website.

All students who have earned their bachelor's degree from outside of the United States are required to take the GRE and obtain an 85% quantitative score for MS, or 90% quantitative score for PhD.  For students who have earned their bachelor's degree in the United States, your application may still be considered depending how close your score is to our expected minimum scores.  If there is a faculty member that has expressed interest in working with you, it would be important to communicate your score with them and have a discussion on if a retake of the exam would be necessary.

We do allow students to take the online version of the GRE exam for their own health and safety.

Our minimum GPA for M.S. applicants is a 3.2, and for Ph.D. applicants is a 3.5. Additionally for GRE scores, for M.S. students, the minimum expected score on the Quantitative portion of the exam is 85% or higher, and for Ph.D. applicants, the minimum expected  score on the Quantitative portion of the exam is 90% or higher.  Students who do not meet are minimum GPA requirements are not likely to receive an offer of admission to our program, however, we do review each application holistically.

If you do not meet these scores, but still wish to pursue our program, you may begin by applying to the Professional Master’s Program - They do not require GRE scores, and their minimum GPA requirements is a 3.0. Students may start in their program, then transfer to ours after showing strong academic performance and securing faculty funding.


Typically for M.S. applicants, the Statement of Purpose is one page, and for Ph.D. applicants it is two. You should be sure to include information summarizing your reasons for attending graduate school and wanting to obtain a graduate degree, mentioning past work experience and research which lead you to want to pursue graduate research, and what type of work you plan to do after you complete your program that makes research necessary.

On occasion we have noticed application materials that are fully available for us to review but have not had their status updated from appearing to applicants as “in progress” to appearing as “under review”. If you believe your application is complete, yet after 24 hours is still appears to you as being “in progress” please check with our Graduate School Admissions Department by emailing: to see if any information is missing and/or to confirm that all of your materials were received by them. Sometimes, in the case of test scores, ETS (Educational Testing Service – will need to be contacted to ensure that your score report was sent to the appropriate university.

We will look at both GPA’s and both must meet our minimum requirements for admission.

The TOEFL exam is a University of Maryland admissions requirement, not a departmental requirement.

International students are required to submit TOEFL or equivalent scores. There are exceptions to TOEFL exam requirements for students who have studied and obtained a degree in the United States.

For a detailed list of English Language Proficiency Requirements and exceptions, please refer to the Graduate School website.

Often times, no response from a faculty member indicates that they have no openings, however you may follow-up with them if you do not receive a reply after a week or two, or you may contact Leslie Davis at in the departmental office.

Congratulations! The next steps will be to sign your appointment letter and get in touch with our Business/Payroll Office. You will complete your onboarding process and then begin working with your faculty advisor on courses for your first semester. Once you two have agreed on a course of study, you can contact the department for permission to enroll in your courses.

Absolutely! We encourage students from all technical or engineering backgrounds to apply to our program. Depending on your prior course of study, it may be recommended that you take additional courses not part of the graduate curriculum to ensure you have a strong foundation for success.

UMD does offer several programs and opportunities for students looking to gain teaching experience. If you want to gain teaching experience, please indicate that in your statement of purpose so we are aware of your intent and can direct you to the appropriate resources.

The Department of Aerospace Engineering offices are currently closed to visitors. We may resume office and lab tours in 2021.

Invited students typically attend department visit days in the spring. If you are not invited or unavailable to attend, please contact individual faculty of interest to make independent arrangements.