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History and Mission


The University of Maryland traces its history to 1856, when the General Assembly chartered a state agricultural school. The Maryland Agricultural College was established on ancestral land of the Piscataway tribe, which it purchased from a slaveholding farmer and agricultural education advocate, and three years later opened with 34 students. 

It eventually grew to encompass new disciplines in engineering, science and the liberal arts, welcomed trailblazing women and people of color, survived the Great Fire of 1912, re-emerged as a public college and boomed following World War II. Today, the university is a national powerhouse in research, academics, the arts and athletics; committed to embracing diversity in its campus community of 50,000; and tackling the grand challenges of our time. 


The mission of the University of Maryland, College Park is to provide excellent teaching, research, and service. The University educates students and advances knowledge in areas of importance to the State, the nation, and the world. The University is committed to being a preeminent national center for research and for graduate education, and the institution of choice for Maryland’s undergraduates of exceptional ability and promise.

Read our entire mission statement (PDF). (Plain text version)


The University of Maryland is a community of individuals living and working together to support and advance the educational and research mission of the institution. We aspire to become a community that is:

We are diverse but have much in common. Members of the UMD community foster a sense of belonging based on acceptance and a unity of purpose. We strive toward overlapping goals, sharing resources, and spending some of the most significant and productive times of our lives together in a common space. To that extent we depend on one another and are our best selves when we support one another. Accordingly, our actions are guided not only by what is good for self but also by what is good for all.

Members of the UMD community interact with others in ways that promote feelings of respect. All members of the UMD community are valued equally and deserving of respect without regard to their status, their educational attainment or their social position. We reject denigration of any member through words or actions and resist stereotyping of members that undermines personal dignity though slurs, slights, insults or other acts that disparage individuals or groups.

Members of the UMD community refrain from injustice, violence, harassment, intimidation, and aggression. We do all that is possible to protect and defend members of the UMD community from anyone who would harm them physically or psychologically. We promote individual agency and responsibility in contributing to personal safety, avoidance of harm and staving off the effects of insults, slander, intimidation, or symbolic intimation of violence.

The UMD community strives to achieve the highest levels of excellence in our work and our studies that accrue through inclusive practices. We recognize that as a thriving and striving community, the success of our institution and our members is dependent on how well we value, include, and engage all members. This belief must be actively and consistently embedded in every aspect and practice of the UMD community.

All members of the UMD community are equally responsible and committed to uphold the University’s values to the best of their ability, as well as hold the rest of the UMD community to those responsibilities. We must be transparent in our mistakes, and learn to reflect and continue to strive toward inclusive excellence.

Members of the UMD community embrace learning as essential for bettering ourselves as individuals and as a community. We encourage and assist one another to become our best selves.

Learn more about UMD's values statement.


The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,700 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and nearly 400,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.


Introducing The Nation's First Do Good Campus Transforming Idealism into Impact 


Spanning 12 schools and colleges, Maryland offers more than 300 degree-granting programs, many of them ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 58 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. And our students, who include the highest achievers in the state and nation, enjoy experiences unique to our location just outside the nation’s capital, including internships, research, and leadership and service opportunities.

Research and Innovation

The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. With our strategic location and scores of partnerships with government and businesses, UMD conducts groundbreaking research on some of the biggest challenges facing our global community, including cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety and climate change. We strive to discover new knowledge and put it to work through innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing economic development and transforming lives. 

The newly launched Innovation Gateway will guide you to the resources, programs, partners, and spaces you need to activate and scale your fearless ideas into innovations that launch new ventures, catalyze growth, and advance economic development.


At the University of Maryland, the arts, the humanities and the sciences intersect to address important societal issues and shed new light on the human experience. Our vibrant campus arts community collaborates with local and national cultural organizations such as the Phillips Collection, Kennedy Center and Folger Shakespeare Library. Student and faculty artists, designers, historians, writers and performers are exploring new media, presenting new perspectives, investigating new techniques and engaging new audiences.


Home of the Terrapins, the University of Maryland has one of the nation’s most recognizable and successful athletics programs. More than 550 student-athletes compete each year in 20 intercollegiate sports—12 for women and eight for men. Since 2005 alone, Maryland has won 19 national championships, including NCAA titles in women’s basketball, men’s soccer, men's lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and field hockey. Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2014, UMD has won a combined 32 regular season and tournament championships. Fear the Turtle!

Student Life

The Terp experience extends beyond classrooms, labs and studios. It encompasses residence halls and dining halls, clubs and sports, fraternities and sororities, campus events and performances, and countless off-campus destinations. Maryland touts 800-plus student organizations, dozens of prestigious living and learning communities, and countless other ways to get involved. Students here can create a unique identity and grow as individuals, even as they’re part of a close-knit and diverse community. 

On Campus


Latest news at Maryland Today

For media releases visit UMD Right Now

Terps are bold, smart, curious and proud. We do good, in our communities and out in the world. We are fearless. And we are always looking to expand our ranks. Interested in becoming a University of Maryland student? This is where to start.


Give to Maryland

Giving back is a fearless Terp tradition, and there are many ways you can not only keep it alive, but also make an instant impact. 

M Circle on the University of Maryland campus


Give Now

Maryland Promise Students

Support the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise Scholarship and double your impact through the Clark Challenge.


Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise