ICPSR is the world's largest collection of digital social science data - www.icpsr.umich.edu. These data can be used for secondary research, instructional activities, and to write articles, papers or theses.  ICPSR data cover topics from sociology, political science, economics, demography, education, child care, health care, crime, minority populations, aging, terrorism, substance abuse, mental health, public policy, and international relations.

OACS pays the annual membership fee to ICPSR for data access so that BSOS faculty, staff, and students can eaily access data for BSOS-centered research.  Data can be downloaded directly from ICPSR to BSOS office desktop computers.  If downloading to a BSOS desktop is not an option, please contact Marie Gates-Liden in OACS for assistance.

The non-BSOS ICPSR membership is available to current Faculty and Students at the University of Maryland (College Park campus only). Data retrieved from the ICPSR may be used only for research that is to be performed by and used for the purposes of the University of Maryland. ICPSR data may not be redistributed to others, nor may it be used for the advancement of any institution other than the University of Maryland.

  • Annual memberships are effective for each fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) and carry the following membership fees:
  • $100/year for non-BSOS Faculty and Students

Available Data

Find available data at the ICPSR website.  Some studies are freely available, while most studies require membership in ICPSR for access.  There are studies that are wholly or partially restricted from viewing and use, generally for security/privacy concerns, and these studies will contain information about those restrictions in the study documentation.

All data files arrive in compressed (.zip) format from ICPSR. This format is can be decompressed using WinZip or another compression / decompression package. You will need to decompress the files prior to using them. Electronic codebook files are generally in Adobe Acrobat Reader format (.PDF), text format (.txt), or Word (.doc or .docx) format.

There are several types of files that can be included with any data set.

  • DA - data file. Contains the raw data information
  • CB - codebook file. Describes the dataset, its variables, their locations, etc
  • SP - SPSS file. Typically reads variables into SPSS
  • SA - SAS file. Typically reads variables into SAS
  • DI - Data Dictionary

OACS will supply the files provided for the given data set. Note that some data sets have additional restrictions on use and access.  The user is responsible for performing any procedures required to lift additional restrictions. 

Request a non-BSOS Membership through OACS


ICPSR - a partner in social science research


  • Before your membership is activated, we must receive your membership dues.
  • Please send or carry your payment to:

    The Office of Academic Computing Services (OACS)
    3106 Morrill Hall, 7313 Preinkert Drive
    College Park, MD 20742

  • Payment may be in the form of a personal check or departmental ISR (transfer of funds form)

    Please contact Marie Gates-Liden of OACS with payment questions at mngates [at] umd [dot] edu