University of Maryland President John S. Toll, in his first formal blueprint for the future, outlined a series of steps yesterday to make Maryland one of the "ten finest public universities in America by 1990."

In a report to the University's board of regents, Toll urged tightened admissions standards, aggressive recruitment of top students and faculty members, stringent tenure policies, trimming of less needed academic programs and the introduction of new ones.

Toll's report, presented 18 months after he assumed the presidency, came in reponse to board of regents chairman Peter F. O'Malley's recent request for a general administration strategy for improvement of the university.

O'Malley said the report marked "the beginning of a new effort that will lead to a master plan for the future of the university."

In his presentation to the regents, Toll said Maryland has, in fact, grown into a first rate university, but "its reputation has yet to catch up with its quality." This, in turn, has made it harder to attract top students and difficult to recruit outstanding faculty.

To correct this trend, Toll said, aggressive efforts should be undertaken to locate outstanding young academic talent, and the university will be "pursuing the nation's very best teachers and scholars in every area."

With 60 percent of the university's faculty having already achieved tenure status, Toll said, "tenure is now being scrutinized with exceptional care and will continue to be reserved for only the finest teacher-scholars."

To keep outstanding faculty at the university, Toll said, the relatively low salaries for Maryland faculty -- averaging $23,654 -- "urgently needs correction and improvement."

Similarly, Toll noted, the university must act aggressively to attract a larger share of the best high school talent graduating each year. In 1979, 80 per cent of Maryland's winners of National Merit scholarships went to college out of state. The University of Maryland attracted 39, which was double the number of previous years but still too small a share, Toll said.

"The state can no longer continue to export most of its brilliant and talented secondary school graduates to other states," Toll said.

To draw top high school talent, Toll proposed a combination of measures including cash scholarships based strictly on academic merit regardless of need, preferential housing for scholarship winners and gifted students, strenghtening of honors programs and the tighening of admission standards.

Over the past decade, he noted, the university has gone from a nearly open admissions standard to an increasingly selective one in which admission is limited to the top 40 percent of a high school class -- with exceptions for students with special talents.

With the growth in recent years both of the two-year community colleges and the state college system, Toll said, the university is free to become more selective in admissions without shutting off educational opportunities for students who are not admitted.

Its location in the Washington-Baltimore corridor, near the seat of government in Washington and the port of Baltimore, makes the University of Maryland an ideal location for programs in such areas as public policy, international studies and transportation, Toll said.

Plans are already under way for a school of public affairs, he noted, and he urged that programs in international studies and transportation be strengthened.

Its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, Toll said, dictates that the University of Maryland should have one of the nation's best programs in marine studies.

Coinciding with the drive for top students and faculty, Toll said, would be a program of "systematic recruiting of minority persons in the years ahead" as students, faculty and administrators. Additionally, he said, women will be sought out for top staff positions.

In addition to money from state and federal governments, Toll said, the university must make major efforts in the area of raising private money. Private annual support is now about $10 million annually; Toll said plans are underway to double that figure by 1985.

As part of the effort to keep top faculty, he said, the university will press for endowed professorial chairs with endowments of $500,000 or more.