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Iowa State University - 2016

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Admissions Information

Graduate Admission to the College of Engineering

All degree-seeking graduate students must have graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or from a recognized foreign institution where the requirements for the bachelor’s degree or its equivalent are similar to those at ISU. Additionally, each applicant must be accepted at ISU by the major program, the Office of Admissions, and the Graduate College. For information concerning graduate study in a particular academic discipline, prospective students should correspond with the chair of the major program in which they wish to study.

In the College of Engineering, there are 8 graduate engineering departments as well as 14 interdepartmental programs with engineering participation and admission recommendations are made by the individual departments. See ISU Graduate College web site for more information (

Graduate Admission to an Engineering Department

Varies by department. To receive information related to your research interest, please visit and complete the Graduate Information Request form. At this site, also find links to each of the 8 college engineering departments and 14 interdepartmental programs with engineering participation.

Entrance Requirements for Foreign Students

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not earned a bachelor's or master's in a country where the only official language is English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as part of their application for admission. A minimum score of at least 550 on the Paper Based Test (PBT) or 79 on the internet Based Test (iBT) test is required for admission to the Graduate College. International students may also submit IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores in lieu of the TOEFL. The ISU Graduate College minimum is 6.5. Because some programs require higher scores, applicants should check directly with the program to which they desire admission. Graduate students whose native language is not English and who do not have an undergraduate degree from Iowa State University or another US institution must also take the English Placement Test at the beginning of their first semester of enrollment. Students who do not pass this examination are assigned to one or more courses in the English 101 series. This coursework must be completed during the first year of study. Admission requirements/forms can be accessed at the following website:

Entrance Requirements for Non-Resident Students

For degree-seeking students, if a bachelor's degree was received from other than ISU, the applicant will need to 1) submit official transcripts of grades and credits earned from each institution attended and 2) have the institution that granted the undergraduate baccalaureate degree provide a statement of the degree received.

Residency Requirements

State of Iowa students with graduate assistantships: 1) 1/4 time or more for three months (six weeks in the summer) or more are assessed Iowa resident tuition and may earn a tuition scholarship; 2) 1/4 time or more for more than five class days but less than three months (six weeks in the summer) are assessed tuition by the credit hour and are not eligible for a tuition scholarship. Nonresident students (non-Iowa students and nonresident aliens) with graduate assistantships 1/4 time or more for three months (six weeks in the summer) 1) retain their nonresidency classification, 2) are assessed resident tuition as long as the graduate assistantship is continued, and 3) may earn a tuition scholarship. Nonresident students 1/4 time or more for more than five class days but less than three months (six weeks in the summer) 1) retain their nonresidency classification, 2) are assessed tuition by the credit hour, and 3) are not eligible for a tuition scholarship. The nonresident spouse of a graduate assistant (on appointment for three months or more) is eligible for resident tuition during the period of the assistantship appointment. State of Iowa residency is not granted, but a waiver of nonresident tuition is permitted each semester the appointment is in effect and ends when the appointment is finished. Graduate students receiving fellowships that provide for payment of tuition and/or fees are assessed the full-time rate in accordance with their residency status. Assistantship support provided to such students is considered to be supplemental income, so fee reduction and the tuition scholarship normally associated with assistantship support do not apply. Graduate students appointed as instructors, research associates, postdoctoral research associates, or assistant professors are approved by the Office of the Registrar for state of Iowa residency and pay full-time resident tuition according to the number of credit hours taken. Spouses of students holding any of these appointments are also approved for state of Iowa residency and pay the same full-time resident tuition. Nonresident students (non-Iowa and nonresident aliens) with the above appointments and their spouses have the nonresident portion of their tuition waived only while the appointment is in effect. State of Iowa residency is not granted as a result of the graduate appointment. State of Iowa residency is not granted as a result of a graduate assistantship appointment. The official determination of the student’s state of residency is made only in the Office of the Registrar.

Admissions Requirements for Transfer Students

At the discretion of the Program of Study (POS) committee, and with the approval of the program and the Graduate College, graduate credits earned as a graduate student at another institution or through a distance education program offered by another institution may be transferred if the grade was B or better. Such courses must have been acceptable toward an advanced degree at that institution and must have been taught by individuals having graduate faculty status at that institution. If a student wishes to transfer credits from graduate courses taken at or through another university as an undergraduate student, it is that student's responsibility to provide verification by letter from that institution that those graduate courses were not taken to satisfy undergraduate requirements for a degree. A transcript must accompany the POS in order to transfer credits. The POS committee may ask for other materials, such as a course outline or accreditation of the institution, to evaluate the course. Transfer courses not completed when the POS is submitted must be completed before the term in which the student graduates. A transcript must then be submitted for review and final approval. Research credits earned at another institution are generally not transferred. In rare circumstances, the transfer of S or P marks may be accepted for research credits only. It is the responsibility of the POS committee to obtain a letter from the responsible faculty member at the other institution stating that research credits recommended for transfer with S or P marks are considered to be worthy of a B grade or better. Audits may be listed on the program of study, but do not carry credit. Undergraduate-level courses are sometimes required of graduate students to make up deficiencies in undergraduate background. They appear on the POS form as Z courses. Such courses appear on transcripts and are included in the determination of the grade point average. These courses may not be taken on a P/NP basis.