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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.
The graduate application process at Iowa State is “self-managed,” which means that the student manages his/her own application by collecting the application, fee, academic records, letters of recommendation, and other supporting materials, and sending them to the university. (For application information, browse the Web site at www.admissions.iastate.edu/apply/.) Note that some materials (e.g., the application, application fee, and official transcripts), need to be sent to the Office of Admissions in one envelope and other program-related materials (e.g., three letters of recommendations, goal statements, and other supplementary items) will need to be sent to the program in a second envelope. The types of items that need to be sent and the addresses to send materials are listed on the Graduate College web site at www.grad-college.iastate.edu/programs/APprograms.php.
The application fee is $30 ($70 for international applicants). An electronic application is available on ISU’s graduate web site at www.grad-college.iastate.edu. The application fee is required of all applicants except those who have attended Iowa State as undergraduates, or those applying for admission in the nondegree admission status. In addition, an applicant must request that each previous college or university attended provide official transcripts of grades and credits earned, and request that the institution from which the degree was granted provide a statement of the degree received and the applicant’s quartile class rank, if available from the institution.
Many programs have very early application deadlines. For more details, check program deadlines at www.grad-college.iastate.edu/programs/APprograms.php.
Categories of Graduate Admission
An applicant pursuing an advanced degree must be recommended by the program in which he/she will be pursuing an advanced degree and must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.There are three admission categories for students who wish to pursue an advanced degree:
Full Admission status may be granted to an applicant who either has achieved a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater (on a 4.0 scale), or ranks in the upper one-half of his or her undergraduate class.
Provisional admission status may be granted to applicants who meet the requirements for full admission (listed above), but have academic or prerequisite deficiencies to remedy. Transfer from provisional admission to full admission status requires the completion of the graduate English requirement, completion of the coursework prescribed to remedy the background deficiencies with a grade average of B or better, and the written recommendation of the major professor and approval by the Dean of the Graduate College.
Restricted admission status may be granted to an applicant who does not satisfy the formal university requirements for full admission status and/or lacks undergraduate preparation in a field related to the graduate field of study. Restricted admission may also be granted to graduates of non-English-speaking foreign institutions, even if the student meets the university requirements for full admission status. Advancement from restricted to full admission status requires completion of 9 semester credits of graduate level course work as a graduate student with a cumulative grade average of B or better and satisfaction of the Graduate College English requirement. A recommendation is submitted in writing to the Graduate College by the major professor and must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.
Graduate Admission Without a Declared Major
Admission without a declared major is a category for graduates of regionally accredited institutions in the United States who do not intend to seek an advanced degree from Iowa State University. Such students usually include:
Applications and schedules for students with an undeclared major are processed directly by the Office of Admissions and the Graduate College office; no program approvals are generally required. (Applications and schedules for students declaring a major require program evaluation and approval.)
A student without a declared major who subsequently seeks full, provisional, or restricted admission must apply to and be accepted by a graduate program and by the Graduate College for degree study. A new application, the application fee (unless the student attended Iowa State University as an undergraduate), and transcripts from all colleges attended are required.
For those students originally admitted to the Graduate College on a nondegree basis, no more than 9 semester hours of graduate credit earned under the nondegree option may be applied if the student later chooses to undertake a graduate degree program. The student’s program of study committee will recommend to the Graduate College which courses (if any) taken on a nondegree basis may be included in the degree program.
Graduate Admission of International Students
An applicant who is a graduate of a recognized foreign institution is subject to the same criteria for admission as a graduate from an institution in the United States and may be recommended for the same admission categories described above except that of the nondegree option. International applicants for nondegree status may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Graduate College dean. Application and admission deadlines for international students can be obtained from the Admissions web site at www.admissions.iastate.edu/apply/.
International students are required to show evidence of financial support and to carry adequate health and accident insurance while in residence.
Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not a university-wide requirement for all applicants. However, many programs require or recommend submission of GRE scores; individual program statements at www.grad-college.iastate.edu/programs/APprograms.php should be consulted for this information.
English Requirements for Non-native Speakers
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 the admission process. A minimum score of at least 197 on the computer-based TOEFL test (530 on the paper-based test, 197 on the computer-based TOEFL test, or 79 on the recently instituted internet-based test) is required by 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 6.0. Because many programs require higher TOEFL and/or IELTS scores, applicants should check directly with the program to which they desire admission or browse the Graduate College Web site at www.grad-college.iastate.edu/programs/APprograms.php.
Graduate students whose native language is not English and who did not graduate from a U.S. institution must take an English Placement Test at the beginning of their first semester of enrollment. This test is administered by the Department of English. 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.
A graduate student whose native language is not English but did graduate from a U.S. institution, may bring to the Graduate College the “Request for the Graduate College to Approve the Graduate English Requirement for a Student Whose Native Language is NOT English” form, available from the Graduate College or on the Graduate College’s Web site at www.grad-college.iastate.edu/forms/forms.html. Two conditions must be met: the student must have received a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D degree from a U.S. college or university and the language of instruction at that college or university must have been in English.
New teaching assistants whose native language is not English are evaluated for their ability to communicate effectively in English before their assistantship assignments are made. Tests of oral proficiency and teaching skills (SPEAK and TEACH) are given before the beginning of each semester. A prospective teaching assistant who does not pass is required to complete coursework in speaking and teaching skills and must be retested.