Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2009-2011 Courses and Programs

Iowa State University Catalog

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Graduate College

David K. Holger, Dean
George A. Jackson, Assistant Dean
Carolyn Payne, Assistant Dean


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.

Iowa State University has a shared application process, which means certain items are sent (electronically or in print form) to the Office of Admissions and other items are sent to the graduate program to which the prospective student is applying. Detailed instructions are available at Students are also encouraged to check the Program Requirements Web page on the Graduate College Web site at for mailing instructions and deadlines for each program.

The nonrefundable application fee is $30 ($70 for international applicants). An electronic application is required to apply to ISU’s graduate programs; the form and necessary instructions are available at 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. Iowa State requires official academic records and statements of all degrees earned from all institutions attended since secondary school. Faxed, scanned, and notarized copies are not considered official. 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

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:
1. Those who intend to transfer graduate credit earned at Iowa State University to other institutions.
2. Those who intend to use graduate credits earned for professional certification.
3. Those who enroll for personal satisfaction.
4. Those who enroll occasionally in off-campus graduate courses.Students who wish to apply to Iowa State University without a declared major need to contact the Office of Admissions, 100 Enrollment Services Center (1-800-262-3810) for the nondegree application form for students in this category. The application form is also available at the web site at

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

International students are required to show evidence of financial support and to carry adequate health and accident insurance while in residence.

Admission Examinations

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 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 79 on the TOEFL internet-based test or 550 on the paper-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 6.5. 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

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. A student who does not pass this examination is assigned to one or more courses in the English 99 and 101 series. This course work must be completed during the first year of study . (There is a developmental course fee for the English 99 course.). Non-native English speaking ISU graduate students who meet or exceed the TOEFL scores (640 or above on the paper-based test or 105 on the internet-based test) are exempted from taking the Enlish Placement Test. (Self-enrollment in English 099 or 101 courses remains possible.

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 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. Department offices have a schedule of SPEAK/TEACH testing dates, or browse the SPEAK/TEACH Web site. Registration for the test is held in 1116 Pearson Hall the day before the test is administered. TAs and faculty with questions about SPEAK/TEACH testing should call 515-294-1958 or 515-294-7996. A prospective teaching assistant who does not pass these tests is required to successfully complete course work and be retested. University Studies 180 is a series of communication courses designed to help new teaching assistants. Students focus upon pronunciation, listening, question-handling, teaching and lecturing skills, and analyze the culture of U.S. university life. Because enrollment is restricted, TAs cannot register for the courses online through AccessPlus. TAs must go to the SPEAK/TEACH Office,1116 Pearson by the first or second day of classes to obtain permission to enter the course by completing a course add slip.

Graduate College Degree Requirements-Masters
Graduate Study, Appointments Graduate Minors
Registration Degree Requirements-Ph.D.
Information for Undergraduates Graduate Majors
Concurrent Programs Graduate Certificate Programs
Grading Specific Master's Degrees
Master's Double Degree Programs