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Transfer academic requirements

Grade point average

Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.25 in all transferable courses. If less than 24 transferable courses, then high school transcripts will also be required.

Students with an associate’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. 2 or 4 year institution may be admitted with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Advanced course credit

English proficiency requirement

International students must satisfy Iowa State’s English proficiency requirement by achieving a satisfactory score on any one of the following exams or by fitting into one of the categories listed below:

Option Minimum Score or Grade Required Iowa State Code
TOEFL 71 IBT with a 17 or above on the Speaking and Writing sections 17 on all sections on the Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT) 6306
IELTS 6.0 overall score with all subscores 5.5 or above IELTS doesn't use codes
*Duolingo English Test (DET) 100 overall score DET doesn't use codes
PTE 48 overall score PTE doesn't use codes
SAT 460 Evidence-Based Writing and Reading subscore (EWR) 6306
ACT 19 English subscore 1320
International Baccalaureate (IB) 5 on any of the four IB English courses (SL or HL)  
Advanced Placement (AP) 3 on English Language and Composition, or 4 on English Literature and Composition  
IGCSE (O Levels/AS & A Levels) D in First Language English, or C in English as a Second Language  

International students who fit into any of the following categories will be considered to have met the requirement:

  • Residents of a country where English is the only official language and who is a native English speaker
  • Graduates of U.S. high schools
  • Completed the equivalent of Iowa State’s English 150 or 250 with a grade of B or better at an accredited U.S. 2 year or 4 year college or university.

Documents required for admission

  1. English proficiency exam results
  2. Transcripts of all high schools or universities attended
  3. Bank statement or sponsor letter showing $46,000 USD, equivalent to one year’s expenses
  4. Copy of passport, and of visa (if available)

For admission purposes, scanned documents are accepted. If you are offered admission, official final documents will be required.

International transfer credit guidelines

As a transfer student, you may have questions about how international transfer credit is awarded at Iowa State. This page is intended to help you understand that process and inform you of what steps you can take to make it as easy as possible.

Transfer credit evaluation is a two-step process. The first step is done by the Office of Admissions where we determine how many transfer credits can be awarded for each course. When this step is done, we post your Transfer Credit Evaluation on the AccessPlus webpage where you can view it.

The second step is done by the college in which your major resides. This usually occurs after you arrive at Iowa State. Your college must determine which classes accepted for transfer will fulfill requirements for the major you have chosen. To assist them in this process, please do the following:

  1. If you are still attending your previous university, remember to have your final official academic record/transcript sent to the Office of Admissions as soon as it is available so those courses can be added to your transfer credit evaluation.
  2. When you arrive at Iowa State, follow the international orientation schedule and attend all of the sessions. Meetings during orientation will provide you with important information about selecting and registering for classes. During orientation, you will meet with your academic advisor to discuss your college's process for reviewing your transfer credits.
  3. Please bring to the above meeting an official syllabus of your previous coursework from all previous universities. An official syllabus is one that bears the original stamp or seal of the university. If an official syllabus in English is not provided by the school, you must provide both the official syllabus in the original language and a copy in English. The English translation must be done either by your university or a professional translator.
  4. Each course is evaluated individually and the process may require two or three weeks to complete. You may be required to meet with faculty members in various disciplines to discuss the content of your previous courses and to provide additional materials, such as reading lists, textbooks used, term reports, or examination results.

International transfer credit evaluation process

  1. Determine Credits
    • Iowa State requires 120 credits to graduate. We use this number to help determine the number of transfer credits we award a student.
      • Example: If a university requires 150 hours for a four-year degree, we would take 120/150=.80. We would take the credits on the transcript and multiply them by .80.
    • We round the result to determine the number of credits awarded.
      • Example: 3 x .8=2.4 we would award 2.5. 4 x .8=3.2 we would award 3 credits.
    • For courses that list hours instead of credits, we take the number of hours and divide by 15.
      • Example: A 45-hour course would be awarded 3 credits.
    • For most Chinese schools we multiply the number of credits by .70 and round up.
    • We normally do not award credit for a course awarded less than 1 credit (exception- labs).
  2. Determine Course Level
    • We award credit for course work at the level it was taught at the institution.
      • Example: A second-year course would receive 200 level credit, even if the Iowa State course is 300 level.
    • The U.K. has a three-year university program. Therefore, first-year courses would be awarded 200 level credit, a second-year course 300 level, etc.
  3. Determine the Department
    • The department is determined by using some or all of the following information: the course name, course description, syllabus, and the Iowa State course catalog.
  4. Determine Grading Scale
    • We use a variety of research and reference guides to determine the grading scale for each university.
    • Examples include: AACRO Edge, the reverse side of official transcripts, universities websites.
  5. Other Guidelines
    • We do not accept credits from universities that are not accredited by the educational authorities of the foreign country.
    • We do not award credit for:
      • Military credit
      • Moral courses
      • PE and Specific Sports
      • English as a Second Language
      • English composition from universities in countries where English is not the only official language (we will award credit for speech or English literature)
      • Developmental, remedial, vocational, or technical nature
      • Courses or programs in which the institution granting the credit is not directly involved
      • International Chinese Summer Schools

Applying for a Visa

Applying for a visa can take a lot of time and preparation. Be sure to start early, and refer to the U.S. embassy website in your country.

An I-20 is a form that U.S. schools issue to international students to indicate they have met all admission requirements to enter that school. If you live outside the U.S., you will need to take the Form I-20 to the nearest U.S. Consulate in your country, along with a valid passport, TOEFL score, financial support documents and school transcripts, to obtain a F-1 Student visa. It is important to remember to sign your I-20 prior to entering the United States.

If you are already in the U.S., the form may be issued only after the release date given to you by your previous school. That is usually the last date that you have attended classes.

To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their visas several weeks before they plan to travel. Students may not be issued a visa more than 120 days before the registration date noted on the I-20.

All applicants for a Student Visa must provide:

  • A Form I-20. Iowa State will mail the Certificate of Eligibility for a Student Visa (Form I-20) to you once you have been selected for admission and have demonstrated that you have adequate funds to cover all of your educational and living expenses. When you receive it, please check the spelling of your name, birth date, and entry date for accuracy, read it carefully, and sign it in the designated space.
  • A completed non-immigrant online visa application form (DS-160) with your photo. These forms are available at the Embassy at no charge.
  • A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.
  • A receipt for the visa application processing fee.
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (I-901 receipt).

All applicants should be prepared to provide:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from all institutions attended.
  • Scores from any standardized tests taken, such as the TOEFL, SAT, ACT, IELTS, etc.
  • Financial evidence that shows you or your financial sponsor have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. (You may use the copy you made of the Undergraduate Financial Statement and attach supporting documents. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.)

Refer to the U.S. Department of State website for additional details.

Once you have your visa, you may begin making your travel arrangements. Please do so early, as airline flights are filled quickly during the student travel season.

It is important to remember that visa regulations prohibit students from arriving more than 30 days in advance of the date of arrival on their Form I-20.

You must have your current visa status verified by your current school by having them complete the Transfer I-20 Request Form. This form should not be completed until you have accepted your offer of admission to Iowa State University.