Thank you for your interest in Iowa State University! 

Please read these instructions carefully before beginning your application.

Admission criteria are established by both the Graduate College and by the graduate program. 

  • Iowa State requires a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to beginning graduate studies.  Because holding a degree from a regionally accredited institution is a fundamental requirement for graduate study at Iowa State University, no appeals to waive this requirement are considered.   
  • International degrees must be comparable to a US bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university regionally accredited/recognized by the Ministry of Education in that country.
  • 3-year degrees from India, Bangladesh, Canada (excluding Quebec), Nepal, and Pakistan are not accepted. 3-year degrees from other countries are reviewed on an individual basis.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average equivalent to at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (B grade) is required for admission.
  • The English proficiency requirements of the Graduate College and the graduate program to which you have applied must both be met prior to enrollment.
  • There is no university-wide requirement that graduate applicants submit results from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT); however, most programs do require one or the other. 

Deadlines represent the endpoint in the application process (i.e., the final completion of your file) rather than the beginning of that process.  All materials with the exception of examination results should be received by the program deadline for timely consideration.  Graduate programs vary in their willingness to consider late applications.


The nonrefundable application fee for domestic students (US citizens, US permanent residents, refugees, asylees, DACA or undocumented) is $60. The nonrefundable application fee for international applicants is $100.

Some programs may delay the collection of the application fee until after your application has been reviewed. Should you be offered admission, your application fee may be paid by your program, or it may be deferred to your first university bill after you enroll at Iowa State.  

Multiple programs

If you wish to apply to multiple programs, you will incur multiple nonrefundable application fee charges (e.g., $120 for two domestic applications, $180 for three domestic applications).  You will not need to submit multiple copies of your supporting application materials when application requirements are the same. Each program may have unique or additional requirements, you will be able to view these requirements in your Admissions MyAccount.

Please note, however, that the programs will be informed that you are applying to multiple programs.

Fee waivers

The only fee waivers offered are to McNair Scholars. US military veterans and those currently serving will have their application fee deferred until they enroll.


If variations of your name will appear on examination score reports or academic records, please provide those variations in the space provided. If you have only one name, please enter it in the last name or surname field. It is important that international applicants use the same spelling that appears on their passport to prevent problems with the visa process.

Address – international applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require that international students requesting a student visa provide a residential address outside the United States. We recommend you avoid using PO Box addresses whenever possible as express mail carriers will not deliver to PO boxes.

Universities attended

Please list your most recent university first, including the one you are currently attending. Note for Indian applicants: Please list the university that will award your degree, NOT the affiliated or constituent college in which you are enrolled.

Grade point average (GPA)

On the application, you are asked to provide your cumulative GPA at the undergraduate level (and graduate if appropriate). You should use the grading system used at your institution and provide the maximum attainable score as well. For example, for U.S. schools, one would write “3.0/4.0.” Students graded on percentage systems might write 80/100%. Examples of other systems include 2nd Class Upper/1st Division; 7/10; 13/20, etc. Once transcripts have been received and evaluated, your graduate admissions GPA will be calculated by the Office of Admissions.

Statement of purpose

All programs require a statement of purpose.  There is a strict limit of 500 words, so we encourage you to be succinct.  Once submitted, no changes can be made, so please proofread your statement (as well as all other entries) carefully before submission.  You will upload your statement of purpose in your Admissions MyAccount following application submission.  

Online recommendations

Iowa State prefers that you use the online letter of recommendation process. By including your recommenders’ names and e-mail addresses on the application form, they will be sent an email with a link to our online Letter of Recommendation form after you submit your application. Emails to your recommenders will not be sent until submit your application. More details are provided in the Letter of Recommendation section of these instructions.

Previous Iowa State graduate students

If you were previously enrolled at Iowa State as a degree-seeking graduate student in the last two years, you do not need to apply again. Contact your major professor or DOGE about next steps for continuing in your program. If you were last enrolled as a degree- seeking graduate student longer than two years ago, you should submit the “Reinstatement to Active Status” form (available on the Graduate College website) and gain the approval of a graduate program and the Graduate College.

All examinations should be taken at least six weeks prior to the graduate program’s application deadline to ensure timely receipt and processing of results.  Test results must be sent directly from the testing agency to our institution to be considered official. 

Please upload copies of any examination results you have after submitting your application in your Admissions MyAccount as they may help the University locate your official test scores when your application is processed. 

English proficiency

For the purpose of applying to Iowa State, English may be considered your primary language if you have been raised in an environment where English is the only official language of your locality and nation, and English is the language used in your home. If your primary language is not English, you must meet the university’s English proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

1. Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree from a country where English is the only official language, such as the following. (Complete list available from Admissions.)

  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Canada (exc. Québec)
  • Dominica
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Liberia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (exc. PR)
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

2. Submit official results from one of the following exams. The minimum requirements of both the Graduate College and the graduate program to which you are applying must be met. The minimum scores accepted by the Graduate College are:

  • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) 79
  • IELTS 6.5
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) 53
  • DuoLingo English Test 105 (approved through spring 2025 admission cycle)

Official TOEFL exam results must be sent directly from the educational testing service to Iowa State electronically. Our school code is 6306. The IELTS testing agency may send electronic results or mail official results to:

Office of Admissions
Iowa State University
100 Enrollment Services
2433 Union Drive
Ames, IA 50011-2042

Graduate records examination (GRE)

Most programs do not enforce strict cut-off scores. Rather, they review an applicant’s complete application package and credentials before making a decision. Official GRE results are sent electronically by the educational testing service. Our school code is 6306. No department codes are required. Once you’ve applied, check your Admissions MyAccount to see if exams are required by your program.

Graduate management aptitude test (GMAT)

The GMAT is accepted or required of applicants to business-related programs.  Check the program requirements page to determine if your program of choice requires it. Once you’ve applied, check your Admissions MyAccount to see if exams are required by your program.

Program requirements

We allow students to upload official copies of academic records for the purposes of application review.  Only if you are offered admission to Iowa State will you be required to submit official academic records.  See more information about this in the Uploading Documents section, and in the Official Academic Record section.

Academic records are called different names in different countries. In the US, we call them official “transcripts.” In India, the acceptable documents are referred to as “annual marksheets;” in Spanish-language countries, they may be called certificado de estudios; in France, relevé de notes. Records bearing the original stamp or seal of the school official responsible for issuing such records (the registrar, principal, controller of exams, etc.) are considered “official.” Records certified by lecturers, professors, or any other school officials who do not hold primary responsibility for maintaining the academic records of the institution are not official. Academic records printed from a school’s website are also not accepted.

For international transcripts, students have the option to submit evaluations from World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) for fall 2024 and beyond. You may upload or send your evaluation from either of these services. The evaluation must be a course-by-course evaluation and you must also include copies of your transcripts.

Note for applicants from India

We require semester or annual marksheets. College-issued mark sheets will only be accepted from autonomous colleges. Consolidated mark sheets are not accepted unless all attempts, retakes, and failures are included. Degree Statements must be issued and certified by the granting university, not the college. When uploading marksheets to your application account, select “Transcripts” not “Exams.”  

Official records bear the original stamp or seal of the school registrar.  Iowa State will not accept transcripts printed from a school’s website, nor grade reports. 

If you have an electronic copy of your transcript, you cannot upload it directly, as the electronic signature is encrypted and will not allow you to do so.  You will need to print a copy of it and rescan the copy before uploading.


Academic records should be in the official language of the country in which they were earned. If that is not English, an English language translation should be uploaded in addition to the official foreign language academic record. We will accept literal (not interpretative) English translations from any qualified translator.

Previous Iowa State students

If you were previously enrolled at Iowa State, you do not need to request your Iowa State transcripts; the Office of Admissions will obtain them directly.  

The US Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives enrolled students the right to view the contents of their application files. It is common practice to ask applicants for admission to sign a voluntary waiver of review rights, which means that if you enroll at Iowa State, you are giving up your rights to see the recommendations written on your behalf.  You may refuse to give such a waiver. Before doing so, however, please understand that it is commonly assumed that recommenders will be more candid in their statements about you if they know the recommendation will be kept confidential.  Some recommenders will refuse to submit a LOR for applicants that do not waive their right to view it.

Once you make your selection and submit your application, you may not change your response to that question

E-mail requests for letters of recommendation

Occasionally, a recommender will indicate they have not received our e-mail notification with the link to the LOR form.  In that event, please check that you entered their e-mail address accurately on the application.  If not, you may edit the information In the Admissions MyAccount and send a reminder to the new address.  If it was entered correctly, the e-mail may have been intercepted by the recommender’s SPAM filter.  Please ask them to check their SPAM folder for the message.  As a last resort, they could provide you with an alternative e-mail address, or submit the PDF LOR provided on our website (instructions below).

Managing your online LORs

Iowa State’s Admissions MyAccount system allows you to track when your online LORs are submitted, as well as change recommenders, edit e-mail addresses, and send reminders to your recommenders.

To do so, go to Graduate Apply, and click on “Admissions MyAccount” at the top of the page.  The Log In page will appear where you can reenter your Username and Password to sign in.  Click “View my Application(s)” and you will be able to see and track the status of any online LOR.  The following options are offered: 

  • Cancel   If a recommender has not completed the letter, you may cancel the letter request.  You will be returned to the Manage Letters of Recommendation page and allowed to add a new recommender name and e-mail. 
  • Resend   If you would like to send a reminder, select Resend Email, and a new request will be sent to the recommender. 
  • Edit   If you made an error in the e-mail address of a recommender, or if the recommender has now chosen to send a paper letter of recommendation, you may edit that information. 
  • Add New Recommender   This will allow you to send a letter of recommendation request to a new individual not listed on the original application for admission.

PDF letters of recommendation

If a recommender does not wish to submit a LOR online, or has difficulty doing so, please follow these instructions:

  1. Download the PDF copy of the Letter of Recommendation form, complete Sections 1 and 3, and save the completed form. 
  2. Send the form to your recommender.  You must include the postal address and/or e-mail address of the program to which you have applied so your recommender will know where to send the form once completed.  (You will find contact information on the Program Requirements section on the web.)
  3. Be aware that only online recommendation letters are tracked on the Admissions MyAccount.  You will not be able to track PDF LORs on the Admissions MyAccount. Those should be sent directly to the graduate program to which you apply. Your program can upload these to the Admissions MyAccount on your behalf. LORs should not be sent to the Office of Admissions.

In order to save you the time, effort, and expense of mailing supplemental application materials such as academic records, departmental forms, and resumes, we allow you to upload your supplemental materials in your Admissions MyAccount after you submit your application.  Uploaded materials will be used to make the admissions decision.  Only if you are offered admission to Iowa State will you be required to submit official academic records.  

Documents should be uploaded directly to the application action items on your Admissions MyAccount. You can also upload additional documents that have not been directly requested. However, these can be used by programs during the evaluation of the application. While application action items vary by program, all applicants must submit:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Scanned copies of official academic records and degree statements issued by any institution where you earned (or will earn) a bachelor’s, and any institution attended after that (e.g., graduate work, etc.)  Do NOT scan web-based transcripts or grade reports. 
  • Any supplemental forms or materials required by the graduate program as indicated in the Program Requirements and requested in your Admissions MyAccount

Please do not upload the following:

  • Undergraduate records of only one semester enrollment or 15 credits or less
  • Secondary and/or pre-university records
  • Merit certificates or certificates of participation
  • Web-based advising reports or online transcripts
  • Student transcripts, grade reports or degree audits
  • Theses or dissertations (unless requested)
Scanning tips
  • Save your documents as a PDF files.  We will not accept TIFF, JPEG, or Word files.
  • If you have received an electronic transcript from your school, be aware that it is encrypted, and cannot be uploaded directly to our site.  You must first download it, print it, and then scan it before uploading to our application.
  • If scanning transcripts from multiple schools, scan them as individual files. 
  • If your academic record includes a legend or key which provides information on the university grading scale, please include ONE copy of that page.
  • Scan the document at the lowest resolution possible to produce a legible document (maximum 300 dpi).  The file size cannot exceed 30 MB (30,000 KB). 
  • If the scanned file is still too large, make a photocopy of the document and then scan the photocopy. 
  • Please review the image after scanning to ensure it is legible.  If it is not, delete it, and experiment with different scanner settings until you find one that results in a legible document.
Managing your documents

You can manage requested action items and other documents in your Admissions MyAccount.  Just remember that documents must be in PDF format and each document must not exceed 3 MB. 

Difficulty in uploading/scanning

We understand that not all applicants have the ability to prepare scanned legible documents for upload to the online application system.  Your application will receive full consideration as long as your official transcripts are in the Office of Admissions by the appropriate deadline. 

Important Note: Iowa State reserves the right to rescind any offer of admission if any discrepancies are found between your uploaded and official academic records and test scores, if altered or forged records are submitted, and if any essay, personal statement, or other supplemental materials include plagiarized information. If this information is discovered after matriculation at the institution, disciplinary action may be taken up to and including dismissal from the university. 

Upon receipt of the online application, all required academic records (transcripts), and satisfactory examination results, the Office of Admissions reviews your file for completeness, and makes it available to the graduate program(s) to which you have applied.  During our peak review season, this can take up to 3 weeks.  If you have not resolved the required action items (which include academic records and other documents), your file will be “Incomplete” and an e-mail will be sent to you advising you to log into your Admissions MyAccount to review and resolve these action items. 

Once your file is complete and has been reviewed by the Office of Admissions, it is made available to the program’s admissions committee for review.  Some graduate programs do their review on a rolling basis, and others wait until February or March and review all applicants at the same time.  Please contact the graduate program directly for information on when their decisions are usually made. 

The graduate program makes its admission recommendation to the Graduate College for the Dean’s approval.  If approved by the Dean, the Office of Admissions receives  the electronic file and takes formal action. 

Notification of admission

Some departments notify the applicant of their recommendation to the Graduate College; others prefer to wait until the Graduate College has approved the decision and formal notification can be sent by the Office of Admissions.

All Graduate applicants will receive their official offer of Admission via email.

International Students

If you will be on an F-1 or J-1 visa, Admissions reviews your financial documents to ensure you have made satisfactory arrangements to cover your educational and living expenses (and those of any family members) for the duration of your program. If not, you will be notified what is missing. If you have sufficient private funds, a full scholarship, or have been given full funding by the graduate program, your file will be released for issuance of the visa eligibility form (I-20 or DS-2019).

The I-20 Form will be forwarded to students residing outside of the US by email as well from the International Student Services Office.

Accepting your offer

In order to enroll at Iowa State, graduate students must accept their offer of admission. You can do this in your Admissions MyAccount once your official offer of admission has been processed. If you have questions about your offer of admission, please contact your program directly.  The contact information for the department is in the program requirements.

Program requirements

If you are approved by the Graduate Dean for admission to the university, you will be instructed to send hard copies of your official final academic records and degree statements. Documents you uploaded at time of application are not considered official. 

Paper copies mail to:
Office of Admissions

100 Enrollment Services Center

2433 Union Drive

Iowa State University

Ames, IA 50011-2011

Electronic transcripts

In some cases, Graduate Admissions can accept official electronic transcripts sent directly by your institution.  If you wish to provide electronic transcripts, have your institution’s Registrar send transcripts/credentials directly to through a secure, approved, document-transfer service.  Not all institutions, including most international institutions, have the ability to send transcripts/credentials through a secure, approved document transfer service.

Electronic documents sent as PDF attachments will not be accepted as official. 

All materials submitted in support of your application of admission become the property of Iowa State University and will not be returned in original or copy.

It is always our pleasure to assist students in their application process; however, we do ask that students read all instructions carefully before contacting us, as answers to your questions may have already been addressed. We also have a helpful listing of frequently asked questions online.  

Frequently asked questions

In order to better serve you, please also note below which office should be contacted regarding application issues: 

Office of Admissions:

  • Online application form
  • Uploading documents
  • Academic records/degrees
  • English proficiency exams

Graduate Program:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE/GMAT examinations
  • Admissions/denial decisions
  • Assistantship decisions

Contact us

Office of Admissions
100 Enrollment Services Center
2433 Union Drive
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2011

515-294-2592 (fax)

Contact Graduate Programs

Search for your program to find contact information.

Graduate Programs