Appendix - D: Master’s Programs at Iowa State University
The number of credits in a major for a master's degree will vary according to the degrees offered. General credit requirements for all master's degrees include:
- a minimum of 30 graduate credits is required for all master’s programs at ISU;
- at least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU;
- any transfer of graduate credits from another institution must be recommended in the program of study by the POS committee; and
- graduate credit earned as a graduate student will be approved for transfer only if a B grade or better was earned. A transcript must accompany the POS form.
D.1 Master of Arts or Master of Science—Thesis
At least 30 credits of acceptable graduate work must be completed, not less than 22 of which must be earned from ISU. Students are expected to research and write a thesis that demonstrates independent and creative work. A minimum of 3 semester credits is required for thesis research.
D.2 Master of Arts or Master of Science—Nonthesis
In certain programs a nonthesis degree program is offered. (For more information on requirements, contact the individual program or department.) This option requires the satisfactory completion of at least 30 graduate credit hours of acceptable work (not including research credit), not less than 22 of which must be earned from ISU, and satisfactory completion of a comprehensive final oral examination. In addition, every nonthesis master’s program must present substantial evidence of individual accomplishment (e.g., a special report, capstone course, integrated field experience, annotated bibliography, or other creative endeavor). A minimum of two semester hours of such independent work (referred to as the creative component) is required on every program of study for a nonthesis master’s degree and is applied toward the credit-hour requirement. This element of creative independent study must be explicitly identified on the program of study. Detailed requirements may vary with fields. Reference should be made to the program descriptions in the ISU Catalog.
D.3 Master of Accounting
The Department of Accounting offers a 30 graduate credit Master of Accounting graduate degree. The program requires 15 credits of graduate accounting courses, at least 9 credits of non-accounting graduate electives, a communications course, an international course from an approved list, and an optional creative component. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. The degree is appropriate for any student wanting to pursue a variety of accounting careers. Additionally, the program is designed to help interested candidates meet the 150-hour education requirement for the CPA certification in Iowa. Graduate students who are not required to take a final oral examination should complete all required coursework on the POS prior to or during the term of graduation. Any transfer credits must be completed the term before the graduation term and follow normal transfer rules.
D.4 Master of Architecture
The Department of Architecture offers a program leading to the Master of Architecture, a professional degree. This degree is available as a thesis, non-thesis, or coursework-only option.
The M.ARCH. I (100-credit) option is designed for individuals with an undergraduate degree other than architecture. Students explore a full range of architectural subjects through seminars and an intensive sequence of design studios.
The M.ARCH. I (60-credit) option is for individuals with a pre-professional undergraduate major in architecture.
At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at Iowa State University for either the 60- or 100-credit option. Final oral examinations are required for the thesis and non-thesis (creative component) options; final oral examinations are not required for the coursework-only option.
D.5 Master of Arts in Teaching
This is a degree leading to teacher licensure. A range of graduate credits are required depending on the program offering the degree. The student must also demonstrate an ability to perform independent study through the completion of a creative component. At least 22 graduate credit hours must be earned at ISU.
D.6 Master of Business Administration
The College of Business offers a 48 graduate credit-hour program leading to a coursework-only Master of Business Administration degree. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. Students may select courses in the traditional business disciplines or choose areas of specialization in Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Information Systems, Leadership, Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Technology and Innovation Management. Graduate students who are not required to take a final oral examination should complete all required coursework on the POS prior to or during the term of graduation. Any transfer credits must be completed the term before the graduation term and follow normal transfer rules.
D.7 Master of Business Analytics
The Master of Business Analytics is a 30-credit, interdisciplinary graduate program that addresses the challenges of dealing with data analytics and business intelligence in the “Big Data” environment. At least 22 credits must be taken at Iowa State University. The Master of Business Analytics is a unique, blended program offering both online and face-to-face education. Students begin the 21 month program in the summer with a one-week, on campus business analytics overview course. Students revisit the campus at the midway point, and at the end of the program. The remainder of the coursework is delivered online. The program draws from several of Iowa State’s leading educational fields in science and technology including Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Statistics, and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. This interdisciplinary program offers businesses the opportunity to develop managers who will master analytics in ways that lead to increased profits for their company.
D.8 Master of Community and Regional Planning
The Master of Community and Regional Planning degree requires a minimum of 48 graduate semester credit hours. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. This degree is available as a thesis or nonthesis option.
D.9 Master of Design in Sustainable Environments
Students in the Master of Design in Sustainable Environments will utilize design strategies, systems, and materials for environmental and product design. Students will study ways of envisioning, making and remaking art, landscapes, communities, building, and objects of everyday use that conserve resources, ameliorate ecological problems, and promote social, political, and economic justice. This is a 3-semester, 35 graduate credit course of study that offers opportunities for students to work in interdisciplinary teams on a variety of faculty-directed projects that may include funded basic and applied research, community-based design work, and theoretical investigations. The program addresses issues of sustainable design at multiple scales, engaging both systems and artifacts. At least 22 graduate credits must be taken at ISU. This is a coursework only program of study.
D.10 Master of Education
For the Master of Education degree, a range of 30 to 40 graduate credits are required. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. The student demonstrates an ability to perform independent study through the completion of a creative component or a field-based activity.
D.11 Master of Engineering
The academic standards and the general level of attainment are the same for the Master of Engineering and Master of Science degrees. Master of Engineering programs are offered to meet the needs for professionally-oriented programs on campus and for off-campus professionally-oriented programs at locations with adequate library and laboratory facilities. An appropriate number of credit hours in design, laboratory work, computation, or independent study is required as evidence of individual accomplishment. A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required; at least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU.
Graduate students who are not required to take a final oral examination should complete all required coursework on the POS prior to or during the term of graduation. Any transfer credits must be completed the term before the graduation term and follow normal transfer rules.
D.12 Master of Family and Consumer Sciences
The College of Human Sciences offers the nonthesis Master of Family and Consumer Sciences degree. Students in this degree program select one of the following specializations: Dietetics, Family Financial Planning, Gerontology, or Youth Development. The Master of Family and Consumer Sciences degree will prepare students to meet the requirements of their current professional roles or progress in their careers. The degree requires 36 credits; at least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. Students must complete a final oral examination to graduate.
D.13 Master of Finance
The Master of Finance requires a minimum of 40 credits of graduate coursework, with an additional 6 credits of introductory accounting and finance being required if the student lacks previous coursework in accounting and finance. This is a coursework only program with no thesis or creative component required. At least 22 credits must be earned at ISU. The Master of Finance will prepare students for careers in advanced financial data analysis, credit analysis, risk management, and similar specialized areas. The curriculum will also be helpful to those wishing to pursue professional certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designations. These designations are earned by passing a series of exams offered through the CFA Institute and GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals), respectively.
D.14 Master of Fine Arts
For this degree a minimum of 54-64 graduate credits is required, including the completion of a thesis-exhibition or a thesis. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU.
D.15 Master of Industrial Design
This degree is open to students and professionals from any discipline. However, the difference among the students with various backgrounds will be the number of credits required for graduation. The program is designed to be a 63-credit program for students with industrial design backgrounds (BFA, BID, and BA in industrial design). The program is designed to offer the most relevant mix of skills and experience, including directed research programs, internships, international travel and industry-sponsored coursework. Those who do not have an undergraduate degree or background in industrial design may need to complete additional graduate-level courses to earn the Master of Industrial Design. Specific requirements will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
D.16 Master of Landscape Architecture
The Master of Landscape Architecture degree requires a minimum of 36 graduate credits and the satisfactory completion of a thesis, creative component, or coursework only program. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU.
D.17 Master of Urban Design
The Master in Urban Design program (MUD) is an advanced, interdisciplinary program of study for graduate students with previous degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning or the equivalent in professional design experience. This is a 3-semester (summer, fall, spring), 30 graduate credit workshop course of study, where students engage directly in a community of inquiry, learning, and practice to examine contemporary challenges facing urbanized regions. At least 22 graduate credits must be earned at ISU. This is a coursework only program of study.
D.18 Master of Human Computer Interaction
The Master of Human Computer Interaction (MHC) degree will give students a deep knowledge of interaction technology, behavioral and social science, and human-centered design to develop useful and useable technology. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits. At least 22 must be taken at Iowa State University. It is a coursework only program.
D.19 Master of Professional Practice in Dietetics
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition offers a Master of Professional Practice in Dietetics (MPP) for 30 credits, which is a coursework only program -- no thesis or creative component is required The primary audience for the program will be students completing the Dietetic Internship (DI) Graduate Certificate. Graduate credits awarded in the Graduate Certificate will be applied towards the master’s degree. The Commission on Dietetics Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, announced a master's degree will be required to take the national registration exam to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) beginning in 2024.
D.20 Master of Athletic Training
The Department of Kinesiology offers a 24-month, 58-credit professional master's degree in Athletic Training. The overall academic goal is to prepare students for successful completion of the Board of Certification (BOC) examination and to enter the athletic training profession as skilled and prepared clinicians. Students will be taught essential athletic training didactic knowledge and clinical skills based on the Athletic Training Education Competencies established by CAATE. This is a coursework only program of study.
D.21 Master of Real Estate Development
The College of Design and College of Business offers a 21-month, 33-credit master's degree in Real Estate Development in a blended format of online and in-person courses graduate training in real estate market analysis, business finance, fundamentals of the built environment and urban planning with an emphasis on current trends and innovations. The program engages with industry to facilitate a novel curriculum, guest speakers, and capstone project, and encourages a working relationship between ISU MRE faculty and alumni in the real estate development and investment industries. The target students is a working professional with 5 to 7 years of work experience in a real estate related field.
D.22 Master of Community Development
The Community and Regional Planning department offers a 24-month program that includes 30 credit hours of cohort-based learning. It provides students with graduate training in community development theory, community data analysis, community engagement, community development methods, program development, and evaluation. The program is a coursework-only degree. It is geared toward working professionals seeking graduate training, most of who are currently employed in the public service sectors.
D.22 Master of Entrepreneurship
The Management and Entrepreneurship department offers a 30-credit hour program that can be completed in as little as one year. In this program, students will develop the primary entrepreneurial skills needed to identify and evaluate market opportunities and formulate and implement successful strategies for moving a business idea forward. They will do this through innovative pedagogical methods in the classroom, multiple experiential learning opportunities, and networking within ISU’s extensive entrepreneurial environment. The curriculum for this proposed degree is designed to be somewhat flexible, to account for students’ varying interests, background, and plans.