Chapter 1 - Admissions
The Graduate College oversees the admission of students to pursue a graduate credential or to take graduate courses in nondegree student status. The Office of Admissions and the various graduate programs partner with the Graduate College to sustain an admissions process that respects institutional standards and the diverse needs of faculty and students across all realms of advanced study and scholarship. The Graduate College sets baseline admission requirements for the university and makes admission decisions. Graduate programs share specific admissions requirements to prospective students via their websites and the Graduate College Program Pages.
1.1 - Admission Process
All application materials for graduate study are submitted via the online application.
The Graduate College establishes dates to open and close applications for particular academic terms. Graduate programs may establish deadlines earlier than the date on which the application closes by which applicants must submit all required materials to be considered for admission. The application for all applicant types, except nondegree, will close the day prior to the start of the term. The graduate nondegree application closes once the second half of the entry term begins.
1.1.2 April 15 Resolution
The Graduate College abides by the April 15 Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). Applicants offered financial support to matriculate in a fall semester must be given until at least April 15 of that year to accept or decline the financial offer.
A nonrefundable application fee may be required as described in the online application.
1.1.4 Fee Payment
Applicants typically pay the application fee. However, any graduate program, department, or college may pay the fee by providing an applicant a coupon code to enter in the application. The Graduate College provides coupon codes to McNair Scholars. Applicants may only receive one coupon code per term of desired admission.
1.1.5 Application Validity
Applications are valid for four consecutive entry terms. An application submitted for a fall semester is valid for that fall as well as the spring, summer, and fall term immediately following.
1.1.6 Application for Resident Status
To be considered for tuition at the resident rate, individuals must submit required documents to the Office of the Registrar.
1.1.7 Evaluation of Applicants
Departments and programs convey recommendations concerning admission to the Graduate College. Final decisions regarding admission rest with the Dean of the Graduate College. The Graduate College, or the Office of Admissions acting on behalf of the Graduate College, will seek to ensure the authenticity of application materials. Graduate programs are expected to uphold ethical practices as they evaluate applicants by using principles of holistic review.
1.1.8 Admission Decisions
Official letters to applicants to report the outcomes of their applications are sent from the Dean of the Graduate College. Earlier reports to applicants from graduate programs and academic departments may share only admission recommendations and must state that the official decision on admission from the Graduate College will follow.
If an offer of admission should need to be revoked, for any reason, the Graduate College must review and approve the request.
After Census Day (10th day of the term), a currently enrolled ISU student cannot make changes to their graduate major for the current term. Any unresolved applications for concurrent-level admission or to pursue additional graduate programs on census day will be deferred to the following term.
1.2 - Application Requirements
1.2.1 Required Application Documents
Online graduate application.
Unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate study.
Official transcripts are only required from applicants admitted to the Graduate College. Electronic copies provided by the applicant are not considered official.
Applicants whose first language is not English must submit a valid, official test report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or from an approved alternative examination. Applicants who otherwise would need to submit scores are exempt if they hold baccalaureate or higher degrees from countries where the only official language is English.
A statement of purpose for each major to which the applicant is applying.
Additional documents such as letters of recommendation, résumé/curriculum vitae (CV), statement of purpose, writing samples, publications, portfolio, etc. may be required by programs.
1.2.2 Standardized Tests
Except for tests of English for nonnative English speakers, the Graduate College does not require scores from standardized tests. Individual programs may require scores from tests such as the GRE, GMAT, MAT, or Praxis. The Graduate College expects that, when scores are required, programs review them as part of a holistic evaluation. Use of minimum/cutoff scores is strongly discouraged, and admission recommendations should not be based only on scores from these optional tests.
1.2.3 Supplemental Application Forms
Graduate programs or departments cannot require an applicant to submit supplemental application forms that are not part of the ISU Application.
1.3 - Admission Standards and Requirements
1.3.1 Baccalaureate Degree
A baccalaureate degree, or equivalent from a suitably accredited college or university is required. Evidence of a conferred baccalaureate is needed by the start of the second semester of graduate study. Any exceptions to this admission standard must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.
1.3.2 Grade Point Average
A cumulative grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or equivalent, in undergraduate work or in previous graduate work is expected. Recommendations from graduate programs to admit applicants who do not meet this standard will be reviewed by the Graduate College. The GPA may also be met through one of the following:
Undergraduate degree with GPA greater than 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale)
Completed 9 to 14 credits of graduate coursework with grade B or better in all courses
Completed 15 or more credits of graduate coursework with GPA above 3.00 and no F grades
1.3.3 English Proficiency
Minimum scores for tests of English are shown below. Graduate programs may set higher minima for applicants to their programs.
Students whose first language is English or those who earned degree from countries where the only official language is English are exempt from the language proficiency requirements.
Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English equivalent to a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 550 on the paper-based test, or 79 on the internet-based test as a part of the admissions process. 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.
TOEFL Paper (PBT)
TOEFL Internet (iBT)
105 (approved through Spring 2025)
1.4 - Special Applicant Categories
1.4.1 Non-degree Seeking
Nondegree seeking graduate students are those who are not seeking a graduate degree. There is a limit of nine credits taken in this status that may be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid.
Undeclared graduate students are those who meet the Graduate College minimum requirements for admission but have not been admitted to a degree-seeking program. There is a limit to the number of courses taken in this status that may be used to satisfy degree requirements. Admission as an undeclared graduate student can only be recommended by the program if the applicant is not accepted for degree-seeking admission to that major. [effective fall 2024]
Previous applicants to the Graduate College who did not enroll within one academic year of admission must submit a new application and pay the required fee because the prior application is no longer valid.
Applicants who previously were active students within the Graduate College, have not registered for four or more consecutive fall and spring semesters, and seek readmission to the same degree program should submit a re-entry application through the reinstatement process.
Current graduate students who seek to change programs or pursue additional graduate degrees/credentials should complete an in-session status change application. The DOGE or DOCS (or designee) is responsible for approving the admission to the new major and submitting the form to the Graduate College.