Chapter 1 - Admissions

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1.1 - Admission with a Declared Major

All degree-seeking graduate students must have graduated with a bachelor’s or postbaccalaureate 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 the structure and role of the Graduate College at ISU, see Appendix A).

1.1.1 Admission Categories

Full admission status may be granted to an applicant who has achieved one of the following:

  1. Undergraduate degree with GPA greater than 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  2. Completed 9 to 14 credits of graduate coursework with grade B or better in all courses
  3. Completed 15 or more credits of graduate coursework with GPA above 3.0 and no F grades

Provisional admission status may be granted to an applicant who satisfies the formal university requirements for full admission status (see above), but who has certain academic background or prerequisite deficiencies to remedy.

Transfer from provisional to full admission status requires that the student:

  • remove the background deficiencies (coursework taken will require an average of B (3.00) or better),
  • meet the Graduate English requirement (for students whose native language is not English),
  • secure a written recommendation from the program’s Director of Graduate Education or his/her major professor to send to the Graduate College, and
  • obtain approval of 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.

Transfer from restricted to full admission status will be made automatically at the end of each semester. The automated change to full status will be made for students who have:

  • completed at least nine semester credit hours of graded courses from an approved POS as a graduate student at ISU,
  • earned a cumulative grade point average of B or above (3.00), and
  • met the Graduate English requirement (for students whose native language is not English).

1.1.2 Entrance Examinations

Examinations are not uniformly required of all applicants for admission. However, 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. Individual graduate programs may require higher TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission.

Graduate programs may require or recommend (of both native and nonnative speakers of English) other entrance examinations, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), the Graduate School Foreign Language Test (GSFLT) or the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Information about each program’s requirements can be found at the Graduate College’s website here.

1.1.3 Distance Education Courses

Admission requirements are the same for on-and off-campus courses. Detailed information is available in the Iowa State University Catalog or browse the Distance Education website at http://www.distance.iastate.edu/. Students who have received the baccalaureate degree and meet the requirements for graduate admission must register as graduate students if they wish to take graduate credit courses, but they may register without declaring a major.

Admission as a Nondegree Graduate Student

Graduates of regionally accredited U.S. institutions who do not intend to seek an advanced degree at ISU may wish to undertake some graduate-level coursework and enroll as nondegree graduate students. They may:

  • transfer graduate credits earned at ISU to other institutions,
  • use graduate credits earned for professional certification,
  • enroll for personal satisfaction, or
  • enroll occasionally in off-campus graduate courses.

Students wishing to apply as a nondegree graduate student must obtain an "Iowa State University Application for Nondegree Students” form from the Office of Admissions (100 Enrollment Services Center, 1-800-262-3810), or download a copy of the nondegree application from the Office of Admissions website at http://www.admissions.iastate.edu/. A reason for attending ISU as a nondegree graduate student must be included on the form. Nondegree graduate students pay the normal application fee. Nondegree graduate students may not be awarded an assistantship.

A nondegree graduate student who subsequently seeks admission to a degree program must be aware of the following restrictions:

  • The applicant must apply to and be accepted by the appropriate department or program and the Graduate College for degree study with a declared major.
  • A maximum of nine semester hours of credit earned under the nondegree option may be applied to an advanced degree.
  • Once admitted to a degree program, the student’s Program of Study (POS) Committee will recommend which courses, if any, earned under the nondegree option may be included in the program of study (maximum of nine semester hours of credit).