Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate your interest and application to the Iowa State University Graduate College. Your application is sent to the graduate programs upon submission and will remain with the program until they recommend who they would like to recruit into their graduate major. Any questions about your application status and admission requirements can be directed to the graduate program in which you applied. The admissions contacts/counselors can be found here. They can help you throughout the entire admissions process. Again, thank you for your interest in Iowa State University.


Application Process

You may contact the application contact or the director of graduate education (DOGE) for your program of interest or feel free to contact an individual member of our faculty with whom you share research interest. The application contact or the DOGE will be listed on each program page.

Yes, it is perfectly okay. It is encouraged to notify your program of interest if you are in direct communication with faculty so that the program can support you in your questions.

You should not submit a new application. Please submit a status change form through the Graduate College.

You can find the status of your application by returning to your application and going to the Activity Page.

Log back into your application account. Choose Manage Documents. You can upload additional documents. You cannot remove any previously loaded documents.

Yes, however, you must pay the fee for each application.

Yes. Only three letters are required regardless of the number of applications you submit.


Application Requirements

There is no university-wide requirement that applicants submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Each program sets its own guidelines. Please review the program page to know if your program of interest requires the exam.

Most programs do not enforce strict cut-off scores. Rather, they review an applicant’s complete application package and credentials before making a decision. The GRE Institution Code is 6306.

The emails are not sent to recommenders until the application is submitted and the fee paid. If they have still not received the email, you can resend the email by managing your Letters of Recommendation. Double check to be sure the email address you listed for them is correct. They should check their spam/junk mail if they have not received the email.

Log back into your application account. In the manage documents section, you can delete and add recommenders, update email addresses, and resend emails to recommenders. There are more instructions on how to manage your Letters of Recommendation (LOR) in the application instructions.

You can write a separate email to the graduate program to which you have applied (and copy your recommenders) telling them that you have changed your mind and now waive your right. Do not send your LOR by email to the Office of Admissions. They should all be added to your file with the online system. Your reference can complete the Letter of Recommendation (LOR) and send it to the grad_college@iastate.edu to be added to your application file.

We are sorry, but this cannot be changed in the online system.


Admission Requirements

Our various academic programs have different deadlines as well as requirements for supplemental information. Please review the important program specific instructions located on each program page.

The Graduate College expects a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale from an applicant’s undergraduate degree program, but we view applications holistically, and other qualifications may support admission. To determine your unique eligibility for admission, please contact your graduate program of interest.

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.
  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 
    • Official TOEFL exam results must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Iowa State electronically. Our School Code is 6306
  • IELTS 6.5
    • The IELTS testing agency should send electronically, or mail official results to the Office of Admissions, Iowa State University, 100 Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2011.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) 53
  • DuoLingo English Test 105 (only approved through spring 2023 semester)
    • Have results sent electronically directly to Iowa State University-All Graduate programs

Yes. If English is not your primary language, you must meet the university’s English proficiency requirement.

Applications can be reviewed with unofficial scores. Students should upload copies of exam results to their application for the university to use when matching official scores to the student’s file. Official scores should be supplied by the examination source. The GRE is not required by the Graduate College, however, the graduate program may request the official GRE scores.

Please reference the application instructions for more information.
GRE scores and TOEFL Scores should be sent by ETS directly to Iowa State University. Our institution code is 6306.

IELTS results should be sent by mail to:
Graduate Admissions
100 Enrollment Services Center
2433 Union Drive
Ames, IA  50011-2042

Duolingo scores should be sent electronically, directly from Duolingo, to Iowa State.


Fees and Costs

The only fee waivers offered are to McNair Scholars. U.S. military veterans will have their application fee deferred until they enroll. Otherwise, application vouchers/waivers only come from the program to which you are applying. Please find your desired program and contact the staff listed on the program page.
To receive the fee waiver as a McNair Scholar, check the McNair box on the application and forward an official document from your McNair director/staff confirming your participation to grad_college@iastate.edu.

Yes. If you are a current or past participant in a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program as an undergraduate, you should check YES to the question on the application asking if you are a McNair Scholar. Ask your director or other staff to submit the appropriate document affirming your participation to grad_college@iastate.edu.

No. Funding for tuition and for graduate assistantships is based on merit rather than need.


Admitted Student

Graduate students do not accept their offer through AccessPlus or pay an acceptance fee.
Graduate students should inform the program offering them admission their intent to enroll at Iowa State University by email.

Graduate students with an approved graduate assistantship (GA) are eligible for tuition assessment equivalent to the in-state rate. An assistantship appointment provides a percentage of tuition as payment toward the university bill.

An appointment does not guarantee payment any part of the student’s fees. A student is responsible for their fees regardless of assistantship. Residency does not change as a result of an appointment

From 9 to 11 credits per semseter is common.

Please refer to the Office of Institutional Research for up-to-date enrollment data.

Approximately 65,000. Population data as well as other pertinent information can be found on the City of Ames website.

Graduate students are paid the last working day of the month.

Yes, unless they are covered by other sources such as an internal or external fellowship or scholarship.

Mandatory fees for most majors are: activity, services, building & recreation fee; health facility fee; health fee; technology fee.
For more tuition and fees information, visit the Office of the Registrar.

If you hold an assistantship, you are automatically enrolled in the Self Only medical insurance plan.


More questions? See the Graduate College Handbook!