Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does Iowa State have an application deadline?
    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.

  2. Do I have to take the GRE?
    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 programof interest requires the exam.

  3. Who’s the best person for me to talk to about my interest?
    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.

  4. Can I apply to more than one graduate program?
    Yes, however, you must pay the fee for each application.

  5. If I apply to more than one program, will three letters of recommendation be sufficient?
    Yes. Only three letters are required regardless of the number of applications you submit.

  6. Is it okay to contact a professor directly about my graduate interest?
    Yes, it is perfectly okay.

  7. Do you offer fee waivers for McNair scholars? If so, what do I need to do to receive a waiver?
    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 .

  8. How well do I need to score on the 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.

  9. Does Iowa State have a GPA cutoff?
    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 the graduate programs/departments that interest you.

  10. If I graduate from a college or university in Puerto Rico, am I required to take an English proficiency exam?
    Yes. If English is not your primary language, you must meet the university’s English proficiency requirement.

  11. Am I required to complete a FAFSA to receive an assistantship?
    No. Funding for tuition and for graduate assistantships is based on merit rather than need.

  12. If I’m not a resident of Iowa, will my tuition be assessed as out-of-state?
    If you have an assistantship and have to pay any of your tuition, it will be assessed at the in-state rate regardless of your residency.

  13. Are graduate students on assistantship paid monthly or every two weeks?
    Graduate students are paid the last working day of the month.

  14. Is family housing available on campus?
    Yes. Please visit the Department of Residence website.

  15. Is graduate student housing available?
    Yes. Please visit the Department of Residence website.

  16. What’s an average course load for graduate students?
    From 9 to 11 credits per semester is common.

  17. What’s the graduate student enrollment?
    Please refer to the Office of Institutional Research for up-to-date enrollment data.

  18. What’s the population of Ames?
    Approximately 65,000. Population data as well as other pertinent information can be found on the City of Ames website.

  19. Will I be responsible for paying mandatory fees each semester?
    Yes, unless they are covered by other sources such as an internal or external fellowship or scholarship.

  20. What are Iowa State’s mandatory fees for graduate students?
    Mandatory fees are: activity, services, building & recreation fee; health facility fee; health fee; technology fee.

  21. Do graduate students receive health insurance?
    If you hold an assistantship, you are automatically enrolled in the Self Only medical insurance plan.

  22. Where can I find graduate application instructions?
    You can find detailed application instructions on the Office of Admissions website.