New Graduate Student Checklist

Welcome to graduate education at Iowa State University!

As our graduate programs review applications, they will recommend applicants for admission to the Graduate College. Once you have received your official admission package from the Graduate College, you can begin planning your graduate experience at Iowa State University (ISU).

Students who are U.S. citizens are encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application to be considered for federal financial aid. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at ISU if you have any questions or need assistance completing the application.

Getting Started at ISU

What should you do first?

Planning Your Arrival in Ames

Orientation & Onboarding


Register for Classes

Selecting a Major Professor

Many students will have a major professor selected as part of their admission to the program. Some programs offer rotations, where students spend a few weeks with multiple professors to decide which major professor is the best fit for them.

A third possibility is that there is a defaulted major professor for the students. This is often the case for students enrolled in coursework-only master's programs.

For students who are seeking support and do not have an adviser or major professor, the Director of Graduate Education (DOGE) is responsible for acting as the temporary adviser for all graduate students within their major. Find the DOGE for your major on our contact list.

For Students on Assistantship

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The Graduate College is available to assist you in proceeding through your graduate program according to processes and policies available for you to review in the Graduate College Handbook.

Program Curriculum

Please refer to the handbook for your graduate program to review its specific requirements and policies.

Transferring Credits

With the approval of the Graduate College and your Program of Study Committee, coursework taken at another institution in the pursuit of a graduate degree can be transferred to your program of study for a graduate degree at ISU. Please refer to the Graduate College Handbook, Chapter 6, to review the Graduate College policy on transfer credits. You cannot begin the transfer process until you have selected a major professor and committee and are ready to complete your Program of Study and Committee (POSC) form.

Things to Know


If you have any questions about graduate studies, please contact the Graduate College at