Admissions FAQ

Learn more about the admissions process, how to apply, and how your application is processed with these frequently asked questions—

Please read this information carefully if you are applying or have already applied to our program. We respectfully ask that you refrain from calling or sending an e-mail unless it is absolutely essential. The time we spend responding to these inquiries greatly slows our applications processing.

  • Submit your official GRE scores directly to us through the Educational Testing Service. Our school code is 6306. If you need more information about taking the GRE, visit www.ets.org. You can submit all application materials prior to submitting your GRE scores.
  • Complete your Iowa State Graduate Application online (paying by credit card).
  • Contact the institution(s) you have attended and have them send your official transcripts to
    Office of Admissions
    100 Enrollment Services
    Iowa State University
    Ames, IA, 50011-2011 USA
    Note: Once you click the Submit button on your online application, you have officially completed the process and will receive a confirmation page.
  • Select three people with whom you have worked, either professionally or educationally, to complete letters of recommendation for you.
  • Submit a current résumé and a one-page statement of purpose that highlights your ability, motivation, and experience related to your chosen research field as well as your career goals. These can be uploaded directly into the application.

Iowa State has a shared application process, which means certain items are sent to the Iowa State Office of Admissions and other items are sent to the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Programs Office.

Submit these materials electronically:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Official GRE scores (sent by testing services)
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores (sent by testing services)

Submit these materials by mail:

Mail admissions envelope to
Office of Admissions
100 Enrollment Services
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2011 USA

  • All supplemental materials should be uploaded with the application.
    • PDF of Transcripts
    • PDF of Resume
    • PDF of Statement of Purpose (if not included in application)
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • PDF of GRE/TOEFL/IELTS exam scores
1. Download the PDF copy of the Letter of Recommendation form, complete Sections 1 and 3, and save the completed form.

2. Send the form to your recommender. You must include the megradapp@iastate.edu e-mail address so your recommender will know where to send the form once completed.

Our department has a Graduate Committee made up of faculty members that make admissions decisions. The committee only reviews completed applications. (For more information on the review process, please see “Have I been admitted?” below.)

Note: Individual faculty cannot comment on an applicant’s chances for admission, so we ask that you do not contact faculty directly regarding your admission status.

Most offers of admission include an offer of financial assistance. Teaching assistantships are determined by the Graduate Committee. If a faculty member has funding and space in their research group, they may make offers for research assistantships from the group of applicants deemed eligible by the Graduate Committee. (For more information on the review process, please see “Have I been admitted?” below.)
Fall semester applications must be received by January 15, and spring semester applications must be received by September 1. We do NOT recommend that you wait until the deadline date to submit your online application as this may delay the process.
The application fee is required in order for us to process your application. Unfortunately, we cannot waive or defer the fee.

Note: If you are a U.S. citizen AND are a member of an underrepresented minority group, please contact isume@iastate.edu or megradinfo@iastate.edu, to ask about fee deferral options.

Once the deadline has passed, our graduate programs staff will make an effort to let you know if your application is complete or missing any materials. After March 1, if you wish, you may inquire with the admissions office regarding the status of your application at http://www.admissions.iastate.edu/forms/statuscheck/gr_statuscheck.php.

Due to the high volume of applications received in the Office of Admissions and our Graduate Programs Office during December through February, you may not receive acknowledgement that we have received your applications or supporting materials.

However, if we do not receive the necessary academic records (and graduate examination scores, if required) within a reasonable time after your application is received, we will send you an e-mail notifying you that your application is incomplete and prompting action. If you receive this e-mail, you must complete this action to be considered for admission into our program.

The following minimum scores have been established for the GRE and TOEFL.

  • TOEFL score: Minimum score of 79 (iBT).
  • GRE score: Minium scores of 145 (Verbal), 155 (Quantitative), 3.0 (Writing)

TOEFL scores are required of international students whose native language is not English. This university requirement cannot be waived.

Note: For the purpose of applying to Iowa State, English may be considered your native 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 native language is not English, you must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

This requirement is waived if you have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a country where English is the only official language.

The university requires official results be sent directly by the Educational Testing Service. You can find out more information about and register for the GRE at www.ets.org. Our school code is 6306.

Note: All official GRE and TOEFL scores come to the Office of Admissions, so you do not need a department code.

We highly recommend you arrange to have your scores sent before the application deadline. However, it is acceptable for your GRE and TOEFL score reports to arrive after the application deadline as long as it is during the review process, which is one to two weeks after the application deadline. If your reports arrive within the above timeframe after the deadline, your chances of being admitted or receiving financial assistance will not be affected unless final admission decisions have all been made. You can send an inquiry to the Office of Admissions regarding the status of your application.

Note: You can submit scanned copies of your exam scores with your application, but you will need to have official copies sent directly from the testing for validation if offered admission.

In most cases, this means that we have not yet received your official GRE and/or TOEFL score report from ETS. If you have already requested ETS to send your official scores, you need not take any further action.

On the application, you are asked to indicate your GPA at each institution attended. You should provide the GPA attained and the maximum grade attainable in the grading system used at your institution. Please report your GPA as it is reported by your institution. You do not need to convert it.

Once your application package is complete, the contents are cataloged and forwarded to our Graduate Education Committee. All applications are held for review until after the application deadline—there are no early decisions.

The application packages of applicants who are deemed qualified for admission by the committee will be forwarded to the faculty for admission and assistantship consideration. Offer letters will generally be sent electronically in March for the fall semester and in October for the spring semester.

Your completed application may be reconsidered for the next concurrent semester after your original application semester (for example, if you applied in fall, you can be reconsidered in spring).

Note: Your application is valid only for one year.

If you are already committed to a research-oriented career (industry or academia) then you should considering applying directly to the PhD program. For the purposes of flexibility you can let faculty know in your Statement of Purpose that you would be willing to be considered for admission to the master’s program.

Do you have additional questions not answered here?

If all of your questions have not been answered, please look at the information provided on these other websites BEFORE emailing our graduate programs staff: