Graduate Admissions

Thank you for your interest in Mechanical Engineering! The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University blends creativity with our experience as researchers and educators to provide students with an opportunity to make lasting discoveries. With the technical knowledge and skills our graduate students gain, they are prepared to solve the critical national and global problems. ME Graduate Programs offers several graduate degree opportunities. Please see below for information about applying to our department! Please email for questions.


Your Pre-Application

We invite you to complete our pre-application. The simple application form was designed to make it easy to apply and to receive a tentative decision about admissibility. The decision will serve as an indicator to you for your admissibility. It is not a final decision. If your pre-application is met with a tentative acceptance, the department will encourage you to submit your full graduate application through the Office of Admissions (see “Your Application” below). Qualified candidates may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Go to and click Mechanical Engineering.

Pre-applications do not require submission of the resume, letters of recommendation, or official transcripts. All items are required for the full admission application. The deadline for the pre-application is one month before the full application deadline, December 15 for fall admission and August 1 for spring admission.


Your Application

Your full admission application can be submitted at Once you submit, you can check the status within the application portal at

Required qualifications, recommended qualifications, and application materials are different depending on the degree program you seek admission. Please see the pages below for specific requirements.

Instructions for your application and additional information about the admission requirements can be found here for U.S. students and international students.

We welcome applicants from non-ME and non-engineering undergraduate majors. Though, we may require or recommend prerequisite courses based on your academic background. Applicants are advised to consult the Graduate Programs Office to discuss their particular requirements. While it is not a required qualification, we strongly encourage applicants to have an undergraduate degree or background in STEM. Students without this background may experience challenge in courses without the background.


Degree Programs Available

Each degree option is a little different. Explore our degrees and programs to determine the program for which you would like to apply.

Research Programs and Major Professor

See which research programs interest you by reviewing our research page! The Department has developed six strategic research foci areas, Computational Sciences, Energy, Fluids, Health, Multi-scale Engineering, and Systems. We have also outlined the faculty areas of expertise to better guide you as to what faculty you may be interested in working with during your graduate education.

We encourage you to send an email communication to faculty with whom you have a specific match in research area. Please avoid sending generic emails to all faculty. If a faculty member is interested in following up on your communication, they will do so. If you do not receive any return communication, we suggest you wait 2-3 weeks before attempting another contacting them again. Faculty always prefer email communication. Please understand that the purpose of your communication is simply to ‘advertise yourself’ rather than to seek a response.

Assistantships and Fellowships

All qualified applicants will be considered for these funding options. Master of Engineering students are not eligible for assistantships. Since there are a limited number of fellowships available, early applications will be preferred. The majority of our graduate students are supported through research assistantships and/or fellowships. 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.

  • A research assistantship is provided to students from a faculty member (major professor) from his or her research grant or contract. Students on research assistantships are expected to perform research and other related activities as directed by their major professor towards the fulfillment of the grant requirements.
  • A teaching assistantship is given to the student from the department to assist in teaching responsibilities. This can include grading or running the lab portion of a course. Some advanced students are given the responsibility of teaching a course.
  • All assistantships are contingent on satisfactory performance of assigned duties and progression towards degree as well as availability of funds.
  • Master’s applicants will be considered for 1/2 time research or teaching assistantship with a stipend ranging from $2100 to $2150 per month, 50% tuition scholarship, and graduate assistant tuition rate (in-state tuition rate) for remaining tuition.
  • Doctoral applicants will be considered for 1/2 research or teaching assistantship with a stipend ranging from $2100 to $2150 per month and 100% tuition scholarship.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, and Iowa State University provide fellowships and scholarships to outstanding applicants, including outstanding underrepresented minority and women applicants. Many of these fellowships provide financial supplements to a research or teaching assistantship.


The Waiting Period

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. If you wish, you may inquire the status of your application within the Admissions Application Portal.

Due to the high volume of applications received in the Office of Admissions and our Graduate Programs Office, 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 Mechanical Engineering department has a Graduate Committee made up of faculty members that make admissions decisions. The committee only reviews completed applications. 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.


Admissions FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Below are answers to some common questions. 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.

You are welcome to submit official copies of your materials any time after you submit your application. However, official copies are not required until after you have been offered admission.

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 e-mail address so your recommender will know where to send the form once completed.

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.)
New applicants can denote their interest in being considered for teaching and research assistantship positions on their graduate application. Once in the program, students’ assistantships are arranged by their major professors.
Tuition and fee information for each semester may be found on The Office the Registrar’s website. Students on assistantship will receive a half (M.S.) or full (PhD) tuition

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.

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.

Grad Admissions Timeline

Preapplication Submission Deadlines
*free, fast unofficial decision
Spring Admission: August 1
Fall Admission: December 15

Full Official Application
Spring Admissions: September 1
Fall Admissions: January 15

For full consideration, all materials must be submitted and part of your application file by the deadline.

Contact Information

Samantha Hirschman
Program Assistant
ME Graduate Program