Iowa State University

3410 Beardshear Hall, Ames, IA

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Campus image of Iowa State University

Iowa State University (ISU) is a top ranking university in Ames, Iowa, which is considered one of the best places to live in America. The school's central campus is known for its beauty and historic landmarks, and is notable for its landscape architecture.

ISU offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels in nearly 200 fields of study. At the undergraduate level, Iowa State University earns high marks for its academic programs in agriculture technology, sciences and arts. At the graduate level, ISU earns high marks for its programs in chemistry, statistics, physics, agricultural sciences, electrical engineering and economics.

The university also offers a variety of study abroad, service-learning, and work abroad programs. ISU attracts a diverse student population from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 110 countries worldwide.


Iowa State University was one of the first land-grant universities established in the United States, after President Lincoln signed the law to establish colleges and universities throughout the country that would offer accessible higher education to all citizens, teach practical classes and share knowledge beyond the campus borders.

ISU was established in 1858 on a farm as "Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm." The school's first campus building, "The Farm House," was completed in 1861. The first students enrolled in 1869, and graduated in 1872. Iowa Agricultural College was considered a leader in agriculture, engineering, and home economics, among other practical subjects.

An increasing focus on technology led to the development of the world's first electronic digital computer near the end of the 1930s. Due to expansion into more technological areas of study, the school changed its name to "Iowa State University of Science and Technology" in 1959. This name was later shortened to "Iowa State University." Over the years, Iowa State University further developed its offerings and continued to achieve academic excellence in its expanding and top-ranking programs in agriculture, technology, science and art.


The academic calendar of Iowa State University follows the semester format, with fall, spring and summer semesters.

Colleges and Schools

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Design
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Graduate College

Student Life

According to the Student Activities Center, there are hundreds of student clubs and organizations available for participation at ISU, and students will find them listed under categories such as Media Production, Music/Performing Arts, Multicultural, Honoraries, Fraternities, Sororities, and Special Interest, among others.  The Center offers information and resources to students who wish to start their own club or organization on campus.

There are also many groups, venues, facilities, workshops and events available for arts, entertainment and recreation.  ISU students can choose from live music performances, leadership activities or multi-media courses through The Union Workspace, such as pottery-making classes, photography workshops, and carpentry workshops. Other activities available include ballroom dance and rotating art exhibits.  There is a student group called "ISU After Dark" that plans late night events throughout the year.

Several different options for on-campus housing and on-campus dining are available.


ISU school colors are cardinal (red) and gold, and its mascot is a cardinal (bird) named "Cy."

Iowa State University's teams were nicknamed the "Cyclones" by a news reporter who covered their football games in the 1890s. The school's athletic department eventually adopted the nickname as their official name for all of Iowa State's sports teams.


The Iowa State "Cyclones" compete in 18 intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Indoor Track and Field
  • Outdoor Track and Field
  • Wrestling

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Indoor Track and Field
  • Outdoor Track and Field
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Community Life

As a state, Iowa is known as an area of friendly people, small towns and close-knit communities. It is also known for good schools and nice cities, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation in its many parks, as well as shopping and entertainment.

Ames, 30 minutes from Des Moines, is one of Iowa's nicest small towns. Due in part to the presence of Iowa State University, Ames draws top performers such as Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, international symphonies, Broadway musical tours, and more.

Admission Requirements & Details

The admission details below may provide a better idea of the applicants Iowa State University accepts. The details may include application requirements and recommendations, as well as any college credits that may be transferred.

College Credits Accepted

  • Dual Credits
  • AP Course Credits

Student Enrollment

The total student enrollment at Iowa State University is about 36,000. The enrollment breakdown by academic level is 17% enrolling as graduate students and 84% as undergraduate students.


Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $13,600. In order to calculate a more accurate and detailed cost of attendance check out their cost calculator here. There is also a $40 application fee for those applying to a program. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.

Tuition & Fees Information

  • Tuition estimates per year:
    • In-State Tuition: $6,600-$8,000
    • Nonresident Student Tuition: $20,000-$23,720
  • Charges for part-time students are:
    • State Residents: $280-$330 per credit unit
    • Nonresidents: $820-$990 per credit unit

Financial Aid Details

The table below breaks down the types of financial aid, the percent of students receiving aid, and average amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid87%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships76%$7,381
Receiving Student Loans52%$6,532

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To help support students, Iowa State University may offer student services including:

  • Online course work available
  • Classes offered on nights and weekends
  • Remedial courses
  • Academic counseling for students
  • Work study style employment
  • Assisting students to find work
  • Child care

Graduation Rates

Iowa State University has an overall graduation rate which is close to 68%.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years38%
Graduating in 5 Years26%
Graduating in 6 Years5%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

  • Art and Design Program
  • Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.) Program
  • Dietetics Program (more info)
  • Music Program (more info)
  • Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) Program (more info)

Intercollegiate Athletics

Iowa State University is a Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with many of the sports belonging to the NCAA Division I-A classification. The most popular sports played are listed below:

  • Basketball (Big Twelve Conference)
  • Track and Field (Big Twelve Conference)
  • Football (Big Twelve Conference)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Programs Offered

The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.

Get more information about the programs offered by Iowa State University by clicking the request information to the right.

(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)

Agriculture Operations


Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Business and Marketing Studies

Communications and Journalism

Computer and Information Sciences



Engineering Technology

English Language and Literature

Ethnic Cultural and Gender Studies

Family and Consumer Sciences

Foreign Languages and Literature

Health and Clinical Professions


Interdisciplinary Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mathematics and Statistics

Natural Resources and Conservation

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Physical Sciences


Public Administration and Social Services

Recreation and Fitness Studies

Security and Protective Services

Social Sciences

Visual and Performing Arts

Other 4-Year Public Colleges

The list of schools below have been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to Iowa State University.

See a list of all the colleges and universities by clicking on one of the links below:

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Contact Information

General Contact

Admissions Office

Financial Aid Office

School Reviews

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Based on 1 Review for Iowa State University

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