Brochure – Text version

Engineering Graduate Studies — Program Overview for Advanced Degrees

Cyclone Engineering: Make A Difference

What would you do as an engineering graduate student at Iowa State? Lead innovative research. Create knowledge. Become an expert in your field.

You’ll be working in outstanding facilities to solve important worldwide challenges in areas like bioengineering, materials science, virtual reality and high-performance computing.

And you’ll get to collaborate with top faculty and fellow students at a internationally recognized and ranked College of Engineering equipped with the technology, ingenuity and passion to make a difference.



Application Deadline for Fall Admittance: January 15

Application Deadline for Spring Admittance: September 1

Iowa State’s application requirements for graduate school include an Online Application, Statement of Purpose and Academic Transcripts. Our academic programs in the engineering college may require GRE scores and supplemental information as well, review academic requirements here:

Funding Opportunities

Most College of Engineering graduate students receive funding to help cover tuition and living expenses through a stipend each month. The funding can be graduate teaching, research and administrative assistantships or fellowships, and it is available through individual programs and affiliated institutes within the college. To learn more about these opportunities, contact your department or program of interest.

Life at Iowa State

Iowa State’s picturesque campus features a quiet lake and a park-like setting. Located in Ames, Iowa, the geographic center of the U.S., Iowa State offers a pleasing mixture of urban and rural life.

‘2nd best college town (under 250,000 residents)’ — American Institute for Economic Research

‘Among the top 25 ‘Smartest College Towns’’ — The Daily Beast

‘Among top 10 best places to live in America’ — Money Magazine


Academic Departments

Aerospace Engineering

ISU’s aerospace engineering graduate program offers research opportunities that go beyond traditional aircraft and spacecraft. Asteroid deflection, tornado simulation and UAS formation flight control are only a few of the fields you can explore.

You’ll collaborate with our faculty on challenging problems that are important to economic, societal and defense needs, such as renewable energy, complex system design and nondestructive evaluation.

Working in our exceptional facilities—like our tornado microburst simulators and revolutionary icing wind tunnel—will give you the chance to test and explore new ideas while making research advancements that make a difference.

Most importantly, you’ll be prepared for the next step in you career, whether it’s research and development in the laboratory, teaching at a college or university, or leading a team in industry.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Advanced Materials Systems
  • Aerodynamics and Aero-Structural
  • Interaction
  • Aviation Biofuels
  • Complex Systems and Optimization
  • Guidance, Controls and Astrodynamics
  • Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation
Graduate Degrees
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
Interdepartmental Programs
  •  Nondestructive Evaluation
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Systems Engineering (M.Engr. only)
Contact Information


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Iowa State was the first in the nation to offer an agricultural engineering program in the 20th century. We continue to extend the frontiers of knowledge in the 21st century through a strong graduate program in traditional areas of agricultural engineering and the emerging areas of biological engineering.

Join our internationally renowned faculty in fundamental and applied research in biofuels engineering and technology; industrial and agricultural technology; lean systems and quality management; manufacturing technology; measurements and control systems; process engineering and technology; waste management; and much more.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Advanced Machinery Engineering and Manufacturing Systems
  • Animal Production Systems Engineering
  • Biological and Process Engineering
  • Occupational Safety Engineering
  • Water and Environmental Stewardship Engineering
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Biorenewable Resources and Technology
  • Environmental Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Professional Agriculture
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Toxicology
Contact Information


Chemical and Biological Engineering

A revolution is under way in biotechnology, sustainability, medicine, and energy, and Iowa State’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is leading the charge. Our graduate students work hand-in-hand with our faculty to achieve breakthroughs in several areas, including biobased products; catalysis and reaction engineering; biomaterials; and polymeric and nanostructured materials.

We are home to an NSF Engineering Research Center focused on Biorenewable Chemicals, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, focused on creating materials and energy solutions, is also located on the Iowa State University campus. Recently renovated laboratories, as well as a major bioresearch facility expansion, provide ideal facilities for new students to engage in nationally funded programs.

Chemical and biological engineering alumni flourish in academic, industrial and entrepreneurial settings.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Advanced and Nanostructured Materials
  • Biorenewables
  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Health Care Technology and Biomedical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Biorenewable Resources and Technology
  • Immunobiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Toxicology
Contact Information


Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Employers worldwide look to our Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering as a source of ideas, technologies and highly skilled engineers. Through the engineering knowledge you’ll gain at Iowa State, you’ll have the planning and management skills needed to become part of a dynamic workforce.

Our faculty and staff work closely with you as you learn to design, construct, and maintain the structures, transportation, geotechnical systems, water resources, and environmental systems that are critical to modern life. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of engineering applications, including civil engineering materials, construction engineering and management, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and transportation engineering, along with several cross-disciplinary areas.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Centers and Programs
  • Bridge Engineering Center
  • Center for Earthworks Engineering Research
  • Center for Nanotechnology in Cementitious Systems
  • Center for Transportation Research and Education
  • Center for Weather Impacts on Mobility and Safety
  • Construction Management and Technology Program
  • Midwest Transportation Consortium
  • National Concrete Pavement Technology Center
  • National Center for Wood in Transportation Structures
  • Asphalt Materials and Pavements Program
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Transportation (M.S. Only)
  • Environmental Science
  • Biorenewable Resources and Technology
  • Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy (Ph.D. Only)
Contact Information


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Iowa State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate programs are ranked among the top in the nation and provide an outstanding educational program that offers you the opportunity to pursue cutting-edge research to meet the challenges of the future. You work closely with internationally recognized faculty and get one-on-one mentoring from your major professor.

In our state-of-the-art experimental facilities, our expert faculty will guide you to achieve engineering innovation in several areas, including bioengineering; cyber infrastructure; distributed sensing and decision making; energy infrastructure; and materials, devices, and circuits. We invite you to be a part of a growing community of leading electrical and computer engineers who are critical to societal enrichment and highly sought after with plentiful employment opportunities.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Centers and Programs
  • Bioengineering
  • Communications and Signals Processing
  • Computing and Networking Systems
  • Electric Power and Energy Systems
  • Electromagnetic, Microwave and Nondestructive Evaluation
  • Microelectronics and Photonics
  • Secure and Reliable Computing
  • Software Systems
  • Systems and Controls
  • Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Assurance (M.Engr. and M.S.)
Contact Information


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

We offer an opportunity to develop the skills that will help you become an engineering leader in the 21st century. Learn advanced concepts, theories and formal methods that will help you develop your design and decision-making skills in the context of engineering complex systems.

Your program of study and research will give you experiences with modern computational methods, processes and tools that you can apply across multiple industries. You will have the opportunity to explore areas such as data mining for operations, energy systems optimization, human performance enhancement, rapid manufacturing, supply chain management and wind energy manufacturing. Most importantly, you’ll learn to solve complex engineering problems involving people, hardware and software.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Data Analytics
  • Ergonomics/Human Factors Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Systems Engineering
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Systems Engineering (M. Engr only)
  • Engineering Management (M. Engr only)
Contact Information


Materials Science and Engineering

Iowa State is a recognized leader in materials research, offering world-class research facilities that include the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, and the Microelectronics Research Center. Our faculty annually administer $14.3 million in research funds to support the work of undergraduate and graduate students; postdocs; and other researchers.

As a student, you will have the opportunity to study and research a range of materials science and engineering applications, including metallic and ceramic materials; glasses; polymers and biomaterials; composites; and materials for energy. With an advanced degree in materials science, you can pursue a number of career directions in industry, government research laboratories, universities and other research centers.

One of Iowa State’s MSE Faculty members, Dan Shechtman, received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his revolutionary discovery of quasi-crystals. MSE also boasts two professors who are members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Advanced Characterization Methods
  • Biomaterials and Bio-Inspired Materials
  • Computational Materials Science
  • Electronic, Magnetic and Photonic materials
  • Materials for Renewable Energy
  • Materials Informatics
  • Microstructural Design and Processing
  • Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology
  • Oxide, Non-Oxide, and Metallic Glasses
  • Polymers and Polymer Composites
  • Rare-Earth Materials
Interdepartmental Programs
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Nondestructive Evaluation Certificate Program
Contact Information


Mechanical Engineering

Iowa State’s mechanical engineering graduate program offers you the opportunity to pursue cutting-edge research directed at addressing global needs that positively impact society and individual lives. You will work closely with our accomplished faculty in state-of-the-art facilities to achieve scientific breakthroughs and innovative engineering solutions in core ME disciplines, including design and optimization; dynamic systems and controls; materials processing and mechanics; and thermofluid sciences. The professional independence, creativity and leadership you will explore in our program will provide you with a rewarding educational experience highly sought after by industry and academia.

We shape our research portfolio around making the world a more technologically advanced and sustainable place to live. Our work is directed at innovations that preserve the environment and provide substitutes for depleting natural resources, and our efforts contribute to better theories, models and technologies that improve the realization of products and manufacturing processes. We have an active graduate student organization that promotes professional development and student success. Our faculty are well recognized for excellence as measured by numerous high-impact publications, reputation in professional organizations, thriving research programs and society fellows.

Ph.D., M.S. and M.Engr. Degrees Available

Research Areas
  • Biological and Nanoscale Sciences
  • Clean Energy Technologies
  • Complex Fluid Systems
  • Design and Manufacturing Innovation
  • Simulation and Visualization


Interdepartmental Programs
  • Biorenewable Resources and Technology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Energy Systems Engineering
  • Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy
Contact Information

Interdepartmental Programs

At Iowa State, the leading edge of innovation is found in fields that transcend the boundaries between traditional engineering disciplines.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

The bioinformatics and computational biology major is one of the largest such Ph.D. programs in the nation. Students can explore all major research areas of computational molecular biology, including genomics, molecular structures, functional genomics and computational systems biology. (CBE, ECpE, MSE)

Biorenewable Resources and Technology

Students in the biorenewable resources and technology program study the use of plant- and crop-based resources to produce biobased products, including fuels, chemicals, materials and energy. Our programs prepare students to serve state, national and global needs for a more sustainable economy. (M.S. and Ph.D. only)

Engineering Management

The master of engineering in engineering management develops skills in engineering, science and management. Students are prepared to meet both the technical and managerial challenges in developing modern, complex engineered systems, and can apply a systems approach to solve business problems. (IMSE, CoB)

Environmental Science

Environmental science provides a technically rigorous, quantitative and integrated approach to study environmental systems. In addition to work in their chosen area of specialization, students are exposed to the biological, chemical and physical aspects of environmental systems, as well as the specialized training necessary to analyze these systems. (ABE, CCEE) (M.S. and Ph.D. only)

Human-Computer Interaction

Students in human-computer interaction study the dynamic relationship between humans and increasingly powerful and ubiquitous technology. With more than 70 researchers representing all the colleges in the university, Iowa State is a leader in human-computer interaction, user experience, interaction design and virtual reality. (AerE, ABE, ECpE, IMSE, ME)


Immunobiology brings together faculty and graduate students in four colleges and ten departments, as well as scientists in nearby government laboratories and health sciences institutes. Research topics include cellular and molecular immunology; bacterial pathogenesis; molecular virology; immunogenetics; cellular and molecular pathology; and molecular signaling. (CBE)

Information Assurance

Iowa State’s information assurance program offers students a rigorous, cutting-edge education in the security of information networks, preparing them to address the technological aspects of information assurance along with questions of policy, law and ethics that are important to the field. (ECpE, IMSE) (Graduate certificate, M.Engr. degree and M.S. degree only)


The neuroscience program provides research opportunities in neuronal membrane functions, signal transduction, neuroanatomy, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroendocrinology, neurotoxicology, neuropathology, developmental neurobiology, neurogenetics, computational neuroscience, neural networks, behavioral neuroscience, tissue engineering, neuroregeneration and brain repair. (CBE)

Sustainable Agriculture

Students in the sustainable agriculture program study agroecological principles and the social relations underlying sustainable farming and food systems while gaining practical experience with sustainable production methods. The program integrates technical and social sciences through interdisciplinary courses that emphasize critical thinking and collaboration. (ABE)

Systems Engineering

The program in systems engineering allows engineers from any discipline to develop analytical skills to design, evaluate and build complex systems that have many components and demanding specifications. Students learn to work across disciplinary boundaries and gain management insight. (AerE, ECpE, IMSE, ME)


The toxicology program offers interdisciplinary education and training to prepare students for careers in academia, government and industry. Faculty expertise and laboratory facilities are available in a wide range of research areas that include air quality; cancer research; environmental chemistry; forensic toxicology; food safety; groundwater; instrumental analysis; nutritional toxicology; and many more. (ABE, CBE)


Solving the complex questions facing transportation systems requires the perspective of many disciplines. This diversity allows students to see the strength of interdisciplinary approaches to planning, operating, managing and maintaining the next generation of transportation systems. (CCEE) (M.S. only)

Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy

Students in the Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy (WESEP) program will be technical experts, responsible communicators and ethical decision-makers who can lead the nation toward meeting national goals in the use of wind energy to reduce climate impacts, while contributing to U.S. economic competitiveness. (AerE, CCEE, ECpE, IMSE, MSE, ME) (Ph.D. only)

Opportunities for Underrepresented Students

Iowa State University and the College of Engineering offer several different options for financial aid and awards for U.S. citizens who are members of underrepresented groups, including women, African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics.

AGEP—Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate

The primary goal of AGEP is to increase the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields). This fellowship carries a $25,000 annual stipend and covers all mandatory graduate student fees. Tuition is covered according to Graduate College guidelines for Ph.D. students. AGEP is funded by Iowa State University.

Departmental Fellowships/Awards

Presidential Scholar program

The Presidential Scholars Program is a comprehensive effort to recruit high-quality doctoral students in strategic program areas. Each year a department selects their high-quality first year doctoral student for a one year (12 months) funding of $30,000 which includes a monthly stipend of $2,212 for a 12-month appointment.

GEM—Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science

GEM is a national consortium of universities and companies that offers a program of paid summer internships and graduate financial assistance.

George Washington Carver Doctoral Fellowship

One of the most prestigious fellowships Iowa State offers, this fellowship is a three-year appointment offering a $25,000 annual stipend plus tuition. Applicants must be admitted as full into a Ph.D. program and be nominated by their program or department.

GMAP—Graduate Minority Assistantship Program

GMAP is used by departments and programs throughout the university to provide financial assistance to underrepresented students in the form of teaching, research or administrative assistantships. There’s no required paperwork for students to complete. Funding is requested by the department or program hiring the student.