College of Engineering Booklet

Engineering is an adventure.

How will you choose to make the world better?

Perhaps you will discover sustainable energy sources that won’t pollute the air. Stop the oceans from swamping coastal cities. Secure information in a totally online world. Design air vehicles where the sky is the limit. Create transportation systems to safely move people. Or design bioceramic bone implants to improve lives. Challenge yourself—and you will be amazed at how far you’ll go.

  • Learn from professors whose breakthroughs shape our future.
  • Work in advanced research labs with the latest technology on projects that will revolutionize our world.
  • Interact and work with students from more than 100 countries.
  • Get hands-on experience with companies creating products and systems that improve lives.
  • Create in a collaborative environment fueled by a diversity of thinking.
  • Be active in more than 60 engineering student organizations.

Be greater than you imagine

Iowa State’s engineering program has a wide range of resources and services to help you be creative in your field of study and in life. Your adventure will take you places you can’t begin to imagine.

Your Success

We support your success from initial recruitment to graduation. Our dedicated engineering student services team provides valuable resources such as in-depth new student orientation, academic advising, multicultural programming and professional staff available to individually mentor students. Our programs and services are designed to ease your transition to college, help you and your family feel comfortable within our campus environment, and assist with developing the confidence you need to succeed with your educational goals. We recognize the important role parents and family members serve as advocates for your success, so we also have resources for them. We also award millions of dollars in scholarships and grants each year to help you realize your dream of becoming an engineer.

Your Community

Get a jump-start on your success and make a smooth transition by joining one of the College of Engineering’s top-rated learning communities. Every engineering major has one, and there is even one for undeclared students. You will study with others in your major and network with professionals in your field. Think of a learning community as a way of taking a large campus and making it small.

Your Career

Your path to an amazing career begins here. Our college offers a team of career services professionals that focus specifically on engineering students. We’ll help you polish your resume, hone your interview skills and land internships or co-ops that pay extremely well. Over 500 companies recruit our engineers every year—many of them participating in our career fairs that are among the largest in the nation. No wonder 95 percent of our graduates land jobs within six months of graduation with starting salaries averaging more than $61,000 per year!

Your World

Want to see the world up close and personal? The College of Engineering offers more than 30 study abroad programs, as well as internships with multinational corporations and service learning projects in developing countries. There are study abroad programs for all majors, including options for study in English or a foreign language. Wherever you go, your focus will expand beyond the world you know today to include a world of possibilities tomorrow.

Discover your passion

Choose your adventure from 12 majors and other degree options that will challenge you, inspire you and prepare you to create a better world.

Aerospace Engineering

If it moves through the air or in space, aerospace engineers develop the technology to make it happen. That means the Boeing 787, Mars rovers, space station and uninhabited airborne systems to support the farm of the future all have aerospace engineers involved. You will learn from people who have been in space and experts in every field of aerospace technology, and you’ll get a chance to develop ways to fly more efficiently and support the new and exciting area of commercial spaceflight.

Agricultural Engineering

Producing and processing agricultural products into feed, fuel, food and fiber is becoming increasingly complex. That’s why agricultural engineers are advancing new technologies everyday. You could invent a next-generation off-road vehicle that drives around crops as it detects and destroys weeds, develop systems to precisely place fertilizer and seed for maximum efficiency, and even help find improved ways of reducing soil erosion and water pollution. As an agricultural engineer, you’ll be improving productivity of the agricultural industry while conserving natural resources.

Biological Systems Engineering

Combining biology and a desire to improve life through technology is what biological systems engineering is all about. You’ll be creating systems that safeguard our air, soil and water while helping meet human needs for food and other renewable resources. You’ll work on the sustainable production, storage and conversion of biobased materials into useful products. Addressing all of these critical needs as a biological systems engineer means you’ll make a big difference in people’s lives.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical reactions happen all around you. Chemical engineers use these reactions to develop processes and products in a range of fields, including food, pharmaceutical, biomedical, advanced materials, fluid dynamics, microelectronics, renewable energy and commodity chemicals. You’ll use your expertise to tackle pressing issues, such as creating materials to repair damage to severed nerves or developing value-added chemicals from biorenewable sources. The discoveries you make as a chemical engineer will create a better world.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Leave your mark on society by designing systems and structures that save and protect lives. Civil engineers design highways, malls, bridges, manufacturing facilities and many other components of modern infrastructure. Your creative ideas as an environmental engineer will make water safer, protect people from the elements and conserve the environment. Your work is all about service and makes a global impact.

Computer Engineering

How many devices do you own that connect to the Internet? Your computer, your smartphone, even your TV; all of these things need to be protected from cyber attacks. As a computer engineer, you’ll work to make the Internet safer and more accessible to everyone in the world. You’ll build human-like robots, design blazing-fast computer chips, develop real-time systems that make GPS navigation possible, and more. Be a creative thinker who makes devices smarter, faster, smaller and cheaper.

Construction Engineering

Creating and turning projects into reality takes detail-oriented people who solve problems and answer questions. Construction engineers have these skills and more, keeping them in high demand. You’ll focus on how to tackle big-vision projects like skyscrapers, transportation systems, educational facilities and industrial plants. As a construction engineer, you build the environments where people live, work and play.

Electrical Engineering

Every electronic device has an electrical engineer at its foundation. You’ll create a smart electric grid, help the world go green with new solar and wind energy technology, improve biomedical imaging technology to treat diseases, or make cell phone signals more reliable. Work in industries from power and wireless communication to health care and avionics, and the technologies you’ll work on will connect the world.

Industrial Engineering

Designing and implementing systems that make a difference is central to industrial engineering. You’ll improve processes to help people by making surgeries safer, manufacturing workspaces more productive, product quality higher, shipments timely, energy less expensive and entertainment lines shorter. Your problem solving and organizing talents ensure that complex systems operate efficiently. Whatever people do, you’ll help them do it better.

Materials Engineering

Think of all the materials in biomedical devices, computer chips, sensors, automobile parts and yes, even the kitchen sink. These are just a few products that depend on the creative solutions from materials engineers. You’ll study the relationship between a material and its atomic structure. As a materials engineer, you’ll apply that knowledge to create new or improve existing materials that perform better and are more environmentally friendly.

Mechanical Engineering

Researching, designing and manufacturing products that improve people’s lives—that’s what it means to be a mechanical engineer. By applying the properties of forces, materials, energy and motion, mechanical engineers are involved in nearly every product, like sensors used in air bags, prosthetic devices for the disabled and planetary exploration spacecraft. Virtually anywhere your imagination leads you, mechanical engineering can take you there.

Software Engineering

Going beyond your personal computer, software engineers develop hit video games and smartphone apps, along with creating control systems for airplanes, cars and medical equipment. You’ll manage projects through the entire development process to ensure your programs work seamlessly with technology and hardware developed by other engineers. Build software at Iowa State, and you can change the lives of others along the way.

Engineering minors and other programs

In addition to our 12 undergraduate degree programs, we offer five engineering minors in biomedical engineering, engineering sales, energy systems, nondestructive evaluation and nuclear engineering; a certificate program in engineering leadership; and concurrent dual degree programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including an MBA.

Still deciding? No problem!

You know you want to be an engineer, but you need more information and hands-on experiences to make a decision. We offer great resources to help you decide on a specific field of engineering. This unique option includes the Engineering 101 class, engineering student services and learning communities—all designed to help you discover your passion! The undeclared option will not delay your academic progress since all freshmen engineering majors take a common core of general education and introductory engineering classes.

Experience Iowa State

Iowa State offers more opportunities to enjoy your new college adventure. There are endless possibilities to meet new friends, get involved and explore your interests outside of classwork. We promote a campus environment that cultivates a sense of belonging, new discoveries and limitless memories. Check out what awaits you:

  • A beautiful 1,900 acre campus resembling a national park that features amazing architecture, abundant green spaces, Lake LaVerne, historical treasures and one of the largest public art collections in the country.
  • Robust cultural activities, performing arts and world-class entertainment on campus and in our city of Ames.
  • More than 800 student clubs and organizations.
  • Big 12 athletics and the excitement of Cyclone Nation fandom.
  • More than 40 intramural sports (some you never knew existed).
  • On-campus housing options designed to fit your needs and lifestyle, including a dynamic Greek community.
  • Dining choices so you will never go hungry range from residential dining centers and food courts to cafes, restaurants and convenience stores.

Be prepared for your engineering degree

The challenges facing our world will draw on many talents. Your ability to be successful starts with a balanced curriculum in high school.

Here are the courses we require:

  • English/Language Arts: 4 years
  • Foreign Language: 2 years of the same language
  • Science: 3 years, including one year each of two of the following fields: biology, chemistry and physics
  • Social Studies: 2 years
  • Math: 3 years, including one year each of algebra, geometry and advanced algebra

Here are the courses we recommend:

  • English/Language Arts: 4 years
  • Foreign Language: 2 years of the same language
  • Science: 4 years, including biology, chemistry, physics and a laboratory experience
  • Social Studies: 3 years
  • Math: 4 years including trigonometry, pre-calculus, analysis, calculus, or advanced math

Enjoy your adventure.

More opportunities. More possibilities. More potential.

At Iowa State you’ll find all of these things and more. Immerse yourself in a university where top-notch academics and a vibrant student life form the ultimate college adventure. Open your mind. Broaden your horizons. Make memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy the adventure.