High School Counselors

High school courses leading to strong preparation for engineering include:

Math: algebra, trigonometry/pre-calculus, calculus series (note: statistics is less helpful for engineering preparation)
Science: chemistry, physics, biology
World language requirement:

  • two years of a single world language in high school (such as Spanish 1 and 2)
  • …OR… two semesters of a single world language in college (such as 101 and 102)
General Education: If high school students are pursuing college-credit general education courses, it is important to choose strategically due to specific requirements and limitations for credit in engineering programs. Refer to our AP and Community College course lists in the tab below for recommendations.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW): Students may find PLTW courses to be informative and helpful in discovering an interest in engineering; however, there is only one PLTW course that may be considered for credit into any engineering programs at Iowa State University.

If a student successfully completes the IED (Intro to Engineering Design) course and completes the steps necessary to receive college credit on a transcript, that transcript may be sent to Iowa State and the credit can be accepted into the following five engineering majors to meet a course requirement: Agricultural, Biological Systems, Civil, Construction, and Mechanical. No other PLTW credit is accepted in engineering programs at Iowa State.

High school students interested in receiving college credits for PLTW courses should refer to the PLTW website at www.pltw.org. Iowa State University is no longer a PLTW university affiliate, so all inquiries regarding courses, college credits, etc., should be directed to PLTW.

Students and educators in Iowa may reach out to PLTW Director of School Engagement, Terry Ausman, at tausman@pltw.org.

Community College Course Resources

  • Applicable community college courses can be found on our Engineering Transfer Plans
    • All college courses will need to be completed with a minimum grade of “C” in order to be considered for transfer credit into the College of Engineering
Advanced Placement (AP) Recommendations Specific AP course/exam recommendations for credit meeting engineering program requirements:

AP Exam Score ISU Courses Credits
Calculus AB 4-5 Math 165 (Calculus I) 4
Calculus BC 3 Math 165 (Calculus I) 4
Calculus BC 4-5 Math 165, 166 (Calculus I and II) 8
Chemistry 4-5 Chemistry 177, 178 7*
*Chemistry lab notebooks must be reviewed when student begins classes at Iowa State in order to confirm additional lab credit
English Language 3-5 English 150 3
English Literature 4-5 English 150 3
Physics C-Mechanics 4-5 Physics 221 (Classical Physics I) 5
Physics C-E&M 4-5 Physics 222 (Classical Physics II) 5
Computer Science A 5 Computer Science 227+ 4
+Only three engineering majors require this course: computer engineering, cyber security engineering and software engineering

Additional AP course/exam recommendations for general education credits readily accepted in engineering programs:

AP Exam Score ISU Courses Credits
Microeconomics 3-5 Economics 101 3
or Macroeconomics 3-5 Economics 102 3
US Government 3-5 Political Science 215 3
or Comparative Government 3-5 Political Science 241 3
Psychology 4-5 Psychology 101 3

Complete list of AP and IB courses accepted by Iowa State University

Why Iowa State Engineering?

Undergraduate degree programs

We encourage interested students to visit the Iowa State campus to get additional questions answered and talk to current engineering students.

Advisor with student

Engineering Student Services

Phone: (515) 294-7186
E-mail: engineer@iastate.edu

help engineer futures