The information below is intended for prospective exchange students looking to study at Iowa State University. Exchange students (undergraduate and graduate) are nominated by one of Iowa State University’s partner universities to study abroad at Iowa State for one or two semesters.

International Exchange Student Application Process

Please complete the nomination process at your home university before applying at Iowa State University. If you have questions the Exchange Program Coordinator at your home program cannot answer, feel free to contact Engineering International Programs (

Application Deadlines:

Fall Semester (August – December) March 15
Academic Year (August – May) March 15
Spring Semester (January – May) October 15


How To Apply:

Step 1: Click ISU Incoming Exchange Student Application

Step 2: Choose the link next to your home institution’s name

Step 3: Click ‘Apply Now’ – You will be asked if you previously started an application. Choose ‘I have not logged into this site before AND do not have Iowa State login credentials’ Fill out the requested information and click ‘Create Account.’

Step 4: Choose your semester(s) of study. Your home institution will help you select your best choice among the following options:
• Fall – August through December
• Spring – January through mid-May
• Academic Year – August through mid-May
• Calendar Year – January through December, which is less common because it requires you stay over our three-month summer break.

Step 5: Enter your date of birth

Step 6: Your application will be created. After logging into ISUAbroad for the first time, you can log out and go back at any time. Your application will be waiting on your ‘Applicant Homepage’ as saved. Click on your application to resume.

Step 7: Read all Signature Documents. For each document you must click the button that says ‘Click Here to Sign Digitally’ By clicking the button you are signing a legal document, so please make sure to read all information carefully.

Step 8: Under the Recommendations section provide the contact information of a member of your home institution’s International Programs Office. This person will verify that your school has nominated you for exchange. Under Option 2: ‘Person NOT at ISU’ – fill in the name, email and phone number of the exchange coordinator staff member from your home institution.

Step 9: Fill out both required documents under ‘Application Questionnaire(s).’
• Information needed for ‘First Semester Course List’  can be found at Schedule of Classes and  Course Catalog

Step 10: Carefully read over the ‘Learning Content’ section. This section provides answers to questions you may have about your upcoming exchange experience.

Step 11: Once you have completed and reviewed all required application materials your application will be reviewed by the Engineering International Programs Office.

Step 12: Once we verify all documentation, you will be accepted and we will send a request on your behalf for a DS-2019 visa document. Your letter of acceptance and the DS-2019 will be mailed to your home address.


After you have received acceptance to ISU:

Visa Application Process:
• After a student has been accepted at ISU, s/he will receive a DS-2019 form from ISU to be used for the J-1 Visa
• The student submits copies of Admission’s Acceptance Letter, Financial Statement and DS-2019 forms to U.S. Consulate in your home country (see Instructions on how to apply for the J-1 visa can be found under the “Learning Content” heading in your ISUAbroad application. Please keep in mind that the visa application process can take up to 3 months to process.

Finding ISU Engineering Courses:
• Course offerings and tentative class time tables can be found here
• The Iowa State University Course Catalog can be found here

Housing Process:
• Information about housing options can be found at the Department of Residence website. Housing assignments are made after the exchange application due date. Assignments for the applications after the due date will be reviewed at a later time and will be based on availability. To ensure housing, it is important that applications are received by the deadline. Also questions regarding housing should be directed to the Department of Residence email. When emailing The Department of Residence make sure that you type in the email that you are ‘international exchange student’. The Department of Residence will better be able to address your question knowing that you are an international exchange student.

• Students are required to participate in a New Student International Orientation .  Topics covered include computer access, how to buy textbooks, and assimilation into the campus and the City of Ames. Students will meet their Academic Advisor during New Student International Orientation.

• Once you receive notification of acceptance (you will get both an electronic notification and a paper copy), you can buy plane tickets.
• Local transportation and temporary housing information is available on the International Students & Scholars Website.

Social Media:
Iowa State University Incoming Exchange page
Engineering International Programs page

Fast Facts

Employers are looking for students with international experiences!
You can save money by studying abroad!
We have international internship opportunities!
Many study abroad programs are English-speaking!
You can study abroad and graduate on time!