College Facts

Brief History

Engineering was one of the first programs offered at Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) when the university was established in 1858. The first students who arrived in 1869 studied agriculture and mechanics. Soon after, several branches of engineering developed out of the mechanics course. When the first Iowa State class graduated in 1872, six of the 26 students graduated with engineering degrees – four in civil and two in mechanical. Read more about ISU engineering through the years on our history page.

Our Passion

Educating future engineering leaders … conducting research to address our greatest challenges … using technology to make a difference … celebrating diversity of thought and culture … and creating solutions to make Iowa and the world a better place.

Degree Programs

  • 13 undergraduate degree programs
  • 5 engineering minors
  • 20 doctoral and 25 master degree programs
  • Certificate program in engineering leadership
  • Concurrent dual degree programs
  • An “undeclared engineering” program for freshmen (about one third of our first-year students enter this program)


Record enrollment of 8,779 engineering students (fall 2019) – undergraduate enrollment ranks 11th largest in the country.

Quick Facts

  • Average 95% placement rate six months after graduation with average starting salary of $65,000.
  • More than 650 companies recruit our students every year—many of them participate in our career fairs that are amoung the largest in the nation.
  • More than 70% of engineering students graduate with engineering work experience.
  • Academic resources include dedicated advisers in each department, an academic success center, computer labs, disability resources, help room, tutoring services and other support programs.
  • More than $105 million spent on externally sponsored research last year.
  • 500+ faculty and staff dedicated to teaching, research and student achievement.
  • Internships, learning communities, study abroad, 90+ engineering organizations and hands-on experience help shape student success.
  • 85% of full-time, first-year engineering students are members of learning communities.
  • The engineering college is consistently ranked a top 25 engineering program at public universities.
  • The college provides statewide K-12 STEM outreach and training programs.
  • Many groups and resources at the college and university geared toward inclusion – examples include the Society of Women Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society for Black Engineers, the LGBTA Alliance and many more.

Points of Pride

Learn more about our engineering points of pride and significant achievements through the years at our college history page.

Iowa State University

Learn more about Iowa State at the university profile page.