Iowa State University’s Office of Admissions application portal is a fantastic resource for all applicants.  Please make sure you visit their website to make sure you fulfill all of their requirements to ensure you submit a complete application.  You can visit the application portal by clicking on the following link: Office of Admissions application portal.

The Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) Department also has program-specific requirements that must be fulfilled before your application can be considered complete.  Please visit the following link to make sure you are submitting all of the required documents: IMSE Graduate Program Requirements.

The difference between these two words is incredibly important.  When an application has been submitted, the Department’s Graduate Committee reviews every application and determines whether or not the applicant(s) should be accepted* into the Industrial Engineering Graduate program.  Final approval is granted by Iowa State University’s Graduate College and should they approve an applicant, the Office of Admissions will formally admit* the applicant to the University.  Only then is the process 100% complete.

* This term has been highlighted throughout this FAQ in order for you to better understand the difference.

No. We do not analyze any applicant documents unless they are part of an official application; therefore, we strongly encourage students to apply to our program so we may view your documents as an official applicant.

Completed applications are due January 15 for Fall consideration and September 1 for Spring consideration.

Once the deadline for the semester’s consideration has passed, the Department’s Graduate Committee will review all of the applications received on or before the deadline. This process takes approximately 4-6 weeks AFTER the application deadline has passed and NOT before. Once the Graduate Committee reaches their decision, every applicant will be notified via email, whether they were accepted or denied. Please note that acceptance letters will only be ACCEPTANCE letters and your application must still be approved by ISU’s Graduate College and then ISU’s Office of Admissions formally admits and notifies the applicant via letter of admission.

The Department is not permitted to answer this question. The Office of Admissions reviews and validates the transcripts of each graduate applicant after the application is submitted. If you want to know whether your university is accepted, please contact them at Please note, they do not calculate transfer credits.

For Spring 2025 applicants, there is no application fee.

We no longer require the GRE for applicants to our graduate programs. You may submit a GRE score for consideration as part of your overall admissions package, but again, this is not required.

Here are the minimum scores we can accept:

Test Score
TOEFL Paper (PBT) 550
TOEFL Internet (iBT) 79
PTE 53
Duolingo (accepted through Spring 2025) 105

The statement of purpose should be structured as follows – Answer the following four questions (maximum of 125 words on each question with a maximum of 500 word limit for the entire document.  It is strongly recommended that you adhere to the 500-word maximum.):

  • Why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in industrial engineering at ISU?
  • What are your career goals after completing your degree?
  • How have your background, education, and/or experiences prepared you for graduate study?
  • What are your research interests for a thesis or dissertation? (for M.S. and Ph.D. applicants only).

To be considered for acceptance to the graduate program, the applicant should have a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering or related field from a college, university, or technical school of recognized standing. Other degree programs will be considered on an individual basis, but completion of a Calculus sequence through Differential Equations is required. High academic achievement or other persuasive evidence of professional accomplishments is expected for acceptance to the program.

You will be able to register for classes on the date indicated by the Office of Admissions.

This will depend on your major and the courses you have taken. If you have an engineering degree, you should not need additional courses. Other degrees may require additional course work.

If you are a domestic student there is funding available for you through ISU’s Office of Student Financial Aid; however, this funding is very limited. Please visit their website to learn more about your options: Office of Student Financial Aid.

If you are an international student, you are not eligible for traditional financial aid because one of the requirements for admittance to ISU is verification that you have sufficient resources to support yourself financially while you are here.

The IMSE Department typically offers full funding in the form of an assistantship to top-quality PhD applicants, which means assistantships are highly competitive.

The University’s Office of Admissions will be sending your I-20 form along with your official admissions letter and you should receive it within 6-8 weeks of acceptance to the program. However, if you have not submitted your required financial documents to the Office of Admissions, an I-20 will not be issued to you, which could delay your arrival to campus. To avoid this delay, please submit your financial documents in accordance with the Office of Admissions policy. Please visit the following link to learn more about the financial documents (and all of the other required documents) you need to submit: International Graduate Student Application Instructions.