International Freshman Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements by Country

Minimum performance requirements have been determined for students educated in most countries.

Academic Requirements by Country

If your country is not listed, please send us an email with the name of your country, whether you are applying as a freshman or transfer, and we will send you the admission requirements separately.

English Proficiency Exams

For the purpose of applying to Iowa State, English may be considered your primary language if you have been raised in an environment where English is the only official language of your locality and nation, and English has been the primary language used in your home. Applicants whose primary language is not English must meet an English proficiency requirement in one of the ways listed below. Note for students transferring from US schools: Iowa State does not waive the English requirement for students who have taken English courses at US institutions.

  • Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT): score of 71 with minimum scores of 17 in the Speaking and Writing sections.
  • Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT): score of 530.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): an overall band score of 6.0 with no sub score below 5.5.
  • SAT Critical Reading: a minimum score of 420 on the Critical Reading Section of the SAT.

Official TOEFL scores should be reported directly to Iowa State University by the testing agency. (Scanned copies, photocopies, and Web results are not accepted.) Iowa State's reporting code for the TOEFL and SAT is 6306. For IELTS, results should be sent directly to the Office of Admissions by the testing center where you took the IELTS.

Conditional Admission

Otherwise qualified applicants who do not meet one of the above test score requirements may apply for conditional admission if they have the following:

  1. TOEFL IBT score of 55 or higher
  2. IELTS of 5.5

If you apply for conditional admission, you will be asked on the application form if you wish to apply for Iowa State's Intensive English and Orientation Program (IEOP). If you would like to enroll in IEOP, please answer "Yes" to that question. IEOP is a full-time English language training program that offers classes at the same time as our regular classes.

If you meet the other admission requirements, a conditional admission letter for the bachelor's program will be issued along with the I-20 for IEOP. Please note that you must pass one of the required English proficiency examinations before you can begin regular classes.

If you prefer to improve your English proficiency on your own, please select "I do not meet this requirement yet or choose not to apply for IEOP." Your application will be held until you can submit your official examination results.

Secondary School Preparation

If you are applying directly from high school or transferring with fewer than 24 semester credits, you should have completed the following high school courses:

  • 4 years of English or your first language
  • 3 years of mathematics (one year each of algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra)
  • 3 years of science (including one year each of two of the following: biology, chemistry, or physics)
  • 2 years of social studies

Additional entrance requirements for the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences

In addition to the high school course requirements listed above, students applying for admission to the College of Engineering must complete two years of a single foreign language. (English is counted as a foreign language for nonnative English speakers.) Engineering applicants are also strongly encouraged to have taken trigonometry. Students applying for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must complete a third year of social studies and two years of a single foreign language.

Entrance Examinations (SAT and ACT)

Undergraduate students with good English skills may wish to take a standardized aptitude test, such as the ACT or SAT. Scores should be reported directly to Iowa State University by the testing agency. Iowa State's codes are 6306 for the SAT and 1320 for the ACT. There is no minimum composite score requirement.

Although the tests are not required of students who have been educated outside the U.S., strong results on either test could favorably affect the admission decision. Some U.S. Consulates require the results of a standardized examination as part of the visa application process to show the applicant's seriousness of purpose.