International Transfer Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements

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

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.

Evaluation of International Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit Evaluation Procedures from colleges and universities outside the U.S.A

English Proficiency Requirement

For the purpose of applying for admission to Iowa State University, English may be considered your primary language only 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 the English proficiency requirement by any one of the options listed below.

Option Minimum Score or Grade Required
TOEFL Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT) score of 71 with a minimum score of 17 in both the Writing and Speaking sections
Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT) score of 530
IELTS Overall band score of 6.0 with no sub score below 5.5
PTE Score of 48
SAT If test was taken prior to March 2016, Critical Reading (CR) score of 420
If test was taken in March 2016 or later, Evidence-Based Writing and Reading (EWR) score of 460
ACT English sub score of 19

Scores from any of the exams above must be sent to Iowa State University directly from the testing agency. Scanned copies, photocopies, and web results are not accepted. Below is the Iowa State University reporting code used by each testing agency:

Testing Agency Iowa State University Code
TOEFL 6306
SAT 6306
ACT 1320
IELTS IELTS does not utilize institutional codes
PTE PTE does not utilize institutional codes

For international students transferring from a U.S. College: The English Proficiency Requirement can be waived if a student completed a course equivalent to Iowa State University's English 150 or English 250 with a grade of B or better from an accredited US two-year or four-year college or university (note: grade must be earned prior to enrollment at Iowa State).

Conditional Admission

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.

Entrance Examinations (SAT and ACT)

The SAT and ACT are not required or recommended for transfer students.

Transfer Credit Process

The Office of Admissions must determine the following whenever a student has attended a post secondary college or university:

  1. Is the institution recognized by the Ministry of Education or other educational authorities? If it is not, or if we can find no information verifying its recognition, no transfer credit will be awarded.
  2. Is the program a certificate, diploma, or bachelor's degree program? Students transferring from other recognized bachelor's program can expect to receive transfer credit. Those studying for a certificate or diploma may not - or may receive only partial transfer credit. In some cases, we may ask our faculty to review your course syllabus and recommend whether transfer credit is appropriate.

A transfer credit evaluation will be included with your letter of admission. This will tell you how many of your previous courses have been accepted by the university, and are available for our academic adviser to apply toward the degree requirements in your program.

Courses that are not transferable

Iowa State does not typically award transfer credit for the following courses:

  • Career, vocational and/or technically-oriented courses
  • Calisthenics and general physical education or activity classes
  • Military training exercises
  • Religious instruction or doctrinal religion courses
  • Ideological political instruction
  • English as a second language
  • Remedial courses
  • Professional courses (medicine, law, veterinary medicine, and other health sciences

Courses taken in junior or community colleges are limited to no more than 65 semester credits.

Converting to Semester Credits

Most 4-year degrees at Iowa State require completion of 120 to 124.5 semester credits, so the typical full-time student at Iowa State earns 30 semester credits per year. If your previous school(s) used a different course weighting system, we will convert your courses to semester credits as part of the transfer process. For example, if full-time students in your country earn an average of 45 units per year, those units would be counted equal to two-thirds of a semester credit, so you would earn 30 transfer credits. In the same manner, if full-time students in another country typically earn 20 units per year, their units would be counted equal to 1.5 semester credits, so they too would earn 30 semester credits in transfer.

Course Syllabi

If you are transferring from a foreign college or university, Admissions encourages you to obtain course syllabi or description of the post secondary courses or subjects that you have taken previously, and a list of the titles of the books you were assigned for each class. Please bring them to your first meeting on campus with your academic adviser. These will help your academic adviser and/or designated faculty in their evaluation of your previous coursework. (If you are transferring from a U.S. school, you do not need to submit course descriptions as we have course catalogs from all U.S. colleges and universities.)

Applying Transfer Credits to Degree

After you arrive, an academic adviser and/or faculty in your major will review the transfer credit evaluation, the syllabus, and the list of books you brought to Iowa State and decide whether some or all of the transfer credit you have earned will apply toward the specific degree for which you have applied. In some cases, you will be asked to validate your previous learning, either by interviews with faculty, brief tests, or by providing additional information, such as a list of textbooks studied in their major classes, examples of homework, tests, etc. If some courses are not applied to the degree, it may occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You are changing fields of study, and your previous courses do not fit well in the new field. For example, if your previous study was science, and now you want to study business, we would accept all your science classes for transfer, but only a few of them would meet our degree requirements in business.
  • The requirements at your previous school may be significantly different than ours. (For example, if your previous major of does not have the same course prerequisites as required at Iowa State, those classes may not be accepted to meet your degree requirements.)
  • You are not able to validate your previous learning.
  • Our faculty do not recommend acceptance of your previous study.

Transfer Equivalency Guides

We have prepared Course Equivalency Guides for some U.S. community colleges.