Frequently Asked Questions


What are the admission requirements?

The Graduate College requires at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on your BS/BA degree. Also, your bachelor’s degree must be from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association. If you attended a non-U.S. college or university, your degree must have been received from a recognized institution where the requirements for the bachelor’s degree are similar to those at Iowa State. Furthermore, all international applicants must submit scores for English proficiency. We do not require the GRE.

How do I apply to the chemistry graduate program?

Use our departmental online application process. Online application is free! Begin by following the reviewing the Application Instructions.

What is a complete application package?

  1. The completed online application at
  2. Transcripts from all institutions you have attended. These can be uploaded to your application, or emailed to us at
  3. Select three people with whom you have worked with, either professionally or educationally, to complete Letters of Recommendation. Your references will receive a separate email from the application system where they can upload their letter.
  4. A current CV/résumé, which can be uploaded to the application, and a 500-word statement of purpose that highlights ability, motivation and experience related to your chosen research field as well as your career goals.
  5. English Proficiency Test scores, if required, must be uploaded with your application.

Where can I send my application materials if I'm not able to upload them?

If you are unable to upload your application materials, the materials can be scanned and emailed to

Letters of recommendation are now received through our online system. Once you complete and submit the application, your recommenders will be contacted by our system to upload their letters to your application. If they cannot access the system, please have them email their letters to

Is there an application fee?

No, provided you apply online to the Department of Chemistry. Our pre-application is free. If you are accepted, we will pay for your application fee to the unviersity (Graduate College application).

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for international applicants is January 10th and domestic applicants is February 1 of the year you wish to be admitted. We do not offer spring admission.

Do I need to apply to the Graduate College now?

No. If you decide to accept our offer, we will ask you to complete the Graduate College application to the point of payment and we will pay your application fee.

After my application and materials have been received, how long before a decision is made?

All applications are reviewed when complete.The review process begins in mid-fall semester and may take up to four weeks to complete. Additional time may be needed due to University holidays.

How will I know that my application is complete?

You can log into your application anytime and see what your status is. If you are having trouble logging in, please contact the Solution Center at +1 515-294-4000.

Must I obtain an MS degree before the Ph.D.?

No. You can be admitted to our program directly after you complete your BS/BA degree. The exception is the Chemistry Education division, which does require a MS degree as a prerequisite.

What about financial assistance?

All students in good academic standing receive tuition and a stipend with a teaching or research assistantship. Our stipend amount for Fall 2024 has not yet been determined, but for reference, our Fall 2023 is $28,020 before taxes.

Am I paid during the summers?

As long as you remain a student in good academic standing, you receive a research or teaching stipend for the entire calendar year.

What about health insurance?

Single coverage health insurance is a part of your assistantship and is paid 100% by the department. 

How long does it take to obtain the chemistry Ph.D.?

Iowa State’s average is 5.5 years.

How does Iowa State’s Chemistry Program help me get a job?

The Department will assist you with your job search as will the Office of Career Services in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Department of Chemistry maintains an active file of open academic positions. Many companies come to the campus to interview chemists. Your major professor may also assist you finding job opportunities.

What are the requirements to transfer to Iowa State?

In addition to the regular application materials, the Department of Chemistry REQUIRES a letter from the chairperson of your present department if you will not be receiving a degree before your planned transfer. This letter should state that, in the event you receive an assistantship offer from Iowa State, you will be released from further obligation to that department, and that you are a student in good standing. We also REQUIRE a letter from your current research advisor or the professor with whom you have worked the most closely with. Your application materials will not be reviewed until we have received both of these letters.

Will any of my classes from my master’s degree transfer to Iowa State?

After you are admitted, we ask that you submit materials (tests, syllabi, papers, etc.) from all the courses you have previously taken toward your MS degree. The materials are then reviewed by our Graduate Activities Committee to determine transfer credit.

What are the codes for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

We do not require GRE scores, but you may submit them. Not submitting GRE scores will not affect your application. If you choose to submit GRE scores, we ask that you send your GRE scores to the Office of Admissions. The university's code is 6306. All scores are reported to the Office of Admissions regardless of the department code you select, but if you would like to include a departmental code those are listed in the chart below. Please note, the GRE is not required, this is only if you opt to sit for the exam.

Iowa State University 6306 General chemistry 0301
Analytical Chemistry 0302 Inorganic Chemistry 0303
Organic Chemistry 0304 Physical Chemistry 0306

Planning Ahead

When should I arrive on campus to begin graduate study?

The training program for teaching assistants and the orientation program for new graduate students admitted for the fall semester begins two weeks before the start of classes. Your admission letter will give you the exact date when orientation activities begin. You should plan to arrive in Ames with plenty of time to make housing, financial and other personal arrangements.

How do I find a place to live in Ames?

Once you have accepted our offer, a package of information about on-campus housing will be sent to you by the Department of Residence. See their web page for more information:

If you prefer to live off-campus, a list of housing options is available through Rent Smart Ames

Information about the city of Ames can be found on these web pages:
City of Ames:
Ames Visitors and Convention Bureau:

How much in tax is deducted from my paychecks?

Actual dollar amounts are difficult to determine but both federal taxes and State of Iowa taxes are withheld from each paycheck.

When do I register for classes?

Class registration will be completed on-campus during your orientation prior to the start of the school year.

When do I select a major professor?

First-year students attend lectures given by faculty members and meet with them individually. The selection process ordinarily concludes by mid-November.