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. Due to the global pandemic, we are waiving the requirement for international applicants to submit GRE scores for fall 2021 ONLY. Please note, if you have a BS/BA or master's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university then the GRE is optional, and the degree would fulfill English proficiency requirements.

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 if that is not a possibility for you, you can send them to our office at: Chemistry Graduate Admissions, Iowa State University, 1605B Gilman Hall, 2415 Osborn Drive, Ames, IA 50011-1021
  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 one-page statement of purpose that highlights ability, motivation and experience related to your chosen research field as well as your career goals.
  5. GRE and TOEFL scores, if required, can be uploaded with your application. The Department of Chemistry is waiving the GRE requirement for fall 2022 admissions, due to the pandemic.

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

After submitting your application online, materials can be sent by mail to:

Chemistry Grad Admissions
Iowa State University
1605B Gilman Hall
2415 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-3111

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.

Is there an application fee?

No, provided you apply online to the Department of Chemistry.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for international applicants is January 15 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.

Students who are offered admission are notified by both mail and email.

How will I know that my application is complete?

You can log into your application anytime and see what your status is.

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 Chemistry Education; it 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. The stipend amount for 2022-2023 is $2264 per month 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)?

After you are admitted, we ask that you submit 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. Social Security taxes are not withheld.

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.