Master's Application Requirements

Contact Us

Email the computer science graduate admissions team at for individual support as your navigate the application process.

Sign up for a Virtual Visit - these sessions are offered for prospective master's students every Thursday at 10:00 AM U.S. Central Time. These small group sessions include information about Iowa State University and the Department of Computer Science, academic requirements, career placement, assistantships and internships, and the application process. Please use this link to sign up for a virtual visit.

Fall 2024 Application Process

Click here to access the online application system

Step 1 – create your account and provide your personal details (e.g., name, contact information, and address).

Step 2 – select your academic area of interest (e.g., MS Computer Science or MS Artificial Intelligence) and enter your academic history, exam test scores, and recommender information. Submit your application.

  • Program Focus: When specifying your Academic Area of Interest, select “No Specialization (Creative Component)” or “No Specialization (Thesis).” Do not select the Computational Molecular Biology options, as these are no longer available for admission.
  • Research Interests and Specific Faculty: When specifying your Academic Area of Interest, please list your research interests and the names of at least three faculty who you are interested in working with (check here for faculty names by research area). This will help us match your application with the appropriate faculty for the admission review process.

Step 3 – return to your application to upload the required documents. When you return to your account, click on the “View my Application(s)” button to access the action items for your application. Clicking on the “Manage” button next to each action item will open a menu where you can provide the required information. Admissions will send you an email if there is an issue with any documentation. The action item status will also change to “Returned.” Please contact us if you have any questions about the required documentation. We will gladly assist you.

Click here for instructions for managing your application documents and recommenders.

Required Documents:

  1. Current Resume/CV
  2. Unofficial transcripts from ALL universities/colleges attended – Please include the original language and an English translation. Consolidated transcripts are allowed if they show all tests and exams, including retakes. Please include the grading scale for your university/college. World Education Services (WES) and Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) evaluations of international transcripts are accepted starting with Fall 2024 applications. Please also upload your degree statement with your transcripts if you have graduated.
  3. Unofficial degree statement(s) – This isn’t required if your degree is still in progress. Please include a copy of your degree statement with your transcripts.
  4. (3) Letters of Recommendation (LOR) – the application system will automatically send a recommendation request to the email address you provide for each recommender. Please reach out to with any issues related to the letters of recommendation.
  5. Statement of Purpose (SOP) – guidance for writing the SOP can be found here.
  6. GRE scores - click here for information about the GRE requirement, including waiver criteria.
    • Type your GRE scores into the online application system.
    • Upload a PDF copy of your GRE test taker report, available to you in your ETS account.
    • Send your official GRE scores to Iowa State University. Our institution code is 6306.

Additional required documents for international applicants:

  1. English proficiency test results - click here for accepted tests and minimum requirements.
    • Type your scores into the online application system.
    • Upload a PDF copy of your test taker report.
    • Request the test provider to send your official scores to Iowa State University.
  2. Passport/immigration card - you can wait to upload this until you receive the admission decision.
  3. Financial Support Documents - you can wait to upload this until you receive the admission decision. Please submit a bank statement and/or letter from an official sponsorship agency (including government) showing equivalent to one year’s expenses. If you have any government or other scholarships, please include the letter. The amount you need to show can be found here. This form at this link may be helpful in planning your financial documents.

Successful MS Applicant Profile

In general, successful MS applicants for Spring 2024 had a combined GRE score of 310 or higher. They scored at least 150 on the quantitative portion of the GRE, and they also did fairly well on the verbal portion of the exam, although not as high. Additionally, they had a USA GPA comparable to an "B+" average, or 3.33 out of a possible 4.00, and they ranked in the top quartile (25%) of their graduating class. Typically, they received “A” and “B+” USA equivalent grades in their core COM S and MATH studies.

The Admissions Committee Admissions Committee typically looks for applicants with preparatory coursework and/or professional experience in these five areas: 

  1. Programming (e.g., COM S 227/228 Java Programming)
  2. Algorithms (e.g., COM S 311 Algorithm Design and Analysis)
  3. Math/theory for CS (e.g., COM S 230 Discrete Mathematics and COM S 331 Computer Theory)
  4. Databases and Operating Systems (e.g., COM S 363 Intro to DB Mgmt Systems and COM S 352 Intro to OS)
  5. Statistics (e.g., STAT 201)

Descriptions for the above courses can be found on the university website ( Students missing some of the pre-requisites may be conditionally admitted with the requirement to take COM S 311 and/or COM S 331 during their first year.

Fall 2024 Deadlines

We offer Fall or Spring entry; there is no Summer entry. International applicants requiring a new visa are encourage to apply earlier.

  • M.S. applications will open on September 1, 2023 and close on July 5, 2024.
  • M.S. admission decisions will be communicated within 10 business days of final application submmission.
  • We generally do not offer teaching assistantships to MS students; however, some MS students do find assistantships or on-campus employment once they arrive on campus.

Financial Support

MS applicants are not offered funding at the time of admission. They often find support through a number of different research labs and organizations outside of the CS department after they arrive on campus.