Ph.D. Application Requirements

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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 doctoral students every Wednesday 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., PhD Computer Science) and enter your academic history, exam test scores, and recommender information. Submit your application.

  • Due to a technical issue with the admission system, all PhD applications were automatically assigned the “Computational Molecular Biology” focus area. Our IT Support team is working on a solution to correct this issue. When a solution is available, we will contact you to ensure the correct focus area is listed on your application. In most instances, the focus area is “none.”
  • The PhD application fee ($65 US Domestic; $100 International) for admitted students will be placed on the first university bill (U-Bill) after enrolling in classes. PhD applicants who are not admitted are not required to pay an application fee.

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.

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.
  3. Unofficial degree statement(s) – This isn’t required if your degree is still in progress.
  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. When writing your Statement of Purpose, 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). 
  6. List of Publications – please upload a PDF with a list of all publications you have authored or co-authored. If you do not have publications, please upload a PDF file that states “no publications.”
  7. GRE scores - click here for imfornation about the GRE requirement.
    1. Type your GRE scores into the online application system.
    2. Upload a PDF copy of your GRE test taker report, available to you in your ETS account.
    3. 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.
    1. Type your scores into the online application system.
    2. Upload a PDF copy of your test taker report.
    3. 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.

Fall 2024 Doctoral Application Deadlines

We offer Fall or Spring entry; there is no Summer entry. International applicants requiring a new visa and Ph.D. applicants interested in competitive scholarships/grants are encouraged to apply earlier.

  • Ph.D. applications will open on September 1, 2023 and close on January 31, 2024.
  • Ph.D. admission decisions will be communicated on a rolling basis starting in December 2023.
  • Waitlisted applicants will receive a final decision by April 1, 2024.
  • Ph.D. funding offers are the same for anytime of admission.

Financial Support

Ph.D. applicants selected for admission will receive a two academic year (fall and spring) teaching assistantship (TA). This includes a monthly stipend, 100% tuition scholarship, and free health insurance. Our Ph.D. students are usually funded by their major professors as research assistants (RA) during years 3, 4 and 5 and during the summers. Summer internships are highly available if the student's major professor does not have RA funding available. RA funding is a discussion that Ph.D. students can have with major professors once admitted during their first academic year.