Prospective Graduate Students

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Employers worldwide look to Iowa State University’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (ISU CCEE) as a source of ideas, technologies and highly skilled engineers. Here, you can expect to gain engineering knowledge as well as the planning and management skills necessary to become part of a dynamic workforce. Students can count on CCEE faculty and staff for support as they learn to design, construct and maintain systems that are critical to modern life, with the opportunity to explore a range of engineering specializations and several cross-disciplinary areas.

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Research Areas

Our faculty are organized into five different administrative areas of engineering research: construction engineering and management, environmental/water resources, geotechnical/materials engineering, structural engineering and transportation engineering. See a description of each research area and find names and contact information of research faculty here. If you have any questions related to graduate admissions or graduate study, please contact the faculty members listed here in your area of interest. Finally, use our faculty/staff directory to explore faculty research interests, find email addresses and get information pertaining to office hours.

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If you are a current student wanting to pursue the next level of education, check out our Concurrent Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Process. If you are not currently a student and are exploring a new adventure here at Iowa State, check out our Graduate Application Process.

Graduate Application Process

Application Options for CCEE Undergrads

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Graduate Application FAQs

Is there an application deadline?

CCEE accepts applications at any time, however, the following deadlines do apply:

  1. Preapplication deadline for first consideration for assistantships for on-campus programs (MS and PhD applicants only):
    • December 15, for fall semester of the following year.
    • August 15, for the next spring semester.
  2. Preapplication deadline for Master of Engineering (on-campus or online):
    • June 1 for Fall Semester
    • October 1 for Spring semester
Is the GRE required?
  • The GRE is preferred, but not required by the CCEE department.
  • The GRE will not be used to determine admission.
  • The GRE is valuable to CCEE faculty to determine your skillset for assistantship consideration.

What English proficiency exams are accepted for international students?

International applicants must take one of the following English proficiency examinations and meet or exceed scores listed below.  Applicants with scores below those listed will not be considered for admission.

  1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
    • Paper-based (PBT) = 553
    • Internet-based (IBT) = 82
    • ISU Admissions does NOT accept TOEFL “My Best” scores
  2. IELTS (International English Language Testing system) = 6.5
  3. DET (Duolingo English Test) = 105  Accepted through Spring 2025
  4. PTE (Pearson Test of English) = 55

An exam of English proficiency will be required if English is not the official language of an applicant’s home country, even if they attended an institution where the language of instruction was English.

An exam of English proficiency will not be required if an applicant has completed a prior degree (bachelor’s or master’s) in a country where English is the only official language.  Please see the International Admissions Instructions webpage for a list.

Do I need a major professor/supervisor/advisor before I apply?

No, it is not necessary to identify/secure a major professor before applying.  However, you are welcome to communicate with faculty about your interest in graduate study in their research area.  You can use the CCEE Faculty Directory by Focus Area to check out faculty profiles, which include their contact information.  It’s better to apply and upload all your documentation to your application, than to send faculty members documents by email.

Can I apply for a direct PhD admission?

You can, however, CCEE faculty might offer a master’s admission if they feel your credentials do not support a direct PhD admission.

Where do I send application materials?

Do not send application materials to the CCEE department.  Upload all application documents (transcripts, exam scores, publications, etc. to your Admissions account, using the upload tool in the Manage Documents section.

Unofficial documents are OK for the application process.  Only if you are offered admission will you be required to submit official documents.

How soon will I find out if I am accepted for admission?

Processing applications can take several months, especially during peak periods (December-March; August-October).  It also depends on how quickly your application is complete.  If any items are missing, such as transcripts, exam scores, LOR’s, etc., you will be notified that your application is incomplete.  If any application items are not received in a timely manner, your application may or may not be considered for the term you originally applied for.

If I am accepted for admission will I be automatically granted an assistantship?

No.  You can be accepted academically for admission, but there may or may not be assistantship positions available at that time.  Assistantship positions are very competitive, and there are always more applicants than positions available.  If you are accepted for admission, but not offered an assistantship, you might be encouraged to attend with your own funding or to find another funding source.

What criteria to faculty use to make assistantship offers?

CCEE faculty do not have one set list of criteria.  Every faculty member has different criteria based on their needs, which are determined by their research projects and teaching responsibilities.  Graduate assistantship openings are filled based on application credentials.

How can I receive funding?

MS and PhD students are considered for assistantships. Applicants must indicate on the ISU Admissions application (there are check boxes) that they want to be considered for a teaching and/or research assistantship. Applicants considered for assistantships are also automatically considered for departmental fellowships & scholarships, no extra application is required. Learn more about funding opportunities here.

Graduate Degree Prerequisites

Click here to see the prerequisites for graduate study in the various specializations within the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering. They are minimum course requirements for holders of bachelor’s degrees.

Equivalent courses may be substituted. If these conditions are not met, the student is required to remedy deficiencies by taking appropriate courses on a graded basis. These courses do not count toward a graduate degree.

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