Skip to main content


Iowa State University requires a formal graduate application. Before applying to the Environmental Science graduate program, please carefully review the program information outlined below and the university U.S. applicant instructions (pdf) or international applicant instructions (pdf).

Application Procedure and Requirements

Environmental Science is a highly competitive, direct-admit graduate program, where students are admitted into the lab of a major professor as well as into the ENSCI program. As such it is imperative that prospective students identify a potential professor before applying to the program. Applicants should review our faculty directory to identify research faculty working in areas that align with their interests and goals. Once relevant faculty members have been identified, applicants should contact those faculty directly to inquire about open graduate positions and funding opportunities for their planned term of entry. Only applicants that contact faculty, apply for the program and are then  nominated by a faculty member will be considered for admission to the program.

The ENVSC program does not allow for self-funding nor can we provide conditional admission. We also do not provide application fee waivers.

Admission Standards

All applicants should have a degree in one of the biological, physical, or engineering sciences from an accredited institution. 

NOTE: we no longer require the GRE for admission to our program.

MS applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Research readiness
  • International applicants: An English proficiency score of 79-iBT, 550-PBT, 6.5-IELTS, 53-PTE or 105 Duolingo (The Duolingo score will only be accepted through spring 2025 semester). You are exempted from providing an English proficiency score if you hold a bachelor's or higher degree from a country where English is the ONLY official language. 

PhD applicants must meet three of the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • A graduate GPA of 3.3 or better
  • Research readiness
  • International applicants: An English proficiency score of 79-iBT, 550-PBT, 6.5-IELTS, 53-PTE or 105 Duolingo. The Duolingo score will only be accepted through spring 2025 semester.

Research Readiness

The Admissions Committee will evaluate applicants' commitment and readiness to conduct graduate-level research. Evidence of research readiness may include

  • Letters of recommendation that clearly describe research performance or suitability to pursue research
  • Strong performance in undergraduate research experiences and/or capstone projects
  • Related internships/work experience
  • Strong performance in upper-level undergraduate and/or graduate-level courses
  • A well-crafted statement of purpose that clearly describes research interests and goals
  • Unique life/work experience
  • Accepted or in-print peer-reviewed publications
  • Participation in national professional association conferences and symposia, including presentation of peer-reviewed research, abstracts, and posters
  • Significant, documented laboratory and/or field research conducted independently by an applicant

When to Apply

To receive priority consideration for competitively awarded fellowships, and to ensure there are no Visa issues for international students, applicants should submit a complete application package by the following dates:
Spring: October 1
Summer: March 1
Fall: December 15 
Applications can be submitted after these dates for consideration; however, funding opportunities are limited.

Required Application Materials

  • Graduate application including statement of purpose
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts required upon admission)
  • International applicants: Official English proficiency exam results

All materials should be submitted through the online application system. Applicants are responsible for submitting the required materials and ensuring that all letters of recommendation are received. Letters of recommendation can be tracked through the online system.

NOTE: from fall 2024 on, please choose ONLY the Environmental Science Graduate Major when you apply.

Decision Timeline

The Admissions Committee begins reviewing nominated applicants in February. Initial admission offers are made in March. Applicants nominated after February are reviewed on an individual basis. Applicants that do not receive a nomination are notified in April.


Please contact us at