Frequently Asked Questions (CBE)

Question: How are the criteria for admission decisions with financial support made?
Answer: All applicants that are accepted into the Ph.D. program are awarded full financial support for their graduate studies when considered for full-time status. The current full-time annual stipend is $28,100 (AY 2016-17).

Question: What is the tuition rate for resident and nonresident students?
Answer: All current tuition and fees can be found at the Office of the Registrar website. Non-Iowa resident students who hold assistantships for one-quarter time or greater pay resident tuition instead of the normal nonresident rate. Furthermore, a large fraction of tuition is covered for students with assistantships. The department is required to pay a minimum amount of tuition, which is explained at

Question: What is the application fee?
Answer: The application fee is $60 for domestic students and $100 for international students. The fee is payable by Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.

Question: When is the best time to apply?
Answer: While the department will consider applications at any time, first consideration is given to students who have their application folders (application material, GRE and TOEFL scores and the required letters of recommendation) completed by January 15 for fall admission. Students seeking admission to the spring semester must have their admission folder completed by October 1. Spring admission to the doctoral program is only approved in special cases.

Question: What is the minimum GPA requirement?
Answer: Applicants to the graduate program are expected to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0/4.0 with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering or a related science or engineering discipline.

Question: What GRE tests are required?
Answer: Applicants are required to submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). We do not have a rigid GRE minimum, though most of our students have a combined GRE score above 310, with an analytical writing score of at least 3.0. The GRE Advanced Examination (subject test) in Engineering is not required for admission to the program; however, these scores should be forwarded to the department if the Advanced Examination is taken.

Question: Who should write recommendation letters?
Answer: Applicants must arrange to have three evaluation letters forwarded to the department. These evaluation letters should be completed by persons who are well acquainted with the applicant's academic and/or industrial performance and ability to undertake graduate work in chemical engineering. 

Question: Are there any additional requirements for applicants whose native language is not English?
Answer: Applicants who do not speak English as their native language are required to submit the results of the TOEFL examination. A TOEFL score of at least 81 is required by our Graduate College, but most of our international students have scores of 100 or higher.  Students with scores below 100 must take an English Proficiency Exam once they are on campus.  English proficiency requirements for international students can be found at:

Question: How many M.S. and Ph.D. students are accepted by your department every year?
Answer: Usually between 6 and 8 applicants are accepted annually.

Question: When can I expect to be notified about the decision made on my application?
Answer: When we receive your completed application, it will be circulated among the Graduate Admission Committee. They will make a decision based on the number of openings in the department. The process generally takes a couple months after the deadline for submitting applications. You will be notified by e-mail when we come to a decision.