General Information for Future Graduate Students

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Programs of Study:

The College of Engineering at the University of Iowa offers M.S. and Ph.D. programs in biomedical engineering, chemical and biochemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering. The College excels nationally and internationally in several specialty and interdisciplinary research areas, including computer-aided design and simulation, human factors, environmental health solutions, biotechnology, bioinformatics, medical imaging, photopolymerization, hydraulics and water/air resources, and nanotechnology. Master’s candidates must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and may choose either a thesis or nonthesis program. Students must also successfully complete a minimum of 30 semester hours, 24 of which must be taken at the University of Iowa. Doctoral candidates must complete three years beyond the bachelor’s degree, with a minimum of 72 semester hours. One academic year must be in residence. Research tools may be required as specified by the individual program. Those interested should contact the specific department for additional requirements. Graduate students often do interdisciplinary research work in a variety of programs and facilities noted in this description.

Research Facilities:

The College of Engineering has twenty research locations in eastern Iowa, covering its six academic programs, four research centers reporting to the College, and interdisciplinary research efforts. IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering is unique for its state-of-the-art in-house capabilities in both computational simulations and laboratory modeling and for field observational research. Today IIHR pioneers high-speed computational analysis and simulation of complex flow phenomena while maintaining exceptional experimental laboratory capabilities and facilities. Observational facilities include a Mississippi River environmental research station and a wide range of remote sensing equipment. Experimental facilities include hydraulic flumes, a hydraulic wave basin, air- and water-flow units, sediment labs, and advanced instruments for laboratory and field measurements. Engineers in IIHR’s mechanical and electronic shops provide in-house expertise for construction of models and instruments. Active academic and research programs at IIHR are supported by a diverse set of computing resources and facilities. For high-performance computing (HPC) IIHR operates a parallel, distributed-memory computer cluster comprised of more than 3,500 2.66 GHz Intel Xeon X5650 cores, 9.5 TB memory, and 1.5 PB of scratch space running Linux, MPI, OpenMP, and the Intel and GNU compiler and tool suites. The computing nodes feature an InfiniBand quad data rate (fully unblocked at DDR) interconnect for high-speed, low-latency message passing. Three log-in nodes provide access to the cluster for compiling and launching jobs.

The Center for Computer-Aided Design is housed in the Engineering Research Facility and and in two buidings located off site, at the Iowa City Regional Airport and the University of Iowa Research Park. The Engineering Research Facility has 7,500 square feet of office space for staff researchers, student assistants, and program administration. Eight on-site laboratories house research facilities for two state-of-the-art motion capture research laboratories, one of which includes a 6-DOF shaker table motion platform, a fully immersive virtual reality environment, robotic systems, materials testing fixtures, and equipment for individual student research in various engineering disciplines. The off-site facility at the Iowa City Regional Airport that includes three flight simulation capabilities (a high-performance, functional Boeing 737-800 mockup for high-workload simulation and analysis as well as functional Boeing 777 and F-15 mock-ups). CCAD’s Iowa City airport facility also houses six dedicated research aircraft, including a single-engine Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza aircraft, outfitted to create the CCAD Computerized Airborne Research Platform (CARP) in support of airborne human factors research for advanced flight deck technology; two single-engine tandem seat L-29 jet trainer aircraft, to provide flight testing for additional avionics systems research programs; two Czechoslovakian L-29s; and an MI-2 helicopter. The Iowa City Airport facility also houses a fully instrumented automotive test platform and a recently acquired HMMWV vehicle platform supporting cognitive assessment testing related to ground vehicle human-machine interaction and operation activities at the Operator Performance Laboratory. The center’s computer infrastructure incorporates high-performance workstations, servers, and PC network in support of intensive computation, geometric modeling and analysis, software development, and visualization and simulation. The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) is located at the University of Iowa Research Park. The NADS conducts groundbreaking research and development in the field of driving simulation. Utilizing one of the world’s most advanced driving simulator capabilities, researchers at the University have defined the state-of-the-art in driving simulation, vehicle performance, and cognitive systems engineering. The NADS houses the NADS-1 driving simulator as well as several lower-fidelity driving simulators primarily used to support development, testing, and refinement of experimental procedures at lower cost to the client. These include the NADS-2, a static-base simulator with a limited field of view, and several portable PC-based mini-simulators. All simulation platforms at the center share a common software architecture with the NADS-1, ensuring compatibility of scenarios and data across all NADS simulators.

Other engineering research-related facilities include the Engineering Research Facility; Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories; Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center; University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; National Advanced Driving Simulator; Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing; and the chemistry building, which supports laboratories devoted to such areas as biomechanics, biotechnology, molecular and computational biology, bioinformatics, environmental contamination, and remote sensing.

Engineering Computer Systems Support provides the curricular and research computing needs of the College through state-of-the-art hardware, the same commercial software used by engineers in the industry, and a dedicated professional support staff. All engineering students receive computer accounts and maintain those accounts throughout their college careers. Full Internet and Web access complement local educational resources, which include enhanced classroom instruction, online classes, engineering design and simulation packages, programming languages, and productivity software. There are twenty-eight Linux and approximately 300 Windows workstations, supported by more than $10-million worth of professional software dedicated for student use 24 hours a day. The H. William Lichtenberger Engineering Library provides Internet access to indexes and abstracts, more than 125,000 volumes, ANSI standards, and electronic access to thousands of engineering and science journals.


Financial Aid:

Financial aid is available to graduate students in the form of research and teaching assistantships as well as fellowships from federal agencies and industry. Support includes a competitive stipend reduction in tuition and partial payment of tuition. Specific information is available from individual departments.


Cost of Study:

The estimated annual tuition and fee expenses (based on 2012–13 for U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate engineering students enrolled for 9 or more semester hours in the fall and spring semesters (academic year) is $9,524 for Iowa residents and $25,688 for nonresidents. This includes fees for technology, arts and cultural events, student activity, student services, student union, building, recreation, professional enhancement, and health. For international students with 1/4-time or greater graduate assistantships, estimated annual tuition is $7,900 plus fees. For international students without assistantships, the estimated annual tuition is $24,064 plus fees.  Book fees for any graduate students are estimated at $1,090. The latest information on engineering cost of study can be found here.


Living and Housing Options:

Housing is available in apartments or private homes within walking distance of the campus. Estimated costs for living and housing can be found here.


Student Group:

Total enrollment at the University for fall 2013 was 30,500 students. Students come from all fifty states, three U.S. possessions, and 100 other countries. Engineering enrollment for fall 2012 was 1,840 undergraduate students and 334 graduate students.


Student Outcomes:

Nearly half of the graduates accept positions in Iowa and Illinois, though companies and academic institutions from across the country present offers. Recent graduates have taken positions with companies such as 3M, Accenture, Cargill, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, HNI, Monsanto, Motorola, Pella, and Rockwell Collins.



The University is located in Iowa City, known as the “Athens of the Midwest” because of the many cultural, intellectual, and diverse opportunities available. The Iowa City metropolitan area is a community of 152,600 people, approximately 25 miles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city, with nearly 258,000 people.


The University:

The University of Iowa, established in 1847, comprises eleven colleges. The University was the first state university to admit women on an equal basis with men. The University founded the first law school west of the Mississippi River, established one of the first university-based medical centers in the Midwest, and was the first state university in the nation to establish an interfaith school of religion. It was an innovator in accepting creative work—fine art, musical compositions, poetry, drama, and fiction—for academic credit. The University established Iowa City as a national college-prospect testing center. It was a leader in the development of actuarial science as an essential tool of business administration. As a pioneering participant in space exploration, it has become a center for education and research in astrophysical science.



The application fee is $60 ($100 for international students). Admission requirements differ in each department; students should contact the department in which they are interested for additional requirements.


Correspondence and Information:


107 Calvin Hall

The University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa 52242


Website: (Graduate College) (College of Engineering)

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Studies by Engineering Discipline:

Biomedical Engineering. Joseph M. Reinhardt, Departmental Executive Officer.

Biomechanics of the spine, low back pain and scoliosis, upper-extremity biomechanics, articular joint contact mechanics, total joint replacement, computational simulation of artificial heart valve dynamics, hemodynamics of arterial disease, mechanical properties of diseased arteries, biomechanics and rupture predication of abdominal aorta aneurysms,
solution-perfused tubes for preventing blood-materials interaction, control and coordination of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, controlled drug delivery, medical image acquisition, processing and quantitative analysis, wire coil–reinforced bone cement, models of cellular processes based on nonequilibrium thermodynamics, tissue engineered vascular grafts, bioinformatics and computational biology, drug/target discovery, gene therapy, development of genomic resources.

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. Allan Guymon, Departmental Executive Officer.

Air pollution engineering, atmospheric aerosol particles, atmospheric chemistry, biocatalysis, biochemical engineering, biofilms, biofuels, biomaterials, biotechnological applications of extremophiles, controlled release, drug delivery, engineering education, fermentation, high-speed computing, insect and mammalian cell culture, medical aerosols, microlithography, nanotechnology, oxidative stress in cell culture, photopolymerization, polymer reaction engineering, polymer science, polymer/liquid crystal composites, process scale protein purification, protein crystallography, reversible emulsifiers, spectroscopy, supercritical fluids, surface science, vaccines, virus infection, chemicals from biomass, green chemistry, and sustainable energy.

Civil and Environmental Engineering. Michelle M. Scherer, Departmental Executive Officer.

Water sustainability, water quality, flood prediction and mitigation, environmental remediation, air pollution, drinking water quality, bioremediation, biogeochemistry, computational solid mechanics, digital human modeling, design of hydraulics structures, design simulation, hydropower, optimal control of nonlinear systems, optimal design of nonlinear structures, diverse aspects of water resources engineering, rainfall and flood forecasting, thermal pollution/power plant operation, transportation-infrastructure modeling, highway pavements, winter highway maintenance.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Milan Sonka, Departmental Executive Officer.

Sustainable energy, quantitative medical image processing, communication systems and computer networks, sensors and sensor networks, wireless communication, controls, signal processing, parallel and distributed computing systems, large-scale intelligent systems, bioinformatics, photonics, plasma waves, software engineering, design and testing of very-large-scale integrated circuits, nanotechnology, materials, and devices.

Industrial Engineering. Ching-long Lin, Departmental Executive Officer.

Biomanufacturing, computational intelligence, data analytics, informatics, engineering economics, engineering management, financial engineering, health-care systems, human factors and ergonomics, human-computer interfaces, flight simulation, driver behavior, manufacturing processes control and operations, operations research and applied statistics, optimization of energy systems, reliability, telerobotics, quality control, and wind energy.

Mechanical Engineering. Ching-long Lin, Departmental Executive Officer.

Biomechanics and biofluids, biology-based design, biorenewable and alternative fuels, bioengineering, casting and solidification, cloud computation, combustion, chemically reactive flows, computational mechanics, computer-aided analysis and design, dynamics, fatigue and fracture mechanics, fluid mechanics and ship hydrodynamics, fluid mechanics, human organ modeling, heat transfer, manufacturing, materials processing and behavior, multiscale modeling and simulation, reliability-based design, robotics, composite materials, nanotechnology, renewable energy, structural mechanics, system simulation, thermal systems, vehicle dynamics and simulation, virtual prototyping, and wind energy.


College Research Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories

Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Thomas L. Casavant, Director.

A multidisciplinary research center dedicated to applying high-performance networking and computing to basic life science and applied biomedical research.

Center for Computer-Aided Design. Karim Abdel-Malek, Director.

Virtual Soldier Research (musculoskeletal model, whole body vibration, validation, motion capture, intuitive interface, immersive virtual reality, physiology, standard ergonomic assessments, zone differentiation, posture and motion prediction, hand model, spine modeling, gait: walking and running, predictive dynamics, dynamic strength and fatigue, modeling of clothing, human performance, armor and soldier performance); Operator Performance Laboratory (optimal aircraft instrumentation configuration, rotorcraft, flight simulation supporting aircraft operation task analysis, warning-system effectiveness, roadway markings and illumination analysis, driver performance measurement, cognitive processing burden assessment/sensory and data input cognitive impact, human-vehicle interaction optimization for operational control and safety); Reliability and Sensor Prognostic Systems (mesh-free methods for structural analysis and design-sensitivity analysis, composite materials, probabilistic mechanics and reliability, reliability-based design optimization, topology optimization, multidisciplinary design optimization, sensor technologies, sensor-based process monitoring optimization); National Advanced Driving Simulator (highway safety and transportation efficiency, equipment product development effectiveness enhancement via virtual prototyping, vehicle dynamics and simulation, simulator technology and virtual reality environment and human factors); Musculoskeletal Imaging Modeling and Experimentation Program (computational modeling of anatomic structures, with emphasis on finite modeling); Biomechanics of Soft Tissue (soft tissue mechanics, biomechanics of the heart, cardiovascular system, aneurysm formation, CFD, nonlinear FEA); and Advanced Manufacturing Technology (design, modeling, and fabrication of tissue replacement parts, tissue scaffolds, and medical devices, and cell and organ printing; testing of manufacturability, design effectiveness, virtual performance, and reliability of PCBs).

IIHR–Hydroscience and Engineering. Larry J. Weber, Director.

A leading institute in fluids-related fundamental and applied research. Cutting-edge research activities incorporate computational fluid dynamics with laboratory modeling and field observational studies. Research includes: fluid dynamics (ship hydrodynamics, turbulent flows, biological fluid flow); environmental hydraulics (structures, river and dam hydraulics, fish passage at dams, sediment management, heat dispersal in water bodies and power production, water-quality monitoring, air-water exchange processes); and water and air resources (atmospheric boundary layer, air pollution, hydrogeology, hydrology, hydrometeorology, remote sensing). Also home of the Iowa Flood Center (develops hydrologic models for physically-based flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting of floods, including hydraulic models of flood plain inundation mapping).

Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging. Milan Sonka, Director.

Medical image acquisition (MR, CT, ultrasound, X-ray, OCT, and MR spectroscopy). Knowledge-based analysis of biomedical images from a variety of imaging modalities (e.g., CT, MR, OCT, and ultrasound). Current focus areas include development of computer-aided and automated techniques for quantitative analysis of human, animal, and cellular image data with applications to translational applications in radiology, radiation oncology, cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, and orthopedics, as well as in clinical and epidemiologic trials.


Interdisciplinary Research Centers and Institutes

Medicine and Bioengineering

The Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing. Mani Subramanian, Director.

Biocatalystic mechanisms, bioremediation, bioprocessing, new biocatalyst discovery, novel biocatalyst applications for chemicals and fuels, biosensing technology, and gene/protein expression and production, including for Phase I human trials.

Center for International Rural and Environmental Health. Tom Cook, Director.

Rural and environmental health, with special emphasis on adverse health effects that threaten agricultural and other rural populations; promotes greater understanding and awareness of the causes, consequences, and prevention of communicable, chronic, environmental, and occupational diseases in all regions of the globe, focusing on nations with substantial agrarian economies.

Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center. John Lundell, Director.

Established in 1990, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Center (IPRC) aims to use interdisciplinary research to control and prevent injuries, especially in rural communities. The center’s activities constitute a broad multidisciplinary and collaborative program in research, training, and outreach. The IPRC has grown to include 66 researchers from twenty-three departments in five colleges, as well as a wide network of community and government collaborators. Six expert research teams are organized around priority research topics: road traffic safety; interpersonal violence; intervention and translation science; rural acute care; global injury and violence, and sports and recreational injury prevention. Teams promote the growth of research within their topic areas by linking researchers to IPRC core services, mentoring students and junior faculty, and engaging with community partners.

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory. Don Anderson, Director.

Application of advanced innovative computational formulations and novel experimental approaches to clinically-oriented problems across the diverse spectrum of musculoskeletal biomechanical research; total joint replacement (hip, spine, knee, ankle), posttraumatic arthritis, osteonecrosis of the hip, high-energy limb trauma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and articular contact stresses as they relate to joint degeneration.

Environmental and Hydroscience

NSF Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis. Mani Subramanian, Director.

A multidisciplinary, multi-university research center. Catalyst design, synthesis, and characterization; biocatalyst preparation and characterization; synthesis of catalyst supports with controlled pore structure; benign media, including carbon dioxide–based solvents and ionic liquids; probing reaction mechanisms with advanced analytical tools; advanced molecular modeling of chemical, physical, and thermodynamic properties involving reactions and media; multiphase reactor design and analysis; economic and environmental impact analysis; computational fluid dynamics.

Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. Gregory R. Carmichael and Jerald L. Schnoor, Co-directors.

Multiple aspects of global environmental change, including the regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources and on human health, culture, and social systems.

Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination. Gene F. Parkin, Director.

Conducts and supports research on the identification and measurement of environmental toxins, particularly water contaminants, and possible associations between exposure to environmental contaminants and adverse health effects. Provides environmental database design and development and systems support for environmental health research.

Environmental Health Sciences Research Center. Peter S. Thorne, Director.

Agricultural and rural environmental exposures and health effects, agricultural chemical exposures and health effects.

Science and Technology

Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development. P. Barry Butler, Principal Investigator. The Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND) is a partnership with state and local governments, community colleges, Regents Universities, independent Iowa colleges, the private sector, and the federal government. It is designed to serve as a catalyst for the growth of wind energy and to support and to facilitate the research and training needs of wind energy companies.

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute. Vicki Grassian, Director. Environment and health (air quality, natural environment, workplace environment, human and animal toxicity, environmental health, drug delivery, disease detection, imaging, bioanalytical assays, environmental remediation and decontamination, green chemistry, fuel cells, energy, sustainability, sensors); nanomaterials (quantum theory, understanding condensed-phase matter at the nanoscale, synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials, defense-related applications).

Optical Science and Technology Center. Michael Flatté, Director. Laser spectroscopy and photochemistry, photonics and optoelectronics, ultrafast laser development, condensed-matter physics, materials growth techniques, device physics/engineering, surface chemistry, chemical sensors, environmental chemistry, polymer science, plasma physics, nonlinear optics.

NSF IUCRC Photopolymerization Center. Alec Scranton, Director. Kinetics and mechanisms of photopolymerizations and their impact on the structure and properties of photopolymerized materials.

Public Policy Center. Peter C. Damiano, Director. Transportation, environmental quality, health care, economic growth and development.

Water Sustainability Initiative. Jerald Schnoor, Chair, Steering Committee. The University of Iowa has expanded its existing strength in interdisciplinary research on water including its availability, quality, reuse, health impact, and its relationship to a changing climate. Economics, policy, and law, as well as the natural sciences and engineering, are all engaged to solve the problems of water. The faculty alliance on water sustainability encompasses the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Health, Law, Engineering, the Graduate College, and the Public Policy Center. Among the various resources already developed to advance the initiative are the new Iowa Flood Center and the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability.

Engineering graduate students at the University of Iowa work very closely with faculty members on computer simulation, human factors, environmental health solutions, biotechnology, medical imaging, hydraulics and water/air resources, photopolymerization, sustainability, and many other areas.


Updated August 2013