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Graduate Admissions FAQ

The questions below are commonly asked by prospective graduate students to the Statistics Department at Iowa State University. In addition to the responses below, additional information can be found on the Prospective Graduate Student page, the Statistics Department Program page, and the Graduate College Admissions FAQ


When can I apply for admission? 

Generally, the application portal opens in September for admissions for the following fall. To guarantee full consideration, applications for fall semester should be received by 15 January of the same year. 


Can I apply and be admitted for the spring or summer? 

The graduate core curriculum involve several course sequences that are designed to begin in the fall semester.  Therefore, the Department of Statistics generally only admits students for the fall semester. 


Will my application be successful?

Students who are successful in our graduate program generally have the following statistics when they apply:

  • GRE scores: Quantiative >163, Verbal >148, Analytical Writing >3
  • GPA (on 4.0 scale): Undergraduate >3.5, Graduate >3.6
  • Grades in Calculus I-III, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis: B+ to A

Many students also have undergraduate or graduate research experiences in statistics or other disciplines that often result in published manuscripts. 

We evaluate each application as a whole package and do not enforce strict cutoffs in any of these or other categories. 


Do I need to submit GRE scores? 

GRE scores are not required during the application. The department would generally appreciate GRE scores as it is the only metric that is consistent across all candidates. Thus, it is generally beneficial to the applicant to include GRE scores. Please send GRE scores directly to ISU using GRE Institution Code 6306.


Do I need to provide TOEFL scores? 

International students must demonstrate proficiency in English. This demonstration could be through TOEFL or another English test, see Section 1.3.3 of the Graduate Student Handbook. Students whose first language is English or those who earned a degree from countries where the only official language is English are exempt from the language proficiency requirements. For additional information, please see the Graduate College English requirement page. If you have questions about the policy, it is best to email the Graduate College directly using the email address on that page.


How many reference letters do I need?

We require three reference letters. 


Are assistantships available? 

PhD applicants are automatically considered for financial support through a graduate assistantship (teaching, research, or administrative) unless the applicant indicates they would do not need to be considered on their application.  These assistantships involve a 20 hour per week time commitment, provide a monthly stipend, tuition scholarship, and individual health benefits. 

No funding is guaranteed for MS students.


Can I apply to the Ph.D. program without a Masters degree?

Yes, you absolutely can. Many of the students in our Ph.D. program do not have Masters degrees. These students typically earn their Masters degrees on their way to obtaining a Ph.D. 


Can I get an application fee waiver? 

U.S. Citizens or resident aliens can request an application fee waiver. We utilize the same requirements for this fee waiver that are used by ETS to determine a fee waiver for the GRE. To request this application fee waiver, please complete this affidavit and attach the signed affidavit in an email to Michael Boyd (