Graduate Programs

Master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees are offered in the Agricultural Education major. The M.S. non-thesis option is designed to assist agricultural education professionals in improving their professional proficiency and status. This option is available entirely at a distance or may be completed on-campus. The M.S. thesis option places additional emphasis on research and is designed to be an on-campus program. A third option for the M.S. degree in Agricultural Education focuses on teacher education. This on-campus program qualifies graduates for a license to teach agriculture in secondary schools. The Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in agricultural education is designed to foster independent and creative thinking. The program places a strong emphasis on scholarship. A specialization in Agricultural Extension Education is available at the masters and doctoral level. Agricultural Education at Iowa State University is known for the quality and diversity of its programs, faculty, and students.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Greg Miller
(515) 294-5872
Administrative Contact:
Sara Lundvall
(515) 294-1106
The graduate faculty in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University strive to provide cutting-edge research opportuniites that will place you at the forefront of new developments in agriculture. Current research emphasis include: advanced machine engineering, process engineering for food safety and value addition, environmental stewardship engineering, and structures and environment.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steve Freeman
(515) 294-1033
Administrative Contact:
Kris Bell
(515) 294-1033
The Agricultural History and Rural Studies Program (AHRS) is the only focused agricultural and rural history doctoral program in the United States. The program, however, defines agricultural and rural history broadly, to include a number of areas of faculty and student interest.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Charles Dobbs
515-294-7266
Administrative Contact:
Jennifer Rivera
515-294-7266
Agricultural Meteorology involves the integration of climatological and meteorological data and techniques into agricultural problems, such as crop production, soil moisture, moisture stress, and migration of pests. A good background in basic math and sciences is required.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Brian Hornbuckle
515-294-1361
Administrative Contact:
Jaci Severson
515-294-1361
Agronomy is a curriculum designed especially for the practicing field Agronomist. Available only to off-campus students as a non-thesis M.S. degree. Taught using interactive computer courseware over the Internet. Integrates crop science, soil science, agricultural meteorology, and pest management in a problem-solving format.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Ken Moore
515-294-1361
Administrative Contact:
Dawn Miller
515-294-2999
In keeping with the major's tradition of excellence and cutting-edge science, the AB&G PhD degree program has developed the capacity for specialization in quantitative genetics and molecular genetics. Both specializations put substantial emphasis on the integration of quantitative and molecular genetics, with further in-depth study of topics related to the specialization and allow minors or co-majors in related graduate majors.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steven Lonergan
(515) 294-9126
Administrative Contact:
Donna Nelson
(515) 294-2160
Graduate studies in the Animal Physiology Program cover a broad range of physiological systems. Students may choose to major in general Animal Physiology, or to supplement their major with a formal specialization in various areas such as: reproductive physiology, muscle biology, and animal ethology. Study in reproductive physiology concentrates on improving the reproductive performance of pigs, cattle, sheep, and horses. The area of muscle biology focuses on the fundamental properties of muscle proteins and their roles in developing muscles and yielding muscle products. Research conducted in the ethology program aims to provide scientific answers to farm animal behavior and welfare in conventional and alternative production systems. Areas of interest for which formal specializations do not exist, may include neuroendocrinology, immunobiology, and perinatal development.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steven Lonergan
(515) 294-9126
Administrative Contact:
Donna Nelson
(515) 294-2160
The graduate major in animal science offers students the option of pursuing MS- and PhD-level study with a broader focus than the department's other majors. Students in this major take courses in the five main sub-fields of animal science: breeding, nutrition, physiology, reproduction, and meat science, while focusing on one species of domestic animals. Animal science majors frequently focus on research problems related to livestock production systems.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steven Lonergan
(515) 294-9126
Administrative Contact:
Donna Nelson
(515) 294-2160
The graduate program of the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology department is designed to train students in the ability to independently conceive and carry out original research in the general area of the chemistry of life functions, leading to award of the Ph.D. degree following successful defense of an independent research dissertation. While there is no stand-alone M.S. program in the department, a combined B.S./M.S. degree is offered, providing undergraduates the opportunity to undertake research training without the longer-term commitment required for the Ph.D. degree. This program particularly useful for students who are interested more in technical aspects of research, rather than careers as research directors. Successful defense of a research dissertation is required for award of the M.S. in this combined degree program.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Richard Honzatko
515-294-7103
Administrative Contact:
Connie Garnett
515-294-3317
More than 70 faculty participate in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) Graduate Program. They conduct research in all major research areas of computational molecular biology, including genomics, structural genomics, functional genomics, and computational systems biology, with access to some of the most modern experimental platforms. Many interdisciplinary research projects take place at Iowa State. The 90+ graduates from this cutting-edge program, work in the academic, industrial and public sectors. Examples of recent outcomes for BCB graduates include a postdoctoral fellowship in a top protein-folding research lab at the Univ. of WA, Seattle, a tenure track faculty position in Statistics at the Univ. of MO, Columbia, and a staff Scientist position with the Mayo Clinic. Two BCB alums who work at Harvard University returned to ISU last year and presented seminars to recruit new students to the BCB Graduate program. Come join the adventure!
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Karin Dorman
(515) 294-5122
Administrative Contact:
Trish Stauble
(515) 294-5122
Crop Production and Physiology (CP&P) includes crop physiology, ecology, and management; forage quality and utilization; seed productionI and physiology; weed biology and control. Emphasis is on corn, soybeans, oats, and forages. Students also have the option of specializing in seed or weed science.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Susana Goggi
515-294-1361
Administrative Contact:
Jaci Severson
515-294-1361
Diet and exercise is a program for students interested in earning concurrent bachelor’s and master’s degrees focused on diet and exercise. Students are admitted to the university as pre-diet and exercise students and must apply for graduate admission at the beginning of the junior year and be accepted into the program. The program is designed so you can earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five to six years.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Lorraine Lanningham-Foster
515-294-4684
Administrative Contact:
Brenda Emery
515-294-6442
The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) major is offered through a faculty housed in 11 departments, with courses and research opportunities leading to the MS or PhD degrees. The EEB major is designed for students interested in the study of mechanisms controlling the composition, structure, and functional processes of ecological systems and the mechanisms that regulate the pattern and rate of evolutionary change within and among species.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Diane Debinski
515-294-2460
Administrative Contact:
Angela Stone
515-294-1191
The Department of Economics at Iowa State University presents a unique tradition of excellence in graduate education, overseeing M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in both economics and agricultural economics. Since the granting of the first M.S. degree in 1913 and the first Ph.D. in 1925, students have come to Ames from many states and nations to receive graduate instruction in economics. Graduates fill vital positions in academia, government, and businesses around the world.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
John Schroeter
(515) 294-2702
Administrative Contact:
Amy Emmett
(515) 294-2702
The Entomology department offers work for the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees with a major in Entomology. Studies at the Ecosystem, Organismal, and Subcellar levels occur in the following areas: aquatic entomology, biological control, chemical ecology, ecology, host plant resistance, insecticide toxicology, medical/veterinary entomology, pathology, pest management, physiology/biochemistry, population genetics and systematics.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Joel Coats
515-294-4776
Administrative Contact:
Kelly Kyle
515-294-7400
The Environmental Science graduate program is an interdisciplinary program involving biological, physical, and chemical sciences. Environmental Science faculty from the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences cooperate to offer courses and research opportunities leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Science.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
John Downing
515-294-6518
Administrative Contact:
Angela Stone
515-294-1191
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D degrees in fisheries biology. All NREM graduate students must complete three sets of requirements: Iowa State University Graduate College requirements, NREM requirements, and the requirements of the chosen graduate major. A non-thesis masters degree is available for students desiring a general degree program without thesis research.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Stephen Dinsmore
515-294-1348
Administrative Contact:
Kelly Kyle
515-294-7400
Graduate studies in Food Science and Technology prepare students for careers in industry and academic research. Program of studies toward masters and PhD are provided which include independent, faculty-supported research and a solid academic preparation in food chemistry, microbiology, processing and engineering, as well as biochemistry, nutrition and statistics.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Tong Wang
515-294-5448
Administrative Contact:
Brenda Emery
515-294-6442
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Forestry. All NREM graduate students must complete three sets of requirements: Iowa State University Graduate College requirements, NREM requirements, and the requirements of the chosen graduate major. A non-thesis masters degree is available for students desiring a general degree program without thesis research.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Stephen Dinsmore
515-294-1348
Administrative Contact:
Kelly Kyle
515-294-7400
The diversity of faculty in the interdepartmental genetics program ensures a broad, well-balanced education from the best instructors, while offering flexibility in choice of specialization. Genetics faculty have strengths in many areas, from fundamental studies at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels, to research with immediate practical application. Ongoing research projects span all the major areas of theoretical and experimental genetics, including molecular studies of gene regulation, gene mapping, transposable element studies, developmental genetics, quantitative and mathematical genetics, evolutionary genetics, and population genetics.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Jeff Essner
515-294-7133
Administrative Contact:
Linda Wild
515-294-7697
Iowa State's graduate horticulture major offers doctoral (Ph.D.) and master-of-science (M.S.) degree programs. Creative scholarship is required of all students. A thesis (M.S.) or dissertation (Ph.D.) is required, and publication of research results in appropriate refereed journals is expected. We strive to be a graduate major in which inquisitive students meet their educational goals within a stimulating environment for discovery. Top research faculty, excellent facilities, and a supportive, research-focused campus make Iowa State's graduate program in horticulture an excellent venue for scholarship. Our graduates compete favorably for challenging positions in the job market and have a long-standing tradition of accomplishment in the plant sciences and related professions.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Rajeev Arora
515-294-3718
Administrative Contact:
Kim Gaul
515-294-3718
The Immunobiology graduate program supports integrative graduate research and study toward an M.S. or Ph.D. degree. The program includes diverse faculty expertise and flexible choices for individual specializations within the dynamic field of Immunobiology. Currently, faculty and students are pursuing research in antibody and cell-mediated immunity, gene expression, immunochemistry, immunogenetics, immunomodulation, immunophysiology, leukocyte signal transduction, mucosal immunity and nutritional immunology.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Jesse Hostetter
(515) 294-0953
Administrative Contact:
Katie Blair
(515) 294-7252
The graduate program in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering combines the agricultural systems engineering and industrial technology programs.However, graduates still receive a broad understanding of agricultural systems engineering and industrial technologies. They are able to communicate effectively with colleagues, industry leaders, career and technology educators, and the general public in both formal and informal settings.Research focuses on the following areas: manufacturing technology, occupational safety, training and development, agricultural systems technology.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steve Freeman
515-294-1033
Administrative Contact:
Kris Bell
515-294-1033
The ISU Meat Science program is unmatched for providing students first-rate mentors for research, teaching, and industry experiences. The program addresses fundamental and applied questions that impact meat safety, quality, and value. The diversity of the disciplines included in each student’s program allows tailoring a program of study that may emphasize muscle biology, microbiology, meat safety, meat chemistry, processed meat quality, or fresh meat quality.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Steven Lonergan
(515) 294-9126
Administrative Contact:
Donna Nelson
(515) 294-2160
The Interdepartmental Microbiology (IM) Graduate Program at Iowa State University offers both M.S. and Ph. D. degree opportunities in all aspects of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbiology. A large number of University departments and affiliated national laboratories in Ames participate, bringing together faculty with expertise in biochemistry, ecology, genetics and molecular biology, biogeochemistry, biorenewables, food safety and security, veterinary microbiology, medical microbiology, plant pathology, virology,entomology, immunology, parasitology, mycology, and microbial genomics, among others.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Cathy Miller
515-294-4797
Administrative Contact:
Dai Nguyen
515-294-9052
The Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Interdepartmental Graduate Program at Iowa State University is a multidisciplinary major that allows students to explore the mechanisms of life processes in cutting-edge research labs, as they perform independent research under guidance of top faculty in a diverse range of molecular, cellular and developmental sciences.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Clark Coffman
515-294-3911
Administrative Contact:
Katie Blair
515-294-7252
The diversity of faculty in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience major provides students with a variety of research opportunities and reflects the structure of contemporary neuroscience which has become a diverse and inter-disciplinary field. Facilities and faculty are committed to research in the following areas: neuronal membrane functions, signal transduction, neuroanatomy, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroendocrinology, neurotoxicology, neuropathology, developmental neurobiology, neurogenetics, computational neuroscience, neural networks, behavioral neuroscience, tissue engineering, neuroregeneration and brain repair.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
N. Matthew Ellinwood
(515) 294-5136
Administrative Contact:
Katie Blair
(515) 294-7252
The overall health and well-being of both humans and animals is strongly influenced by diet. The Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS) integrates information from across 10 disciplines to give students a well-rounded understanding of nutrition and its application; providing the structure for coordinating and enhancing interdisciplinary nutritional sciences research and graduate education.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Matt Rowling
515-294-9105
Administrative Contact:
Brenda Emery
515-294-6442
The Interdepartmental Plant Biology (IPB), previously Interdepartmental Plant Physiology Major (IPPM), educates scientists in basic plant biology, including but not limiting to plant molecular biology, plant cell biology, plant physiology, and plant organismal biology and provides training in the most state of the art methods and technologies. Graduate study in IPB, leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees, is offered through eight participating departments: Agronomy, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology (BBMB), Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE), Chemistry, Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB), Genetics Development & Cell Biology (GDCB), Horticulture, and Plant Pathology.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Yanhai Yin
515-294-4816
Administrative Contact:
Dai Nguyen
515-294-9052
Plant Breeding - is the science and art of improving crop plants through the study and application of genetics, agronomy, statistics, plant pathology, entomology, and related sciences. The MS degree is offered in Plant Breeding both on campus and through distance education.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Jianming Yu
515-294-1361
Administrative Contact:
William Beavis
515-294-1361
M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in Plant Pathology. Graduate students in our program are offered a complete curriculum in Plant Pathology and related fields, a broad array of thesis and dissertation research areas, and opportunities for national and international professional interaction.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Gary Munkvold
515-294-7159
Administrative Contact:
Dai Nguyen
515-294-7159
The graduate degree in sociology prepares students for a wide variety of careers related to agriculture, the environment, community development, and rural livelihoods. Candidates for a graduate degree in sociology must have the capability for original and creative research. While the integration of materials from courses and research activities is a primary goal of the graduate program, students also are expected to work toward intellectual independence in developing an integrated grasp of the field. The Department and the advisory committee share responsibility in guiding the student toward the graduate degree.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Sharon Bird
515-294-9283
Administrative Contact:
Rachel Burlingame
515-294-2506
The STB program offers an interdisciplinary Master of Science degree that emphasizes the development of superior problem-solving and analytic skills by providing you with current seed science and technology instruction along with essential courses in business management in a rigorous, integrated curriculum. The program also offers graduate certificates focusing on seed science and technology and on seed business management.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Gary Munkvold
515-294-5681
Administrative Contact:
Anoop Sindhu
515-294-5681
The goal of the Soil Science program is to provide M.S. and Ph.D. students with advanced knowledge, skills, and techniques to address environmental and agricultural problems facing our global community. Students majoring in Soil Science will select one of the following areas of specialization: sol chemistry, soil fertility, soil management, soil microbiology and biochemistry, soil morphology and genesis, and soil physics.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Jeff Wolt
515-294-1361
Administrative Contact:
Jaci Severson
515-294-1361
The GPSA was the first and remains the only graduate program in the US to offer both the MS and PhD degrees in sustainable agriculture. While competing programs have arisen in agroecology and organic agriculture, the GPSA remains the only grad program that allows students to pursue a true interdisciplinary curriculum that includes the biological, social, and economic elements of sustainability.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Matt O’Neal
515-294-8622
Administrative Contact:
Angela Stone
515-294-1191
Masters and PhD degrees are offered through the Toxicology Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. Areas of specialization include Food Toxicology, Nutritional Toxicology, Insect Toxicology, Neurotoxicology, Pathway Toxicology, Cellular Toxicology, Molecular Toxicology, Analytical Toxicology, Agrichemical Toxicology and Veterinary Toxicology.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Richard Martin
515-294-7697
Administrative Contact:
Linda Wild
515-294-7697
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) offers programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Wildlife Ecology. All NREM graduate students must complete three sets of requirements: Iowa State University Graduate College requirements, NREM requirements, and the requirements of the chosen graduate major. A non-thesis masters degree is available for students desiring a general degree program without thesis research.
Director of Graduate Education or Coordinator:
Stephen Dinsmore
515-294-1348
Administrative Contact:
Kelly Kyle
515-294-7400