Degree Requirements

University, College, and Major-Specific Requirements

In order to graduate from ISU, students must complete all university, college, and departmental requirements.

An overview of these requirements, with links, can be found at….

Changes to a Student's Degree Program


A minor may be added to a student’s program by completing a Request for Minor form.  All minors require at least 15 credits, 9 of which must stand alone in the minor (they cannot be used to meet any other requirement except the credit requirement for graduation).  Also, 6 credits must be taken at ISU in courses numbered 300 or above.

The catalog of the minor may be the same as or more recent than the catalog of the major.


A certificate may be added to a student's program by completing a Request for Undergraduate Certificate form. Certificates require a minimum of 20 credits, with at least 12 credits taken at ISU. At least 9 of the credits taken at ISU must be numbered 300 or above. Also, 9 credits must stand alone (may not be used to meet any other requirement for graduation).

Change of Major

Students who would like to change their major need to fill out a File Transmittal form.  It is initiated by the student’s current advisor, and the necessary steps are outlined on the form itself.  

Multiple Curricula / Multiple Degrees

Students who would like to add a major or a degree to their program or drop an existing major or degree need to fill out a Multiple Curricula form.  It will require the signature of the student’s primary advisor and the signature of the advisor of the new secondary major.

If a student wishes to get a second degree, that can be indicated in the appropriate space on this same form. Please note that at least 30 credits must stand alone in the second degree.



Students need to apply to graduate.  Instructions can be found online.


In order to graduate from ISU, students must satisfy all academic requirements and must also meet a number of other conditions. Details can be found at


Graduates are invited to attend either the University Commencement Ceremony, the CALS Convocation, or both.

More information about graduation activities can be found in these quick links:

If you have further questions, you can check out the FAQ ( or contact

Other Important Info

Catalog in Effect

The ISU Catalog is a one-year publication which lists all academic policies, and procedures.  A student may choose to graduate under the catalog in effect at the time of graduation or a catalog for the previous five years, provided it covers a period of his or her enrollment. 

The current catalog may be found at Previous catalogs may be found at


Incompletes may be assigned by an instructor when a student is earning a passing grade in the class but special circumstances beyond the student’s control prevent completion of the course. An Incomplete Mark Report form needs to be filled out by the instructor and the student.

Once the student completes the requirements specified on the form the instructor submits a grade for them. On the next grade report the “I” will be replaced with the appropriate grade. This grade will apply to the cumulative grade point average, but not to the semester grade point average.

Incompletes must be completed by the date set by the instructor or within one calendar year or the “I” mark will change to an F.

Independent Study Opportunities

Independent Study allows the student to explore a subject or topic when a specific course on that material is not offered by ISU. Examples are a research project, a laboratory experiment, or writing a review on a piece of literature. Students work under the supervision of a faculty member who has agreed to evaluate the students work and assign a grade.

A student must have a written proposal, their instructor (supervisor), and appropriate departmental signatures to receive approval and register for their project. The student and the instructor will agree on the number of credits to be given upon completion and a grading scale (A-F or S/F).

No more than 9 credits of 490 coursework from any Iowa State University curriculum may be applied toward graduation.  Some departments may be more restrictive.

Last 32 Credit Rule

In order to graduate from ISU, the last 32 credits must typically be taken at Iowa State. Students with special circumstances may fill out a waiver:

Off Campus Courses and Credits

Extended and Continuing Education works with Iowa State faculty and departments to offer off-campus courses. Courses can be for non-degree seeking students as well as degree seeking students. Courses are offered on-site in the Des Moines area, throughout Iowa by the Iowa Communications Network, and throughout the United States and Canada via videotape and the internet.

Courses offered may be found in the schedule of classes at under advanced search (Course type --> Online --> Distance education).


Official transcripts are issued for a fee by the Registrar’s Office.  

Transcripts held for pick up in 214 Enrollment Services Center must be claimed within 30 days.  Transcripts may be withheld because of overdue accounts receivable.  Picture identification is required to pick up transcripts.

Some institutions will not accept a student’s transcripts unless mailed by the Registrar.

Transcripts for current session grades and degrees are sent two weeks after the end of the term.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer credit to ISU from either a community college or another 4-year institution.  A 2T on the degree audit designates a transfer from a 2-year college, while a 4T designates a 4-year college.  A maximum of 65 credits from a two-year institution may be applied toward graduation. 

Students may also transfer credits to Iowa State from a vocational or technical college.  A maximum of 16 vocational / technical credits may be applied toward graduation.