Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa was the state's first public university. It was established just 59 days after Iowa gained statehood status. The school has made history for several notable firsts, including the first law degrees awarded to an African American, in 1870, and a woman, in 1873; the first tax-supported university to create a school of religion; and the first school in the country to establish a program for rehabilitating children with disabilities.
Over the years, the school has maintained its reputation for excellence by investing in unique and academically rigorous programs. The Iowa Writers' Workshop ranks as the top writing program in the nation. In terms of national rankings, the school ranks 34th among public universities and 82nd among all schools according to U.S. News and World Report. Globally, the University of Iowa ranks among the top 250 in the world according to Times Higher Education. The school is also located in Iowa City, which ranks as 4th best college town in the U.S. by the American Institute for Economic Research.
For the most part, students here will attend relatively small classes of fewer than 30 people, and the university as a whole boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. With exceptional graduate programs, world-class research facilities and a hospitable community, the University of Iowa offers students excellent academic and social opportunities.
University of Iowa Accreditation Details
The University of Iowa holds institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, many of the school's individual programs hold accreditation from their respective accrediting bodies. For instance, undergraduate programs in the Department of Engineering have all been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Students should consult the school's catalog to learn more about individual program accreditation.
University of Iowa Application Requirements
The University of Iowa accepts about 5,000 new students each year. Undergraduate first-year students can apply to one of six colleges: Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Nursing, and Public Health. Each college has its own set of admissions requirements, but in general, students who are applying to the university straight from high school should:
- Meet the minimum educational requirements for their intended major
- Earn the minimum score on relevant standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT
- Submit a completed application online with a nonrefundable fee of $45
- Apply by May 1 for the fall semester or Dec. 5 for the spring semester
Applicants will also need to hold higher minimum GPAs to get accepted into programs like nursing, public health or business. For graduate students, the admission process varies based on individual program. At minimum, graduate applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a 3.0 GPA. International students, transfer students and other non-traditional applicants should visit the school's admissions page to learn more about specific requirements.
Tuition and Financial Aid
As with most public schools, the University of Iowa charges different tuition rates depending on enrollment status and residency. Full-time in-state undergraduate students pay about $8,100 per academic year for tuition and basic fees. Non-residents pay just under $28,000. Students who enroll in pharmacy, medicine, nursing, business or engineering undergraduate programs pay different rates. Graduate tuition and fees vary widely based on program. For example, in-state graduate engineering students pay just over $10,000 per year while non-residents pay about $27,000. Students should contact their specific program department to learn more about the associated fees.
According to the school's financial aid webpage, approximately 80 percent of students receive some type of financial assistance, and the school has about $56 million worth of scholarships available to students at the undergraduate level. Undergraduates, transfer students and international students gain access to more than 2,000 scholarships. Examples of awards that are available to incoming freshmen include:
- The Presidential Scholarship
- The Old Gold Scholarship
- The Hawkeye Achievement Award
- The Iowa Heritage Award
There are also program-specific awards available. Students may also apply for grants, loans and work-study opportunities by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. While many of the scholarships available at the university are intended for undergraduates, graduate students also have options to offset the cost of their education. In addition to loans, graduate candidates can apply for grants, fellowships and assistantships based on need and academic merit.
Research in Focus: IIHR –- Hydroscience & Engineering
The University of Iowa's College of Engineering conducts research into hydraulic engineering and mechanical fluid under the direction of a program called IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering. The "IIHR" initials originally stood for "Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research," but the name was changed in 2002 to reflect the broader scope of the program. According to the program website, IIHR seeks to:
- Lead the field of applied and fundamental fluids-related research
- Give future science and engineering leaders an interdisciplinary background
- Contribute to the knowledge of natural and engineered systems
The institution also hopes to create and sustain a vibrant academic environment for students in which they can conduct research and collaborate with each other regardless of major or career focus. Research, education and service round out the institute's objectives for students who participate in the program. IIHR is a joint effort with opportunities for international participants. In fact, 50 percent of the program is made up of students from other countries, including 15 distinct nations apart from the U.S. As of 2016, approximately 90 students are studying at IIHR, most of whom are doctoral candidates. The institution gets its funding from a variety of sources, such as nonprofit organizations, engineering firms and municipalities.
The IIHR program conducts research on a variety of issues related to modern engineering. For example, the Iowa Flood Center was founded by the IIHR in 2009 to research flooding, and it was the first university-based center of its kind in the nation. According to the institution's website, those who participate in the program seek "to understand and manage one of the world's greatest resources — water." At University of Iowa, ongoing research into how to understand, manage and utilize water allows engineering students to apply theoretical concepts to practical, real-world solutions.