The Department of Aerospace Engineering is ranked 27th overall and 19th among all public universities by the US News and World Report. The Aerospace graduate program is ranked 24th in the United States.

The department provides the following degrees to its students

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Science (Thesis/non-thesis)
  • Master of Engineering – with a creative component
  • Master of Engineering – course work only option
  • Doctor of Philosophy

The students are allowed to opt for majors in either Aerospace Engineering or Engineering Mechanics and minors in Applied Scientific Computation.

The department aims at fostering a spirit of learning among students through its interdisciplinary program. The department follows an accessible and stimulating framework to teach the impact of engineering solutions in a global and social context and allow students to analyze and develop perspectives on contemporary engineering issues which they can go on to apply in the future.

The department has excellent faculty consisting of numerous prestigious award-winning professors. Prof. Valerie Levitas was named Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in May 2018. Aerospace Engineering Tornado and Microburst Simulator, designed and managed by Professor Partha Sarkar, was ranked number one on the list of natural disaster simulation facilities by Iowa State University.

The key research areas of the department involve

  • Turbulence research
  • Icing physics
  • Aviation electronics
  • Tornado simulation
  • UAS formation flight control 

Areas of Expertise:

  • Design, Optimization, and Complex Systems
  • Computational and Experimental Aerodynamics and Thermal Sciences
  • Autonomy, Astrodynamics, Guidance, Navigation, and Control
  • Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation
  • Multi-Scale Computational and Experimental Solid Mechanics

List of Labs:

  • Asteroid Deflection Research Center
  • Iowa Space Grant Consortium

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

The Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering was established in 1905 and has since been a pioneer in providing solutions to problems in this field in the US and the rest of the world. The department provides BS, MS (Thesis/non-thesis), ME and Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering.

It also provides interdisciplinary graduate programs which include :

  • Environmental sciences
  • Biorenewable resources and technology
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Toxicology
  • DataFUsion Graduate Traineeship. 

The department has a faculty strength of 76 which includes Adjunct, Affiliate and Courtesy faculties.

It has partnerships with four universities across the globe which include :

  • Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil
  • Warsaw University of Life Science, Poland
  • Georgian Technical University, Georgia
  • Dalian Polytechnic University, China

Areas of Expertise:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Animal Production Systems Engineering
  • Polymeric Materials and Nanocomposites
  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Bio renewable Energy
  • Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
  • Occupational Safety Engineering
  • Land and Water Resources Engineering
  • Corrosion; Healthcare Technologies
  • Advanced Machinery Engineering
  • Biobased Products
  • Materials for Energy Conversion
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Biorenewable Chemicals
  • Photonics and Optics
  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
  • Manufacturing Systems
  • Electrochemistry
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Biological
  • Process Engineering and Technology

List of Labs: BioCentury Research Farm

Chemical and Biological

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) at Iowa State University strives to create its impact on the world through its contribution to numerous fields like fuels, bio-renewable energy, medical and healthcare advancements, to name a few.

The Department offers the following degree programs:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Science (Thesis/non-thesis)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Non-thesis degree Master of Engineering (MEng).

Iowa State’s leading chemical engineering research and land-grant has been recognized globally. 

Faculty members in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering are nationally and internationally acknowledged leaders in teaching and research. Emeritus Professor George Burnet was awarded the prestigious Leighton Collins Award, ASEE in 1991. Anson Marston, Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Vlasta Klima Balloun Chair, Balaji Narasimhan of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE), was elected as a fellow in the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE) on May 2019. 

The department is housed in Sweeney Hall, which contains 44,000-plus square feet of modern laboratory and office space, including a series of advanced teaching laboratories.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Polymeric Materials and Nanocomposites
  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
  • Corrosion
  • Healthcare Technologies
  • Materials for Energy Conversion
  • Photonics and Optics
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Biorenewable Chemicals
  • Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
  • Biobased Products
  • Electrochemistry
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Bio renewable Energy

List of Labs: NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals

Civil, Construction, and Environmental

The Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, which was established nearly 150 years ago, aims to provide nationally-acclaimed civil, construction and environmental engineering research, education and service. The department provides BS, MS (Thesis/non-thesis), ME and PhD in Civil Engineering.

The department has a Civil Engineering External Advisory Council which provides input and support to the ISU Civil Engineering Program. It is a group of industrial, business and professional leaders who facilitate the process of strengthening education, research and outreach  programs; improving facilities; developing and expanding external support. In-Ho Cho, an assistant professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Sustained Scientific Innovation program.

The department also offers an MS (Thesis/non-thesis) in Environmental Science.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Geotechnical Engr., Intelligent Earthworks Engr., Foundation Engr., Ground Modifications, Soil-structure Interactions, And Soil Dynamics
  • Energy Systems
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • Sustainable And Green Infrastructure Design, Construction, Monitoring, And Repair
  • Construction Engineering, Contract And Project Management, Design-build And Integrated Delivery
  • Structural Design, Condition And Risk Assessments
  • High-performance Structures
    Design For Extreme Loads
  • Transportation Management, Safety And Human Factors, Asset Management And Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Transportation Air Quality And Energy
  • Environmental Engineering, Water Quality, Water Resources And Reuse, And Bioenergy
  • Materials Engr., Asphalt Materials, Portland Cement Concrete Materials, Bio-asphalt, Pavement Design, Pavement Preservation, Rehabilitation

List of Labs:

  • Bridge Engineering Center
  • Institute for Transportation

Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science offers B.S. in Computer Science and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and Concurrent B.S./M.S. in Computer Science; B.S. in Computer Science/M.B.A.

The department offers

  • MS (Master of Science with thesis)
  • Master of Science with a creative component, a Ph.D.

The department’s faculty consists of affiliate faculty, adjunct faculty, courtesy appointments, and postdoctoral appointments.

The graduate program focuses on the following areas:

  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Information Assurance
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Neuroscience

Electrical and Computer

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) offers four ways to earn a graduate degree in Electrical engineering and Computer engineering:

  • Master of Science with thesis
  • Master of Science with creative component
  • MEng (Thesis/non-thesis)
  • traditional Ph.D.
  • direct entry Ph.D.

Students also may select the ECpE department as their home department to pursue a graduate degree in one of the three interdepartmental programs:

  • Bioinformatics and computational biology (Ph.D)
  • Information assurance (MS,Ph.D)
  • Human-computer interaction (MS, Ph.D, and certificate).

Four professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) at Iowa State University received a $1 million award from the Department of Energy (DOE) for their proposal of improving the efficiency of power systems and power lines across America. 

Students can pursue graduate research in the following areas:

  • Bioengineering
  • Communications and signal processing
  • Computing and networking systems
  • Electric power and energy systems
  • Electromagnetic microwave and nondestructive evaluation
  • Microelectronics and photonics
  • Secure and reliable computing (information assurance)
  • Software Systems, Systems and controls
  • VLSI.

The Department has around 20 laboratories.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Energy Systems
  • Electronics, Magnetics, Advanced Materials and VLSI
  • Computing/Networking Systems and Security
  • Software Systems
  • Bioengineering
  • Cyber Security
  • Cyber-Physical Security
  • Communications, Controls and Signals

List of labs:

  • Analog & Mixed-Signal VLSI Design Center
  • Microelectronics Research Center
  • Information Assurance Center
  • Electric Power Research Center
  • Power Systems Engineering Research Center

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems

The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering provides the following degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering (Ph.D. IE)
  • MS in Industrial Engineering (M.S. IE)
  • ME in Industrial Engineering (M.Eng. IE)
  • ME in Systems Engineering
  • ME in Engineering Management
  • MS in Information Assurance
  • Concurrent Bachelor/Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
  • Concurrent Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Industrial Engineering
  • Combined Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Master of Business Administration.

Sarah Ryan, Joseph Walkup Professor in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering (IMSE), was selected to serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) on a nearly $3 million grant awarded by NSF’s Division of Graduate Education. Michael Dorneich, Associate Professor, received the IMSE Omurtag Award for Research Excellence from the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. 

The key research areas include :

  • Operations and Research Analytics
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Systems Engineering
  • Engineering Management 

Areas of Expertise:

  • Wind Energy Manufacturing, Engineering and Policy
  • Operations Research and Analytics
  • Energy Systems
  • Sustainable Systems
  • Production Systems and Supply Chain
  • Engineering Statistics
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Information Engineering
  • Systems Engineering and Engineering Management
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

List of Labs: Center for e-Design

Materials Science

The Department of Material Science and Engineering is one of the seven degree-granting departments in the College of Engineering. The department offers MEng, MS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. In addition to these, the department also provides a BS/MS concurrent degree program in a minimized time of five years. 

Four out of the six Anson Marston Distinguished Professors in the College of Engineering are MSE professors. Three professors from the department have received the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, namely Mike Kessler and Xiaoli Tanand Ersan Ustundag. The faculty trains the students to select, design, manufacture, test and evaluate materials intrinsically.

The key research areas include :

  • Advanced manufacturing, processing, and process design
  • Biomaterials and bio-inspired materials
  • Functional materials
  • Energy storage, conversion, and transmission
  • Phase stability, transformations, and kinetics
  • Soft materials, composites, and coatings.

MSE research infrastructure includes a wide variety of facilities resourced for various types of materials research.

The facilities have been grouped into ‘Materials Research Laboratories’ or ‘MRLs’ which include:

  • Advanced Alloy and Process Design
  • Functional Materials and Devices
  • Materials Characterization and Analysis
  • Properties and Performance
  • Soft Matter and Biomaterials

Over two-thirds of the MSE faculty is associated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. ISU is the only university in the nation with a DOE laboratory fully integrated into its university campus, providing students with unique research opportunities.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Advanced Characterization
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials Synthesis and Processing
  • Computational Materials Science
  • Nonferrous Alloys
  • Innovative Materials Design and Manufacturing
  • Battery Materials
  • Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE)
  • Functional Bulk and Nanomaterials

List of Labs:

  • Critical Materials Institute
  • Ames Laboratory of the U.S. Dept. of Energy


The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers several degree options which include Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering, MS in Mechanical engineering, MEng in Mechanical engineering (a course work-only program), MEng in energy systems engineering, interdisciplinary degrees, including human-computer interaction, biorenewable resources and technology, and systems engineering.

It is a cohesive unit of faculty, students, industrial and governmental partners, working harmoniously to improve the state of the society in the broadest terms through mechanical engineering research and education.
Prof. Emmanuel Agba of the mechanical department received the VP’s Award for Outstanding 6-Sigma Contribution, Ford Motor Company in 2008. The distinguished faculty of the department ensures a greater exposure to students in terms of assistantships, project work, and industrial immersion.

The key research areas of the department include :

  • Computational sciences
  • Energy
  • Fluids
  • Health
  • Multi-scale engineering systems.

The students are given opportunities to work in the Additive Manufacturing lab. The department also supports the students with graduate assistantships to enhance their learning.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Systems
  • Multi-scale Engineering
  • Engineered Health
  • Fluids
  • Computational Sciences
  • Energy Sciences

List of Labs:

  • Industrial Assessment Center
  • CoMFRE
  • Virtual Reality Applications Center
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