Graduate Certificate FAQ

Frequently-asked questions

How long does it take to complete the Certificate?

Four semesters, at a rate of one course per semester.  (Eventually we plan to increase the frequency at which the courses are offered).

How much does it cost?

To enroll in an online course, a student is assessed tuition, a delivery fee and a technology fee.

Please go to

for up-to-date information on tuition and fees.

(As of August 2013, tuition for an online graduate course in the College of Engineering is $503 per credit, the delivery fee is $100 per credit, and the technology fee is $111.50)

Are classes taught live, or pre-recorded?

Classes are pre-recorded and can be watched at your convenience.  Class assignments follow the same schedule as for the on-campus section of the course, however.

Do I need a TOEFL or IELTS score?

Yes. Iowa State University requires a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score for students enrolling in a certificate or degree program, even if it is a distance program.  As per the requirements found here, the minimum required TOEFL is 79 iBT or 550 PBT and the minimum required IELTS is 6.5.  Note that ETS is the testing service that administers tests like the TOEFL or the GRE.  They are the only institution that can submit official scores to ISU’s Office of Admissions.  Scores reported in any other way than directly from ETS are considered unofficial to the Office of Admissions and cannot be used to complete an application.  ETS keeps TOEFL scores for two years.  Any scores achieved before that period can no longer be submitted officially and so the test must be retaken.

Can I enroll in a class before I enroll in the Certificate?

Yes.  Distance students are permitted to take one or two classes as a non-degree graduate student (before providing TOEFL or IELTS).

I do not hold a Bachelor degree in Engineering or a Physical Science.  Can I still enroll in the Certificate?

Possibly.  In many cases, individuals do not have a Bachelor degree in engineering or a physical science but want take the Certificate.  In these cases we recommend taking one or two of the graduate courses prior to enrolling in the Certificate.  If you do well in those courses, it is likely that you can be admitted to the Certificate program.  In order to be enrolled in the courses themselves, you need to satisfy the prerequisites for those courses.  In particular, it is necessary to be familiar with vector calculus as explained in the text ‘Div, Grad, Curl and all that’, or similar texts.  If you have a good knowledge of vector calculus then I recommend that you enroll in one of the courses and we will monitor your progress.