graduate program in Iowa, USA, graduates, postgraduate, study, abroad, programs

Study in Iowa, United States

State overview

Iowa is an American state located in the country’s Midwest heartland, and is a great place for international students looking to study a postgraduate course. Known as one of the safest states in all of America, Iowa is bookended by two great rivers – the Mississippi and the Missouri.

Iowa is a friendly state where international students are welcomed with open arms. Public education in Iowa isn’t a dream but a reality, with the several well-ranked public universities in the state. With lower tuition fees and a better cost of living, Iowa could be the perfect state for your graduate program.

Education profile

Iowa is home to several universities where you can study a postgraduate course, from private colleges to public institutions. You can study a graduate program in Iowa at the following institutions:

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

If you want to study a postgraduate course in Iowa you will have to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in Iowa you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in Iowa

Life in Iowa completely depends on where you choose to live. Many of the cities, such as Des Moines and Iowa City are liberal college towns with strong artistic leanings and vibrant communities. Iowa City in particular has plenty of ethnic restaurants and many bars in the downtown region, with independent cinemas and theatres too.

However, if you want a taste of rural life, Iowa has plenty of small town farming villages to explore. Head to the Iowa Great Lakes in the Okoboji area near the border with Minnesota and go boating, or bathing for the brave.

Working in Iowa

Iowa is best known as a farming state, with agriculture always having been at the heart of Iowan industry. However, despite this reputation, modern day Iowa has a diverse economy with manufacturing actually being the largest sector. Food processing is Iowa’s biggest employer, with several multinational companies including Heinz and Quaker Oats running processing plants in the state.

Iowa also has a buoyant financial services and insurance sector, with more than 6,000 firms registered in the region. Biotechnology is also a growing industry in Iowa, with several major firms including Boehringer Ingelheim setting up offices in the state.


The cheapest, easiest way to find graduate accommodation in Iowa is to live in dedicated university accommodation, whether that is in halls of residence or graduate apartments. This will be the easiest way of settling into life as a student in Iowa.

Most universities will have a housing department, who will be able to advise you on your options and give accommodation costs. Some universities have dedicated halls of residence for postgraduate students.

If you want to live in off-campus accommodation, it’s still worth contacting your university housing department for advice on the best areas to live, cheapest agents and type of accommodation you can expect to get.

Weather and climate

Iowa has a climate common to most of the Midwest, with extremes of heat and cold. Summers are hot and humid with daytime averages of 32C, while winter temperatures drop well below freezing point.

Spring brings severe weather, with thunderstorms and tornadoes common.

What to do next

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