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Degree Planning

This is an archived copy of the 2015-2016 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

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Degree Planning - ISU Degree Audit

In addition to being properly registered, students are responsible for knowing the requirements for their degree and planning their schedule to meet those requirements. One way to monitor progress toward a degree is with the ISU degree audit.

Students may access their ISU degree audit through AccessPlus . The degree audit shows courses that have been completed, courses in which the student is currently enrolled, and graduation requirements that need to be completed for the student's curriculum.

Students should use the degree audit information to help them review progress towards their degrees(s), plan their course of study to complete degree requirements, and select courses for the next term. Graduation evaluators in the Office of the Registrar use the degree audit during the term a student will graduate to determine if the student will meet all degree requirements upon successful completion of the courses on the student's schedule that term.

In addition, through AccessPlus , students may request a degree audit for any major available at Iowa State. The audit results will show how their completed and in-progress course work applies toward other majors or options offered at the University.

For further information about how completed courses fulfill degree requirements or how other courses will apply toward their degree requirements, students should see their adviser.

Two Bachelor's Degrees

Students may receive two bachelor's degrees if the requirements for each major (curriculum) are met and the total number of semester credits earned is at least 30 more than the requirements of the curriculum requiring the greater number of credits. This rule applies whether or not the degrees are awarded at the same time. Students should have an academic adviser in each major (curriculum), with one adviser being designated as the registration adviser. Students should request approval to pursue two degrees by completing the form, Request for Double Major/Curriculum or Two Degrees. This form is available from advisers and classification offices. Each adviser will have access to the student's information after this form has been processed. The appropriate department and college must approve each degree program.

Students who have earned advanced degrees and wish to earn a second Bachelor's Degree may be eligible for a college waiver of certain basic and general education requirements. Students should contact the department offering the major for advice and appropriate planning.

Double Major/Curriculum

A double major is a program for a single degree in which all requirements for two or more majors (curricula) have been met. The majors (curricula) may be in different colleges or within the same college or department. The diploma and permanent record will designate all majors (curricula) that are completed at the same time.

To declare a double major (curriculum), students should complete the form, "Request for a Double Major/Curriculum or Two Degrees." This form, available from advisers and classification offices, should be completed at least one term prior to graduation. One major (curriculum) should be designated as primary and the other secondary for purposes of record keeping, but the student's rights and responsibilities are the same in both majors. The adviser of the primary major will serve as the student's registration adviser, but both advisers will have access to the student's information. Degree programs must be approved for each major (curriculum) by the appropriate department and college. One of the majors may subsequently be canceled using the same form.

Students in the College of Engineering are able to earn a degree with a second major/curriculum as long as the second major/curriculum is within another college, meets all requirements of the additional programs and contains a minimum of 15 additional credits beyond the requirements for a B.S. degree in engineering for each additional area of study. A student with multiple curricula within the College of Engineering is permitted to earn only multiple degrees. All requirements for each curricula must be met plus an additional 30 credits for each curricula being pursued beyond the curriculum which requires the most credits.

Students with a primary major in another college who wish to take a second major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are not required to meet the Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education requirements. They must, however, meet all requirements for the major, including complementary courses. Students in the B.L.S. curriculum in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences do not have majors.

Second Major (Curriculum) Completed after the Bachelor's Degree

After receiving a bachelor's degree, a person may wish to complete all requirements for another major (curriculum). Approval of the department of the second major (curriculum) is needed before study for the program is begun. At the completion of the program a notation will be made on the permanent record (transcript), but no change will be made on the diploma received at the time of graduation. A degree program must be approved for the second major/curriculum by the department and by the dean's office.

Changing Curriculum or Major

A student's freedom to change their major, and the procedure that should be followed, depend on the student's academic standing and on policies of individual colleges as approved by the provost.

  1. If students have never been dismissed and reinstated, they may change their major by consulting first with their adviser. Procedures for changing curriculum or major are as follows:
    1. If the change involves majors within the same college, they should work with the college office to obtain instructions as to how to make the change.
    2. If the change involves majors in different colleges, they should obtain a Change of Curriculum/Major form and their file from their adviser, present these materials to the student services office of their present college, then to the student services office of the college to which they are transferring, and finally to the office of their new major.
  2. Students on academic probation (P) may be restricted by rules outlined in the section on Additional Academic Standards Regulations.
  3. Students who have been reinstated may not transfer to another college within the university during the first term following reinstatement, and they may not at any time transfer back to the college that originally dismissed them without the permission of the academic standards committee of that college.

Declaring a Minor

Many departments and programs in the university specify requirements for an undergraduate minor. A record of requirements completed appears on students' transcripts. All minors require at least 15 credits, including at least 6 credits in courses numbered 300 or above taken at Iowa State University. The minor must include at least 9 credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement. Courses taken for a minor may not be taken on a pass-not pass basis. See /collegescurricula/#minors for additional information regarding policies which govern minors. To declare a minor, students must submit a completed Request for a Minor form to their college office at least one term before graduation. The minor may be from the catalog under which the student is graduating or a later catalog.

Undergraduate Certificates

An undergraduate certificate provides a way to give formal recognition of focused study in a specialized area that is less comprehensive than required for an undergraduate major.

An undergraduate certificate has the following requirements and understandings:

  1. A minimum of 20 credits, with at least 12 credits taken at ISU which are applicable towards the undergraduate certificate requirements
  2. At least 9 of the credits taken at Iowa State University must be in courses numbered 300 or above
  3. At least 9 credits used for a certificate may not be used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement for the baccalaureate degree except to satisfy the total credit requirement for graduation and to meet credit requirements in courses numbered 300 or above
  4. A student may not receive both an undergraduate major and a certificate of the same name
  5. For students earning an ISU baccalaureate degree, a certificate is awarded concurrent with or after the ISU baccalaureate degree
  6. A certificate is not awarded if the baccalaureate requirements are not finished
  7. After receiving a baccalaureate degree from any accredited institution, a student may enroll at ISU to earn a certificate
  8. Courses taken for a certificate may not be taken on a pass-not pass basis
  9. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 is required in all courses taken at ISU towards the certificate
  10. A notation of a completed certificate will be made on a student's transcript and a printed certificate will be awarded.


Seniors must file a graduation application with the Graduation Office, 214 Enrollment Services Center. Students will be notified of their graduation status approximately mid semester of their graduation term.  For graduation application instructions and deadlines, go to the Graduation and Commencement web site .

Iowa State University commencement ceremonies are held at the end of fall and spring semesters. Undergraduate students expected to graduate at the end of summer semester are invited to participate in the spring ceremony preceeding their graduation term or the fall ceremony following their graduation term.  In addition to the formal University commencement ceremony, the undergraduate colleges host graduation activities take place at the end of fall and spring semesters. For more information see  

Verification of satisfactory final grades will be completed approximately two weeks after the end of the semester and diplomas will be mailed to all successful degree candidates.Students must ensure the following before they can graduate:

  1. Registration for the term has been completed and the date of graduation is correct on the degree audit printout.
  2. Sufficient credits, acceptable toward graduation, have been earned to meet the minimum requirements for their curriculum. (Some examples of credit not acceptable toward graduation are: elective credits beyond those allowed in a curriculum, credits earned in passing the same course more than once, more than four credits of Athletics 101, and credit in two courses for which the catalog states that only one may count toward graduation.)
  3. They have achieved a set of communication competencies established by the department as appropriate for the major.
  4. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 was earned in all work taken at Iowa State; and student has met all special grade point average requirements established by their college, department, or program in specified courses.
    1. Students admitted from another college or university with a quality-point deficiency, must have earned sufficient quality points above a 2.00 at Iowa State to offset their transfer grade point deficiency.
    2. Students who have taken work at another college or university prior to or after having been a student at Iowa State, must have submitted a transcript of all such college study attempted to the Office of Admissions. This work must average 2.00 or the deficiency of quality points will be assessed against the student. Failure to submit such a transcript is grounds for dismissal.
  5. Incompletes in courses required for graduation have been removed by midterm of the term of graduation.
  6. At least 32 credits have been earned in residence at Iowa State University, and the final 32 credits were taken at Iowa State. (Six of the last 32 credits may be transferred to Iowa State, with prior permission of their major department.) Iowa State University must receive an official transcript of all transfer work by midterm of the term of graduation.
  7. Outstanding financial obligations owed the university have been paid in full. Students who owe an outstanding obligation to the university will have a hold placed on their records and they will not receive their diploma or transcript. If students have questions about this policy, they should contact the graduation area of the Office of the Registrar.