A Graduate Student's Life

Transition to graduate school

Our department helps you adjust to graduate school with a one-week orientation for all new students.

We provide training to TAs. Each semester, we have a training meeting for all TAs, and TAs for laboratories also receive 30 minutes of training each week before beginning a new experiment.



In Iowa City you will find many apartments at affordable rates. Listings of apartments can be found on the university's off-campus housing site.

Graduate students and faculty can live in on-campus apartments, including the attractive Aspire apartments that were built in 2014.


  • Three bus systems serve Iowa City and Coralville, including the free Cambus. All bus lines pass through the downtown area where our two buildings are located.
  • To arrive in Iowa City by air, you will fly to the Eastern Iowa Airport, Cedar Rapids, located about 23 miles from campus. A shuttle is available to bring you to campus.
  • Iowa City is near Interstate 80 and easily reached by car and bus.

Medical insurance

Students who compare different universities say that the cost and quality of health insurance varies widely, from one university to another. It is good to know that our students tell us that we provide excellent health insurance, with easy access to care at a very reasonable price, for both students and their families.

International students

Iowa City is a friendly place to live. With graduate students from more than 100 countries living in Iowa City, you are sure to find friends from your own country. Many national groups have clubs and social events. Large cities, including Chicago, are near enough for you to travel by bus. The University of Iowa's International Student and Scholar Services office helps foreign students with visas and other services, such as a women's club for both students and spouses. Free classes in English as a second language are available to all adults. Children of school age will enjoy attending one of the best public school systems in the United States.


As you develop into a researcher, you and your advisor will publish papers in journals, and you will write your thesis. Most students also attend scientific conferences, where they give talks on their research and where they learn about job opportunities.


Our students find excellent jobs after completing their degrees. They are prepared for this success by the experience they gain while performing their research and by the worldwide connections of our faculty members. We have a very successful record of placing students as scientists in all kinds of positions, in universities, national laboratories and observatories, and in industry. The department's Administrative Associate is available to help our students prepare resumes.