Founded in 1901 as the Academy of Idaho, Idaho State University (ISU) is a public research university that awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Its main campus is located in the city of Pocatello and campuses also exist in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. Outreach Centers are found in in American Falls, Blackfoot, Montpelier, Preston, and Soda Springs.
Since its inception, the institution has gone through five name changes. University status was conferred in 1963 and Idaho State has seen its enrollment increase significantly in recent years. Nearly 15,000 students take classes each year.
The university is comprised of seven colleges and schools:
- College of Arts and Letters
- College of Business
- College of Education
- College of Science and Engineering
- Division of Health Sciences
- College of Technology
- Graduate School
Students can pursue nearly 300 degree programs and certifications as well as interdisciplinary degree options and pre-professional programs. There are also several international and study abroad opportunities for undergraduates to experience.
Associate degrees are offered in several fields, including criminal justice, nursing, and culinary arts.
Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of subject areas, including American studies, biology, mathematics, business management, early childhood education, family and consumer studies, engineering, dental hygiene and Earth and environmental systems. Many fields have particular concentrations or specializations.
Graduate programs are offered in over 50 areas, including master’s level programs in anthropology, art, geology, clinical psychology, education, counseling, deaf education, physical therapy, and nuclear science. Doctoral degrees are awarded in English, mathematics, physics, political science, psychology, educational leadership, engineering and applied science, physical therapy, and pharmacy. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is offered in school psychology, special education and educational administration.
Idaho State is home to hundreds of faculty members, providing a low student-to-teacher ratio that allows for personal interaction and collaboration.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Distinctions and Honors
ISU is home to a nationally recognized business program. The school’s Certified Public Accountant (CPA) program has been ranked among the nation’s best, with students’ pass rates on the CPA examination scoring more than three times the national average among students who take the exam for the first time.
The university offers some of the region’s best programs in the health sciences and biological fields, including degrees in health care administration, radiographic science, speech pathology, dental hygiene, and dietetics. Another area of excellence is teacher preparation, including educational administration, physical education, and special education.
The university also has an undergraduate Honors Program. To be eligible, students need to meet the following requirements: 3.6 high school GPA and an ACT score of 25. Once accepted, Honors Program students will be able to take honors courses and complete an honors project.
Another unique opportunity for students is the Clustered Learning for Academic Success (CLASS) program, in which students take 3-5 related courses with the same group of classmates.
Applications and the accompanying application fee can be submitted online. Applicants must also submit official high school transcripts and standardized test scores. All applicants should have a competitive GPA and high school students from the state of Idaho are required to have completed the Idaho Core Curriculum. Out-of-state students should have completed a comparable curriculum. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent to the Admissions Office after graduation.
Admission is generally granted on the basis of a combination of test scores and GPA. Students with slightly lower-than-average GPAs or test scores may be admitted on a conditional basis and must meet other requirements while attending.
Transfer and International Students
Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background. Students who graduated from Idaho high schools prior to 1989 will also have different requirements.
Dual Enrollment Program Admissions
The university offers a dual enrollment program for local high school students who are interested in starting their college careers early. Special admissions requirements apply, so students interested in this program should contact the university to determine what steps they need to take.
Graduate Student Admissions
Prospective graduate students should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying because acceptance requirements vary from program to program. Applications can be submitted online along with the required application fee. Application deadlines are determined by the program to which the student is applying.
Basic graduate program requirements include holding a bachelor’s degree and submitting official GRE, GMAT, or other appropriate test scores. Applicants also need a recommendation from the graduate school of interest as well as approval for admittance by the dean of the graduate school.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in applying for financial aid, and students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible each year. The university’s financial aid office provides a checklist of items required to complete the FAFSA paperwork and to correctly process financial aid applications.
Types of financial aid commonly awarded to eligible ISU students include Pell Grants, Federal Direct Student Loans, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Federal Perkins Loans. Some students are also eligible for Work Study jobs on campus.
Graduate students may be able to receive financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all tuition and other required fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual departments for more information and to receive details of the application process.
Student Financial Aid Details
Students are presented with a diverse range of school-recognized groups and organizations to join. There are more than 120 student organizations and clubs on campus that should meet the needs and interests of nearly every student, including academic and professional associations, cultural groups, fraternities and sororities, sports clubs, political and religious clubs, and shared interest groups, such as the Acoustic Music and Songwriting Organization and the Chess Club.
ISU is particularly proud of its on-campus outdoor programs. The Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group (C.W. HOG) provides handicapped students the same opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities as able-bodied students. The Wilderness Rental Center is the central source for renting and using outdoor recreational equipment on campus.
The gymnasium and rec center are home to the largest climbing wall on a college campus in the western United States, as well as swimming pools, indoor tennis and racquetball courts, and weight rooms. There are also numerous club and intramural sports so that students may compete in group sports without participating with intercollegiate-level teams.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Idaho State University Bengals compete in Division I of the NCAA in the Big Sky Conference and Division I-AA in football. Sports include men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, tennis, and track and field. There is a men’s football team as well as women’s golf, volleyball, soccer and softball. School colors are black and orange and the mascot is Benny the Bengal Tiger.
The school’s athletic facilities include Reed Gym, the 3,000-seat arena that is home to basketball and volleyball; Holt Arena, which seats 12,000 for football and was the first indoor arena on an American college campus; Davis Field for soccer and track; and a new cross country course that is strictly dedicated to cross country events.
Bengal athletes are also active in the community, supporting various philanthropic and charitable initiatives, offering scholarships, and even hosting various community events.
Bengal Fest, which is held annually, is the largest tailgate party of the year. Bengal Fest promotes team spirit and school pride, along with great food, camaraderie, and the occasional celebrity appearance. There are games and rides for the kids, a massive barbecue, and a performance by the ISU marching band.
The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.