MS Degree in Transportation

Why study transportation

Transportation may be the field for you if

  • you like to solve problems
  • you like to work in teams with professionals in other disciplines
  • you are interested in improving transportation in some way, such as helping reduce the number of fatal crashes or providing alternative means of transportation for downtown commuters

Program description

As a field of study, transportation is inherently interdisciplinary. If you consider yourself a "generalist" with interests in city planning, engineering, economics, geographic information systems, etc., take a look at Iowa State University's program in transportation.

When you study transportation at Iowa State, you'll take courses in three core fields:

  1. transportation engineering (through the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering),
  2. community and regional planning (through that department in the College of Design), and
  3. transportation and logistics (through Supply Chain and Information System in the College of Business).

Together these disciplines will expose you to both the public and private dimensions of transportation. You'll develop a cohesive curriculum from these fields and also from related fields such as economics, political science, industrial engineering, sociology, and other disciplines. With the help of an advisor, you'll design a program to meet your academic and career objectives.

Transportation Graduate Student Handbook

The Transportation Graduate Student Handbook (485k pdf) explains the steps you must complete in the interdisciplinary master's degree program in transportation. It includes a program overview, information about academic requirements, resources for students, and information about financing your education.

MS Trans student and computer at the InTrans offices
Conducting data analysis at InTrans' student office space.

An environment for transportation education

Beginning with the university's early years, Iowa State University has played an important role in the development of transportation professionals:

  • Early in the 20th century, Iowa State College (as Iowa State University was then called) was the original home of the Iowa Highway Commission (now the Iowa Department of Transportation).
  • Iowa State College faculty were instrumental in forming the Highway Research Board (now the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council).
  • An Iowa State College professor was the Highway Research Board's first chair.

Today, Iowa State University maintains its transportation heritage. It has close ties to the Iowa Department of Transportation. The two institutions, both in Ames, share resources and work in collaboration to resolve transportation issues and improve the state's transportation system. In addition, the university and its faculty maintain close ties with transportation carriers, user groups, the highway construction industry, and others.

Photo from 1920s or earlier showing concrete testing
From early on, ISU has been involved in transportation research that makes safer and longer lasting roads. In this photo, workers are testing concrete.

Academic excellence

Since its beginning, Iowa State University has had strong core programs in transportation education within the College of Engineering. More recently, the Colleges of Design and Business have begun strong transportation related programs. The logistics and management information systems program is the dominant business program in the region and is complemented by outstanding programs in community and regional planning and transportation engineering.

In addition, the MS degree in transportation is supported by excellent programs outside the core transportation areas in economics, political science, industrial engineering, statistics, sociology, and psychology.

Research opportunities

The transportation degree program is integrated with the research programs at the Institute for Transportation. As a transportation student, you will have many opportunities to conduct meaningful research.