About the University of Iowa

Old Capitol and spring flowers.

The University of Iowa, founded in 1847, is a major national research university and member of the AAU. Consistently ranked among the top public universities in the country, Iowa’s oldest public university is now the largest of three governed by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Today, the university occupies a 1,700-acre campus in Iowa City and includes Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, Dentistry, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and a Graduate College.

A first-rate research university, the University of Iowa is located in one of the nation’s premier college towns. It was the first public university in the United States to admit men and women on an equal basis. The university has often led the country in academic innovation, with disciplines such as audiology and speech pathology originating at the UI. The UI was the first institution to accept creative work in theater, writing, music, and visual art as theses for advanced degrees, thereby giving rise to the MFA degree. In addition, the UI was the first to combine the studio creation of art and the study of art history in the same program. The university established the first educational radio station west of the Mississippi; broadcast the world’s first educational television programs; and developed educational testing, in which it continues to hold preeminence.

Today, the university attracts more than 30,000 students to its campus, which includes University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, one of the largest university teaching hospitals in the United States. With more than 160,000 residents, the Iowa City metropolitan area lies within a few hours’ driving distance of Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Des Moines, and Kansas City.

The University of Iowa is home to the top-ranked Nonfiction Writing Program and the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop, whose students and instructors have included the writers of such stature as Marilynne Robinson, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Rita Dove, Flannery O’Connor, James Tate, Robert Hass, and John Irving. Since 2008, Iowa City has been honored as a City of Literature by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of only two in the U.S. and 28 in the world.

Of the UI's more than 30,000 students, approximately 54 percent come from Iowa, 28 percent from adjoining states, and 5 percent from the remaining states. International students from 114 countries make up approximately 12 percent of the university’s enrollment. The university, with an annual operating budget of more than $3.5 billion, is the area’s largest employer, with approximately 2,800 faculty and 13,000 staff members.

During 2016-17, the university opened a new performing arts center, new buildings for the schools of art and music, and a new children’s hospital.