IFYE Course

Course Description

What is the International First Year Experience (IFYE)?

U ST 110 International First Year Experience Seminar (IFYE) focuses on the transition to college in the U.S., available Iowa State University resources, American culture, and student personal development. The course material is presented through online video presentations facilitated by guests from various ISU departments and organizations. During an IFYE Leader led recitation section, IFYE Leaders will facilitate discussions, in-class activities, and learning experiences.


What is the purpose of IFYE?

The purpose of this course is to create an intentional space for new (freshmen) international students, where:

  1. Students will learn about academic resources, available student services, and social opportunities on campus that will provide students with beneficial advantages to increase the likelihood of success as undergraduate students at ISU.
  2. Students will be able to identify and persist through transitional issues they may encounter upon arriving in the U.S.


What are the learning outcomes of IFYE?

By the end of the semester, the International First-Year Experience Seminar aims to:

  • Connect students to campus resources and peers
  • Serve as a platform for students to ask questions in a welcoming environment
  • Help students build a foundation for a successful academic career
  • Allow students to gain a better understanding of laws and cultural norms in the U.S.


IFYE Exemption and Waivers

University Studies 110, or IFYE, is a mandatory course for all incoming undergraduate international students; and is highly recommended to be completed within the first semester at Iowa State University (ISU). The class focuses on the topics that are important and useful for international students transitioning to living in the U.S. and attending ISU. Some students may be exempted from taking the course or be eligible for a waiver from taking the course. 


Exemption Criteria

In order to be exempt from the IFYE Seminar, a student must be able to demonstrate that they have met all of the learning objectives for the IFYE Seminar through either:

  • If the student transfers in 24 or more credits from a U.S. university (credits must have been taken in the U.S.)
  • If the student has graduated from a high school in the U.S.
  • If the student started at ISU prior to Fall 2016 in a degree seeking program when the course became a mandatory requirement  
  • Students that meet one of the above conditions can be automatically exempt from taking the IFYE Seminar course.


Waiver Criteria

In some situations, students may feel that they have been in the U.S. long enough to achieve the IFYE Seminar learning objectives and are eligible to apply for a course waiver. In order to waive IFYE, a student must be able to demonstrate that they have met all of the learning objectives for the IFYE Seminar through a minimum of 5 months in the U.S.


Waiver Process

If a student feels that they meet the criteria to waive the IFYE Seminar, they will need to complete the IFYE Waiver form found in Cystart (Cystart > Student Services > IFYE Exemption).

As part of the waiver process, a student must be able to explain how they have already met the following IFYE Seminar learning objectives:

  • Identify one or more ways to overcome culture shock
  • Identify study strategies and habits that ensure their personal academic success
  • Recognize ways U.S. laws and customs differ from their home country
  • Describe immigration regulations for F-1/J-1 students in regards to enrollment status, academics, and employment
  • Recognize the significance of American history and how it impacts U.S. culture
  • Identify campus and community resources that ensure personal safety, academic achievement, and a successful transition to life in the U.S.

A student will provide their responses within the e-form to explain how they have met all of the learning objectives through an academic and/or work experience in the U.S. A successful applicant will be able to reflect on their learning within each objective and provide specific examples.

In addition, a student will be asked to provide supplemental documentation, such as an employment letter or transcript, depending on their situation. Further information can be found within the IFYE Waiver e-form. Upon submission, the IFYE Waiver e-form will be reviewed by an IFYE Instructor and students will receive a response within 5 working days.



Students must submit the IFYE Waiver e-form no later than 10 working days after the first day of the semester in order to be eligible.



Even if you plan to apply for a waiver, register for the U ST 110 course and attend all U ST 110 classes. In the event your waiver request is not granted, you will be properly registered for the required course and ensure your academic success.



To confirm an exemption or a course waiver, or if you have any questions, please contact us at ifye@iastate.edu