The University of Iowa is a large public research institution serving over 20,000 undergraduates. Founded in 1847, less than two months after Iowa joined the Union, the school offers more than 200 majors, with particular strengths in business, health, humanities and science.

The university was the first in the country to officially recognize and fund an LGBTQ+ gay student organization, and its commitment to equality is still present today in UI spaces like Pride House and QT Clothing Closet. UI is also home to the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, a graduate-level residency program that helped launch the careers of celebrated authors like Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver and James Tate. The Center for Research by Undergraduates connects students with mentors and research opportunities in across disciplines.

The university's performing arts department puts on more than 450 dance, music and theater productions each year, and sports fans have ample opportunities to show their school spirit. The Iowa Hawkeyes, which includes over 20 varsity sports teams, are members of the Big Ten Conference.