Degrees and certificates for graduate students

The College of Design’s graduate programs prepares you to become a creative and critical thinker, a competent practitioner, and a culturally aware global citizen through art, design, and planning. As a graduate student, you will engage with and learn from some of the world’s most renowned art and design faculty and have the opportunity to explore and advance your skills through hands-on instruction and interdisciplinary opportunities.

Graduate majors

The Master of Architecture is a three-year accredited professional degree that provides the knowledge, skills, and experience to professionally practice architecture, alongside a critical awareness of the discipline’s wider social, political, economic, environmental, and cultural implications.

This program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than architecture, as well as for students who hold four-year, non-accredited professional degrees in architecture such as the Bachelor of Science in Architecture.

Learn about the Master of Architecture

The Master of Science in Architecture is a 30-credit research degree with a required graduate thesis, open to applicants who hold a professional degree in architecture or other related design fields. Topics of research include intersections of architecture, aesthetics, and technology; social formations of architecture and urbanization; and theories and practices for sustainable architecture.

Learn about the Master of Science in Architecture

The online Master of Community Development degree is a 30-credit program where students create and contribute to community betterment. Designed for the nontraditional student, this program can be completed at your own pace, over the course of multiple semesters or as quickly as one year.

Learn about the online Master of Community of Development

The Master of Community and Regional Planning degree is a professionally accredited, STEM-designated, and nationally ranked  program with areas of concentration in land use and transportation, community design and development, and rural and environmental planning. The primary focus of the program is to prepare students with the education and practical skills to be leaders in the practice of planning.

Learn about the Master of Community and Regional Planning

The First Professional Master of Arts in Interior Design degree is suitable for master’s candidates interested in acquiring the skills to practice in the profession of Interior Design, but who do not have an undergraduate degree in the field or in a closely related design specialization. It provides a CIDA-accredited foundation and graduate studies in research methods, design process, human-centered approaches, and studio applications.

Learn about the First Professional Master of Arts in Interior Design

The Master of Arts (MA) in Interior Design degree provides a broad understanding of current interior design issues and design research, preparing graduates for special analytical aspects of design practice.

Learn about the Master of Arts in Interior Design

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interior Design program prepares students to become skilled professionals in research and practice as well as to engage in teaching. It emphasizes formal theoretical, technical and methodological preparation for the design of interior spaces.

Learn about the Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design

The Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is recognized as the terminal degree in the field and requires a minimum of 60-credits focusing on communication design, problem solving, and the use of visual language, symbology, and interaction. Graduates are proficient in the design of communications and the use of technologies that incorporate human interaction with environments, objects and electronic and traditional publications.

Learn about the Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

The Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design degree focuses on preparing students for visual communication. This 30-credit degree provides a comprehensive exposure to all aspects of user experience, including but not exclusive to way-finding, exhibition design, interaction, information design and placemaking.

Learn about the Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design

The Master of Industrial Design program specifically emphasizes systems thinking as one of its core languages when reframing problems as opportunities for future contexts. Areas of focus include systems design, change theory, problem reframing, strategic and creative thinking, and innovation by design.

Learn about the Master of Industrial Design

The Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Visual Arts graduate program is committed to the professional development of artists and arts innovators. It is a distinctive and unique interdisciplinary program offering integrative study among a combination of the following areas: ceramics, computer applications, drawing, textiles, illustration, jewelry/metal-smithing, painting, printmaking, photography, furniture design and areas outside of Art and Design.

Learn about the Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Visual Arts

The Master of Landscape Architecture is an accredited 3-year professional degree that offers three concentration tracks in a topical area: theory and urbanism, technology and ecology, and advocacy and community. These themes are explored through coursework, an optional thesis, and creative components.

Learn about the Master of Landscape Architecture

The Master of Real Estate Development program is offered as a collaboration with the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of business and features mentoring and networking opportunities, online courses and on-campus residencies, a capstone project driven by your interests, and continuing education credits accepted by the Iowa Real Estate Commission.

This interdisciplinary program is geared toward working professionals looking to pursue a career in real estate and is especially suited for city planners, architects, finance specialists, real estate agents, commercial realtors, and industry investors.

Learn about the Master of Real Estate Development

The Master of Design in Sustainable Environments is an initial interdisciplinary degree that focuses on holistic design strategies for the production of sustainable, resilient environments and artifacts. Students engage in faculty-led research projects and are challenged to develop individual sustainable design strategies for issues of current relevance that conserve resources, ameliorate ecological problems and promote social, political and economic justice.

Learn about the Master of Design in Sustainable Environments

The Master of Urban Design degree is a 30-credit, initial, and interdisciplinary program focused on contemporary challenges of urbanism at the local, regional and global scales. Courses are taught by faculty from architecture, community and regional planning and landscape architecture, with an understanding that urban environments should be engaged through an integrated design process that includes ecological, social, material, economic and urban-policy factors.

Learn more about the Master of Urban Design

  • ISU COD East Exterior

    Explore by department

    Few other institutions, private or public, can boast the impressive array of disciplines the College of Design supports under one collegiate “roof”. This leads to a strong, multi-disciplinary network of design thinking that directly benefits you.

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Be supported while learning through teaching and research

Graduate assistantships offer the chance to gain valuable experience with academic functions. All graduate assistants are provided tuition support, a stipend, and insurance benefits.

  • Student working in the College of Design atrium.

    Graduate student support

    The College of Design offers a suite of graduate student services that support your progress and academic goals, including academic advising, assistantship and funding guidance, and more.

    Learn about academic support services

  • A student and professor work with 3D model for augmented reality.

    Technology services

    Iowa State’s College of Design uses computer-aided techniques, software, and equipment in the classroom and studio. We also offer public computer labs, a full-service output facility, model shops, and more.

    Learn about technology services

  • A student works with peers during Dream the Future II workshop at the Student Innovation Center.

    Innovation and entrepreneurship

    The College of Design offers a range of opportunities for students to grow in both their innovative and entrepreneurial skillsets, powered by Innovate at Iowa State.

    Learn about innovation and entrepreneurship

College of Design student working on class project.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.