Program details

Iowa State’s four-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art (formerly Art and Design Art and Culture emphasis) provides studio courses for an immersive exploration of artistic practice. This studio-based curriculum places a strong emphasis on hands-on learning and creative expression. In addition to studio courses, students are encouraged to complement their coursework with a secondary program of study, either within or outside the College of Design. Graduates of this program are equipped with the skills and knowledge to pursue various career paths in the art world and beyond.


The Bachelor of Arts in Art offers students a comprehensive exploration of fine arts and visual culture. Through a four-year program, students delve into various studio options including ceramics, digital media, drawing, printmaking, illustration, and more. Emphasizing the development of a professional portfolio, the curriculum fosters aesthetic exploration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, transfer students with relevant studio credits can apply them towards specific requirements through portfolio assessment.

The program also offers minors in Illustration and collaborates on minors in other disciplines. Student learning outcomes encompass creative problem-solving abilities, understanding the relationship between art and meaning, promoting ethical and cultural awareness, and engaging with global art movements and communities.

This major requires completion of the Core program but does not require a subsequent application to the major.

  • Students Presenting in DSN 102

    Core Design Program

    The undergraduate curricula in design are divided into two phases: the Core Design Program and the professional or general degree program. Classes in the Core create a shared experience and community that exposes students to all nine majors within the College of Design.

  • Three Students Showing Print Making Project

    Art Studios

    As part of the Department of Art and Visual Culture’s degree programs, students have opportunities to take classes and work with the tools of the trade within art studios. These studios include painting, metals, ceramics, woods, textiles, photography, and printmaking.

Iowa State’s undergraduate BA in Art degree is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

The College of Design offers or participates in eight undergraduate minors that are available to all undergraduate design students. In addition, many minors throughout the university can be combined with a design degree program.

View College of Design minors
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Two students conversing in the College of Design atrium.

Success in Design

Students graduate career-ready with internships, capstone projects, professional practice and portfolio classes integrated into the Design programs, and support from the Design Career Services Office. The college also hosts an annual Design Career Fair focused only on design majors. It attracts more than 125 firms recruiting for jobs and internships, with College of Design alumni making up more than half of the recruiters in attendance.

Possible career paths

With numerous opportunities for students to pursue internships or advanced education, and with support from the college’s Career Services office, we make it easy for students explore career opportunities. Some recent graduates of Iowa State’s art and design program have pursued careers in the following:

  • Museum administration
  • Art gallery staff
  • Art exhibit coordinator
  • Art criticism and journalism
  • Art teacher
  • Art sales and corporate art collections
  • Advertising and design
  • Tour guide/ event organizer
  • Art therapy
  • Communications and marketing
A student paints project on the floor.

An Artist 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.