Program details

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art (formerly Integrated Studio Arts) focuses on in-depth studio work with an emphasis on crossing conceptual and media boundaries. It is designed for students intending to become professional artists and those planning to continue their studies in a graduate program in studio art.

The BFA is an enrollment-managed, accredited four-year degree program. Students enter the major as Pre-Art students. The pre-major designation indicates that a student has not yet received admission to the full Art major. To remove the pre-major designation a student may complete one of the two following options:

  • Complete the College of Design Core Program at Iowa State University and subsequent application to the Art major.
  • Submit a portfolio containing images of original artwork created during high school and/or college/university experience on Slideroom by April 15.

Applicants choosing the second option are guaranteed admission to the BFA in Art program pending completion of the Core Program, 30 credits, and minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA without submitting to the application process described in option one.


Our unique curriculum emphasizes breadth in technique with a focus on conceptual development and problem solving. The art studio is the fundamental structure for BFA students to develop an understanding and ability to apply the design process through diverse media. In their sophomore year, students complete rotations in our eight media areas: ceramics, textiles, jewelry/metalsmithing, furniture design, painting, printmaking, digital media, and photography. Classes in color theory and intermediate drawing round out the year.

Junior and senior-level studios provide focused investigation in specific media areas and help prepare students for professional practice and/or graduate study toward a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Art history courses enhance the studio environment by providing a strong context as students develop their ideas and technical abilities.

Interdisciplinary opportunities are encouraged, and independent study options are available following the completion of regular course offerings. A required seminar/exhibition serves as a capstone experience in the final year.

Recent Student Work

  • 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 Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) 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
Search all minors at Iowa State

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. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art degree from Iowa State may lead to careers in:

  • 3D animation, digital illustration and video/computer game design
  • Furniture design
  • Ceramics
  • Jewelry and metalsmithing
  • Textiles
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
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.