Experience design as a Cyclone

Thinking about a change? Whether you’re transferring from a community college or four-year university, you’ll find your fit at Iowa State.

At the college of Design, you’ll find two types of undergraduate programs: 2+2 programs, where you can begin taking courses in your major immediately upon enrolling at Iowa State, and four or five-year programs, which require completion of the Core Design Program.

Once you’re at Iowa State, you’ll participate in transfer orientation and new student programs so you can pick up where you left off while meeting new people along the way.

2+2 programs

In these majors, you will begin taking courses in your major immediately upon enrolling at Iowa State. You can start your studies in the fall, spring or summer semester. These majors apply the largest number of transfer credits toward degree completion.

Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to enter the job market or apply for many of the College of Design’s graduate programs. Students who choose one of these majors may be able to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the time it would take to complete just one of our four or five-year majors!

2+2 programs in the College of Design are:

Four or five-year programs

These majors require the completion of our foundational Core Design Program and subsequent application for admission at the end of spring semester. In most cases, transfer credits will not accelerate time to degree completion, requiring you to be at Iowa State for four or five years after transferring.*

Four or Five-year programs are:

*See “portfolio application option” below for how to save time at Iowa State

*Portfolio Application Option

The College of Design allows transfer students who have previously enrolled in art/design courses to apply for direct entry to our four and five year majors, bypassing our Core Design Program, in limited cases under the following circumstances:

  • Admitted to Iowa State University with fall semester entry selected
  • Completion of at least 30 academic credits including:
    • Three credits drawing
    • Three credits 3D design
    • Three credits art history
    • Remaining credits in general education courses relevant to major of interest (physics and calculus required for architecture hopefuls)
  • Submit application to Slideroom by May 15

Direct-entry admission is limited and subject to faculty review and availability. 

Transfer plans

Starting education at a university isn’t the right fit for everyone. That’s why the College of Design has developed agreements with several Iowa community colleges that make it easier for you to transfer to Iowa State and complete a bachelor’s degree after earning an associate’s degree.

In addition, the College of Design strongly encourages those who start elsewhere to pursue coursework that will fulfill general education requirements at Iowa State. The college recommends following an AA degree plan that will provide courses in communications, humanities, social sciences, math, and science. To save time at the university, we suggest attending community college for one year only and mirroring our foundational Core program.

The College of Design discourages pursuit of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees for those who wish to transfer. These degrees largely contain credits labeled as Career/Technical, of which a maximum of 16 credit hours of Career/Technical coursework can be transferred to Iowa State.

(Ellsworth Community College, Marshalltown Community College and Grinnell Community College)

A prospective student and their family talk with an Iowa State University admissions representative.

A Cyclone in the Making

The best way to picture yourself on Iowa State’s campus is to visit and experience it yourself! Meet with Iowa State University students, tour the entire campus, and see our College of Design students creating and designing first-hand.