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Department of


About Us

History & Context

Based in Ames, Iowa (population 66,000), our department is situated within the broader context of Iowa State University (ISU): a Research I land-grant university. ISU is a “Carnegie Research Very High” university, one of 73 public universities and 108 in total that hold the highest rating for research and doctoral granting institutions. We are one of 34 public universities that are members of the 61 member American Association of Universities.  We are located 40 minutes from Iowa’s capital of Des Moines: a vibrant urban setting with a rich architectural heritage.

Situated in a multi-disciplinary college at a leading research university,  our context allows students to take advantage of interdisciplinary opportunities that enhance their disciplinary specific knowledge. Students participate in interdisciplinary studios (in their students’ fifth year of studies), attend the Core Program (first year) choose professional electives offered by other departments, and can purse minor degrees.  Additionally, students access to CoD lectures & symposia, workshops& exhibits and have opportunities to engage in independent studies.

College of Design

Founded in 1978, the College of Design (COD) is one of eight colleges at ISU. Its original departments included Architecture, (originally housed within the College of Engineering) Art and Design (originally housed within College of Home Economics), Landscape Architecture (originally within the College of Agriculture) and Community & Regional Planning (originally within the Department of Landscape Architecture). In May 2012, the Iowa Board of Regents approved a restructuring of the College, resulting in a total of 7 departments:  Architecture, Art & Visual Culture, Community & Regional Planning, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture. Concurrent with this restructuring, “Design Studies” also became home to three interdisciplinary degree programs.

  • Architecture courses have been offered at ISU since the institution first enrolled students in 1869.
  • The department has existed under four different names: Structural Design (1914), Architectural Engineering and Rural Structures (1918), Architecture and Architectural Engineering (1940s), and finally, Architecture (1967), all in the College of Engineering.
  • The Department of Architecture became part of the College of Design when it opened in 1978.