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Department of


About Us

Overview and Highlights

Architecture at Iowa State

The Iowa State University Department of Architecture prepares students for careers in architecture. We teach architecture as a socially inclusive and environmentally responsive practice. We believe that the study of architecture involves questioning assumptions, reflecting on history, and rethinking the future so as to meaningfully contribute to the creation of just and equitable societies.  We are committed to the design studio as a space in which conceptual, practical, and theoretical thinking is integrated with the everyday, the material, the technological, and the humane.

Our graduates obtain:

  • Rigorous, research-driven, and creative design skills,
  • A broad, inclusive, and nuanced appreciation for the historic and theoretical frameworks that inform practice today,
  • An array of graphic, computational and presentation skills needed to both design and convey design intent,
  • An understanding of contemporary technical and performance criteria used to model, analyze, and construct projects, so as to responsibly evaluate the technical and environmental impact of design decisions,
  • A grounding in the critical, aesthetic, and ethical role of the profession and its relationship to public health, safety, well-being, and environmental stewardship.

Architecture arises from the aspirations that diverse individuals and groups have for their physical environment, and from the social enterprise of designing and fabricating the landscape we inhabit. It involves individual and multiple buildings, the spaces within them, and the exterior landscape. Our students engage with the multiplicity of social formations in which buildings exist, as well as how environmental effects are integrated through construction, space, material, form, and use. Both our Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees critically examine these complexities, studying the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the built environment.


Our Context

Located in Ames, Iowa State is a Research I and land-grant university that serves approximately 32,000 students.  Ames is located 40 minutes from the state capital of Des Moines, which shares a vibrant urban setting and rich architectural heritage.  Our Department is enriched by being housed within a College of Design that serves seven distinct departments – all sharing a belief in the innovative value of interdisciplinary design and the power of design to profoundly and ethically impact citizens, communities, and societies.

From our home in the heartland, the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University attracts close to half of its students from across the country and around the globe. We reciprocate that broad interest by preparing all of our students for amazing architectural opportunities. Our students gain national and international awareness through projects and fieldtrips to distant venues that range from Miami to Peru, Chicago to Berlin. In addition to our popular semester-long program in Rome, we also have optional summer programs and exchange programs in various cities around the globe.

As a student you will:

  1. Participate in class trips to urban centers around the US every semester to enhance your education while reinforcing the impact of architecture on the human condition, culture and the landscape.
  2. Be in demand when you graduate. We are proud to be ranked the 5th “Most Hired From” architecture program in the US by DesignIntelligence.
  3. Earn internship hours to put toward your licensure requirement by securing a student internship domestically or abroad.

Students complete the first-year Core Design Program before applying to the Bachelor of Architecture degree program. The architecture program admits 80-100 students annually. Design studios and studio culture are the fundamental components of our degree program.

Learn about our program!

  • B Arch (5-year accredited degree)
  • M Arch (accredited post professional degree, with or without advanced standing 2 or 3 years)
  • MSc (research degree – 1 year)