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History & Organization

Historical Structure

One of eight colleges comprising Iowa State University, the College of Design was created in 1978 when four departments with long-standing reputations in other colleges were brought together under one roof. The four original departments were:

  • Architecture, founded in 1914 as part of the College of Engineering
  • Art and Design, founded as Applied Art in 1924 as part of the College of Home Economics
  • Landscape Architecture, founded in 1929 as part of the College of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Life Sciences)
    Community and Regional Planning, introduced as a master’s degree in 1947 as part of the Department of Landscape Architecture and founded as a department in 1973

The original Department of Art and Design included programs in studio arts, interior design and graphic design. The college’s original structure also included Design Studies, a program that facilitated interdisciplinary work. Industrial Design was added to the college in 2010.


In May 2012, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved a reorganization resulting in seven academic departments offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs:

Art & Visual Culture
Community & Regional Planning
Graphic Design
Industrial Design
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture

Under this new structure, Design Studies became home to three interdisciplinary degree programs:

Interdisciplinary Design (undergraduate)
Sustainable Environments (graduate)
Urban Design (graduate)

In support of its mission, the college also includes:

Office of the Dean
Administrative Services Office
Student Services & Programs Office
Institute for Design Research & Outreach
Design Extension & Outreach
GIS Support & Research Facility

For more information on the college’s structure, contact:

Office of the Dean
146 College of Design
Iowa State University
715 Bissell Road
Ames, Iowa 50011-1066
(515) 294-7428