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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:

Landscape Architecture, founded in 1915 as part of the College of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Life Sciences)
Architecture, founded in 1914 as part of the College of Engineering
Art and Design, founded in 1920 as part of the College of Home Economics
Community and Regional Planning, introduced in 1947 as part of the Department of Landscape Architecture

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

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

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