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Applying to a Degree Program

Application Process

Follow this process to complete your application into our enrollment-managed programs after completion of the Core Design Program. Students with a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher who have passed DSN S 110/115 are eligible to apply.

Please note: The Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design/Art and Culture Concentration, and the Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning are both open-enrollment majors. This means the BA and BS degrees are not part of the enrollment-management process in the College of Design and do not require completion of the Core Design Program. Students in any Iowa State college may enroll directly in Art and Design/Art and Culture Concentration or Community and Regional Planning as a primary or secondary major at any time.

If you’re interested in Art and Design/Art and Culture or Community and Regional Planning as a major, contact academic adviser Marina Reasoner,

Application Form

The application process begins with completion of the online application form. This should be completed prior to submitting your five best works in digital format through SlideRoom (see details under the Final Exhibition section below). You will need your Iowa State NetID and password to log into the secure website and access the form. You may choose to apply to more than one program and may do so all on the same form. Please be prepared to rank the majors you are applying to (first choice, second choice, etc.) on the application form.

Academic Integrity

By completing the online application form, you are entering into an agreement with the College of Design regarding the integrity of your application materials. Submitting this form verifies that all work included in the application materials is your own.

Iowa State University and the College of Design have zero tolerance for plagiarism and cheating. Any form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Violators will be disqualified from the admission review and will be reported to the university. Please refer to the “Academic Dishonesty” section under “Academic Conduct” in the university catalog for a description of what constitutes academic dishonesty and possible university actions against violators.

Grade Point Average

Beginning with fall 2020 pre-majors, we can guarantee your first choice of major/degree program if you earn a B to B+ average (3.20 out of a possible 4.00 GPA) in your graded Design Studies (DSN S) Core courses. You must also pass DSN S 110/115.

Even if you don’t achieve a 3.20 GPA, you’re likely to be admitted to your top choice. Based on past years’ data, we’ve determined that students with a 3.20 GPA (B to B+ average) will account for no more than 60% of seats available in our degree programs. The remaining seats will be filled in descending order of DSN S Core GPA (remember that a minimum of 2.00 cumulative GPA is required for admission).

Select students whose Core work is strong but whose GPA is lower may also be admitted to their first choice. See information on the final exhibition below.

Final Exhibition

The College of Design requires a final exhibition of work at the completion of our Core Design Program.  Every student in the Core — regardless of GPA — must choose your five best works to submit for the final exhibition.

All work submitted for the final exhibition must be your own, produced individually or as part of a team project. In team projects, it may be helpful to identify work of the team versus individual work. Any form of plagiarism will disqualify you from the admission review.

This year, due to the pandemic, you will submit your work for the final exhibition digitally through SlideRoom (see details in the SlideRoom section below). You should choose what you consider to be the five best works you have completed in DSN S 102: Design Studio I and in DSN S 131: Drawing I for submission for the exhibition. Your five best works should demonstrate the following:

  • An understanding of the creative process
  • A range of skills across multiple types of projects
  • An attention to detail and composition
  • An ability to visualize space and form in both 2D (drawings) and 3D (models)
  • Quality of craft in design and drawing work


You may submit a total of five pages through SlideRoom. Each page can be a single image, or it can be a group of images arranged together.

If you are submitting pages with multiple images on them, we recommend you create a PDF file, as SlideRoom allows for zooming in on PDFs. If you are submitting only one image per page, then a jpeg, png or gif file might work as well. These formats are most compatible with SlideRoom. Google Drive or zipped files are not recommended formats for sharing your work.

Each image/page submission should be supported with a brief, clear explanation of your visual work in the text box provided in SlideRoom. See tips on using SlideRoom (PDF).

Please note: We strongly discourage inclusion of excessive visual elements or text descriptions in a single page submission. These are difficult to view and are likely to exceed the file size limit. Remember that editing is an important part of curating your final exhibition. You may need to devise creative solutions to best show your work within the limits of the submission guidelines.

Please also note: Digital manipulation of your work/images in Photoshop or any other correction or enhancement is not permitted. The only exception is for work from DSN S 102 in which editing in Photoshop was part of the requirement for production.

Application Deadline

Your online application form and SlideRoom submission must be completed by 5 p.m. CT Friday, May 7.

Notification of Admission

After your application materials are matched with your Core GPA, if you meet the 3.2 GPA you will be invited to enroll in the program that ranks highest on your list. For those students who do not achieve a 3.2 GPA in the graded Core courses, faculty will review the five works submitted for the final exhibition to determine whether to admit additional students based on the quality of work.

Admission decisions and notification will be completed by the end of May (see Key Dates below). Notifications will be sent via email and paper mail. Following receipt of the notification letter, you have two weeks to accept or reject the offer.

Key Dates

Dates for the spring 2021 application process are as follows:

  • Submit online application and best 5 works from the Core in digital format to SlideRoom:

    May 3–7

  • Deadline to submit online application and 5 best works:

    5 p.m. CT Friday, May 7

  • Receive admission decision:

    Wednesday, May 26

  • Accept/reject offer by:

    Wednesday, June 9


Please contact your academic advisors. All the best!