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Future Undergraduate

Choose ISU

Why should you choose ISU? We’ve counted some of the reasons for you below; see our college points of pride for a more comprehensive list.

1. Nationally Ranked Programs

Iowa State University’s undergraduate programs and faculty are nationally recognized as among the best.

  • DesignIntelligence rankings:
    • Landscape Architecture 7th “most hired from” program in the US and #10 “most admired”
    • Interior Design 7th “most hired from” program in the US and #15 “most admired”
    • Architecture 10th “most hired from” program in the US and #22 “most admired”
  • College Values Online ranks Community and Regional Planning #3 and Industrial Design #8 in US for value and excellence
  • Industrial Design ranked #14 among 25 best drafting degrees in US by College Choice
  • Graphic Design ranked #19 among public graphic design programs and top 6% of all graphic design programs in the US by Animation Career Review

2. Career Placement

We are proud of our impressive 95% job and/or graduate school placement rate within 6 months of graduation, and several of our majors are ranked in the top 10 most hired-from programs for their fields in the US! A degree from one of the College of Design’s art or design programs can lead to an almost limitless array of career opportunities.

Our on-site career staff are available to help you with career exploration at any point in your education, from freshman to senior, and even after you graduate. We provide:

  • Career development opportunities
  • Annual College of Design Career Days
  • Resume preparation
  • Cover letter and portfolio reviews
  • Internship and job-search strategies

3. Diverse Community

Diversity is a critical component of all creative processes, and in a college where creativity is essential, diversity is not just about being politically correct—it goes to the very core of our mission. Iowa State’s College of Design acts to assemble a truly diverse environment for the benefit of all the members of our community.

The college’s spring 2022 undergraduate student enrollment includes:

  • 149 international students
  • 1,014 Iowa residents
  • 500 non-Iowa US residents
  • 958 women
  • 706 men

Within this community, 16% identify as African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Latinx and/or multiracial and 9% are international students.

Our faculty, too, represent a broad range of backgrounds and hail from a number of countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, England, Germany, Ghana, Iran, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and Turkey as well as the US and Puerto Rico.

Diversity for us is not only about background. We represent a diverse array of disciplines, perspectives, expertise and interests, and embrace the opportunities this provides for innovation and collaboration.

4. Interdisciplinary studios

Where else can you find nine undergraduate design and art disciplines under one roof? Take advantage of this unique mix of programs through our interdisciplinary studio options, where upper-level students from multiple majors work together on complex problems — just like in the professional design world!

Design is a collaborative act that involves a wealth of knowledge and individuals. The design studio is a place where creativity, risk taking and spontaneity guide exploration and serve as a foundation for learning. Students are exposed to collaborative projects, real clients, community interaction, economic issues, and the realities of designing within constraints.

Studio work is assessed through a sequence of critiques. These occur through frequent discussions with the instructor and classmates, and during interim and final reviews.

5. Small Classes

College of Design studio classes range in size from 15 to 20 students; our average class size is 16 students. This allows for:

  • Close contact with your instructors and fellow students
  • Personal attention and creative input
  • A sense of community

Studios meet for long, concentrated periods of time, combining lecture and discussion with hands-on participation. This allows you to develop your own designs within class assignments.

Iowa State University’s College of Design is one of the most comprehensive institutions for design in the US, offering a distinctive and broad range of design disciplines under one “roof.” The exceptional breadth and depth of expertise resident in the college provides unparalleled opportunities for students to engage in all scales of design inquiry and making, from micro-level jewelry pieces to macro-level multi-state regional transportation plans.

Alumnus Tim Westrom (BFA 2017 Integrated Studio Arts) wears a respirator while he works on a mural for recreation services in a Beyer Hall fitness room. Photo by Christopher Gannon.