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Future Undergraduate


First, some basics. The college has two types of programs:

  • 2 + 2 Programs
  • Four or Five-Year Programs

2 + 2 Programs

In these majors, you will begin taking courses in your major immediately upon enrolling at Iowa State. You can start your studies in the fall, spring or summer semester. These majors apply the largest number of transfer credits toward degree completion.

Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to enter the job market or apply for many of the College of Design’s graduate programs. Students who choose one of these majors may be able to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the time it would take to complete just one of our four-or-five-year majors!

Our 2+2programs are:

Four or Five-Year Programs

These majors require the completion of our foundational Core Design Program and subsequent application for admission at the end of spring semester. In many cases, transfer credits will not accelerate time to degree completion, requiring you to be at ISU for four or five years after transferring. *

Our Four or Five-year programs are:

*Transferring from Art & Design Programs

The College of Design allows transfer students who have previously enrolled in art/design courses to apply for direct entry to our four and five year majors, bypassing our Core Design Program, in limited cases under the following circumstances:

  • You have applied and been admitted to Iowa State University with fall semester entry selected.
  • You are/were pursuing a related design degree with at least six studio art credits and three credits in art history completed.
  • You submit a 21- to 24-page PDF portfolio to Jennifer Anderson by May 15.

Direct-entry admission is limited and subject to faculty review and availability. 

Tips for Future Transfer Students

Starting education at a university isn’t the right fit for everyone. We get that. We have recommendations for those who wish to attend a community college before enrolling at Iowa State.

We strongly encourage those who start elsewhere to pursue coursework that will fulfill general education requirements at Iowa State. For this reason, we suggest following an AA degree path that will provide classes in communications, humanities, social sciences, Math, and science.

In addition to these general education courses, students should enroll in courses to help them build a portfolio to apply for direct admission to a College of Design major, bypassing our Core program. These courses include:

  • Drawing/2D studio art
  • 3D studio art
  • Art history.

To save time at the university, we suggest attending community college for one year only.  During this time students must earn at least 24 academic coursework credits and a minimum 2.25 GPA. Studio art courses do not count towards the 24 academic credits needed to apply to transfer to Iowa State. We discourage pursuing AAS degrees for those who wish to transfer to ISU.

Additional Resources for Transfer Students

Transfer Plans

The College of Design has developed agreements with several Iowa community colleges that make it easier for you to transfer to Iowa State and complete a bachelor’s degree after earning an associate’s degree.

Des Moines Area Community College

Iowa Valley Community College District

(Ellsworth Community College, Marshalltown Community College and Grinnell Community College)

Kirkwood Community College

Northwest Iowa Community College

Western Iowa Technical Community College

AA in General Studies from an Iowa community college or equivalent

Additional articulation agreements with other Iowa community colleges are under development.

Important note about AAS degrees

If you earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree or complete credits labeled as Career/Technical, note that a maximum of 16 credit hours or Career/Technical coursework can be transferred to ISU.