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Art and Design
Roger Baer, Chair of Department
The department offers the degrees of bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Degree programs in art and design, integrated studio arts, graphic design, and interior design are possible within four curricula: integrated studio arts-B.F.A., art and design-B.A., graphic design-B.F.A., and interior designB.F.A.; see College of Design, Curricula. Each of these curricula affords excellent preparation for a variety of career opportunities or a basis for graduate study in art and design disciplines.
The curriculum leading to the B.F.A. provides a studio concentration in integrated Studio Arts. Students select from a variety of studio options in order to build a portfolio and prepare for a professional practice in the visual arts. This concentration emphasizes aesthetics, visual problem solving, critical thinking, and skill development in a variety of media employing contemporary, historical and cultural theory and practices.
The curriculum in graphic design leads to the B.F.A. degree. Emphasis is on creative problem solving, design process, and the visual organization of communication media. Graphic design graduates effectively integrate abstract thinking skills; communication design theory, history, and methodology; and technology. Components of visual communication including typography, symbology, and image creation are integrated with an understanding of professional practice.
The curriculum in interior design leads to the B.F.A. degree. Emphasis is on the student's application of design processes to creatively solve problems of the interior environment based on knowledge of human safety, functional utility, physical, psychological, and contextual fit. Graduates in interior design are competent in visual communication (sketching, drafting and computer aided design), design problem solving, space planning, lighting and color specification for interiors, finish and furniture selection, detailing interior construction and application of human factors. The curriculum is accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) as providing professional level education.
For students entering the Graphic Design, Interior Design, or Integrated Studio Arts programs involving computer-aided design or animation, the department highly recommends purchase or lease of a laptop/notebook computer and appropriate software. Contact the department or see the College of Design web site for hardware and software specifications.
Students working toward the B.A. in art and design pursue studies in a related or supporting area by means of a second major, minor, and/or approved program of study that meets the individual needs of a student. Art history, art education, integrated studio arts, pre-graphic design, and pre-interior design courses may be taken to fulfill the art and design program of study.
Transfer students with studio credits from other colleges and universities must present a portfolio of work done in those courses to determine if these credits can be applied toward specific studio requirements. Students are required to present this portfolio upon admission and prior to registration for classes. Arrangements for this process must be made with department advisers.
The department offers no minor but participates in the undergraduate minor in design studies.
The department offers work for the degrees of Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in graphic design, integrated visual arts, and interior design, and Master of Arts (M.A.) in art and design, with degree specialization in interior design. Graduates have a broad understanding of visual communication, problem solving, and interdisciplinary studies.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) program in interior design requires a minimum of 34 credits including an art and design seminar, a studio concentration, a history/criticism course, elective courses outside the department, and completion of a written thesis comprised of original research. Graduates in interior design selecting the M.A. degree focus on research.
The Master of Fine Arts programs (M.F.A.) in graphic design and interior design require a minimum of 60 credits. The program in integrated visual arts requires a minimum of 61. These programs include an art and design seminar, a studio concentration, history and criticism courses, a teaching practicum, elective courses outside the department or area of study, and the completion of a thesis-exhibition or thesis.
Master of Fine Arts graduates in graphic design are skilled in communication design, problem solving, and are adept in the use of visual language and symbology. Graduates are proficient in the design of communications and the use of technologies that incorporate human interaction with environments, objects, and electronic and traditional publications. The M.F.A. is recognized as the terminal degree in the graphic design field. The degree requires completion of a written thesis integrating theory, research, and design problem solving.
Interior Design graduate students selecting the M.F.A. are proficient in visual communication skills, design theory, human factors, and space planning. The M.F.A. degree is considered a terminal degree in the interior design field. The degree requires completion of a written thesis comprised of original research.
Integrated Visual Arts M.F.A. graduates have skills that link traditional studio disciplines with emerging technologies. Graduates are prepared as visual artists to enter studio research, business, higher education or new interdisciplinary fields. The MFA is recognized as the terminal degree.
The M.F.A. thesis-exhibition is composed of two parts, a substantial exhibition and a written statement that describes the development of the work in the exhibition, its objectives, and its historical and cultural points of reference. A thesis may be an appropriate alternative, but some portion of the work should entail an element of design problem-solving in the form of a visual product.
Credit earned at Iowa State University or other institution for the master of arts degree may be applied toward the master of fine arts degree at the discretion of the program of study committee.
Applicants to the graduate program should have an undergraduate major in an art or design area and demonstrate the ability to do technically competent and original work through the presentation of a slide or digital portfolio for faculty review. Past academic performance and the quality of studio work are critical in the admission process. A minimum 3.0 GPA in the student's undergraduate major is the standard for full admission to the graduate program. Admission is also determined by studio space available within the program area, which changes yearly due to graduate students' progress in their programs of study.
Graduate students who have not completed an undergraduate program of study substantially equivalent to that required of undergraduates in the department can expect that additional supporting coursework, determined by the graduate faculty, will be required.
Prospective students are advised to contact the graduate coordinator with specific questions about admission procedures and portfolio review. Application and additional program information may be obtained from the Department of Art and Design, College of Design, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3092.
Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: ArtGr 387, 388; Art H 380, 382, 383, 385, 394, 481, 484, 489, 495, 496; ArtID 355, 356, 465, 467, 469, ArtIS 408, 420, 422, 424, 430, 438, 447.