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Art and Design
Roger Baer, Chair of Department
The department offers the degree Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in three curricular areas: Graphic Design, Integrated Studio Arts, and Interior Design. The department also offers the degree Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art and Design. Each of these curricula affords excellent preparation for a variety of career opportunities or as a foundation for graduate study.
B.F.A. Graphic Design. 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.
B.F.A. 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.
B.F.A. Interior Design. 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.
Students entering the Graphic Design, Interior Design, or Integrated Studio Arts programs involving computeraided design or animation are strongly encouraged to 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 specification.
B.A. Art and Design. This curriculum offers two concentrations: Art and Culture, and Visual Cultural
Culture Studies. Art and Culture has a greater emphasis on studio components, and Visual Culture Studies on humanities and liberal arts components.
Both concentrations are combined with an applied career minor or approved program.
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 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, graphic design, and environmental graphic design. Graduates have a broad understanding of visual communication, problem solving, and interdisciplinary studies.
The M.F.A. curricula in Graphic Design and Interior Design require a minimum of 60 credits. The M.F.A curriculum 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 seminar, elective courses outside the department or area of study, and the completion of a thesis-exhibition or thesis.
M.F.A. 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.
M.F.A graduates in Interior Design 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.
M.F.A. graduates in Integrated Visual Arts 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. A required 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.
The M.A. in Art and Design with specialization in interior design requires a minimum of 34 credits including a studio concentration and work in research methods and human factors. Candidates focus on research in an area of specialization culminating in a written thesis comprised of original research. Graduates have a broad understanding of current interior design issues and design research, preparing them for special analytical aspects of design practice and further studies leading to the PhD. Applicants without a degree in interior design may be required to complete up to 40 additional credits of course work.
The M.A. in Art and Design with a specialization in graphic design requires a minimum of 30 credits including seminar courses in art and design, a studio concentration, a history course, a business practice course, courses outside of graphic design, and the completion of a capstone course in graphic design. Graduate students selecting the M.A. in graphic design will focus on a first professional degree. Applicants without a degree in graphic design may be required to complete up to 17 additional credits of coursework.
The M.A. in Art and Design with a specialization in environmental graphic design requires a minimum of 34 credits including a seminar course in art and design, a studio concentration, a history courses, courses in design methods, and the completion of a capstone course in environmental graphic design.
Graduate students selecting the M.A. in environmental graphic design will focus on a first professional degree. Applicants without a degree in background in environmental graphic design may be required to complete up to 15 additional credits of coursework.
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.