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Integrated Studio Arts

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The Department of Art and Visual Culture offers degree programs focused on fine arts and visual culture, offering courses in studio arts, art history, art education, and scientific illustration. Degree offerings include the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art and Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Integrated Studio Arts, and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Integrated Visual Arts.

BFA Integrated Studio Arts (ISA) (Fine/Studio Arts)

Students will select from ISA's studio options including ceramics, digital media, drawing, furniture/wood design, illustration, jewelry and metalsmithing, scientific illustration, mixed media, new genres, painting, photography, printmaking, and textiles.

Over the four-year course of study students will develop a portfolio and prepare for a professional practice in the visual arts. This concentration engages aesthetics, visual problem-solving, critical thinking, and skill development, drawing on historical and cultural theory, contemporary trends, and studio practice.

Transfer students with studio credits from other colleges and universities may present a portfolio of work created in those courses to determine if these credits can be applied toward specific studio requirements. Students will present this portfolio upon admission and prior to registration for classes. Arrangements for this process should be made with the department's academic advisors.

The department offers an undergraduate minor in Illustration and participates in the undergraduate minors in Classical Studies, Critical Studies in Design, Design Studies, Digital Media, and Textile Design.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will learn to: 

  • Develop creative problem-solving abilities and traditional and innovative technical skills through the design, research, and creative processes;  
  • Understand and express in multiple media the relationship between objects, aesthetics, and meaning;  
  • Exhibit an awareness of their roles as artists and thinkers regarding the ethical, cultural, and ecological impacts of what they do; 
  • Express through visual, verbal, and written means an awareness of global art movements and a meaningful understanding of historic and contemporary art; and
  • Use their understanding and practice of art to engage with local, national, and global communities where they can participate in broad exchange of ideas. 

Degree Requirements

The curriculum in leads to a 128-129 credit undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Studio Arts. Admission into the program requires the completion of at least 31.0 credits, including the following courses: DSNS 1020, DSNS 1100 or 115, DSNS 1310, DSNS 1320, and DSNS 1830; 6 credits of Social Sciences/Humanities; 6 credits of Math/Science; ENGL 1500 (or test-out credit); LIB 1600. Information on admission criteria is posted each year on the College of Design website.

Total Degree Requirement: 128-129 cr.

Only 65 credits from a two-year institution can apply and may include up to 16 technical credits; 9 P-NP credits of free electives; 2.00 minimum GPA.

International Perspective: 3 credits

U.S. Diversity: 3 credits

Communication: 10 credits

(C or better grade ENGL 1500 and ENGL 2500)

ENGL 1500Critical Thinking and Communication3
ENGL 2500Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition3
LIB 1600Introduction to College Level Research1
One course from the following:3
Introduction to Communication Studies
Interpersonal Communication
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Total Credits10

Humanities: 6 credits

6 credits from College of Design General Education Approved Course list.

Social Sciences: 6 credits

6 credits from College of Design General Education Approved Course list.

Math/Physics/Biol. Sciences: 6 credits

6 credits from College of Design General Education Approved Course list.

General Education Courses: 9 credits

6 credits at level 3000-4000 from College of Design General Education Approved Course List6
3 credits from College of Design General Education Approved Course list3
Total Credits9

College of Design Core: 13 credits

DSNS 1020Design Studio I4
DSNS 1150Design Collaborative Seminar1
or DSNS 1100 Design Exchange Seminar I
DSNS 1310Drawing I4
DSNS 1320Digital Design Literacy1
DSNS 1830Design in Context3
Total Credits13

Integrated Studio Arts Core: 31 credits

ARTIS 2020Studio Fundamentals: Wood2
ARTIS 2030Studio Fundamentals: Jewelry/Metalsmithing2
ARTIS 2040Studio Fundamentals: Ceramics2
ARTIS 2060Studio Fundamentals: Printmaking2
ARTIS 2080Color2
ARTIS 2100Studio Fundamentals: Photo2
ARTIS 2120Studio Fundamentals: Digital Media3
ARTIS 2130Studio Fundamentals: Painting2
ARTIS 2140Studio Fundamentals: Textiles2
ARTIS 2300Drawing II3
ARTIS 3100Sources and Methods of Visual Art3
ARTH 2800History of Art I3
ARTH 2810History of Art II3
Total Credits31

ISA Concentration: 24 credits

Eight courses from ARTIS studio offerings. Faculty advisors will assist students in developing their studio concentration plan.

Art History: 9 credits

At least 6 credits from ARTH 3000+ course level.

Professional Practice: 3 credits

ARTIS 3990BFA Professional Practice2
ARTIS 4990BFA Exhibition1
Total Credits3

Electives: 11 credits

Integrated Studio Arts, BFA

First Year
DSNS 1020 or 13104DSNS 1020 or 13104
DSNS 1100 or 11501DSNS 1830 (or General Education)3
DSNS 13201ENGL 1500 (or General Education)3
DSNS 1830 (or General Education)3General Education3
ENGL 1500 (or General Education)3General Education3
General Education 3LIB 16001
General Education3 
 18 17
Second Year
ARTH 2800 (fall only)3ARTH 2810 (spring only)3
ARTIS 2120 or 23003ARTIS 2300 or 21203
ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2
ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2
ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2
ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2ARTIS Studio Fundamentals2
ENGL 2500 (or General Education)3ENGL 2500 (or General Education)3
 17 17
Third Year
ARTIS 31003ARTIS Studio Option3
ARTIS Studio Option3ARTIS Studio Option3
ARTIS Studio Option3ARTIS Studio Option3
ARTH 3000 level or above3ARTH 3000 level or above3
General Education3ARTIS 39902
 DSNS 3010 (Rome option only)1
 15 15
Fourth Year
ARTIS Studio Option3ARTIS Studio Option3
ARTIS Studio Option3ARTIS Studio Option3
ARTH 3000 level or above3ARTIS 49901
General Education or Elective3General Education3
 15 15

Post-Baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate

Iowa State’s Post-Baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate program in Integrated Studio Arts (ISA) prepares students for either graduate study or career advancements by providing a focused environment for advancing aesthetic, technical, creative, and conceptual skills. While a bachelor’s degree in visual or fine arts is not necessary, a strong portfolio of creative work and a written statement of purpose are required for admission. Download application requirements (PDF) or view online.


Post-baccalaureate students will work with a faculty advisor to create a tailored 25-credit program of study including:

  • 15 credits of 3000/4000-level Integrated Studio courses
  • Six (6) credits of 3000/4000-level art history courses
  • Three-credit elective selected from a list of options
  • ARTIS 4910: One-credit capstone exhibition course

For the capstone experience, you will be expected to produce an artist’s statement and a written assessment of your learning that will be reviewed, along with your art, by the arts faculty.

This certificate program must be completed within two years. Students interested in developing a body of work for admission to graduate school or to focus on further skill development prior to moving into professional practice will be ideal candidates.

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, please submit the following materials.

  1. Digital portfolio:
    — Twenty (20) images of recent work with no more than four (4) of the images being details
    — Descriptions on each image need to include title, date, size and medium
  2. One-page statement of intent
  3. Current resume
  4. Name and contact information of three (3) references

Graduate Program

The department offers the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Integrated Visual Arts (IVA). The MFA curriculum in IVA requires a minimum of 60 credits. This MFA is a unique interdisciplinary program offering integrative study among a combination of media areas including ceramics, computer applications, drawing, textiles, illustration, jewelry/metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, photography, furniture/wood design and areas outside of AVC. The IVA program offers an innovative curriculum aligned with emerging art and design markets.

IVA graduates link traditional studio disciplines with interdisciplinary studies. Graduates are prepared as visual artists to enter studio practice, 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 solo exhibition; and a written thesis statement that describes the development of the work in the exhibition, its objectives, and its historical and cultural points of reference. A written thesis with no exhibition component may be an appropriate alternative, but some portion of the work should entail an element of creative problem-solving in the form of a visual product.

Upon completion of the graduate program IVA graduates are expected to:

  • Have developed a fully realized creative direction which provides a platform for continued professional research and growth, and visual expression;
  • Have produced a body of work which demonstrates a high level of creative investigation and accomplishment;
  • Have acquired a professional level of technical proficiency in one or more media areas;
  • Effectively communicate their ideas verbally and in writing;
  • Understand the context, both historical and current, within which their creative pursuits exist;
  • Have developed a well-formed and informed personal creative philosophy and a strong studio skill set;
  • Understand current and relevant ethical, ecological, and social issues; and
  • Use relevant theory in pursuing creative university-level scholarship.

Studio Courses: 39 credits

Courses numbered ARTIS27
Studio Courses outside of ISA6
ARTIS 6990A and ARTIS 6990B6

Seminar Courses: 6 credits

(Students take 2 sections of ARTIS 5710, or 1 section of ARTIS 5710 and ARTIS 5110)
Graduate Seminar ARTIS 57103 credits each section
Graduate Seminar: Grants, Residencies, Exhibitions, Entrepreneurialism
Graduate Seminar: Critique and Creative Process
Seminar in Teaching

Art History/Theory/Criticism: 12 credits

ARTH 5010 required3
Art History courses9

Related Courses (outside of IVA program): 3 credits

Total: 60 Credits