Designed to be the best

The College of Design is one of the most comprehensive design institutions in the country, with ten undergraduate majors and collaborative opportunities that mirror professional design experiences.

Closeup of a student doing design work on an e-tablet and laptop
Closeup of an artist's hand painting on a canvas

What can I study?

The College of Design's mission is to educate students to become successful designers, planners, artists, and scholars who improve the quality of life, enhance human experience, and advance environmental sustainability; and to serve as a resource for Iowa and beyond through research, creative endeavors, extension, and outreach.

Majors, minors and certificates


Design students have the opportunity to work with faculty as undergraduates. Research project examples include adapted environments for aging populations, young adults on the autism spectrum, youth in residential treatment and shelter care, and safe places to play; affordable 3D-printed housing technologies; how shrinking communities continue to thrive; and cultural heritage and historic preservation.

Tackling affordable housing challenges

Two students work on constructing a metal support
The College of Design’s multidisciplinary, externally funded 3D Affordable Innovative Technologies Housing Project seeks faster, cheaper, more sustainable solutions to meet the demand for affordable housing with 3D-printed homes.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Create and innovate in the College of Design with design studios, interdisciplinary teamwork tackling global challenges, real-world projects with industry partners and communities, and entrepreneurial pitch contests and fellows programs.

Start Something in the College of Design

Two students look at design elements on an iPad
No matter what your major is, add Interdisciplinary Design as a secondary major to develop your inventiveness, visual communication skills, and ideation mindset. The program focuses on creative innovation, strategic design thinking and interdisciplinary teamwork.


As part of the Core Design Program, first-year students explore all College of Design undergraduate majors and experiment with interdisciplinary work. In your degree program, you'll get hands-on, practical experience, and work collaboratively with different majors and design professionals.

Get a global perspective

Students can study abroad almost anywhere, with semester, summer and spring break options. The College of Design also has a fully established program in Rome with facilities in the historic city center.

Success at Iowa State

The annual Design Career Fair is focused only on design majors. It attracts more than 125 firms recruiting for jobs and internships, with College of Design alumni making up more than half of the recruiters in attendance. Students graduate career-ready with internships, capstone projects, professional practice and portfolio classes integrated into the Design programs, and support from the Design Career Services Office.

Design career paths

  • Accessibility consultant

  • Architectural designer

  • Art director

  • Artist

  • BIM designer

  • City/community planner

  • Conservation specialist

  • Design researcher

  • Design technician

  • Digital designer

  • Footwear designer

  • Gallery associate

  • GIS analyst

  • Graphic designer

  • Hospitality designer

  • Human-centered design strategist

  • Industrial designer

  • Interior designer

  • Jeweler

  • Landscape architect

  • Landscape designer

  • Multimedia designer

  • Planning and development assistant

  • Product designer

  • Project coordinator

  • Technical illustrator

  • Transportation planner

  • User experience designer

  • Web designer

  • Zoning coordinator

Featured story

Headshot of Olivia Larson

From intern to full-time design strategist

Olivia Larson

'21 Industrial Design

I'm ready to apply

Sunny view of the College of Design building and the blue sculpture in front of it

I'm ready to accept

See all that Iowa State offers