Iowa State University


Graphic Design Degrees at Iowa State University

Iowa State University appears in our ranking of the Top 20 Best Visual Communications Degree Programs.

From billboards to business collateral, graphic designers create the look of ad campaigns, non-profit annual reports, websites, and other business collateral. They use top-of-the-line software, like the Adobe Suite, to help businesses brand themselves through the interplay of design and text and in the case of the businesses’ web properties and phone or tablet applications, audio, video, and animation as well.

Students who study graphic design at Iowa State will be ready to do the above tasks and more once they graduate from one of the graphic design programs at the university. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, a Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design (MAxGD) or a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Graphic design courses include Digital Photography, Graphic Design Studio, Design Culture and History of Art. Graphic design students must also fulfill a graphic design internship or study abroad requirement. These programs are offered through the College of Design.

Additionally, the school offers study abroad options for those who want to study graphic design in the school’s Rome program or in its Graphic Design in Europe program, which allows students to study graphic design in several European countries.

While Iowa State University doesn’t offer an online graphic design degree, the university does have some online programs that originate in the school’s College of Design. Students studying design online can earn design certificates in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or Preservation and Cultural Heritage.

Those who want to pursue the GIS program can come from any program at Iowa State, while those interested in the cultural heritage program must have a degree in one of the following disciplines: Art or design, anthropology, history or a related major.

As well, the university offers an online certificate in Human-Computer Interaction through its graduate program. Coursework includes Design and Ethics, Designing Effective Learning Environments and Visual Design for HCI.

As for the College of Design itself, it has quite a bit to offer students. There are 80 technology labs, a visualization lab, a laptop program that can serve up to 500 students and an output center that allows students to print their work in a number of formats.

About Iowa State University

From the beginning, Iowa State University students were bound to be forward-thinking. Founded in the mid-1880s and co-ed from the get-go, this land-grant university boasts eight colleges, including one graduate college, within the university system. It’s a small-town university. Residing in Ames, Iowa, the campus of Iowa State is a sprawling 1,813 acres.

Students have their choice of almost 300 areas of study, including 83 doctorate programs, more than 110 master’s programs, and over 100 bachelor’s degrees. Almost 30,000 students attend Iowa State. It is known in particular for its College of Engineering and its College of Veterinary Medicine.

Eight-hundred-fifty clubs and organizations, including fraternities and sororities, allow students to get involved on campus. On any given day, students can take in more than 2,000 works of art, stroll through the campus gardens and of course, attend NCAA games. The Iowa State Cyclones play in the Big 12 Conference. Additionally, students can take part in intramural sports, wellness and fitness programs and other recreational activities.

However, despite having plenty of extracurricular activities to keep them occupied, academics remain front and center at the university. Iowa State University is known for its research. Nearly 80% of students say that their professors put a lot of thought into their work, and nearly 70% report that it’s easy to get into the classes they want. Its Soar in 4 program encourages students to graduate with their undergraduate degrees in four years.

Iowa State University Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission, out of Chicago, Illinois, accredits Iowa State University. Wendy Wintersteen, Ph.D., Jonathan A. Wickert Ph.D. are the university’s President and Vice President-Provost, respectively.

Iowa State Application Requirements

Iowa State University is on the semester system and accepts applications year-round. Almost 90% of applicants are accepted.

Students wishing to apply to Iowa State University must submit their ACT or SAT scores. As well, they are required to send in their transcripts from any school they’ve attended. GED and homeschool students are also welcome. Students can also take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) instead of the GED.

Students from traditional schools must show that they have had the following:

  • 4 years of English or language arts
  • 3 years of math
  • 3 years of science
  • 2 years of social studies

Those applying to the School of Engineering must also have taken two years of a foreign language. College of Liberal Arts applicants are required to have taken a third year of social studies and at least two years of the same foreign language.

Applications may also require an application fee.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition rates for Iowa State vary, depending on the students’ residency status. Iowa residents pay $9,320 per year, non-residents pay $24,508 and foreign students pay $26,140. Additionally, tuition costs are subject to change from year-to-year, so students should consult with the registrar’s or financial aid office to ensure they have the right numbers.

The university estimates that the total cost of attendance is $21,940, $37,128 and $40,860 for residents, non-residents, and foreign students, respectively. These costs include room and board, books, university fees, and personal expenses. These numbers will vary, again depending on a number of factors, including yearly price increases. Additionally, students who qualify for grants and scholarships will also pay less out of pocket, though the actual amount of tuition will remain the same.

The tuition rates for graduate students are as follows: $10,990 for residents, with a total cost of attendance estimated at $24,444; $25,952 for non-residents, with a total cost of attendance estimated at $39,406; and $24,766 for foreign students, with a total cost of attendance estimated at $37,772.

The university does offer financial aid. Students who want to qualify for financial aid should fill out the FAFSA. Many of the scholarships as well as the grants and loans they’ll qualify for will be determined by the students’ FAFSA information.

However, the school does also have information about outside scholarships. The school’s OneApp scholarship portal cuts down on the time and work that students have to do to qualify for financial aid through the school, though the external scholarships must be dealt with separately.

Finally, students enrolled in Iowa State University’s graphic design programs may have lab or materials fees to consider. Those costs will usually be discussed by the students’ professors in class.

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