Art has been part of human culture throughout history. Today, art influences almost every aspect of our lives, from clothing fashions, culinary presentation, and advertising to building and landscape architecture, leisure pursuits, and much more. Artists constantly create art in countless mediums, and art historians study, interpret and document those works and their influence across time.

Why Iowa?

Iowa was one of the first universities in the nation to combine studio art and art history in one school. The School of Art and Art History continues to offer both programs, reflecting its philosophy that artists benefit from the study of artistic traditions, historians learn from personal experience with the creation of art, and teachers need a firm foundation in both. The school also offers a BA in Art History.

Iowa also pioneered the concept of an artist as a teacher. As an art or art history major, you’ll work with faculty members who have national and international reputations and whose art and publications are included in collections all over the world.

At Iowa, you’ll find yourself surrounded by art. You will encounter sculptures everywhere on campus, and you may study in university buildings designed by well-known architects, present and past. You’re sure to visit the Iowa Memorial Union, where you’ll see UI Stanley Museum of Art exhibits and countless works by university artists, including your professors.

If you’re a studio artist, you’ll choose from disciplines in ceramics, graphic design, 3-D design, drawing, intermedia, jewelry and metal arts, painting, photography, sculpture,  and printmaking. U.S.News & World Report ranks Iowa’s printmaking program 5th in the nation.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Art is selective, and interested students must first be admitted to the BA program in art. Once admitted, students should consult a faculty adviser in their major studio art area for guidance on applying to the BFA program.

 Information

Major(s)
Art
BA
Art
BFA
Minor(s)
Art
Areas of Specialization
Ceramics
Drawing
Graphic Design
Intermedia
Jewelry and Metal Arts
Painting
Photography
Printmaking
Sculpture
Three-Dimensional Design
  Teaching Licensure
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
(BA degree only)
  Selective Admission
for the BFA (See BFA Program below)
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Many art and art history graduates pursue careers that match their degree specializations, such as commercial or graphic designer, conservation or museum curator or administrator, art educator, public artist, or community art center coordinator or instructor.

Others go on to graduate study or enjoy success in areas such as art therapy, art appraisal, restoration, architecture, theater design, medical illustration, studio art, or disciplines outside of art.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships available to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. 

Course Work

Students majoring in art earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. All students begin in the BA program and must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core requirements.  

The BA program provides a foundation in art history as well as an understanding of the formal traditions and contemporary practices in studio art. Students take courses in the school's studio arts programs, including ceramics, graphic design, three-dimensional design, drawing, intermedia, jewelry and metal arts, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. 

Bachelor of Arts (BA) Program in Art

Courses for students in the BA program include:

  • Four art history courses
  • Two studio art foundation courses
  • Two courses in 3D studio art programs: ceramics, intermedia, jewelry and metal arts, sculpture, and 3D design
  • Two courses in 2D studio art programs: drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking
  • Two upper-level studio art courses and elective courses

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Program in Art

BA students interested in pursuing concentrated work in a studio art discipline may apply to the BFA program through a process called "clearance." Clearance is a portfolio review conducted by each discipline once each semester to determine a student's readiness for BFA study. Students who wish to enter the BFA program should consult the faculty in their major studio art discipline for information about the required portfolio review. 

BFA students choose one studio art discipline from the areas listed below. (They may not select bookbinding, calligraphy, or papermaking as their discipline.) Although students may choose only one BFA discipline, they gain exposure to other studio areas through the BFA program of study. 

Dimensional Practice

  • 3D Design
  • Ceramics
  • Jewelry and Metal Arts
  • Sculpture

Media, Social Practice, and Design

  • Graphic Design
  • Intermedia
  • Photography

Painting and Drawing

  • Drawing
  • Painting

Printmaking

  • Printmaking

Students admitted to the BFA program will complete the requirements of the BA degree as well as additional art hours and studio art course requirements. BFA students also must present a show of their work before they graduate.  

See Art and Art History in the UI General Catalog to learn more about this degree and graduating with honors.   

BA with Teacher Licensure

Art majors interested in teaching in elementary and/or secondary schools must apply to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Application information can be obtained through the Office of Student Services. 

See BA with Teacher Licensure in the UI General Catalog for more information.