Visual and Performing Arts

40+ Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty and alumni. Seven U.S. Poets Laureate. Blockbuster filmmakers. Oscar’s, Emmy’s, Tony’s, Peabody’s, elite symphony placements—the list of accolades earned by members of the University of Iowa arts community goes on and on. And with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students can work directly with masters of their craft. That goes for all Iowa students, not just those at the highest level of practice. Our renowned artistic faculty are here to help you explore your creative side—no matter your major.

Design class looking at project on wall


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.

Class viewing Grant Wood Images

Art History

The study of art history involves historical analysis and the interpretation of culture, providing a broad background in the humanities. This program is designed to prepare students for graduate work in art history, the humanities, or related fields.

The major provides a strong liberal arts background and stresses the development of critical visual thinking, close reading, academic writing, and research skills. 

Film Camera


In the vast international arena of film and television production, creative opportunities abound for students who combine artistry and creativity with a solid education in film theory, criticism, and production techniques. A degree in cinema can be the foundation for a future career as a filmmaker, location manager, editor, camera assistant, writer, producer, casting agent, researcher, or educator.

Pentacrest Aerial


A degree in dance can pave the way to a variety of careers in the performing arts, including performing, choreography, education, private teaching, and in related areas such as arts management, technical theater, or dance and physical therapy.

Dance students at Iowa enjoy multiple performance opportunities. Earning the degree involves course work in choreography, dance technique, human anatomy, and history as well as the broad liberal arts education provided for all University of Iowa students.

Pentacrest Aerial


You love music and think you might like to perform, conduct, teach, compose, or become a music therapist. Your idea of doing something fun and creative is to join a performing group—choral or instrumental, jazz, popular, classical, or marching band.

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to do all of that and more as a music major at Iowa. For example, recent Iowa graduates with a degree in music have found careers as professional performers, music therapists, and music educators.

The Pirates of Penzance

Theatre Arts

Have you performed in high school plays and want to continue to feel that rush when the applause begins? Are you talented in writing, designing, or technical aspects of theatre performance and you think a career in film, television, or teaching could be a good fit? Do you enjoy dramatic literature and criticism and dream about being the drama critic for the New York Times?