Extraordinary faculty. Rigorous curricula. World-class facilities. Iowa.

Our overall graduate art program—as well as individual areas such as printmaking and painting/drawing—are ranked among the top ten at public universities by U.S. News & World Report

We're a close-knit community of artists and scholars, working in beautiful facilities that are themselves works of art. Our Steven Holl-designed buildings are part of Iowa's architecturally impressive art campus, which stretches along the Iowa River from Hancher Auditorium to the Stanley Art Museum. Iowa City is a comfortable place to live, study, and work—a cosmopolitan, arts-obsessed small city with a metro population of about 170,000. It was the first American city to be named a "City of Literature" by UNESCO.

Celebrated as the birthplace of the MFA degree for being the first university to accept creative works as graduate theses, Iowa pioneered the practice of bringing established artists to the faculty. In the 1930s, as part of this "Iowa Idea," we prioritized studio art instruction—which had not traditionally been part of liberal arts education—alongside art history scholarship, which had been regarded as strictly a humanities discipline. No school had done that, and many still keep studio art and art history separate.

The Iowa Idea drew leading studio artists to the faculty—including Grant Wood, Byron Burford, Philip Guston, Chunghi Choo, Hans Breder, and Mauricio Lasansky. Iowa's innovation also brought groundbreaking art historians, such as H. W. Janson, who wrote a fundamental art history textbook, and Roy Sieber and Christopher Roy, internationally recognized scholars of African art. Our alumni include some of the great names of American art, such as Charles Ray, Miriam Schapiro, Ana Mendieta, and Elizabeth Catlett.

Today, the University of Iowa is renowned as a dynamic, forward-looking center for graduate study in 2D and 3D visual art, creative writing, theatre arts, music, dance, book art, and cinema. Graduate degrees are conferred by the Graduate College, while instruction happens here in the School of Art, Art History, and Design. Assistantships, fellowships, and other forms of financial support are available. Please join us in Iowa City as you advance your artistic career and life.

Why Iowa?

Art History PhD candidate Rachel Epstein shares why she chose the University of Iowa.

Studio Arts

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MA in Studio Arts

Choose two emphases: ceramics, graphic design, 3D design, drawing, intermedia/video art, jewelry/metal arts, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. Written thesis required.

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MFA in Studio Arts

The next step after your MA. Choose two emphases: ceramics, graphic design, 3D design, drawing, intermedia/video art, jewelry/metal arts, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. Creative/written thesis required.

Center for the Book

Certificate in Book Arts/Book Studies

Enhance your graduate study with this one-year certificate offered by the Center for the Book.

Art History

art history class

MA in Art History

Gain broad art history knowledge—and learn the research skills you'll need to succeed in doctoral programs and professional museum, gallery, and nonprofit positions.

Art history PhD

PhD in Art History

Develop broad and deep scholarly expertise. Specialization options include Asian, ancient Mediterranean, medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, 18th-/19th-century European, American, African, and modern/contemporary.