Orientation for transfer students

Once you have been accepted to the University of Iowa, you'll attend a one-day Transfer Orientation program the semester before you start classes. Transfer Orientation is required in order to register for your courses at Iowa.  At orientation, you will get your student ID card, build a tentative course schedule, and be assigned a time to meet with an undergraduate advisor in the School of Art, Art History, and Design (SAAHD). The SAAHD advisor will provide you with information about SAAHD and help you finalize your schedule. After this advising session you'll return to Transfer Orientation to get your registration codes and register for classes.

Transfer credit policy

When you transfer to the UI as a Studio Art or Art History major, most of your studio art and art history credits will automatically be credited toward your general elective hours instead of your major. Some of your art history classes may be credited to your art major if they are classes are already recognized by UI Admissions as equivalent to UI classes. General concerns about how your course work from other schools will transfer to Iowa will be addressed at Orientation. For more information about transferring credits to your art major, see "Studio Art-Transfer Portfolio Review" and "Art History Course Review" below.

View General UI Transfer Policies

Transfer course limitations

A minimum of 2/3 of the semester hours (sh) required for your studio major must be completed at The University of Iowa (27 sh for the BA in Studio Art, 41 sh for the BFA).

Transfer portfolio review for studio courses

Studio art coursework taken at other collegiate level institutions cannot be used to satisfy course requirements for your studio art or art history major until the course material has been approved for substitution during a transfer portfolio review conducted by School of Art, Art History, and Design studio faculty.

Transfer portfolios are done electronically and will consist of 8-10 pieces of your coursework, which will be put into a PDF file.

To prepare, please read the course description of the University of Iowa class you are trying to get credit for. You will want to select images from the transfer university that reflect the content of the UI course. Once you have assembled the images, please create a title page with your name, the college institution that you took the course at; the name of the course; the materials used and the year you took the course. If possible, please provide a syllabus of the transfer course. 

When the PDF is completed, please email to lynne-lanning@uiowa.edu and I will forward to the appropriate faculty member for review. Your art work will be evaluated by faculty to determine if it meets the requirements of a UI course. If so, you will be given credit for the corresponding course. The disciplines that may be reviewed are: ceramics, sculpture, intermedia, 3D design, jewelry and metal arts, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and graphic design.

IMPORTANT: You must complete the requirements for both Basic Drawing and Design Fundamentals courses prior to taking subsequent studio art courses. If you the pass portfolio review for Basic Drawing (ARTS:1510) but have not taken Design Fundamentals (ARTS:1520), you cannot sign up for any studio courses until Design Fundamentals is completed.

Also, consult with an academic advisor before you go through a portfolio review for a course in which you received a C grade or lower. A review may not be in your best interests.

Art history course review

Art history coursework that has been transferred from another institution must be reviewed to determine if it will satisfy a requirement of the UI Art History BA degree. You will need to provide a copy of your course syllabus that includes subject matter covered, reading requirements, and information about how your course was graded. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art History will determine which, if any, of the requirements for the Art History major you will be granted substitution course credit.

Art History Transfer Equivalency Form (PDF)

Tips for transfers

  1. Is your transfer college coursework showing on your degree audit? Students must report all postsecondary work to the UI.  
  2. To have transcripts sent to Iowa, contact your former colleges’ registrar offices.
  3. Do you want to have a portfolio review to see if any of your art courses taken at a college will transfer in to meet requirements of the major?
  4. If applicable, remember to contact your second major advisor before the semester begins. 

  • You will be receiving an Art Advising newsletter every 2-3 weeks with information about deadlines, infosessions, honors, student activities and more that is related to your Studio Art and/or Art History major. Please read the information.
  • Sign up for our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube sites. Links located at the bottom of the SAAHD webpage.  

  • Read your degree audit and use schedule builder
  • Add and drop classes
  • The difference between the BA and the BFA degrees in Studio Art
  • The difference between the Iowa Idea and the GIC track in the Art History BA

If you wish to change your course schedule prior to the start of the semester:

  • Up until the beginning of the second week of classes, you can change your schedule through your MyUI without advisor or instructor permissions. You cannot add a semester long course unless there is an opening in the class
  • Beginning the second week of classes you will be able to add and drop through your MyUI but will need advisor permission to drop and advisor and instructor permission to add a course. Those forms will be routed to the appropriate people, but you will need to finalize the add or drop after permissions are obtained. Please monitor the process
  • International students may need permission of ISSS to drop courses.
  • You can set up advising appointment online from your MyUI account or send us an email to set up a time. Most importantly, you are never bothering us. We prefer to meet with you as frequently as you wish so that you get to know the resources at the University of Iowa and in the SAAHD and enjoy the richness of the opportunities they provide. Please set an appointment with Lynne by the end of the second week of classes to check in.

For a comprehensive guide to being a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Science, see the CLAS Student Handbook 

We have 8 programs in 3D and 2D. The 3D programs are: jewelry and metal arts, sculpture and intermedia, ceramics, and 3D Design. We have 4 in 2D: graphic design, printmaking, photography, drawing and painting. Animation is not a full program, but you can use the intro course to satisfy a requirement of the major. You can get a BFA in a program, if selected to the BFA track through the clearance process.

Elements courses are only for non-majors and non-minors only.


Certificates can be a great addition to your major and expand your networking. Find certificates, majors and minors here.


Your final semester senior year, if you have a UI GPA of at least 3.33 and a major GPA of at least 3.5, you are eligible to graduate with Honors in the Major. There are several steps required. Learn more about honors here and please see Lynne for more information. 

Study Abroad

Study Abroad offers a huge variety of opportunities, during the summer, winter and semesters. Ana Jimenez is our study abroad counselor


Lynne Lanning is your advisor. Lynne can help with courses, academic plans, study abroad, honors and more. You can set up advising appointments from your MyUI. 

Make an appointment with Lynne to discuss the difference between the BA and BFA degrees, and plan how to meet your career and academic objectives. It is also important to meet with them if you are planning on completing a double major or incorporating Art Ed, minors or certificates into your academic objectives.  

Degree Audit

It is critical to understand your degree audit. You are solely responsible for completing the requirements of your degree. Your degree audit is very important in helping you do that. Your advisors will review your degree audit with you when you meet with them.  You can sign up for advising appointments on myUI or email them with a request to meet.


If you get put on probation, please make sure to check in with Lynne so she can help you be successful and negotiate what you need to do to get off probation.

There are university scholarships and internships that you need to look for under the University and CLAS websites. The Scholarship Portal will be available in your MyUI. The SAAHD Scholarships are due on Feb. 1 for the following academic year. Additional scholarships are available for transfer students. 

There are many student organizations at the University of Iowa. Some of the orgs that involve art students include:

  • Ceramics club
  • UI Design
  • EPX studios
  • Undergraduate Art History Society (UAHS)
  • Photography Club
  • Student Video Productions (SVP)