Studio Art Major

The curriculum for a Studio Arts degree from Simpson is designed to build strong foundational skills, particularly through the "Core" Courses.  Advanced studio courses
will  develop those skills even further and through more individualized projects that explore conceptual content.  The Simpson Studio Arts program  gives students grounding in the history and  approaches of past art, while engaging them in multiple ways with contemporary artistic practices and ideas.

Art Department offers  studio art courses in Drawing, Painting, and Photography. Students who major in Studio Art choose a discipline to focus in and then take at least two courses from this area. Additional studio courses outside of that area are also required.. Graduates can develop a career in fine arts or enter a graduate program within a chosen discipline.


Reasons to join us

  • Experienced and committed faculty who are also active professionally in their respective fields
  • Small class sizes that ensure intensive, individualized guidance in your creative and academic development
  • Exceptional facilities to learn and work.
  • Professional experience gained through internships.
  • Travel to some of the most renowned museums and galleries in the United States.
  • Opportunities to exhibit your work on campus in one of the many student gallery locations.
  • Apply your skills by getting involved in organizations on and off campus.


See Student Work to see examples from Simpson studio art majors.

Career Paths

A degree in Studio Art from Simpson can launch you directly into many creative professions or  lead to entry into graduate-level programs from other institutions,  necessary for certain career paths in the arts.
  • professional artist
  • college-level teaching in art
  • art therapy
  • illustrator
  • commercial photographer
  • art gallery curator, owner
  • art critic
  • interior designer

Recent Jobs & Internships 

  • American Enterprise Group, Art Institute of Chicago, Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Event Center, Meredith Corporation, Museum of Modern Art - New York, Orchard Place, Youth Emergency Shelter and Services (YESS) of Des Moines,
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Core Courses Required:

  • ART 001 Gallery Event and Museum Attendance (required each semester)
  • ART 0XX Junior Art Portfolio (must complete by end of third year)
  • ART 121 Basic Drawing
  • ART 131 Foundations of Design
  • ART 310 Advanced Studio: Idea Development (must be completed by end of third year)

 Art History

  • ART 205 Art Since 1945 (4 Credits)

One Course from the following:

  • ART 201 Prehistoric to Renaissance
  • ART 202 Renaissance to 19th Century
  • ART 203 Modern Art
  • ART 204 Non-Western Art
  • ART 206 History of Design

Kyle Blevins ’89- Professional Photographer

“I felt more confident in fine art, and it was a little more solitary. It allowed me to really focus my attention without distractions.”

Studio Courses

Take at least two courses in one area chosen from: Drawing, Painting, or Photography.

Studio Electives

Option A: Without Internship
  • 3 Additional Studio Courses
Option B: With Internship
  • 2 Additional Studio Courses
Studio Electives are as follows:
  • ART 122 Drawing I
  • ART 222 Drawing II
  • ART 322 Drawing III
  • ART 175 Painting I
  • ART 275 Painting II
  • ART 375 Painting III
  • ART 155 Photography I
  • ART 255 Photography II
  • ART 355 Photography III
  • ART 136 Graphic Design I
  • ART 236 Graphic Design II
  • ART 336 Graphic Design III
The Studio Art Major can take 2 additional studio courses from any of the areas, including Graphic Design (If the Studio Art major elects to complete an internship, only 2 additional studio courses can be taken from any of the areas). Only 2 courses may be taken from Graphic Design for the Studio Art Major.
Any student wishing to complete 3 Graphic Design courses (ART 136, 236, 336) must complete the Graphic Design Major.

Capstone Courses

Option A: Without Internship
  • ART 385 Senior Seminar (4 Credits)
Option B: With Internship
  • ART 319 Internship in Art (4 Credits)
  • ART 385 Senior Seminar (4 Credits)