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School of Design

the Difference is Design

Students attending an art class

The School of Design was established July 1, 2015 to build on the rich tradition in art and design instruction at SDSU that began in 1887. When then College President Lewis C. McLouth and another faculty member taught free-hand drawing until 1891, a trained artist, Nelle Berkey, was hired.

The School combines all of SDSU's design fields of study including architecture, interior design, studio art, graphic design and landscape architecture into an academic framework that shares curriculum and resources as the means for increasing collaboration and providing a comprehensive, robust design education for all students. First-year students will enroll in collaborative design studies that focus on design thinking, creativity and professional exploration that generates unique pathways for them to explore design interests before beginning their second year. The curriculum includes a set of core first-year courses for all majors—a common introduction to the University, introduction to design theory and practice, a creativity course, and later an upper-level course to work on collaborative design projects. The courses build upon and share common design principles and outcomes. All programs in the School are accredited or candidates for national accreditation.

The School of Design houses approximately 450 students, served by 28 faculty located in Brookings, one of South Dakota’s most livable cities. Brookings enjoys a vibrant economic and cultural scene, and is home to South Dakota State University, a flagship, Land Grant University. The School’s proximity to Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, and other markets has created a dynamic entrepreneurial market for art, design, and architectural practice.

The School of Design designation does not impact current general education requirements, advanced writing or globalization classes. Students not enrolled in one of the School of Design disciplines can continue to take those courses as approved in the 2020-2021 academic catalog.


Provide an innovative professional design education that offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered learning, creative activities and research that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and beyond.


Establish a School of Design with nationally recognized and professionally accredited programs that are better coordinated, fiscally managed, and charged to serve the public good through engaged scholarship, creative activities, innovative research and stewardship within a global society.

School of Design News

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Art studio with yellow ladder

Continuing the Tradition: Stuart Artist in Residence

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences prides itself on establishing strong traditions. One of those traditions, the Stuart Artist in Residence, reached a five-year milestone this year.

2020 Stuart Artist in Residence likes working on a college campus

After exhibiting with Izel Vargas, the 2016 Stuart Artist in Residence at South Dakota State University, last fall in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lori Larusso kept thinking about applying to be the 2020 Stuart Artist in Residence.

SDSU Passive House project continues to garner attention

When the South Dakota State University Department of Architecture’s Passive House project was completed in fall 2018, the uniqueness of the student-designed project received awards and attention.