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School of Design

The Difference is Design

Students attending an art class

The School of Design was established on 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.

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 2022-2023 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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Matthew Scott, left, and SDSU President Barry Dunn. Scott received the 2022 Carol Hepper award.

Scott receives Carol Hepper Foundation Award

South Dakota State University junior Matthew Scott has been selected as the second-ever recipient of the Carol Hepper Foundation Award in studio art. A studio art major with a printmaking specialization, Scott receives a $5,000 scholarship for the upcoming academic year.

Students hold exhibit at Washington Pavilion

Fourteen South Dakota State University students will hold an exhibit in the Young Artists Gallery in the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. The exhibit, A Gateway to Place Between, opens April 8 with a 5 p.m. reception. It will be on display until Aug. 21.  ...

School of Design creates Director’s Art and Design Council

The School of Design has created a Director’s Art and Design Council. The council will provide insight and inspiration to the director to assist with guiding the School of Design.