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Cardboard structures from ART 121.

School of Design

Inspiring Creative Communities

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, an 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 2023-2024 academic catalog.


Art and Design elevate everything. We initiate and engage in conversations that shape creative practices and enhance our understanding of art and design. This exchange enriches the way we live and work. We challenge limits and nurture confidence as we transform our students, ourselves and our communities.


The unique composition of our School of Design unites the visual arts and the built environment. We are equal partners in weaving dialogue and collaboration across everything we do. This dynamic coexistence empowers us to be agile and innovative.

School of Design News

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Photo of artwork, "Knotted" (2022) by Tanner Lind.

Lind named 2023 Stuart Artist-in-Residence

The South Dakota State University School of Design will host artist Tanner Lind during the Stuart Artist-in-Residence program this September.  ...

Researchers study SDSU's AiR program

Artist-in-Residence (AiR) programs are commonplace at universities across the country and provide artists ample time to create and explore their work.

School of Design redesigns historic, abandoned train depot in Joplin, Missouri

What should be done about old, abandoned and decaying buildings?   That's the question faculty members and students in South Dakota State University's School of Design set out to answer. ...