Art and Design

Whether you want to capture the attention of the world through graphic design, share your artistic voice through painting or drawing, or specialize in the unique expression of book art, St. Ambrose has a program that will support and challenge your creative growth.

Our graduates work at the Figge Art Museum, Jeff Koons Studio New York, Genesis Health Systems, and others.

Ambrose Advantages

  • A contemporary and complete art experience
  • Craft your degree to your passion
  • Learn from professional artists and designers

abstract panting

Design Lab

Graphic Designer at Mac laptop

Our undergraduate art programs are rigorous, yet nurturing. You will benefit from unique opportunities to excel at what you love and be guided by faculty who strive to inspire your growth as a person and an artist.

Read Our Bachelor of Art programs Fact Sheet (pdf)

Use Art to Help Others

student painting

Art Therapy Minor

For Art and Psychology Majors

Extend your compassion for others through a career in art therapy. Paired with a psychology or art major, you can advance to graduate school to earn a degree in Art Therapy. As an art therapist, social worker, or psychologist, you will help people needing a different way to express their thoughts and feelings. Scroll down to learn more.

More Information on Majors in Graphic Design, Book Arts, and Painting

What will I learn?

You will get a contemporary and complete art experience that allows you to think critically and prepare you for a professional career in your chosen field. During your first year of study, you will master basic drawing and hand skills, problem-solving, writing, and learn how to conduct relevant and accurate research. In later semesters you will learn to synthesize influences and establish an original voice.

What are some possible job outcomes?

As a professional artist, you have a slew of career opportunities available - not just in typical art industries such as museums and galleries, but in virtually every facet of work.

Here's just a sampling of job titles:

  • graphic or web designer
  • gallery director
  • curator
  • museum educator or preparatory
  • photojournalist
  • visual communications specialist
  • production artist
  • illustrator
  • research assistant
  • design assistant
  • project coordinator
  • typographer
  • book production artist
  • sign painter
  • media designer
  • printer
Where will I learn?

The Art Department and student art facilities are housed in the Galvin Fine Arts Center. Our main drawing and painting studio is 1,600 square-feet of beautifully-lit open space. Graphic design classes are held in Mac computer labs and our book arts/printmaking/papermaking studio is not only unique, it is fully equipped.

Galvin features two public galleries – the Morrissey and Catich – for students to exhibit their work. Some foundation and advanced courses are held in studios at the Figge Museum in downtown Davenport, and as a huge bonus, our students can visit the museum's collection, attend lectures, and participate in workshops for free.

Faculty and Staff

Joseph Lappie, MFA, Assoc. Professor and Chair

Kathryn Anderson, MFA, Assoc. Professor
Terri Buesing-Flynn, Clerk
Renee Meyer Ernst, MFA, Assoc. Professor
Kristin Quinn, MFA, Professor


Scholarships are available for students who show exemplary talent in their artwork. If you have that type of creative passion, we want to talk to you about how studies at St. Ambrose can enrich your talent and help lead to several fulfilling career paths.

An art scholarship recognizes and rewards your special gifts and can provide important financial help for your studies. The Art Scholarship is comprised of two parts: a Portfolio and QuestionnaireClick here to learn more about submitting your portfolio.

Not quite ready? Get a review of your artwork

Share some samples of your work with an Art faculty member to get early feedback about your portfolio before putting it together formally. Send a few .jpg or .pdf files through a quick and secure system: click here to upload your artwork.

You can also read some tips on how to compile a great portfolio.

Digital submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis, but preference is given to those who submit before March 10.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • After graduation, Brittney Allen '14 interviewed for a summer internship at Lynco Products. They were so captivated by her work they created a full-time position for her.
  • Munir Sayegh '11, a double major in graphic design and marketing, was awarded a post-graduate Fulbright Scholarship to study Arabic calligraphy and typography in Egypt.
  • Heather (Behrens) White '10, a triple major in graphic design, book arts, and marketing, is the Creative Design and Marketing Coordinator for Genesis Health System and has a successful freelance design business, Heather White Design.
  • Maurita (Flo) Fitzpatrick '11 paired a marketing minor with her art degree. Today she works for WEA Member Benefits in Madison, Wisc., as a marketing assistant. She also is self-employed as the owner of Maurita Fitzpatrick Graphic Design.


Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree (all majors)

Click here to read about majors in Graphic Design, Book Arts, and Painting.

In addition to the required courses listed below, students must complete separate requirements in their major.

+ART 100 Drawing
+ART 200 2D Design
+ART 210 3D Design
+ART 280 Visual Narratives
+ART 300 Figure Composition
DSGN 210 Computers in Art
+AH 250 Art Through the Ages I
+AH 251 Art Through the Ages II

Minors in Art

Art and Arts Administration

Art Minor (18 credits)

+ART 100 Drawing and 15 additional credits of ART courses.

Arts Administration Minor (18 credits)

All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

+MUSE 380 Introduction to Museum Studies 
COMM 230 Media Writing
ENGL 315 Written Business Communication

Take 3 credits from the following:
ACCT 201 Financial Accounting
COMM 240 Principles of Public Relations
COMM 251 Public Relations Techniques
MGMT 210 Principles of Management
MGMT 216 Entrepreneurship and Innovation
MGMT 320 Human Resource Management
MKTG 209 Principles of Marketing
MKTG 359 Social Media Marketing
SLS 335 Sales Principles 

Choose one:
DSGN 210 Computers in Art or COMM 225 Introduction to Visual Communication

Take 3 credits from the following:
AH 450 Art Historical Methods and Careers
AH 490 Internship (1-4 credits)
ART 410 Professional Practice
ART 499 Internship (1-3 credits)
ENGL 400 Writing Internship (1-6 credits)
THTR 399 Internship (1-5 credits)

+ Satisfies a General Education requirement

Click here to view requirements for Book ArtsGraphic Design, and Painting
Check out our other art-related majors in Art History and Museum Studies minor.

Art Therapy Minor (18 credits)

The minor in art therapy is structured for Art or Psychology majors who are interested in how creative expression can improve individuals' well-being.

Both Art and Psychology majors must take ART 100, ART 215, PSYC 105, and PSYC 215.

Required for Art majors

PSYC 212 Life-span Development
PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling

Choose one:
PSYC 327 Psychology & Treatment of the Juvenile Offender
PSYC 384 Child & Adolescent Psychology

Required for Psychology majors

ART 210 3D Design
ART 220 Printmaking
ART 240 Digital Photography

Choose one:
ART 250 Papermaking
ART 260 Bookbinding
ART 230 Intermediate Topics - Experimental Drawing
ART 340 Painting

Meet one of our alums

Adam Little '11 said he "absolutely valued – and still value – the faculty at Ambrose. The instructors allowed me to develop in a way that was specific to me and supported me along the way. I was never discouraged from pursuing or experimenting with new ideas/techniques/materials. The staff at St Ambrose are some of the most giving and understanding teachers that I have ever met."

Apply Visit Info


Joseph Lappie, MFA, Department Chair

Galvin Fine Arts Center 7
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, Iowa 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!