Book Arts

If you are an artist with a passion for working with diverse materials, our Book Arts program gives you a unique opportunity to excel at what you love and gain skills that are highly-desired within the field of graphic arts.

Our graduates work at Figge Art Museum, Women Studio Workshop, the University of Iowa, and Rosati's Franchising.

Ambrose Advantages

  • One of Few Book Arts Programs in the U.S.
  • Opportunities and Original Voice
  • Individual Attention and Guidance

printmaking with professor

printing press

professor and art students

Our students use their craft to comment on and contribute to society. Our faculty prepare you for a professional career and life-long involvement in the arts by teaching artistic and technical skills, aesthetic judgment, critical thinking, and historical understanding.

Graphic Design, Painting, Book Arts, Art Education

More Information on the Book Arts Major

What will I learn?

Book Arts encompasses printmaking, papermaking, book binding, screen printing, typography, digital illustration and creative writing.

Our Art Department faculty work closely with all students, encouraging them to grow, experiment and follow their creative passion.

What have alums from this program done?
  • Heather (Behrens) White '10, a triple major in graphic design, book arts, and marketing, is the Creative Design and Marketing Coordinator for Genesis Health Systems. She was hired after serving as a student design intern for the health services company. Heather also operates a successful freelance design business, Heather White Design.
  • Kim Mahar '10 was so inspired by her book arts studies she went on to a highly-competitive book arts graduate program. Kim's work has been shown in galleries across the country and she recently earned her MFA.
Where will I learn?

St. Ambrose has outstanding student art facilities in the Galvin Fine Arts Center. You can explore traditional and non-traditional print techniques in our arts/printmaking studio, which holds a letterpress, lithography, equipment for screen printing, relief, and non-toxic photo processes. Our papermaking studio has a Hollander beater, paper press, and more than a dozen molds and deckles.

The Figge Museum studios in downtown Davenport also are used for SAU foundation and advanced courses. Students can visit the museum's collection, attend lectures, and participate in workshops for free.

You have many opportunities to explore your talent and connect with others through numerous art organizations and exhibit space within the Quad Cities.

What about Scholarships and Grants?

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. Click here to learn more about the Art Scholarship

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Book Art (30 credits)

Majors also must satisfy the general art requirements (24 credits).

+ART 220 Printmaking
+ART 250 Papermaking
+ART 260 Bookbinding
+ART 290 Screen Printing
ART 360 Artist's Books
ART 390 Letterpress
DSGN 220 Typography
ENGL 317 Creative Writing Workshop

Three credits of 300 level art history

Three credits from the following:
ART 320 Advanced Printmaking
WI-ART 410 Professional Practices
DSGN 230 Digital Illustration
DSGN 320 Experimental Typography

ART 402 Senior Honors Book Arts

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Book Arts.

NOTE: This plan assumes the student has not met the foreign language requirement.

Year One

ENGL 101 English composition 3 IL 101 Information Lit. 1
NSS 101 New Student Seminar 1 COMM 129, 132, 203, 228, 329 3
ART 100 Drawing Introduction 3 ART 203 2D Design 3
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 PHIL/THEO 100/200 LEVEL 3
PHIL/THEO 100-Level 3 MATH 131 OR CSCI 140 3
Total Credits 14 Total Credits 16

Year Two

ART 205 SF Computers in Art 3 ART 331 Typography 3
Elective 3 Natural Science 3
AH 250 Art through the Ages 3 KIN Fitness 1
Social Sci 3 AH 251 Art through the Ages II 3
ART 220 Printmaking 3 ART 207 SF Drawing 3
Art Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 16

Year Three

*ART 307/ART 335 Advanced Topics 3 *ART 360 Art of the Book I 3
*ART 338 Letterpress 3 *PHIL/THEO 300 level 3
Elective 3 WI Elective 3
PHIL/THEO Elective 3 ELEC 300 level 3
*AH 300-level Elective 3 ART Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

ART 361 Art of the Book II* 3 HONORS (ELEC) 1
ART 303 Figure Drawing 3 ART 403 Professional Practices 3
ELEC 300 level 3 ELEC 3
ELEC 300 level 3 ELEC 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 14

*Needs prerequisite
WI=writing intensive

Minor in Book Arts (18 credits)

+ART 100 Drawing
+ART 220 Printmaking
+ART 260 Bookbinding
DSGN 210 Computers in Art

Choose six credits:
+ART 250 Papermaking
+ART 290 Screen Printing
ART 360 Artist's Books
ART 390 Letterpress
DSGN 220 Typography

+ = satisfies General Education requirement

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

Our alumni and students in the fine arts are doing some fantastic things with their degree. Learn more about one of our alumni:

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!