What are the top illustration schools on the East Coast?

Top 20 East Coast Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1School of Visual ArtsNew York
2Rhode Island School of DesignRhode Island
3Pratt InstituteNew York
4The New School’s Parsons School of DesignNew York
5Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland
6Fashion Institute of Technology New York
7Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts
8Syracuse UniversityNew York
9University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
10University of the ArtsPennsylvania
11Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia
12University of HartfordConnecticut
13Pennsylvania College of Art and DesignPennsylvania
14Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York
15Moore College of Art & DesignPennsylvania
16Maine College of Art and DesignMaine
17Marywood UniversityPennsylvania
18Montserrat College of ArtMassachusetts
19University of ConnecticutConnecticut
20Lesley UniversityMassachusetts

Our 2023 list of the Top 20 Illustration Schools in the East. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York

School of Visual Arts (SVA) has a number of paths to study Illustration. Students interested in developing illustration skills in s short period may enroll in a single course or workshops. Both options can last anywhere from a few days to several months, and some options can be completed entirely online. Examples of single courses and workshops include Animals and Creatures in Illustration, Comics Poetry: Experimenting with Text and Image, Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators and Cartoonists, Accordion Book Workshop, Illustration as Design as Illustration, Etching: Illustrating Books with Prints, Careers in Illustration: A Drawing Workshop.

For degree-seeking artists, School of Visual Arts has an Illustration BFA Program and an Illustration as Visual Essay MFA Program. Housed in the Illustration Department, the Illustration BFA provides access to faculty and mentors who are professionals in the industry; opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships and other experiential learning programs; and a senior portfolio curriculum that allow students to develop professional works in an area of focus.

Illustration BFA students will complete 120 credit hours, including 72 credits in studio art courses. Coursework explores drawing and illustration, painting, storytelling, writing, comics, books and zines, digital coloring, and visual computing. Elective studio courses allow students to explore areas such as motion graphics, web design, and stop-motion animation. Course examples for the program include Creating Unforgettable Characters, Pictorial Projects I-II: Illustration, Cool Books, Digital Collage Illustration: Telling Stories in Layers, Still and Moving: Low-Tech Animation, and Motion Graphics Techniques I-II.

Before graduating from SVA, students have plenty of opportunities to compete in competitions and work for  places such as The New Yorker and The Village Voice. SVA Illustration graduates go on to establish successful careers in fields such as Advertising, Textile Design, VFX Art, Animation, Fashion Design, Book Publishing, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Printmaking, Film, Packaging, and Greeting Card Design.

Note that for students seeking a degree in a specialized area of Illustration, SVA has a Comic BFA Program. The curriculum for this program is similar to the Illustration BFA Program curriculum. Students will also take other courses such as Principles of Cartooning I-II, Lettering Comics, Graphic Design Solutions for Illustrators and Cartoonists, Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, and Pictorial Projects I-II: Cartooning.

SVA’s MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department was established in 1984. The Department’s MFA is a competitive program that accepts just 20 students per year. Program features include a classroom-based curriculum; 24/7 access to personal workspaces; guest lecturers, speakers, and mentors; the Illustration Business Boot Camp, internship opportunities; and participation in exhibits and gallery shows.

Students in all SVA programs have access to the school’s study abroad program as well as SVA offices in Seoul, South Korea, and Shanghai, China, where students can collaborate, network, participate in workshops, and attend lectures.

In addition to coursework and projects in computer illustration, creative writing, storytelling, and visual essay, SVA MFA students have the opportunity to audit classes in Animation, Film, and Fine Arts. Students in this 60 credit-hour, two-year MFA Program will complete four workshops, Book Seminar (course 5040), Computer Illustration Portfolio (course 5090), and a Thesis Project completed over two courses. Illustration Boot Camp and courses such as The Digital Book, History of Storytelling, and Perceptual Appetizers are also part of the program.

School of Visual Arts alumni have worked for brands such as Prada and Van’s, and on major productions such as Sleepy Hollow.

School of Visual Arts opened in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators school. Classes began with just three teachers and 35 students. Today, School of Visual Arts serves approximately 4,110 students enrolled in dozens of BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs. SVA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with individual program accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

2. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design

Serving approximately 300 students, Illustration is the largest major at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Consisting of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Illustration at RISD features access to RISD Museum, Gelman Student Gallery, Woods-Gerry Gallery, and ISB Gallery; access to printmaking studios and labs such as the Co-Works Research Lab, Nature lab, and Color Lab; and Fleet access to the Library at RISD.

Collectively, these academic resources provide access to state-of-the art equipment and software such as Maya, After Effects, and InDesign; more than 90,000 works of art and 150,000+ circulating books; concerts, lectures, screenings, visiting artists, and art directors; industry leaders from across the U.S.  who offer feedback through annual portfolio reviews; and a mix of student and curriculum related exhibitions throughout the academic year.

The undergraduate program, which leads to a BFA, requires completion of the Foundation Year. Courses include First-year Literature Seminar; Drawing I-II; Topics in History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences; Spatial Dynamics I-II; Theory and History of Art and Design I: Global Modernisms; and Theory and History of Art and Design II: Premodern Worlds. During the Foundation year, students will also select one non-major studio elective.

Throughout the Program, Illustration BFA students will participate in a number of workshops such as Maya Basics, Pigments & Emulsions, and ZBrush Sculpting and Illustration. The BFA Program at Rhode Island School of Design culminates with the completion of a professional portfolio and public exhibition.

The Illustration MFA at Rhode Island School of Design is a new, 60-credit advanced studio program that consists of art and design coursework, seminars, and elective coursework from any department. Studio examples include Social Engagement and Agency, Narrative Structures, and Perception and the Art of Communication. Seminar examples include Isms and Illustration—Critical Theory and Illustration History; Media Issues and Literacy—Research Practicum; and Contemporary Visual Narrative.

Traditions, Trappings, Culture, Kitsch; Visible Cities; Exhibiting Research; and Losing Paradise, Inventing the World, are just a few sample electives.

The RISD Illustration MFA Program culminates with the Graduate Thesis completed across two Seminars: Articulating Connections-Guided Thesis Prep, and Paradigms and Contexts—Publishing the Thesis and Beyond.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at Rhode Island School of Design have been hired at major studios and networks such as Fox, DreamWorks, HBO, Pixar, Harmonix, and PBS. Some RISD alumni have gone on to launch their own studios and freelance businesses.

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. This private, nonprofit college serves approximately 2,620 students enrolled in dozens of majors and programs. RISD is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and MA in Teaching programs have special accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the RI Department of Education, respectively.

3. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute (Pratt) has several paths to study Illustration for individuals seeking a shorter program and those seeking a four-year degree. Established in 2014, Pratt’s School of Design has a four-year Communications Design BFA Program with an Illustration Emphasis that features project-based coursework in a collaborative studio environment. The Emphasis explores advanced level storytelling, authoring, image-based communication, and socio-political commentary.

This 126 credit-hour program encourages experimentation and elective coursework that allows students to develop skills in focused areas. Available topics include Graphic Novels, Editorial Illustration, Children’s Books, 3D Modeling, Illustrated Typography, Independent Publishing, and Concept Art, and Animation. Course examples for the program include Visualization/Representation, Digital Prototyping, Typography and Information Design, Dynamic Imagery, Branding and Messaging, Space, Form & Process, Time and Movement, Integrated VisCom, Illustration Intensive 1-3, and Professional Practice.

The Communications Design BFA Program at Pratt Institute culminates with the Illustration Senior Thesis.

For students seeking a shorter program, the School of Art at Pratt Institute has a two-year Associates of Occupational Studies (AOS) and an AAS Program. The Illustration AOS is a 69 credit hour program that emphasizes hands-on learning and experience through the internship program, courses taught by industry professionals, and intensive portfolio development courses.

Also consisting of 69 credit hours is the Graphic/Illustration AAS features a Liberal Arts component that allows students to transfer into Pratt’s Fine Arts or Communication Design BFA Programs. Both options explore Illustration for print and web, drawing, advertising and editorial, visualization, professional practices, traditional and digital methods, and industry software.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at Pratt Institute have been hired at places such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Digital Domain, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, Gameloft, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is the only New York City Art and Design school with a traditional campus. One of the nation’s first colleges to welcome students without regard to color, gender, or class, the school serves approximately 5,140 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. Nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered across six schools and The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. The New School’s Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School’s Parsons School of Design

The New School’s Parsons School of Design (The New School Parsons or Parsons School of Design) houses the School of Art, Media, & Technology (AMT), which provides the opportunity to create an interdisciplinary path of study around any degree program. For students in the Illustration BFA Program, examples include adding a Minor in Comics and Graphic Narrative, Journalism and Design, or Data Visualization. A BA/BFA Dual Degree is also an option.

Other program features include internships with Parsons partners such as Nickelodeon, AIGA, Moleskine, Toon Books, The New York Times, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Red Cross, Brooklyn Industries, and Eyebeam; access to The New School libraries, studios, computer labs, archives, and the state-of-the-art Making Center; Collaboration Studio courses and other collaborative projects with peers; participation in events such as Comic Arts Brooklyn, MoCCA Fest, and Pictoplasma; and study abroad opportunities in London, Paris, and Florence.

The Illustration Program at Parsons School of Design also provides access to New York–based professional organizations such as American Illustration and the Society of Illustrators, which helps students connect with professional illustrators, publishers, and artists.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Illustration BFA Program begins with Parsons’ first year curriculum, which explores art and design concepts, 2D and 3D processes, digital design, drawing, and critical practices. Course examples include Language & Letterform, Objects as History, Time, Drawing/Imaging, Sustainable Systems, Advanced Research Seminar, and Professional Practices.

Students will also complete a number of Illustration Studios and Seminars, as well as a Thesis, completed over two courses during the final year of the program.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Parsons School of Design are prepared to pursue careers in illustration, publishing, installation design, comics, surface design, motion graphics, toy design, advertising, animation, graphic novels, product design, and fine art. Program alumni have been hired at companies and organizations such as Urban Outfitters, Viking Books, Rockstar Games, The New York Times, LAIKA, The Society of Illustrators, Amplify, Brooklyn Print House, Tiffany & Company, Vice Media, Manhattan Youth, and Curriculum Concepts.

The New School Parsons was founded in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves approximately 10,815 students enrolled more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School Parsons is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has three paths to study Illustration. The undergraduate level, MICA has an Illustration BFA with Sequential Art and Preproduction Tracks. At the graduate level, students can choose between the Illustration MA and the Illustration Practice MFA.

Students in the Illustration BFA Program will complete the First Year Experience (FYE), which consists of 18 credit hours. FYE course examples include Systems & Time, Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, and Form & Face. In addition to other required courses such as Sophomore Illustration I-II, Junior Illustration I-II, and Senior Illustration I-II, BFA students may add a Studio Concentration in an areas such as Animation, Printmaking, Book Arts, and Graphic Design.

All BFA students benefit from MICA’s relationships with organizations such as the Toronto Comics Art Festival, the Small Press Expo, Museum of Comics and Cartoon Arts, and Baltimore Comic-Con. During the Senior year of the program, students will develop a professional portfolio, while exploring topics such as business practices, copyright issues, and intellectual property.

Graduates of the MICA Illustration BFA Program have been hired for internships, full-time positions, and freelance assignments at Apple, National Geographic, Anthropologie, DC Comics, DreamWorks Animation, Google, Whole Foods Market, Johns Hopkins Institute of Nanobiology, Pixar, The New York Times, and LucasArts Entertainment. Some Illustration graduates go on to enroll in one of the graduate Illustration Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The MICA Illustration MA is a one-year program for practicing Illustrators seeking career advancement or individuals interested in launching a career in illustration. Consisting of workshops, studios, lectures, and open electives, the 30 credit hour MA Program features an open-plan; collaborative projects with the Center for Design Thinking and graduate students from other departments at MICA; a state-of-the-art studio environment; and courses taught by leaders in the field.

The Illustration MA Program at MICA culminates with a capstone portfolio project, exhibition, and review panel.

The Illustration Practice MFA is a 60 credit hour program that features opportunities to collaborate with MICA’s Dolphin Press & Print, the Modern Graphics History Library at Washington University, the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, and the Center for Design Thinking at MICA. Students in this program two-year program will also collaborate with industry professionals and peers. All Illustration Practice MFA students have the opportunity to communicate with visiting critics and artists-in-residence. The MICA Illustration Practice MFA culminates with the MFA Thesis.

Graduates of the Illustration MA and MFA Programs at MICA are Freelance Illustrators or they work in leadership positions such as Art Director, Educator, Design Manager, Curator, Gallery Manager, Exhibiting Artist, and Entrepreneur. Program alumni have also gone on to launch their own Freelance Illustration careers.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate, and open studies students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

6. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, New York
Fashion Institute of Technology

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has nearly 50 programs leading to a degree, more than 700 online courses, and two online degrees. Within FIT is the School of Art and Design, which provides 17 undergraduate majors in Art, Fashion, and Design. The Illustration Major has both AAS and BFA pathways. The BFA has two options: the Traditional Daytime BFA and the Evening/Weekend BFA.

Across programs students benefit from real-world classes; participation in student art exhibitions; mentoring workshops led by art directors and professional illustrators; and access to the Society of Illustrators—the industry's top professional organization. Students in the BFA Program also have the opportunity to participate in the FIT Internship Program, take a study abroad course in Italy, and/or study abroad in Florence.

Course examples across programs include Illustrating for Moving Image I: Storyboard, Advanced Visual Story Studio, Sculpture Studio: Visual Expression of Form and Space, Illustrating for the Moving Image II: Concept Art and Character Design, Illustration Workshop, The Essence of Comic Art, Illustration Rendering Techniques, Illustration Process I-II, Visual Interpretation, Computer Typesetting and Design, Watercolor Comps and Illustrations, Comic Book Illustration, and Illustrating the Male Figure.

The FIT Illustration BFA culminates with the Illustration Portfolio Thesis, that will be presented before faculty and peers. Graduates of the AAS are eligible to apply for admission to the BFA Programs in Animation, Interactive Media & Game Design, Textile/Surface Design, Toy Design, and of course, Illustration.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program are prepared for immediate entry into the field or a graduate program, such as the 60 credit hour Illustration MFA. Housed in the FIT School of Graduate Studies, the MFA features field trips to studios in LA and New York, real-world projects, guest lecturers, and internship opportunities. Course examples for the program include The History of American Illustration, Sequential Storytelling, Art is Where You Look For It: Diversifying Illustration's Application, Digital Boot Camp, Survey of Digital Illustration, Exploring Media, and Drawing for Illustration.

In the Senior year of the MFA Illustration Program at FIT, students will take Business Practices and Self Promotion Strategies and Visual Thesis Studio. The program culminates with a Visual Thesis Exhibition at a gallery. Past projects have included animation, murals, children’s books, reportage drawings, graphic novels, installations, and concept art.

FIT Illustration alumni have found freelance work and full-time employment with a wide variety of companies, agencies, studios, and publications. Examples include Revlon, Young & Rubicam, Vogue, DreamWorks, American Greetings, Harper’s Bazaar, Disney, BBDO Worldwide, Warner Bros., DDB, Hallmark, Ogilvy, and LucasArts Entertainment.

Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Fashion Institute of Technology opened in 1944 inside the High School of Needles Trades. On the first day of class, the school had 100 students. Today, FIT spans an entire city block and serves 8,150 students, according to the most recent available figures. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels across five academic divisions. Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

7. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

The Illustration Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) houses the Illustration BFA Program, which has several optional, but noteworthy components including the Course Assistantship, Independent Study, and the Internship. The Course Assistantship allows qualified Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors to assist a faculty member with the set-up and management of demonstrations and critiques during class.

Independent Study is available to Juniors and Seniors who have a specific studio project that cannot be accomplished through coursework. This gives students an opportunity to work with a faculty member on an independent basis. The Internship Program is open to all upper level students. Three studio elective credits may be earned for participating in a supervised professional experience at a local or national company or studio.

The Illustration BFA requires 120 credit hours of study. This includes 18 credits in Studio Foundations, 42 in Illustration, and 18 in Studio Electives. Course examples include Book Arts, Narrative Illustration, Technical Illustration, Word and Image, Virtual 3D Illustration, Black and White Illustration, Technical Illustration, Media Techniques, Advanced Drawing for Illustrators, and Experimental Illustration Techniques.

In the final year of the Illustration BFA Program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, students will complete Thesis Project I: Research, Thesis Project II: Imagery, Senior Illustration, and Illustration Portfolio. Final student portfolios will be presented to professionals from the Editorial, Publishing, Corporate, Advertising, and Institutional markets.

Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design have been hired brands, studios, companies, and organizations such as the Discovery Channel, New Balance, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Time Inc., PUMA, Hasbro, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Boston Children's Museum, Attleboro Art Museum, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Founded in 1873 as Massachusetts Normal School, Massachusetts College of Art and Design is the nation’s first and only public college of art and design. The school serves approximately 1,785 students enrolled more than 40 degree, minor, and certificate programs. More than 150 continuing education students are enrolled in over 100 classes and workshops in all areas of art and design. Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and it is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

8. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) at Syracuse University (SU) houses the School of Art, home to the Illustration Program. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Program has BFA and MFA options. BFA students have the opportunity to explore one or more focus areas. Options include Visual Development, Product, Editorial and Sequential.

The Visual Development Focus is designed for students with an interest in character development for animation and gaming. In the Product Focus, students will explore illustrating as it relates to packaging, patterning, and products. The Editorial Focus is for students who would like to specialize in illustrating for magazines, book covers, newspapers, and online publishing. Students in the Sequential Focus will learn to illustrate for comics, graphic novels, and children’s books.

In addition to the opportunity to focus in one or more in-demand areas of Illustration, BFA students have opportunities to participate in on-campus workshops and lectures, as well as off-campus trips to New York City to visit the Society of Illustrators and participate in MoCCAFest. Other program features include travel to LA for a two-week industry immersion in animation and film; access to state-of-the-art studios and production facilities; participation in the Syracuse University Internship Program; and the chance to study overseas through the College of VPA Study Abroad Program (Italy) or Syracuse University Study Abroad (SU Study Abroad), which provides more than 100 programs in 60 countries.

The SU Illustration BFA Program culminates with a final portfolio that students will present to Art Directors and professional Illustrators.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Syracuse University work in fields such as Advertising, Editorial Illustration, Graphic Novels and Comics, Greeting Card Design, Children’s Book Publishing, Licensing, and Visual Development for Games, Animated Films, and Television Productions.

The Illustration MFA at Syracuse University is a cross-disciplinary, experimental, and research-focused program that requires 60 credit hours, including 27 credits of studio electives. Course examples include Creative Strategy, Play Matters, Story Lab, Visual Voice I-II, Visual Integration, and Entrepreneur.

Other program benefits include opportunities to interact with professionals at New York studios and within the arts and publishing industries, and elective travel courses during MAYmester and the Summer Program. During the two-week long MAYmester, students take an intensive three-credit course for four hours Monday through Friday.

The culminating experience for the SU Illustration MFA is the 12 credit-hour Thesis. Graduates are prepared for advancement opportunities in their current careers, as well as leadership positions in fields such as Advertising, Book Publishing, Comic Book Publishing, Architecture, Magazine Publishing, Entertainment, News Media, and Animation.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University serves approximately 21,320 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors, 100 minors, and 200 advanced degree programs are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, Syracuse University operates overseas centers in France, Italy, London, Poland, Chile, and Spain. Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

9. University of Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) work in partnership to provide a Coordinated BFA Program that combines Fine Arts training at PAFA with UPenn’s Liberal Arts curriculum. This Dual Degree Program begins with the First-Year Foundation experience, where students will study traditional and contemporary art-forms. After the first year, students will select a Studio Art Focus from six different Concentrations including Illustration, Drawing, Printmaking, Painting, Animation, and Sculpture. All Studio Art courses are taken at PAFA.

In the second and third years of the Penn/PAFA BFA Program, students will complete a combination of Liberal Arts and studio classes. During this time, students are assigned to individual, private studios with 24/7 access. In the final year of the Program, students complete the Liberal Arts curriculum consisting of 16 courses taken at UPenn’s College of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. Once enrolled full-time, students gain access to Penn’s Fischer Fine Arts Library and Van Pelt Library. Students will also have opportunities to attend and participate in talks, exhibits, lectures, and performances on the UPenn campus.

Led by the Illustration Department at PAFA, PAFA/Penn BFA students will take courses such as Illustration I-II, Visual Narration, Letter Press and Book Arts, Digital Imaging, Illustration Methods, Digital Print & Web Design, Narrative and Sequential Drawing, Narrative Projects, Business Practices of Art, and History of Illustration. To graduate, students will compete a Thesis, the Illustration Projects course, and a Portfolio course.

The PAFA/Penn BFA is a very competitive program. Students who are not selected for the program may enroll in the four-year BFA Program at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Like PAFA/Penn students, upper-level PAFA BFA students will gain 24/7 access to private studios. Students will have the opportunity to invite faculty and Artists from the PAFA Visiting Artist Program to their studios to critique their work as they prepare for the Annual Student Exhibition at PAFA. The Exhibition allows students to organize, install, present, and sell their work in the PAFA Museum Galleries.

Graduates of the PAFA/Penn BFA and the PAFA BFA are prepared to launch careers in areas such as Magazine Illustration, Storyboard Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Book Cover Art, Poster Art, Illustration for Animation and Games, Scientific and Medical Illustration, Art Direction, and Fine Art. 

Established in 1740, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the nation’s oldest universities. The school, which houses 189 research centers and institutes, provides more than 400 programs to approximately 28,040 students from across the U.S. and just about every continent. Programs at UPenn are housed across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Since 1929, Penn has partnered with Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). Founded in 1805, PAFA is the first art school and museum in the United States. This private, non-profit school serves several hundred students enrolled in BFA, MFA, and certificate programs. PAFA is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). PAFA is also member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and The Common Application.

10. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of the Arts

University of the Arts (UArts) houses the School of Design. Serving 200 students, the School has an Illustration Program with BFA and Minor options. The Illustration BFA Program features opportunities to experiment and collaborate with students in other School of Design Majors such as Product Design, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Fine Arts, and Animation. Students in this 120 credit hour program also work and learn in shared studio spaces and facilities such as Makerspace and the Cintiq Lab.

The Illustration BFA Program consists of intense training in the latest industry software including After Effects, InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator. Course examples for the program include Digital Design Lab, Figurative Interpretation & Personal Voice, New Media Illustration, Comic Creation, Illustration with Digital Media, Conceptual Problem Solving & Narrative Development, Children’s Book Illustration, Object & Worldbuilding, History of Illustration, Art, Design & Moving Image I-II, Illustration Workshop: Personal Viewpoints, and Illustration Markets & Promotion.

Although it is not required, Illustration BFA students have the opportunity to complete a Design Internship at an individual Artist Studio or places such a Cartoon Network, Anthropologie, and Barnes & Noble. The Program culminates with the Thesis completed across two courses: Illustration Thesis Studio I and Illustration Thesis Studio II.

Consisting of 15 credit hours of study, the UArts Figurative Illustration Minor focuses on skills development related to Painting, Figurative Drawing, and Imagemaking. Courses Illustration I: Pictorial Foundation, Illustration II: Illustration Methods, Figure Anatomy, Responsive Drawing, and Figure Communication or Figure Painting.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at University of the Arts have been hired at or worked with a wide variety of companies, studios, brands, magazines, newspapers, networks, publishers, and agencies. Examples include Blizzard Entertainment, Mattel, Hallmark, The Wall Street Journal, NASA, Ralph Lauren, PBS, Harper-Collins, Random House, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Marvel Comics, Time, NASA, Penguin Group Publishing, MTV, Cartoon Network, Disney, Martha Stewart, Simon & Schuster, ESPN, Facebook, Nickelodeon, Fortune, 20th Century Fox, Rolling Stone, Fisher Price, Major League Baseball, National Geographic Magazine (Nat Geo), The New York Times, Hasbro, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, and Warner Bros.

Founded in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of the Arts serves approximately 1,300 students enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Fine Arts, Design, Media Arts, Dance, Music, Theater, and Crafts. More than 20 minors are available and open to all students. Programs at UArts are housed in the Schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music, Theater Arts, and Graduate and Professional Studies. University of the Arts is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

11. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of the Arts (VCUarts) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) serves more than 3,000 students across 15 departments. More than 25 degree options and minors are available, with five housed in the Department of Communication Arts. With a focus in Narrative Illustration and Entertainment Design, all programs in the Communication Arts Department allow students to study Traditional Illustration. In addition, students in the Department of Communication Arts may study Mixed-Media Illustration, Comics and Graphic Novels, Storyboarding, Concept Design, and Observational Drawing.

All programs in the Communication Arts Department begin with the Art Foundation Program (AFO). This studio-based experience prepares students for their next three years at VCUarts. Consisting of 32 total credit hours, the AFO includes courses such as Drawing Studio, Space Research, Focused Inquiry I-II, Time Studio, Survey of Art I-II, and Project Studio.

Upon completion of the AFO, students who would like to study Illustration will move on to the 120-credit hour (including the AFO) Communication Arts BFA. During the next three years of the Program, students will take courses such as Illustration: Drawing and Painting, Sequential Imaging, The Figure in Illustration, Imagery for Children, Fundamentals of Typography, Color Theory, 3D Modeling for Concept Design, Digital Drawing, 3D Image and Movement, Game Design, Theory and Practice, and Imagery for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Students in the VCU Communication Arts Program may complete an internship and/or a study abroad experience during the summer, winter or spring break, or for an entire semester. Examples of study abroad locations include Qatar, Italy, France, South Africa, Greece, Argentina, Germany, Korea, and Dubai.

In the final year of the Program, students will complete a portfolio of their best work. Graduates of the Communication Arts Program at Virginia Commonwealth University are Editorial Illustrators, Children’s Book Illustrators, Web Illustrators, Graphic Novelists, Comic Artists, Interactive Media Designers,  Storyboard Artists, Concept Artists, Character and Creature Designers, Fine Artists, Digital Animator, VFX Artists, Game Designers, 3D Modelers and Animators, and Creative Directors.

Founded in 1838 as the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia Commonwealth University is an urban, public research institution that serves approximately 28,410 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 15+ colleges, school, and centers. VCU students also have access to branch campuses and satellite locations across Virginia and VCUarts Qatar. Virginia Commonwealth University accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

12. University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
University of Hartford

University of Hartford (UHart) is home to Hartford Art School (HAS), which serves 400 students enrolled in eight undergraduate majors and three low-residency graduate programs. This includes BFA and MFA Illustration Programs. The Illustration BFA requires successful completion of the HAS Foundation Year, which is designed to help develop student’s sensitivity, perceptions, and technical skills. Course examples for the Foundation Year include Foundation 2D Studio I-II, Foundation Issues in Artmaking I-II, and Foundation 4D Studio I-II.

After passing the Foundation Year, second-year students will select courses from a variety of Studio options in areas such as Drawing for Illustration, Intermediate Illustration 1-3, Digital Illustration, Book Illustration, Advertising Illustration, and Editorial Illustration. In the final year of the UHart Illustration BFA Program, students will take the Portfolio Preparation course, which consists of finalizing a number of samples to be included in a professional portfolio. This course also covers the business of illustration, dealing with art agents, billing, taxes, interviewing, and career opportunities.

The Illustration BFA Program culminates with the Senior Project, which involves consultation with the instructor and group meetings with peers for discussions and critiques.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA at University of Hartford are prepared for careers in fields such as Book Publishing, Magazine Illustration, Comics, Graphic Novels, Advertising, Editorial, Fine Art, Exhibit Design, Animation, Game Art, and Graphic Design.

The low-residency Illustration MFA Program at University of Hartford is designed for working adults. In-person sessions take place during the summer semester, with travel during spring and fall to New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to meet with Illustrators, Agents, Illustration Entrepreneurs. and Licensing Professionals. Students will have the opportunity to interact with more than 50 professionals from the Animation, Children’s Book, Product Design, Comic Book, Advertising, and Editorial fields.  

Other MFA Program features include business, promotional, and marketing coursework; optional internships and study abroad experiences; studio and museum visits; and workshops. UHart MFA students have visited Nickelodeon Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, the Society of Illustrators, Disney Animation Studios, Electronic Arts (EA), Lucasfilm, DreamWorks Animation Studios, Brandywine Museum, Norman Rockwell Museum,  and Communication Arts Magazine.

Graduates of the Illustration MFA Program at University of Hartford work in a variety of leadership roles that require Illustration skills and experience.   

Chartered in 1957, University of Hartford is a private four-year university that serves approximately 5,800 students from 48 states and 45 countries. The school provides more than 175 programs spanning the Arts, Business, Education, Health, Humanities, and Engineering and Technology. Programs at UHart are housed across seven colleges and schools. University of Hartford has been continuously accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) since 1961.

13. Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design

Pennsylvania College of Art and Design (PCA&D) has an Illustration BFA Program that allows students to incorporate a Certificate or Minor into the Major. An 18 credit hour Illustration Minor can also be added to any PCA&D program as a specialization. Certificate options consist of four or more courses. Examples that complement the Illustration BFA include Packaging Design, Game Art, UX/UI Design, Animation, and Communication Design. PCA&D Minors are 18-24 credits. Examples that complement the Illustration BFA Animation & Game Art, Graphic Design, and Fine Art.

Within the BFA Program, students also have the opportunity to declare a Classical or a Contemporary Concentration. The Classical Concentration focuses on traditional and digital painting techniques, visual and written storytelling, and narrative Imagemaking. Students in this Track might work on projects such as book covers, comic books, or illustrations for publishers and other clients. The Contemporary Concentration explores current and emerging trends in the Illustration Industry. Students in this Track might work on projects such as design for products or editorial publishing. 

Other Illustration BFA Program features include participation in the PCA&D mentorship program; online community projects; the opportunity to create entrepreneur-based projects; and a required internship. The internship component can be completed off-campus for local clients and studios or on-campus through PCA&D’s in-house internship program, The Agency.

The Illustration BFA Program at PCA&D culminates with the Senior Project, presented at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design Senior Exhibition. Graduates are prepared for careers as Editorial Illustrators, Comic Book Artists, Commercial Illustrators, Concept Artists, Toy Designers, Scientific Illustrators, Courtroom Sketch Artists, Fashion Illustrators, Storyboard Artists, Printmakers, and Educators.

Program alumni have worked for clients such as Hasbro, A&E Network, The Wall Street Journal, Adidas, Disney, Time Warner Cable, ESPN, Fox Interactive, HBO, and PBS Kids.

Founded in 1982 by working artists, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design is a private, non-profit, professional art college that serves more than 200 students enrolled in six major programs leading to a BFA, 12 minor programs, and 11 certificate programs. Pennsylvania College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

14. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology houses the School of Art, home to the Illustration Program. Specific program options for Illustrators include an Illustration BFA, and BFA and MFA degrees in Medical Illustration. The Medical Illustration MFA is one of only five programs of its kind in North America, and the only program of its kind in the Northeast.

All programs feature small class sizes of no more than 16 students; access to RIT facilities such as Studio 96, the Illustration Studio, and Witmeyer Mac Lab; and lectures and demos led by 15+ visiting artists each year. School of Art students also benefit from cooperative education and internships with top companies; networking opportunities through RIT’s industry partnerships; and study abroad experiences in countries around the world. Students in all programs also have the opportunity to exhibit their work in one of RIT's gallery spaces, and participate in Creative Industry Day where they can interview with company representatives for cooperative (co-op) education experiences and permanent positions.

The Illustration BFA at Rochester Institute of Technology has an 81% employment rate and the Medical Illustration BFA and MFA have a 100% employment rate. Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program work in Design, Fine Arts, Advertising, Media, Publishing, Journalism, Public Relations, Marketing, and the Performing Arts. Examples of job titles include Multimedia Illustrator, Digital Artist, Editorial Illustrator, Comic Artist, Book Illustrator, Creative Director, Advertising Illustrator, Concept Artist, Sequential Illustrator, Illustrative Designer, Textbook Illustrator, Political Cartoon Artist, Game Asset Illustrator, Animation Artist, Motion Graphics Artist,  and Graphic Novel Illustrator.

Medical Illustration BFA graduates hold positions such as Medical Editorial Illustrator, Medical Book/Texts Illustrator, Information Graphics Illustrator, 2D Medical Animator, Medical-Legal Illustrator/Litigation Support Specialist, Forensics Illustrator, Medical Interactive/Interface Designer, Exhibitor, Ophthalmologic Illustrator, and Prosthesis Designer/Anaplastologist.

Graduates of the Medical Illustration MFA Program at Rochester Institute of Technology often take on leadership roles in Medical and Legal Illustration, Information Graphics, Animation, and Computer Modeling.

Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology is a top research university with global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. Serving more than 19,000 students from 50 states and over 100 nations, RIT is one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Students at RIT have access to more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

15. Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Moore College of Art & Design

Moore College of Art & Design (Moore) has an Illustration BFA Program that consists of studio tours; workshops and critiques; mentorship experiences with leading design professionals; and access to state-of-the-art computer labs and production other facilities.

A major component of all programs at Moore College of Art & Design is the internship opportunity. Moore is the only art and design college that provides a $1,000 paid internship for every single student. Many of these internships lead to offers for full-time employment.

Course examples for the Illustration BFA Program include Visual Thinking, Digital Imagemaking, Typography, Illustration Concepts and Practices, Cultural Collisions and Transformations, Life Drawing for Illustrators, Digital Painting for Illustrators, Business for Illustration, Writing Workshop, and Professional Development. Students may also take a number of studios and open electives to enhance the degree. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Senior Studio course and the Senior Thesis.

Around 97% of BFA Program alumni at Moore College of Art & Design are employed or in graduate school within one year of graduating. Examples of companies that have hired Moore graduates include Nickelodeon, Tyco Toys, Smithsonian Institution, Penguin Group, Super Signs, mock5 design, Bust Magazine, Carter’s, and Dynamite Entertainment.

Founded in 1848, Moore College of Art & Design is the nation’s first and only historically all-women’s visual arts college. This private, non-profit college serves approximately 370 students enrolled more than 20 programs leading to a degree. Moore College of Art & Design is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

16. Maine College of Art and Design, Portland, Maine
Maine College of Art and Design

Maine College of Art and Design (MECA&D or MECA) has an Illustration BFA Program that features small class sizes, access to state-of-the-art equipment and production facilities, shared workspaces, and courses taught by professional Artists and Illustrators. Students in this program also have the opportunity to complete an internship before graduating. Students have interned with Hasbro Toys, The Via Agency, and the Illustration Institute.

Course examples for the program include Picturebook, Editorial Illustration, Methods and Media in Illustration, Experimental Illustration, Graphic Novel/Sequential, Illustration in Context, Character Design, Portrait Drawing in Illustration: People and Animals, Motion Graphics and Animation, Narrative/Sequential Illustration,  Hand Lettering, Illustration Majors Studio, and Advanced Techniques in Pen and Ink.

In the final year of the program, Illustration BFA students at Main College of Art will complete 3YR Seminar: Motive, Method, Making (GD & IL), Professional Studio, and Senior Synthesis, which culminates in a written Thesis.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program are prepared for a variety of roles in Children’s Book Publishing, Poster Design, Web Design, Graphic Novels, Comic Book Art, Magazine Illustration, Toy Design and Production, Game Art, Newspaper Publishing, and Concept Art. Program alumni work as independent contractors, self-employed professional artists, and salaried artists.

Founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art, Maine College of Art & Design serves approximately 470 degree-seeking students and 1,500 continuing education students enrolled in 11 studio majors leading to a BFA, a low-residency Studio Art MFA, and a 10-month MAT Program. Maine College of Art & Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

17. Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Marywood University

Marywood University houses Insalaco College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art. Within the Department is a Studio Arts BFA Program with an Illustration Track that explores digital design, printmaking, painting, animation, typography, graphic design, and digital illustration. The program requires successful completion of the Foundation Year, which consists of field trips, attending exhibits and visiting artist talks, and participation in the Foundation Portfolio Review.

Other program features include independent study programs; participation in student clubs and organizations such as the Art History Club and Zeta Omicron; practicums and internship opportunities; and study abroad experiences in places such as Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, England, and Scotland.

At the graduate level, the Department of Art at Marywood University has a low-residency MFA Program designed for working Illustrators, Designers, New Media Artists, Creative Directors, and Art Educators. Tracks within the Program include Sequential Art and Children’s Books. Other program features include one-on-one projects with prominent artists; independent study; and four two-week residential summer sessions. Marywood MFA students will also participate in a number of study tours in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other major cities to visit museums, advertising agencies, professional organizations, and well-known designers and illustrator’s studios.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at Marywood University are prepared to pursue positions such as 3D Illustrator, Caricaturist, Educator, Comic Book/Strip Artist, Courtroom Sketcher, Curator, Children’s Book Illustrator, Fashion Illustrator, Multimedia Artist, Art Director, Game Designer, Greeting Card Illustrator, Illustrator for Graphic Novels, Editorial Illustrator, Medical Illustrator, Muralist, Political Cartoonist, Book Cover Artist, Graphic Designer, Stamp Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, and Technical Illustrator.

Founded in 1915, Marywood University was the first college for women in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the first Catholic college for women in the state. Today, Marywood serves a co-ed population of approximately 2,675 students. More than 80 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees are offered in the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Health and Human Services; and Reap College of Professional Studies.

Marywood University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

18. Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts
Montserrat College of Art

Montserrat College of Art (Montserrat) is home to the Department of Illustration, which has an Illustration BFA Program that requires 120 credit hours to graduate. This includes 78 studio credits. Students will begin the BFA Program with Montserrat’s Foundation Program, which consists of Studio I & II, Observation I & II, and Color: Material and Light. Students will also take Art History and English Composition courses, as well a number of Studio electives.

Other program features include collaborative studios, museum and gallery visits, seminars, individual and team-based projects, research assignments, critiques, and internship opportunities. Depending on the program, Illustration BFA students at Montserrat will also have opportunities to travel to Mallorca, Spain; Niigata, Japan; or Santa Fe, New Mexico to study, create, and explore.

Course examples for the Montserrat Illustration BFA Program include Kinetic Drawing, Illustration I: Drawing for Communication, Storyboarding, Illustration II: Media and Methods, Children’s Book Illustration, Comics and Sequential Art, Illustration III: Digital Process, Cinematic Storytelling, Illustrating Fiction, Illustration IV: Applications, Digital Illustration, Journalistic Drawing, Advanced Digital Projects, Topics in Illustration, and Applied Illusions.

In the final year of the Program, students will complete Illustration Independent Study, Senior Fine Arts Seminar, Senior Illustration: Business Practices, and Senior Illustration: Thesis Projects. Students will work in teams to curate their Senor Thesis Exhibitions, which is a series of week-long public shows hosted at on-campus and off-campus gallery spaces. Work created by every graduating Senior will be displayed at the Graduation Exhibition in the Main Montserrat Gallery. The event takes place in May.

Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at Montserrat College of Art have worked for companies and studios such as Nickelodeon, Puma, Disney, Hasbro, Sesame Street, Martha Stewart, Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), FableVision, Currier Museum of Art and Boston Center for the Arts.

Founded in 1970, Montserrat College of Art is one of only five stand-alone independent art colleges with an enrollment under 400. The school opened as Montserrat School of Visual Arts with just one Diploma program. Today, Montserrat provides 10 Concentrations leading to a BFA and five minor programs ranging from Art Education to Curatorial Studies. Montserrat College of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

19. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut
University of Connecticut

The School of Fine Arts at University of Connecticut (UConn) houses the Department of Art & Art History. Fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department has Art BA and BFA Programs that provide the opportunity to study Illustration through the Illustration/Animation Concentration. Consisting of 120 credit hours, including 66 Studio Art credits, the Programs explore both traditional approaches in Illustration and new technologies.

Other Program features include small class sizes; a project-based curriculum with collaborations and team projects; access to state-of-the art computer labs, exhibition spaces, and art-making studios; and study abroad opportunities. In addition, each year UConn hosts an on-campus Internship Fair. Many internships lead to full-time employment upon graduation. UConn students have interned at places such as Disney, NBC Sports, the Connecticut Museum of Natural History, NASA, the State Department of Education, GE and The Bronx Zoo, GE.

The Illustration/Animation Concentration consists of 30 credit hours. Course examples include Illustration, Animation Fundamentals, Introduction to Digital Media, Topics in Illustration, Studio Concepts, Life Drawing, Graphic Design: Process and Thinking, and Going Pro: Professional Practices in Illustration and Animation.  

The Art BA and BFA Programs at University of Connecticut culminate with the Senior Project course and participation in the Senior Show.

Most graduates of the UConn Illustration/Animation BA/BFA Programs are offered positions within six months of graduation. Program alumni have gone on to successful careers as Children’s Book Illustrators, Product Designers, Comic Book Artists, Editorial Illustrators, Cover Art Designers, Cartoonists, Storyboard Artists, Character and Environment Designers, and Graphic Novel Illustrators.  

Some program alumni have been accepted into MFA Programs at the Royal College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Yale University, Goldsmith's, University of London, and Virginia Commonwealth University, and Yale University.

Founded in 1881, University of Connecticut began as Storrs Agricultural School with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, UConn’s more than 18,000 faculty and staff members serve more than 32,000 students across the main campus at Storrs, and four regional campuses. Programs at University of Connecticut are offered across 14 colleges and schools, and include eight undergraduate degrees in 119 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 88 fields of study, and six professional degree programs across 14 colleges and schools. University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

20. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Lesley University

The Illustration Program at Lesley University is part of the College of Art and Design. Within the Program are three paths to study Illustration including a BFA, Minor, and a Professional Certificate. Students in all programs have access to industry-standard software, equipment, and workstations; mentorship opportunities with professional Illustrators in the Greater Boston area; and internship opportunities at places such as Cartoon Network, Disney, and National Geographic (Nat Geo). Illustration BFA and Certificate students also have opportunities to participate in workshops, critiques, and field trips to museums and other cultural institutions across Boston and Cambridge.

The Illustration BFA Program at Lesley University consists of 123 credit hours completed over four years. The 15 credit-hour Minor can be completed in one or two semesters. Designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in any area, the Professional Certificate consists of 60 credit hours that can be completed in two years. Across programs, students will explore Traditional and Digital Media, Color and Composition, Thumbnails and Storyboarding, Conceptual and Narrative Skill-Building, and Visual Problem Solving. Students will use the skills they have learned to create editorial illustrations, character designs, sequential narratives, product designs, and natural history drawings.

Course examples across programs include Design for Illustration, 3D Concepts, Illustration Tools & Methods, Typography, Techniques: Mixed Media, The Working Illustrator, Image and Context, Anatomy and Figure Drawing, Illustration Survey, Digital Duo, Illustration Now, Sequential Projects, and Visual Culture Seminar.

Through electives, students in all programs will have opportunities to develop additional skills within several areas in the Illustration field through electives. Examples include Comic Book and Storyboard, Body Adornment & Fashion Drawing, Letterpress Studio, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Book Illustration, City Sketchbook, The Dynamic Figure, and Comix: Process and Practice.

During the final year of the Illustration BFA and Professional Certificate Programs, students will create and present a professional portfolio of their best work to a jury panel.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at Lesley University are prepared to pursue positions such as Book Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Technical Illustrator, Cartoonist, and Production Artist. Program alumni work in industries such as Advertising, Entertainment, Publishing, Science, Medicine, and Education.

Potential employers include Warner Bros. Entertainment, Neoscape, Artists for Humanity, Charles River Laboratories, Muse Paint Bar, Robb Report Singapore, Lulu Mena, Nova Idea Inc., and the Stride Awards.

Lesley University was founded in 1909 by Edith Lesley (1872-1953). The school serves more than 6,000 students enrolled in 100+ programs across four colleges and schools including Liberal Arts, Art and Design, the Graduate School of Social Sciences, and the Graduate School of Education. Lesley University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).