What are the top public illustration schools in the U.S. for 2022?

Top 25 Public Illustration Schools in the U.S. - 2022 College Rankings
RankingSchoolState% of Top Schools Considered
1Fashion Institute of Technology New York 2%
2Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts 4%
3San Jose State UniversityCalifornia 5%
4California State University, FullertonCalifornia 7%
5Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia8%
6California State University, Long BeachCalifornia 10%
7University of Central FloridaFlorida15%
8University of GeorgiaGeorgia15%
9University of Colorado, DenverColorado 15%
10California State University, NorthridgeCalifornia 20%
11University of North Carolina, CharlotteNorth Carolina20%
12University of ArizonaArizona20%
13East Carolina UniversityNorth Carolina 25%
14Texas State University, San MarcosTexas25%
15University of ConnecticutConnecticut25%
16Ferris State UniversityMichigan 30%
17Indiana University-Purdue University, IndianapolisIndiana 30%
18Augusta UniversityGeorgia 30%
19University of Massachusetts, DartmouthMassachusetts35%
20Louisiana Tech UniversityLouisiana 35%
21California State University, East BayCalifornia 35%
22Iowa State UniversityIowa35%
23Purdue UniversityIndiana 40%
24Utah Valley UniversityUtah 40%
25Kennesaw State UniversityGeorgia 40%

Our 2022 list of the Top 25 public college illustration programs in the U.S. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, New York (Top 2% of schools considered)
Fashion Institute of Technology

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) houses the School of Art and Design, which has 17 creative majors in design, art and fashion, and customizable minors consisting of five courses in one of dozens of available disciplines. The FIT Illustration Program has two undergraduate options: the AAS and BFA. The AAS is a pathway to the BFA Program.

Both programs feature mentoring workshops led by art directors and professional illustrators,  participation in student art exhibitions, and access to the Society of Illustrators—the industry's top professional organization. BFA may take advantage of the FIT Internship Program.

Across programs, course examples include Illustration Rendering Techniques, Advanced Visual Story Studio, Digital Illustration Techniques, Visual Storytelling for Evolving Media, Stylistic Illustration, Illustration Workshop, Advanced Color Rendering, and the Business of Illustration. The FIT Illustration BFA culminates with the Illustration Portfolio Thesis, that will be presented before faculty and peers.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program are prepared immediate entry into the field or a graduate program, such as the 60 credit hour Illustration MFA offered in FIT’s School of Graduate Studies. This program features real-world projects, guest lecturers, field trips to studios in LA and New York, and internship opportunities. Course examples for the program include Integrating Digital with Traditional Media, Creative Writing for Illustrators, Illustration in Motion, Sequential Storytelling, Printmaking and Artist’s Books, Studio Workshop, and Survey of Digital Illustration.

In the final two semesters of the FIT Graduate Illustration Program, 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 children’s books, graphic novels, interactive digital media, installations, animation, murals, and concept art.

FIT Illustration alumni have been hired at ad agencies such as Young & Rubicam, BBDO Worldwide, Ogilvy, and DDB, and at corporations such as Hallmark and American Greetings. Program alumni work at magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and at entertainment companies such as Warner Brothers, DreamWorks Pictures, Disney, and LucasArts Entertainment.

Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, 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). The school opened in 1944 with just 100 students, with classes taking place across two floors in the High School of Needle Trades. Today the FIT campus sits on 1.5 NYC blocks, and serves nearly 8,000 students.

Programs at FIT are offered across five academic divisions and range from Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing to Toy Design. Many FIT programs are the first of their kind in the country.

2. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 4% of schools considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is home to an Illustration Department that houses an Illustration BFA Program that focuses on narrative techniques and character development. Courses for the program are taught by professional freelance illustrators or artists that own their own illustration studios and firms. Course examples for the program include Media Techniques, Experimental Illustration Techniques, Book Arts, Virtual 3D Illustration, Advanced Drawing Projects for Illustrators, Word and Image, Professional Illustration, Independent Study, Technical Illustration, Black and White Illustration, and Professional Freelance Studio.

Three major, but optional, components of the MassArt Illustration BFA Program are the Course Assistantship, Independent Study, and the Internship. The Course Assistantship allows qualified sophomores, juniors, and seniors to assist a faculty member with set up and assisting with demonstrations and critiques during class. Independent Study is available to juniors and seniors Juniors 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.

In the final year of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design Illustration BFA Program students will complete the following courses: Thesis Project I: Research, Thesis Project II: Imagery, Senior Illustration, and Illustration Portfolio. Final student portfolios will be presented to professionals from the advertising, editorial, publishing, institutional, and corporate markets.

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

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1873 as Massachusetts Normal School, MassArt provides more than 40 degree, minor, and certificate program options to 1,635 undergraduate students, 115 graduate students, and nearly 150 continuing education students. Noncredit students and others at Massachusetts College of Art and Design have access to 100 classes and workshops in all areas of art and design.

3. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (Top 5% of schools considered)
San Jose State University

The Animation/Illustration Program at San Jose State University (SJSU) is housed in the Department of Design, which maintains close relationships with industry leaders such as Disney, Sony Pictures Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), DreamWorks, Bento Box Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Pixar, and Warner Bros. Animation, among others. The Program routinely hosts guest speakers from these and other studios, as well as workshops, seminars, and internships.

Specific degrees for Illustrators include the BFA in Animation/Illustration (A/I) and the BA in Design Studies, Specializing in A/I. The BFA is a professional degree that explores both traditional and 3D animation, visual development, storyboarding, physics of motion, character design, and modeling.

Upper division courses allow students to specialize in an area of interest and participation in the Professional Internship Program is highly recommended, but not required. The A/I BFA culminates with the Capstone Seminar and Project.

Graduates of this program are prepared for careers in areas such as feature film animation, television, game design, and any other industry that utilizes animation and illustration.

The SJSU Design BA with a Specialization in A/I is a Liberal Arts degree that combines foundation studies with design, film, theater arts, and photography. Students in this program will have opportunities to work on projects in multidisciplinary teams, they will develop skills in animation, visual development, storyboarding, and modeling, and create short films. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in the entertainment industry or for direct entry into the SJSU A/I BFA Program.

Graduates of the Illustration Programs at San Jose State University have been hired at more than 135 animation, film and game design studios. They have worked on films such as Shrek, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, and taught at major colleges and universities. SJSU Illustration alumni can be found at Lucasfilm Animation, University of Silicon Valley (USV), Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, NBCUniversal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, 20th Century Fox, Animation Mentor - The Online Animation School, Disney Animation, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Zynga, and Sony/Columbia.

San Jose State University is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Established in 1857 as Minns' Evening Normal School in San Francisco, SJSU is the oldest public institution of higher education in the Western United States. Serving around 36,000 students and located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose State University is also one of the largest schools in the California State University System. SJSU provides bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in 250 areas of study. Programs at San Jose State University are housed in nine colleges comprising dozens of departments and schools.

4. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (Top 7% of schools considered)
California State University Fullerton

The College of the Arts at California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton, CSU Fullerton or CSUF) houses the Department of Visual Arts—home to the Illustration Program. Degree options include a BFA, MA, and MFA in Art with a Concentration in Illustration. All programs feature internship opportunities, workshops and seminars, study abroad experiences, visiting artists, and access to state-of-the-art production studios, labs, and equipment. 

Across programs, students will take courses such as 2D and 3D Design, Writing in the Visual Arts, Special Studie sin Illustration, Cartooning and Caricature, Elements of Sequential Art, Digital Narrative Illustration, Graphic Design, 3D Computer Animation, Art History, and Independent Study.

The BFA program culminates with the BFA Capstone Project, which may include works in animation, games, VR, visual effects, exhibitions, and others. The MA Program requires a Project and Thesis (P/T) to graduate. The MA P/T consists of the development and presentation of a creative project in the concentration beyond regularly offered coursework. The MFA program culminates with a one person art exhibit (MFA Project Exhibition).

Graduates of the Art Programs at Cal State Fullerton have worked with or been hired by major companies and studios such as Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Walt Disney Company, among others.

California State University, Fullerton is Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Founded in 1957, Cal State Fullerton is part of the 23 campus California State University (CSU) System. The school serves more than 41,000 students enrolled in more than 110 degree programs across eight academic colleges.

5. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 8% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to the School of Arts (VCUarts), which serves more than 3,000 students across 16 departments. More than 25 degree options and minors are available, with five offered in the Department of Communication Arts. With a focus in Narrative Illustration and Entertainment Design, all programs in the Communication Arts Department provide opportunities to study Illustration.

Department of Communication Arts students will explore traditional and mixed-media illustration, comics and graphic novels, observational drawing, scientific illustration, concept design, digital image making, and storyboarding. Students will complete the Art Foundation Program (AFO) in the first year of all pathways, and they will take courses such as Digital Drawing, Game Design, Theory and Practice, Drawing Studies: The Figure Observed, 3D Modeling for Concept Design, The Figure in Illustration Basic Human Anatomy, Scientific Illustration, Color Theory, Imagery for Science Fiction and Fantasy, Environmental Science, and Imagery for Children. VCUarts students may also apply for an internship and they have the option to study abroad in Florence, Italy.

Program options include a BFA in Communication Arts with the option to create a custom Concentration in Illustration or other related area, a Communication Arts BFA with a Scientific Illustration Concentration, a Minor in Scientific Illustration, and a BFA and Minor in Visual Effects (VFX).

Graduates of the VCUarts alumni are Editorial illustrators, Graphic Novelists, Web Illustrators, Interactive Media Designers, Comic Artists, Art Directors, Digital Animator, Scientific Illustrators, Children’s book Illustrators, VFX Artists, Game Designers, Concept Artists, Character and Creature Designers, Storyboard Artists, 3D Modelers and Animators, and Fine Artists.

Virginia Commonwealth University accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College, this urban, public research university serves 28,919 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 15+ colleges, school, and centers.

6. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (Top 10% of colleges considered)
California State University, Long Beach

The College of the Arts at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) houses the School of Art (SoA), which has several pathways for illustrators. Options include a BFA in Art with an Illustration or Animation Track and an MFA in Studio with an Animation/Illustration Track. In partnership with the Department of Biological Sciences, an interdisciplinary Certificate in Biomedical Illustration is also available.

A major component of the Art BFA students is the option to take courses in both the Animation and Illustration Tracks and work with peers across tracks in the digital lab. Other program features include workshops led by faculty and visiting artists, courses taught by industry professionals, internships at local and national studios, and study abroad opportunities.

The SoA Studio MFA is an interdisciplinary program that requires 60 units of study, including 21 units of graduate coursework in the SoA and 39 approved units in the Animation/Illustration Track. All MFA students will participate in the Final MFA Exhibition.

The Biomedical Illustration Certificate is a 30 unit program that can be added to an undergraduate degree program or taken post-graduation. Course examples for the program include Production for Fine Art,  Foundation Computer Art, Illustration 2, Special Studies Illustration, Anatomy for Artists, Computer Animation 1, Biomedical Illustration, Foundation Computer Art, and Biomedical Rendering.

Graduates of the Art BFA and Studio MFA Programs at California State University, Long Beach are prepared for positions in film and entertainment (animation, live action film, gaming), advertising, educational illustration, print publications (newspapers, magazines, books, graphic novels), textiles, biomedical illustration, visual journalism, storyboarding for film, television, animation, advertising, and games, editorial art, and gallery exhibition.

California State University, Long Beach is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1949, CSULB is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University System. The school serves nearly 39,300 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges.

7. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida (UCF) The College of Arts and Humanities at UCF houses the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), which has BA and BFA Programs that allow students to study Illustration. The BA in Art with a Studio Track and the BFA in Studio Art offer Specializations in Illustration, Drawing, Drawing and Illustration (combination), and Book Arts. BFA students may choose one Specialization, while BA students may choose several. Other options include Painting, Type and Design, Photography, and Sculpture.

Sample SVAD courses include Advanced Illustration, Drawing Fundamentals, Drawing Intensive, History of Illustration, Art of Walt Disney, Illustration, Computer Art, The Illuminated Book, Art as Interface, Procedural Animation, Intermediate Illustration I, Book Binding, Design Theory and Methods, Image, Culture, and Society, Experimental Painting, Advanced Illustrative Photography, Type and Design, Visual Storytelling & Visual Development Workshop, Photography and Art, and The Professional Environment.

The Studio Art BFA requires successful completion of the BFA Exhibit/Seminar course, and both programs offer an optional internship.

University of Central Florida graduates have gone on to establish careers at Amazon, Google, YouTube, and Apple, among others.

University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1963 as Florida Technological University, the school opened for classes on October 7, 1968 with less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves more than 70,000 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the State of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. Program offerings include 106 bachelor’s degrees, 95 master’s degrees, 31 research doctorates, three professional doctorates, and three specialist degrees.

8. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 15% of colleges considered)
University of Georgia

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at University of Georgia (UGA) is home to the Lamar Dodd School of Art. This academic unit within Franklin College has a number of noteworthy features including the opportunity to study and live in New York City for three weeks during the month of May through the UGA New York MAYmester Program, and participation in the UGA Study Abroad Program, which has more than 100 options in 75 countries such as Ghana, West Africa; Cortona, Italy; and Costa Rica, Central America).

Other School of Art features include access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs, the opportunity to work and learn in dedicated classrooms and studio spaces, and hands-on experience through the Internship Program.

The UGA Art BFA Program offers a Concentration in Scientific Illustration that prepares students for careers in traditional, biological, and medical illustration. Students who would like to create a focus in traditional illustration may select nine credit hours or more from seven Studio Elective. Courses include Illustration, Design Drawing Techniques, Digital Narrative Systems, Photography & Image Culture, Special Problems in Graphic Design, Advanced Drawing, and Painting.

The Scientific Illustration Concentration also requires Art History coursework, and 27 credit hours of Studio Art courses. This provides additional opportunities for students to develop traditional illustration skills. Anatomy for Figure, Graphic Systems, and Digital Imaging are just a few required Studio Art courses. Other course requirements include Fundamentals of Scientific Illustration, Intermediate Scientific Illustration, and Advanced Scientific Illustration.

Art BFA students must complete the Senior Exit course worth three credits. This culminating experience consists of a Critique, Portfolio, and Evaluation, and participation in the BFA Exit Show: Scientific Illustration.

Graduates of the Scientific Illustration Program at University of Georgia work for advertising agencies, studios that produce serious games, publishers (books, journals, magazines), animation studios, software and app developers, medical education companies, science communication studios, trade and society associations, the U.S. military, hospital, clinics, and medical practices, veterinary schools, medical and legal firms, device and biotech companies, and research institutions.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1785, UGA is the state’s flagship institution. The school serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in 370 fields and areas leading to the bachelor’s, master’s, specialist education, professional, or PhD degree.

9. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado (Top 15% of colleges considered)
University of Colorado Denver

Illustration at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is offered as a BFA and a Minor. The Illustration Minor requires 18 credit hours including 12 credits of required courses and six elective credits. Course examples for this program include Drawing I, Two Dimensional Design, Illustration I: Image Making, and Digital Painting.

Housed in the College of Arts & Media and delivered on-campus only, the BFA Program explores conceptual illustration, digital illustration, painting, exhibition preparation, rendering, perspective, professional practices, and a variety of artistic and illustration techniques. Coursework allows students to master digital tools such as Adobe software.

Other program features include access to state-of-the art digital labs, industrial equipment, and sculpture studios, and opportunities to work on projects for the Denver Art Museum, art galleries and studios such as Pixar.

Course examples for the BFA Program include Illustration I; Image Making, Illustration II: Digital Media, Illustration III: Investigative Methods, Illustration IV: Thesis Development, Digital Painting, The Graphic Novel Workshop, Painting, Drawing and the Printed Image, and The Business of Art. The Illustration BFA Program culminates with the Illustration BFA Thesis course worth three credits.

Graduates of the at Illustration BFA Program at CU Denver are prepared to pursue positions in advertising, publishing, animation and games, engineering, illustration/medical/scientific, graphic design, entertainment film and television, healthcare, and marketing, among others.

University of Colorado Denver began in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder. The school became CU Denver in 1973 making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, CU Denver serves a population of 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California (Top 20% of colleges considered)
California State University-Northridge

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication at California State University-Northridge (CSUN or CSU Northridge) houses the Department of Art, which has an Art BA Program, and MA and MFA options in Visual Arts. All programs offer an optional Concentration in Illustration. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the CSUN Department of Art features opportunities for overseas studies, internships, club events and guest speakers, portfolio reviews, exhibitions, and the opportunity to join the CSUN Illustration Society and other CSUN organizations.

The CSUN Art BA combines liberal arts studies with art and design coursework. Students will take courses such as Drawing I, World Arts: Asia, Illustration Materials and Techniques, Beginning Two-Dimensional Design, Illustration I-III, Beginning Three-Dimensional Design, Digital Illustration, History of Contemporary Art, Core Art Studio, and Senior Projects and Lab.

The CSU Northridge Visual Arts MA is a 30 unit program that can be completed in one, one-and-a-half, or two years depending on the student’s course load. Course examples for the program include Art Analysis and Criticism, Studio Problems: Illustration, History and Philosophy of Art, and Advanced Studio Problems: Illustration. The Visual Arts MA Program culminates with the Graduate Project, which consists of the Spring Group Exhibition and/or Performance of the students work.

The CSUN Visual Arts MFA is a terminal degree. This means, it is the highest degree awarded in the field. Consisting of 60 units of study, the program can be completed in two or three years depending on the student’s course load. All students will have access to a private, on-campus studio and residence status. Course examples for the program include MFA Seminar, Studio Problems or Advanced Studio Problems in Illustration, Video/Digital Art, Drawing, or Graphic Design, Art Analysis and Criticism, and Graduate Directed Research.

Students in the CSUN Visual Arts MFA Program have the opportunity to develop skills in other disciplines through electives outside the Concentration area. The MFA program culminates with the Graduate Project.

Graduates of the Art and Visual Arts Programs at California State University Northridge are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of Art and Design, including Illustration.

California State University Northridge is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Founded in 1958 and serving more than 38,800 students, CSU Northridge is one of the largest universities in the U.S. and one of the youngest in the 23 campus California State University System. This liberal arts school comprises eight academic colleges, The Tseng College, and the University Library. Programs include bachelor’s degrees in 65 disciplines, master’s degrees in 74 fields, three doctorates, and 17 teaching credential programs.

11. University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina (Top 20% of colleges considered)
 University of North Carolina, Charlotte

The College of Arts + Architecture (COA+A) at University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in 33 degrees and concentrations across the School of Architecture and four departments including Art and Art History, Music, Dance, and Theatre. The COA+A Department of Art and Art History has four undergraduate degree programs, three major options, and an Art History Minor. At the graduate level, the Department has a Graduate Certificate Program in Teaching for Art Education. 

Housed in the Rowe Arts Building, the Department of Art and Art History provides access to three exhibition spaces including Rowe Lower Gallery, Side Gallery, and Upper Gallery. Students in the Department also have access to Rowe 3D Studio, Rowe Digital Fabrication Lab (RoFL), the Print Media Lab, Macy Graphic Design Computer Lab, Lighting, Painting, and Ceramics Studios, performance spaces, and Rowe Recital Hall.

All Art and Art History students have the opportunity to join on-campus organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts Student Chapter and Cerama, Art & Mindfulness. UNC Charlotte and the Department also lead a recurring Study Abroad Summer Program in Rome, Italy, and paid internship opportunities at local museums and performing arts centers.

Degree options for Illustrators include a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Illustration. This program requires 120 credit hours with 79 credit hours of courses within the Department of Art and Art History, and 33 credit hours in the Concentration. Course examples for the program include 2D and 3D Design, Topics in Illustration, Drawing I-II, Illustration: Media/Method, Mixed Media Painting, The Figure in Illustration, Digital Foundations, Illustration Sequence/Story, Figure and Anatomy, and Children’s Book Illustration.

In the final year of the program, students will complete the Senior Seminar and Illustration Projects courses worth six credit hours, and the BFA Portfolio Review, worth one credit hour. Final projects will be presented at the BFA Illustration Exhibition.

The Art BFA Programs at University of North Carolina Charlotte are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

University of North Carolina Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1946, the school serves more than 30,000 students making it the second largest university in North Carolina and the third largest in the 16-institution UNC System. University of North Carolina Charlotte offers 171 undergraduate majors leading to 79 bachelor's degrees, and 150 programs leading to 66 master's degrees and 24 doctoral degrees across seven academic colleges.

12. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Top 20% of colleges considered)
 University of Arizona

University of Arizona (UArizona or UA) houses the College of Fine Arts, home to the School of Art, which has BFA and MFA degrees in Studio Art with an Illustration + Design Emphasis (I+D).

Students in all School of Art programs have access to studio spaces, the Center for Creative Photography, computer labs with Wacom Cintiq Touch screens and animation stations, the Learning Games Initiative Research Archive, a digital imaging lab with large format printing, mounting and other services, the University of Arizona Museum of Art, letterpress and photopolymer platemaking equipment, metal and wood type collections, an extensive book art collection through the University Libraries, binding equipment, darkrooms, ceramics labs, wood and metal shops, and the sculpture foundry.

Other School of Art features include team projects with local clients, internships, study abroad experiences, field trips, and the opportunity to join the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) student chapter, the Book Art Collective, or the College Book Arts Association.

The Studio Art BFA requires 125 units, including 42 in upper division coursework and 24 units of upper division coursework in the I+D Emphasis. Students will graduate from the program with a professional portfolio. The Studio Art MFA is a 60 credit hour program including 33 units in I+D Studio Art courses. Students in this program will participate in interdisciplinary, graphic design and illustration courses and seminars, independent studies and workshops, and studio critiques with visiting artists and alumni. The MFA program at UArizona culminates with the MFA Thesis and Project.

Graduates of the Studio Art I+D Programs at University of Arizona are prepares for careers in advertising, animation, television, and film, book publishing, game art and design, children’s books, graphic novels, comic books, magazine publishing, and editorial, among others.

The University of Arizona has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1917. Established in 1885, the school opened as Arizona’s first university. Serving close to 49,500 students, UArizona has more than 250 majors at the undergraduate level, and graduate programs in more than 150 areas of study. Programs at the University of Arizona are housed in 20 colleges, each with its own schools and departments.

13. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina (Top 25% of colleges considered)
East Carolina University

The School of Art and Design (SoAD) at East Carolina University (ECU) is part of the College of Fine Arts & Communication. Housed in the Leo W. Jenkins Fine Arts Center (Jenkins Center), SoAD provides access to dedicated to graduate and undergraduate studios, the Wellington B. Gray Gallery, computer labs, seminar and lecture classrooms, and the Burroughs Wellcome Senior Gallery. Specialized production equipment for projects across disciplines is also housed in the Jenkins Center.

The SoAD Art BFA Program has 30-hour concentration in areas such as Illustration, Textile Design, Film and Video Production, Graphic Design, Animation/Interactive Design, and Printmaking. In addition to concentration options, SoAD offers interdisciplinary studios and coursework in Book Arts, Letterpress, and Community Arts. Students in all concentrations may participate in the internship and study abroad programs and the Senior Show.

Graduates of the Art BFA Program at East Carolina University will graduate with a portfolio of their best work.

East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded as a teacher training school in 1907, ECU serves more than 26,700 students, making it the fourth largest institution in the University of North Carolina System. ECU offers more than 300 degree, minor, and certificate programs across 12 colleges and schools.

14. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (Top 25% of colleges considered)
Texas State University

Texas State University (Texas State) houses the College of Fine Arts and Communication, home to the School of Art and Design, which has a Studio BFA Program with a Specialization in Drawing. This 120 credit hour interdisciplinary program emphasizes experimentation and allows students to study various areas of Illustration and other creative disciplines. Course examples for the program Character Development for Illustration, Drawing I-V, Color Theory, Digital Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Graphic Novels and Zines, Illustration Techniques and Materials, Drawing Special Problems, Digitally Handmade for Artists and Designers, and Watercolor I-II.

A major component of the Studio BFA Program is the Summer Program in Italy, which consists of the 4000-level course Disegno a Firenze: Drawing in Florence. Throughout this experience, students will focus on drawing from various subjects in and around Florence. Other program features include the Art and Design Lecture Series, workshops, access to more than 400 student organizations such as AIGA Texas State, Design for American, and the National Art Education Association, and access to Texas State Galleries—more than 3,000 square feet of space for individual and combined exhibitions. 

The Texas State Studio BFA Program with a Specialization in Drawing culminates with the Drawing Thesis, completed across two courses (Drawing VI: Thesis I and Drawing VII: Thesis II), the BFA Portfolio and BFA Thesis Exhibition. Graduates of the program are prepared to seek careers in all industries and positions that require drawing and illustration skills.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Texas State University is the only university in Texas to have graduated a U.S. President—Lyndon B. Johnson. Founded in 1899 as Southwest Texas State Normal School , Texas State serves more than 38,000 students enrolled in more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs across nine academic colleges.

15. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (Top 25% of colleges considered)
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 four degree programs leading to a BA or BFA, seven concentrations, and two education abroad programs. The Art BA and Art BFA Programs offer an Illustration/Animation Concentration that explores traditional techniques, and new and emerging technologies.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the BA and BFA Programs feature a project-based curriculum with collaborations and team projects, small class sizes, access to state-of-the art computer labs, exhibition spaces, and art-making studios, education abroad, and internship opportunities. Each year, UConn hosts an on-campus Internship Fair to secure internships. Many internships lead to full-time employment upon graduation. UConn students have interned at Disney, Connecticut Museum of Natural History, NASA, The Bronx Zoo, NBC Sports, GE, and the State Department of Education, among others.

The Illustration/Animation Concentration requires 30 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Life Drawing, Animation Fundamentals, Topics in Illustration, Studio Concepts, Introduction to Digital Media, Graphic Design: Process and Thinking, Illustration, Animation Fundamentals, Life Drawing II, 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 Illustrators, Educators, Designers, Professional Artists, Curators, Photographers, and Arts Administrators, among others. 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.

University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). 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 nearly 32,700 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.

16. Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Michigan (Top 30% of colleges considered)

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has a BFA Program with Illustration and Life Sciences and Pre-Medical Illustration options. A 15 credit-hour Illustration Minor is also available and consists of three Illustration electives, Introduction to Illustration, and Illustration Techniques. Across degree programs, Illustration students benefit from participation in the KCAD Illustration Society, summer travel/study experiences, and internships during the academic year and summer months. All students have access to KCAD galleries, labs, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA).

The KCAD Illustration BFA was established in the early 1960s. The program explores both traditional and emerging media, with 27 required semester hours of supportive studio courses and 39 credit hours of major studio courses. Course examples include Narrative Perspective, Design: Image, Rendering, Digital Illustration Painting, Illustration I-III, Advanced Inking, Natural Science Illustration, Graphic Design/Illustration, and Illustration Professional Practice. The KCAD Illustration BFA culminates with the completion of a portfolio of the student’s best work.

Graduates of the KCAD Illustration BFA program are prepared to pursue careers such Cartoonist, Storyboard Illustrator, Editorial Illustrator, Mural Designer, Art Director, Fashion Illustrator, and Freelance Illustrator.

The Life Science & Pre-Medical Illustration (Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration) Program at KCAD combines general education courses with courses that explore medical illustration methods, computer-aided 3D design, medical terminology, drawing, computer animation, traditional media illustration and rendering. Courses for the professional, three-year BFA Program are delivered through KCAD, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Michigan State University. Course examples include Medical Illustration Methods I-III, Medical Illustration Animation, Making: Product, Illustration Digital Methods, Illustration Techniques, Dialogue & Personality, Graphic Design for Illustrators, and Medical Animation. The Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration BFA Program culminates with Advanced Problems in Biomedical Art, the Capstone course.

Graduates of the KCAD Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration BFA Program are prepared for advanced positions in the fields of Medical and Scientific Illustration. Some graduates go on to establish successful freelance careers, others go on to graduate study.

Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1884 and  located in Big Rapids, Michigan, the school serves 11,165 students enrolled in more than 190 programs across seven degree-granting colleges. Kendall College of Art and Design is one of the seven colleges within Ferris State University. Founded in 1928, and located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, KCAD serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in dozens of specialized undergraduate degree programs and several graduate and certificate programs.

As part of Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design is accredited by the HLC. KCAD of Ferris State University is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

17. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana (Top 30% of colleges considered)
Indiana University-Purdue University

Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) houses Herron School of Art and Design (Herron), which has been educating art and design students for 120 years. Serving more than 650 students today, Herron School of Art and Design provides 21 majors, minors, and certificate programs across dozens of classrooms and 70+ studio spaces. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Herron also provides access to 10,000+ square feet of exhibition space and numerous labs, critique spaces, and fabrication spaces.

For students seeking a career in Illustration, Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University has a Drawing + Illustration BFA Program with the option to add a Book Arts or Production Minor. The curriculum, which consists of extensive studio experience in both Illustration and Drawing and Illustration, includes courses such as Building & Making, Image & 4D Studio, Drawing I-IV, Intermediate Illustration I-II, Digital Rendering, Advanced Drawing & Illustration I and II (Capstone), Narrative Drawing, and Professional Practice in Visual Arts I-II. A Senior Thesis is required to graduate.

Graduates of the IUPUI Herron Drawing + Illustration BFA Program are prepared to launch their own studios or freelance businesses or pursue salaried positions such Editorial Illustrator, Toy or Product Designer, Comic Artist, Animator, Scientific or Technical Illustrator, Children's Book Illustrator, Storyboard or Concept Artist, Graphic Novelist, Packaging Designer, or Set or Exhibition Designer, among others.

Indiana University (est. 1820) and Purdue University (est. 1869) merged in 1969 to create what is known today as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), IUPUI serves 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degrees and majors across 17 degree-granting schools.

18. Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia (Top 30% of colleges considered)
Augusta University

The Katherine Reese Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University (AU) provides a number of opportunities to study Illustration through the College’s Art flexible BA and BFA Programs. Housed in Pamplin’s Art & Design Department, these studio-based programs offer up to 12 credit hours in studio art electives (student’s choice), up to six additional credit hours from the Drawing/Painting Concentration, and six credits of free electives.

Course examples across AU’s Art and Design programs include Illustration - From Traditional to Digital Media, Visual Storytelling, Independent Study in Visualization, Drawing I-IV, Short Format Storytelling, Previsualization, 2D Animation, Electronic Media I-II, Tactile Graphics: Printed Surface for Books and Limited Edition, Color Experience and Theory, and Multimedia I-II. The Final Project, Senior Exhibition, and Portfolio can be Illustration-based. Other program features include opportunities to complete an internship, participation in workshops and seminars, and the AU Study Abroad Program in Greece.

For students seeking a unique degree that combines Illustration and Science, the College of Allied Health Sciences at AU has a Medical Illustration Graduate Program (MIGP) that can be completed in 21 months. Housed in Allied Health’s Department of Medical Illustration, the MIGP is one of just three programs of its kind in the U.S.

Program features include formal classes, seminars and lectures, and learning by hands-on performance, and participation in project critiques. Students in the program will have opportunities to collaborate with peers, complete an internship, and study abroad. During the first year of the program, all students will study traditional illustration techniques. Throughout the program, students will also explore computer technologies and digital techniques for animation, print, multimedia, and projection.

Other areas explored include interactive communication media, rendering styles, illustration techniques for Medical Illustrators, gross anatomy, and cell biology. Graduate-level science courses are housed in The Medical College of Georgia at AU.   

The MIGP at Augusta University leads to a Master of Science in Medical Illustration (MSMI) granted through The Graduate School.

Graduates of the Art and Illustration Programs at Augusta University are prepared for careers such as Medical Illustrator, Digital Illustrator, Technical Illustrator, Illustrator for Animation, TV, and Film, Storyboard Artist, Book Illustrator, Advertising Illustrator, Comic Book Illustrator, Multimedia Illustrator, Art Director, and Freelance Illustrator.

Augusta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1828 as the Medical College of Georgia, today, Augusta University is a public research university and medical school with locations throughout Augusta and satellite campuses in Athens, Albany, Rome, and Savannah, Georgia. Augusta University serves 9,565 students enrolled in 155 academic programs across ten colleges and schools—including the state’s 13th-oldest medical school and Georgia’s only dental college.

19. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts (Top 35% of colleges considered)
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth or UMassD) houses the College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA), home to the BFA in Art + Design: Illustration and Visual Design MFA: Illustration Programs. An Illustration Minor is also available.

As part of UMass Dartmouth, the BFA and MFA Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Students in both programs have access to IDEAStudio—a state-of-the-art digital/multimedia space where they can access equipment and software, and collaborate with peers and faculty from across the UMassD campus.

Students also have access to additional digital media labs, the Painting/2D Media Lab, Graphic Design & Illustration studios (graduate students are assigned individual workspaces), the Visual and Media Literacy Hub (HUB), which maintains the largest image and media repository on the UMassD campus, and Textile & Fiber Arts facilities equipped with papermaking studios, a textile media lab, dark rooms, and more.

In the Art + Design: Illustration Program, students will explore color, composition, drawing, painting, rendering, and printmaking, along with specialized areas such as book illustration, concept art, documentary illustration, and character development. The program requires 120 credit hours of study, with 78 credits in the major. The BFA Program culminates with a professional portfolio and participation in the Senior Exhibition. Graduates are prepared for careers in Illustration, Animation, Scientific Visualization, Multimedia Design, and graduate study.

The Visual Design MFA: Illustration Program at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth consists of 60 credit hours of study that can be completed on a two- or three-year schedule. In addition to Illustration, students will have opportunities to explore other areas such as Digital Media, Graphic Design, and Photography. Other MFA Program features include assigned graduate workspaces, individualized attention from faculty who are professionals in traditional, interactive, and time-based media, assistantship opportunities, interdisciplinary projects, visiting artists, access to the Visual Resources Center, which houses more than 150,000 archived images, and exhibition opportunities.

The Visual Design MFA: Illustration Program at UMass Dartmouth requires a Visual Thesis and Thesis Report to graduate. Examples of career paths for graduates of the program include Curator, Art Director, Arts Administrator, Senior Illustration Manager for Publications, Storyboard Director for Advertising, Animation or Film, and Art Educator.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) since 1963. The school dates back to 1895, when textile schools launched as New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River. Today. UMass Dartmouth is a public, four-year, national research university that serves 7,717 students enrolled in more than 100 programs across eight colleges and schools.

20. Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana (Top 35% of colleges considered)
Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University (Louisiana Tech) houses the College of Liberal Arts (COLA), home to the School of Design (SOD), and the College of Engineering & Science (COES). Both the SOD and COES provide several pathways to study Illustration. The SOD has a multidisciplinary Studio Art BFA Program with coursework in areas such as Illustration, Drawing, Printmaking, and Video and Digital Media. Students in this program have the opportunity to work with advisors to customize a focus in Illustration or other area. Studio Art Majors can also develop skills in a fast-growing area of Illustration by adding the Pre-Medical Illustration Concentration or 45 credit hour Minor.

Other Studio Art Program features include access to dedicated studio spaces at the FJ Taylor Visual Arts Center, which is equipped with Illustration, Drawing, Digital Media, Design, Photography (digital, lighting, darkroom), and Painting studios; internship and study abroad opportunities in Florence, Italy; visiting artists; the three-course Professional Practices Curriculum; and workshops and seminars.

The Studio Art BFA Program at Louisiana Tech culminates with the BFA Senior Exhibition. Graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

The Louisiana Tech COES has a Biomedical Engineering BS Program (BSBM) with a Pre-Medical Illustration Concentration. Courses may include Illustration Materials and Techniques, Special Topics in Pre-Medical Illustration, Practice in Scientific Visualization, Digital Painting, Graphic Design Software, Drawing, Fine Arts Appreciation, Figure Drawing, Medical Device Design, Studio Problems, and Technical Writing. Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) the BSBM Program requires 128 credit hours to graduate.

Louisiana Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1894, the school serves nearly 11,200 students enrolled in over 70 degree programs concentrated in dozens of majors and fields of study. Programs at Louisiana Tech are housed in the Colleges of Applied and Natural Sciences (ANS), Business (COB), Education (COE), Engineering & Science (COES), and Liberal Arts (COLA).

21. California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California (Top 35% of colleges considered)
California State University, East Bay

California State University, East Bay (Cal State East Bay or CSEUB) houses the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, home the School of Arts & Media. Within the Arts & Media School is the Department of Art, which houses the Art BFA Program. Program features include an Illustration Concentration, small classes taught by industry professionals, dedicated work spaces, three fully equipped Painting and Drawing studios, a Printmaking facility, access to student art galleries for solo or group exhibitions, and field trips to galleries, museums, and artists’ studios.

Consisting of 127 units of study, the Cal State East Bay BFA Program requires 70 units in the Art Major and 30 in the Illustration Core. All students, regardless of concentration, will complete lower and upper division foundation courses such as Fundamentals of Drawing, 2D, 3D and 4D Processes, Contemporary Visual Studies I-II, and Photography. Examples of Illustration Core courses include Introduction to Illustration, Narrative Illustration, Advanced Illustration, Figure Drawing I-II, Illustration Dynamic Forms, and Color and Concept.

BFA students will have the opportunity to develop additional skills in a number of areas through electives. Examples include Bookmaking, Photography, Animation, Graphic Arts, Motion Graphics, Typography, and Design for Production.

Graduates of the Art/Illustration BFA Program at California State University, East Bay go on to pursue positions such as Book Illustrator, Educational Illustrator, Advertising Illustrator, Character Designer, Editorial Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, Environmental Artist, Comic Book Artist, Muralist, Creative Director, Studio Artist, Forensic Artist, Fashion Illustrator, and Game Artist, among others.

California State University, East Bay is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The school, which has campuses in Hayward, Concord, and Oakland, California, has been serving the Bay Area as part of the California State University System for more than 60 years. Cal State East Bay has a population of close to 14,000 students enrolled in more than 150 degree, minor and certificate programs in the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Business and Economics; Science; and Education and Allied Studies.

22. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (Top 35% of colleges considered)
Iowa State University

The College of Design at Iowa State University (Iowa State or ISU) houses the Department of Art and Visual Culture, which has an Illustration Minor that allows students to tailor the curriculum to their career goals. Examples include advertising and concept art for game design and film, graphic novels, illustration for books, and magazine articles. The Illustration Minor can be taken alone or added to majors such Art & Design, Integrated Studio Arts, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interdisciplinary Design, or Landscape Architecture. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared for studio careers, freelance careers or to launch their own studios.

The College of Design and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) jointly offer an additional option for students interested in Illustration. The BA in Biological and Pre-Medical Illustration (BPMI) and a 17 credit hour BPMI Minor with traditional illustration and scientific illustration coursework. The BPMI BA Program is also part of the Department of BPMI, which accepts just 45 students annually. While the BA Program focuses on BPMI, students will develop visual design skills, they will learn the latest artistic techniques, and take courses in visual communications. The skills developed can be applied to Animation, Drawing, Painting, and Photography, among others.

Course examples for the BPMI Program include Illustration as Communication, Illustration and Illustration Software, Drawing I-II, Computer Modeling, Rendering and Virtual Photography, Advanced Art, Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition, Creative Writing: Playwriting, Humanities and Advanced Art, and Business Communication. Students can select additional Illustration-related courses through electives. Examples include Independent Study in Illustration, Sequential Narrative Drawing, History of Comics, Principles of 3D Animation, Digital Imaging, Character and Scene Design, Advanced Drawing, and Digital Imaging.

All BPMI BA students will have the opportunity to complete an internship or other work experience prior to graduation. For ISU graduates receiving degrees from August 2020 to May 2021, 100% were continuing their education or employed within six months of graduation.

Iowa State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1858, the school is the nation’s first designated land-grant institution. Iowa State serves just over 30,700 students enrolled in more than 100 undergraduate majors and 200+ fields of study leading a graduate or professional degree. Programs at Iowa State University are housed in eight colleges, two schools, and around 150 academic departments.

23. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Top 40% of colleges considered)
Purdue University

The College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University houses the Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance, home to the Department of Art and Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department has a Fine Arts Program that offers a Major in Drawing and Illustration. Courses for the program explore illustration, mixed media, art history, computer art, drawing and life drawing, monoprint, printmaking, etching, alternative processes, painting, silkscreen, relief, and lithography.

Leading to a BFA, the Drawing and Illustration Major also provides opportunities to choose electives in areas such as textiles, ceramics, sculpture, and metal.

Graduates of the Drawing and Illustration Program at Purdue University are prepared to pursue careers in Illustration, Animation and Film, Publishing, and Education, as well as at Galleries, Museums, and other cultural institutions.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1869, the school opened its doors five years later with a faculty of six and 39 students. Today, Purdue employs nearly 2,300 faculty members that serve close to 50,000 students from all 50 states and 135+ countries.

More than 400 programs are offered across the main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana and three regional campuses, which house eight colleges and schools, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Exploratory Studies, and Veterinary Medicine.

24. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah (Top 40% of colleges considered)
Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University’s (UVU) School of the Arts is home to the Department of Art and Design, which two pathways for students interested in studying Illustration. The first option—the Art and Design AAS Program—has a Design/Illustration Emphasis that requires 63 credit hours to graduate. Students will take courses such as Illustrative Media and Techniques (I-II), 3D Computer Modeling, Digital Painting for Illustration, Spatial Drawing, Graphic Computer Applications, 2D and 3D Design, and Gestural Drawing.

This two-year degree program prepares students for entry level jobs in Advertising Illustration, Illustration for Design Studios and In-House Design Departments, Publishing and Printing Firms, and Freelance Consulting, among others.

The second pathway option for Illustrators is the UVU Art and Design BFA with an Illustration Emphasis. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the BFA Program is designed for students who would like to pursue careers in Traditional Illustration, Digital Illustration, and Animation. Electives options allow students to focus in an area of interest within Illustration. Course examples for the program include Children's Book Illustration, Environmental Design and Painting, Conceptual Illustration, 2D Animation for Illustration, Graphic Design, Graphic Computer Applications, Advanced illustration, Advanced Rendering of Forms and Spaces, Narrative Illustration, and Sequential Illustration.

Of the projects students will complete, two include the BFA Project and Senior Studio. The BFA Project will be completed over the course of two consecutive semesters, and focuses on the development and execution of a gallery exhibition or professional portfolio and includes collaborative work with a gallery/museum professional in preparation of the exhibition's public viewing.

Graduates of Art and Design BFA Program at Utah Valley University are prepared for mid- to upper-level positions at Film and Animation Studios, Game Design Companies, Graphic Design Studios, Advertising Agencies, Design Departments, Magazines, Publishing Firms, and Printing Companies, among others. Some graduates go on to graduate study, freelance careers or to launch their own studios.

Utah Valley University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The school opened as Central Utah Vocational School (CUVS) in 1941 with the primary function of providing war production training. Today, UVU serves nearly 41,000 students, making it the largest public university in the State of Utah. Utah Valley University offers more than 200 degree and certificate programs across five campuses and eight colleges and schools.

25. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia (Top 40% of colleges considered)
Kennesaw State University

The School of Art and Design (SOAAD) at Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) serves more than 1,200 students enrolled in over a dozen programs and concentrations leading to a BFA or MA. For students interested in Illustration, SOAAD offers has an Art BFA Program with a Concentration in Illustration. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program provides the opportunity to add additional concentrations in areas such Graphic Communications, Painting and Drawing, Art History, Sequential Art, Photography and Video, Printmaking, and Textile and Surface Design.

SOAAD features include the summer art intensives, visiting artists, internship opportunities, and the KSU partnership with ESA Saint-Luc in Bruxells, Belgium. This long-running study abroad program provides unique opportunities such as the Comics curriculum at ESA St. Luc Brussels.

Course examples for the Illustration Concentration include Electronic Illustration, (Concept, Creativity, and Studio Practice, Advanced Figure, Illustration I-II, 2D Design and Color Theory, Aqueous Media, Computer Applications in Art, Advanced Illustration, Printmaking, and 3D Design.

In the final year of the KSU Illustration Program, students will complete the Senior Art Seminar and Exhibition course worth three credits.

Graduates of the Art Programs at Kennesaw State University go on to successful careers as Illustrators for Animation, Television, and Film, Multimedia Artists, Advertising Illustrators, Book Designers, Storyboard Artists for Animation and Games, Packaging Designers, and Art Directors, among others.

Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963 as a junior college, KSU serves nearly 43,000 students making it one of top 50 largest public colleges in the U.S. Kennesaw State University provides more than 170 degree program options across 11 colleges and KSU Journey Honors College.