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What are the top public illustration schools in the U.S. for 2023?
|Ranking||School||State||% of Top Schools Considered|
|1||Fashion Institute of Technology||New York||2%|
|2||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Massachusetts||3%|
|3||San Jose State University||California||5%|
|4||California State University, Fullerton||California||6%|
|5||California State University, Long Beach||California||8%|
|6||University of Central Florida||Florida||10%|
|7||California State University, Northridge||California||15%|
|8||Virginia Commonwealth University||Virginia||15%|
|9||University of Colorado, Denver||Colorado||15%|
|10||University of North Carolina at Charlotte||North Carolina||20%|
|11||University of Arizona||Arizona||20%|
|12||Southern Utah University||Utah||20%|
|13||University of Utah||Utah||25%|
|14||University of Georgia||Georgia||25%|
|16||East Carolina University||North Carolina||30%|
|17||Utah Valley University||Utah||30%|
|18||Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis||Indiana||30%|
|19||University of Kansas||Kansas||35%|
|20||Kennesaw State University||Georgia||35%|
|21||Northern Illinois University||Illinois||35%|
|22||Boise State University||Idaho||35%|
|23||Grand Valley State University||Michigan||40%|
|24||Ferris State University||Michigan||40%|
|25||University of Connecticut||Connecticut||40%|
Our 2023 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 (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).
2. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 3% of schools considered)
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).
3. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (Top 5% of schools considered)
San Jose State University (SJSU) houses the College of Humanities and the Arts, home to the Department of Design. Within the Department are two paths to study Illustration: the Animation & Illustration (A/I) BFA and the Design Studies BA with a Specialization in A/I. Students in both programs benefit from the Department’s close relationships with major companies, networks, and studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), DreamWorks, Hallmark, Bento Box Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Pixar, and Warner Bros. Animation. In addition, the Department provides workshops, seminars, and internship opportunities at these and other studios throughout California and across the U.S.
The A/I BFA at SJSU 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. 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 the Animation & Illustration Program at San Jose State University are prepared for careers in areas such as feature film animation, television, game design, and other industries that require Animation and Illustration skills.
The SJSU Design BA with a Specialization in A/I is a Liberal Arts degree that combines foundation studies with Film, Design, Photography, and Theater Arts. Students in this program have opportunities to work on projects in multidisciplinary teams and develop skills in Visual Development, Animation, Modeling, Storyboarding, and Short Film Production. 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 Monsters, Inc. Shrek, Finding Nemo, and A Bug’s Life. Program alumni have taught at major colleges and universities, and they work in a variety of positions at NBCUniversal Studios, Lucasfilm Animation, Zynga, Sony/Columbia, Pixar Nickelodeon, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts (EA), Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, 20th Century Fox, and Disney Animation.
Established in 1857, San Jose State University is Silicon Valley’s Public University. Serving approximately 36,000 students, the school offers more than 250 areas of study at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Programs at SJSU are housed across nine colleges and dozens of departments and schools. San Jose State University is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
4. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (Top 6% of schools considered)
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 Art BFA, MA, and MFAs with a Concentration in Illustration. All programs feature unlimited access to state-of-the-art production studios, labs, and equipment; workshops and seminars; study abroad experiences; visiting artists; and internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies.
Across programs, students will take courses such as Digital Narrative Illustration, Visual Development and Background Painting, Children’s Book Illustration, Animal and Wildlife Drawing, Special Studies in Sequential Art, Landscape Painting and Location Drawing, Special Studies in Illustration, Seminar on the Context and Method of Art History, The Digital Studio, and 3D Team Production.
The Art BFA Program at Cal State Fullerton 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 CSUF MFA Program culminates with a solo 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 The Walt Disney Company, Nickelodeon, Lucasfilm Ltd. DreamWorks, and Cartoon Network.
Founded in 1957, California State University, Fullerton is part of the 23 campus California State University (CSU) system. Serving more than 40,000 students, the school offers 55 undergraduate and 55 graduate degree programs in eight academic colleges. California State University, Fullerton is Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
5. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The College of the Arts at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is home to the School of Art (SoA), which has several paths to study Illustration. Options include an Art BFA with Illustration and Animation Tracks, and a Studio Art Concentration within the Art MFA Program, with an Animation/Illustration Track.
In partnership with the Department of Biological Sciences, the SoA has an interdisciplinary 30-unit Certificate in Biomedical Illustration that can be completed in one year, full-time. The Certificate Program can be added to an undergraduate degree program or taken post-graduation. Course examples include Biomedical Illustration, Computer Animation, Illustration 2, Anatomy for Artists, and Special Studies in Illustration.
The Art BFA at California State University, Long Beach consists of 132 units. Students in this program have the unique opportunity to take courses from both the Animation and Illustration Tracks. Students will also work with peers across Tracks in the Digital Lab. Course examples include Intro Studio: Illustration – Rendering, Writing About Visual Art, Core Studio: Illustration I and 2, Production for Fine Art, Storyboarding for Film and Television, Drawing with Perspective, and Illustration Senior Project—the culminating experience for the Art BFA.
Other program features include courses taught by industry professionals; participation in workshops led by faculty and visiting artists; opportunities to complete an internship at local, regional, and national studios; and study abroad experiences in places such as Ireland, Germany, and Spain.
The Art MFA-Studio Art Program at California State University, Long Beach 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.
Graduates of the Art Programs at California State University, Long Beach are prepared to pursue positions in fields such as Live Action Film, Advertising, Graphic Design, Animation, Games, Gallery Exhibition Production and Design, Educational Illustration, Biomedical Illustration, Editorial Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Newspapers, Magazine Publishing, Book Art, and Textile Design.
California State University, Long Beach was established in 1949 as Los Angeles-Orange County State College. One of the 23 campuses of the California State University System, CSULB serves more than 38,000 students enrolled in over 300 programs across eight colleges. California State University, Long Beach is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
6. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (Top 10% of schools considered)
The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), which has two paths to study Illustration. Options include the Art BA with a Studio Track and the Studio Art BFA. Both Programs allow students to Specialize in Illustration, Book Arts, Drawing, or Drawing + Illustration. BFA students may choose one Specialization, while BA students may select several. Other options include Type and Design, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture.
Course examples across programs include Intermediate Illustration I, Computer Art, Image, Culture, and Society, Art as Interface, The Illuminated Book, Design Theory and Methods, Visual Storytelling & Visual Development Workshop, The Professional Environment, Type and Design, Advanced Illustration, History of Illustration, Art of Walt Disney, Book Binding, Experimental Painting, Photography and Art, Procedural Animation, and Drawing Intensive.
Both the Studio Art BFA and Art BFA provide the opportunity to compete an internship and/or participate in the UCF Study Abroad Program.
The Studio Art BFA culminates with the BFA Exhibit/Seminar course. BA students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.
Graduates of the Art and Studio Art Programs at University of Central Florida are prepared to pursue careers such as Illustrator for Animation, Film, and Games, Storyboard Artist, Fine Artist, Advertising Illustrator, and Comic Book Illustrator. University of Central Florida alumni have gone on to establish careers at places such as Google, Apple, YouTube, and Amazon, Google.
University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. On the first day of classes, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves around 70,400 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the state of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. The school provides 240 bachelor’s degrees, 214 master’s degrees, and 81 doctorate degrees across 13 colleges. University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
7. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California (Top 15% of colleges considered)
California State University, Northridge (CSUN or CSU Northridge) houses Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, home to the Department of Art. within the Department are several paths to study Illustration including the Art BA Program, and MA and MFA options in Visual Arts. All programs provide the option to specialize in Illustration.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the CSU Northridge 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 campus-based organizations.
The CSU Northridge Art BA combines Art and Design coursework with Liberal Arts studies. Course examples include Illustration Materials and Techniques, World Arts: Asia, Illustration I-III, History of Contemporary Art, Digital Illustration, Beginning Three-Dimensional Design, Core Art Studio, Drawing I, and Senior Projects and Lab.
The Visual Arts MA at California State University, Northridge is a 30 unit program that can be completed in one to two years. Course examples for the program include History and Philosophy of Art, Advanced Studio Problems: Illustration, and Art Analysis and Criticism. 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 CSU Northridge Visual Arts MFA 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 MFA students have access to private, on-campus studios. Course examples for the program include Art Analysis and Criticism, Studio Problems or Advanced Studio Problems in Illustration, Drawing, Video/Digital Art, Graphic Design, MFA Seminar, and Graduate Directed Research.
Visual Arts MFA students 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.
Founded in 1958 and serving approximately 38,390 students, California State University, 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 University Library. Programs include bachelor’s degrees in 69 disciplines, master’s degrees in 73 fields, 24 doctoral degree programs, and 19 teaching credential programs. California State University, Northridge is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
8. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 15% of schools considered)
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).
9. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Media at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has a BFA Program with an Illustration Emphasis that prepares students for freelance careers or full-time positions within a wide variety of creative fields. An Illustration Minor is available for students in other creative Majors. Consisting of 18 credit hours, the Minor includes course options such as Digital Painting, The Graphic Novel Workshop, and Painting, Drawing and the Printed Image. Illustration I: Image Making and Two Dimensional Design are just a few required courses.
The Illustration BFA at CU Denver is a 120 credit hour program that provides access to state-of-the art digital labs, industrial equipment, and sculpture studios. Students also have opportunities to work on projects for places such as Pixar and the Denver Art Museum, as well as local art galleries and studios. Course examples for the Program include Illustration I: Image Making, Illustration II: Digital Media, Illustration III: Investigative Methods, Illustration IV: Thesis Development, 3D Design, The Graphic Novel Workshop, Typography, Painting, and The Business of Art.
The Illustration BFA Program at CU Denver culminates with the Illustration BFA Thesis course worth three credits. Graduates work in areas such as Advertising, Product Illustration, Editorial, Marketing, Children’s Book Publishing, Medical Illustration, Games, Interactive Illustration, Animation, Scientific Illustration, Comics, Magazine Illustration, and Graphic Novels.
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 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina (Top 20% of colleges considered)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte), houses the College of Arts + Architecture (COA+A). Serving more than 1,000 students, the COA+A provides 33 degrees and concentrations across the Departments of Art and Art History; Music; Dance; and Theatre. The 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; Macy Graphic Design Computer Lab; Rowe Digital Fabrication Lab (RoFL); Lighting, Painting, and Ceramics Studios; Rowe Recital Hall; the Print Media Lab; and performance spaces.
All UNC Charlotte Art and Art History students have the opportunity to join on-campus organizations such as Cerama, Art & Mindfulness, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Student Chapter. UNC Charlotte and the Department also lead a recurring Study Abroad Summer Program in Rome as well as paid internship opportunities at local museums and performing arts centers.
Program options for students seeking a degree in Illustration include an Art BFA with a Concentration in Illustration. accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Art BFA Program requires 120 credit hours, with 79 credit hours of required courses within the Department of Art and Art History. The Illustration Concentration consists of 33 credit hours, with the remaining credits consisting of electives.
Course examples for the Program Illustration: Media/Method, Digital Foundations, Children’s Book Illustration, Mixed Media Painting, The Figure in Illustration, Drawing I-II, Illustration Sequence/Story, Figure and Anatomy, Topics in Illustration, and 2D and 3D Design.
In the final year of the program, students will complete the Senior Seminar, the Illustration Projects course, and BFA Portfolio Review. Final projects will be presented at the BFA Illustration Exhibition. Graduates are prepared for careers in areas such as Magazine Illustration, Book Cover Art, Graphic Novels, Illustration for Animation and Games, Comics, Storyboard Art, Scientific and Medical Illustration, and Poster Art.
Founded in 1946, University of North Carolina at Charlotte serves approximately 29,550, making it the third largest school in the 16-campus UNC System. This public research university provides more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs across nine colleges. University of North Carolina at Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
11. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Top 20% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at University of Arizona (UArizona or UA) is home to the School of Art, which houses the multidisciplinary Studio Art BFA and Art MFA. The BFA has an Emphasis in Illustration, Design, and Animation (IDA) and the MFA has an Emphasis in Illustration + Design (ID).
All School of Art programs have access to a studio spaces and number of labs, museums, equipment, and facilities. Examples include computer labs with Wacom Cintiq Touch screens and animation stations; a digital imaging lab with large format printing; letterpress, binding, and photopolymer platemaking equipment; the University of Arizona Museum of Art; University Libraries extensive book art collection; and the Center for Creative Photography.
Other School of Art features include team projects with local clients; field trips; the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Student Chapter; and internship opportunities and study abroad experiences.
The Studio Art BFA with an IDA Emphasis requires 125 units, including 42 in upper division coursework and 24 units of upper division coursework in the IDA Emphasis. All Studio Art Majors will complete the First Year Experience, which consists of 8-week, workshop-based Art courses. Workshops include Drawing from Observation, Mixed Media, Painting and Color Theory, Figure Drawing, Digital Photography, and Design, among others.
Students will graduate from the University of Arizona IDA BFA Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The UArizona Studio Art MFA is a 60 credit hour program that requires 33 units in ID Studio Art courses. Students in this Program will participate in interdisciplinary Design and Illustration courses and seminars; independent studies and workshops; and studio critiques with alumni and visiting artists.
The Studio At MFA Program at UArizona culminates with the MFA Thesis and Project.
Graduates of the Art and Studio Art Programs at University of Arizona are prepared for careers in Book Publishing, Children’s Books, Magazine Publishing, Advertising, Editorial, Graphic Novels, Comic Books, Television and Film, Game Art and Design, and Animation.
Established in 1885, University of Arizona opened in 1891 with 32 students and six faculty members. Today, UA serves approximately 51,135 students, making it one of top five largest post-secondary institutions in Arizona. Students at UA have access to more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in more than 150 areas of study. Programs are offered across 20 colleges and nearly two dozen specialized schools. University of Arizona is accredited by the by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12. Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah (Top 20% of colleges considered)
Southern Utah University (SUU) is home to the College of Performing and Visual Arts (CVPA), which houses the Department of Art & Design. Within the Department is a Studio Art BFA Program with an Illustration Emphasis and an Illustration Minor. The Studio Arts BFA requires 120 credit hours, including 51 credits in Illustration and Illustration electives.
The Illustration Minor consists of 19.5 credit hours and explores Art History, Narrative and Conceptual Illustration, 2D Design, Color Theory and Applications, and Drawing. Course examples include Life Drawing and Anatomy, Introduction to Illustration, Drawing I-II, Visual Development, and Nineteenth-Century Art. Upon completion of the Illustration Minor, students are prepared for entry-level positions in the field or to enroll in a BFA program, such as the SUU Studio Art BFA.
Across programs, students benefit from participation in critiques and discussions, and the opportunity to exhibit student work. Studio Arts BFA students will also participate in workshops and seminars, and they have the option to complete an internship and/or study abroad experience.
SUU Studio Arts BFA students may focus in an area within Illustration or other creative area through required free electives. Students may choose up to 14 credit hours of free electives to include upper level courses numbered 3000-4999. Course examples for the Program include Art Insights, Narrative Illustration, Painting I-III, Visual Development Studio, 3D Digital Illustration, Motion Graphics, Conceptual Illustration, and Aqueous Media.
In the final year of the Studio Arts BFA Program at Southern Utah University, students will complete Senior BFA Studio I: Professional Practices and Portfolio Systems, and Senior BFA Studio II: BFA Exhibition and Portfolio Completion. This is the culminating experience for the program.
Graduates of the Studio Arts/Illustration BFA Program at Southern Utah University are prepared for careers in areas such as Publishing, Editorial, Advertising, Entertainment Art, and Licensing. Some Studio Arts alumni go on to launch their own studios or freelance careers. Program alumni have also gone on to graduate study at Southern Utah University and other top universities across the U.S.
Founded in 1897, Southern Utah University serves approximately 14,330 students enrolled in than 150 undergraduate programs, 32 graduate and certificate programs, and a professional doctorate degree. Programs at SUU are housed across seven academic colleges and dozens of departments. Southern Utah University has been continually accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) since 1933.
13. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Top 25% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at University of Utah (The U) houses the Department of Art & Art History, home to the Art BFA Program with six Major/Emphasis options. Students in all Majors are required to complete the First Year Studio Foundations Program, which includes courses such as Introduction to Visual Language and Introduction to Art History. Upon completion of Foundations, students have the opportunity to customize their own path in their chosen emphasis and select projects that will help them reach their academic and career goals.
In the Illustration Emphasis, students will explore narrative techniques, concept development strategies, and Illustration industry practices. Course examples include Illustration 1: Process Art, Digital Drawing, Communication Design, Illustration 2: Narrative Approaches, Typography, Digital Imaging for Visual Artists, Illustration 3: World & Voice, New Media Painting, Book Arts: Letterpress Printing, Urban Art, Language of Color: Beauty, Power, Meaning, Drawing Installation, and Special Topics.
The Art BFA (Illustration) culminates with Illustration 4: Capstone. In this course, students will explore topics such as creating a portfolio website, finances, self-promotion, and ethics. At the end of the course, students will have a website or online portfolio of their best work, as well as marketing materials including business cards, postcards, and related promotional materials.
Graduates of the Art BFA (Illustration) Program at University of Utah are prepared for careers such as Children’s Book Illustration, Fine Art, Advertising Illustration, Gallery and Exhibition Design, Editorial Illustration, Comics & Storyboard Art, Book Illustration, Surface and Textile Design, Fashion Illustration, Character Development, Scientific illustration, and Concept Art.
Founded in 1850, University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution. A top-tier research university, The U serves more than 34,900 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 17 colleges and schools. University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
14. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 25% of colleges considered)
University of Georgia (UGA) is home to Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, which houses Lamar Dodd School of Art. This academic unit within Franklin College provides 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. All Lamar Dodd students also have the opportunity to participate in the UGA Study Abroad Program, which has more than 100 options in 75 overseas locations. Examples include Ghana, West Africa; Tuscany, Italy; and Costa Rica.
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 School also has an Art BFA Program with a Concentration in Scientific Illustration that prepares students for careers in Traditional, Biological, and Medical Illustration.
Students may select nine credit hours or more in electives from areas such as Communications & Media, Studio Art & Design, and Interaction & Computing. Course examples Illustration, Design Drawing Techniques, Digital Narrative Systems, Photography & Image Culture, Special Problems in Graphic Design, Advanced Drawing, and Painting. With instructor approval, Art BFA students may take courses from the Printmaking & Book Arts Area. Examples include Drawing and Visuality, Letterpress, Introduction to Book Arts, Digital Printmaking, and Advanced Book Studio.
In addition to courses such as Techniques and Topics in Science Illustration, Design in Scientific Illustration, Color Techniques in Scientific Illustration, and Directed Study in Scientific Illustration, the Scientific Illustration Concentration requires Art History coursework, and 27 credit hours of Studio Art courses. This provides additional opportunities for students to develop skills in Traditional Illustration. Examples of Studio courses include Figure Drawing/Anatomy, Figure Drawing, and Digital Imaging.
The Art BFA-Scientific Illustration Program at University of Georgia culminates with the Senior Exit course, which consists of a Critique, Portfolio, Evaluation, and participation in the BFA Exit Show: Scientific Illustration. Graduates of the program work in just about every industry. They have been hired at advertising agencies, publishers (books, journals, magazines), animation studios, software and app developers, studios that produce serious games, medical education companies, science communication studios, hospitals and clinics, medical practices, veterinary schools, medical and legal firms, device and biotech companies, research institutions, and the U.S. Military.
Chartered by the State of Georgia in 1785, University of Georgia is the nation’s first state university. The school serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in 379 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. Established in 1910, the Graduate School houses 250 of UGA’s 379 degree programs. University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
15. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Top 25% of colleges considered)
The College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University houses the NASAD-accredited Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance. Within the Rueff School is the Department of Art and Design, home to the Studio Arts Program with a Major in Drawing and Illustration. A 15 credit-hour Art and Design Studio Minor with an Illustration and Drawing Area is also available.
Leading to a BFA, the Studio Arts Program explores Mixed Media, Life Drawing, illustration, Etching, Printmaking, Silkscreen, Painting, Drawing, Relief, Monoprint, and Lithography. The Program also provides opportunities to choose electives in areas such as textiles, ceramics, sculpture, and metal.
Course examples across programs include Life Drawing I, Relief Printmaking, Digital Illustration, Advanced Painting, Illustrative Drawing, Etching and Intaglio Printmaking, Drawing II, History of Design, Photo Silkscreen, Computers in Art, Experimental Drawing.
Graduates of the Studio Arts-Drawing and Illustration Program at Purdue University are prepared to pursue careers in Illustration, Animation and Film, Publishing, and Education. Program alumni are also prepared to seek positions at Galleries, Museums, and other cultural institutions.
Established in 1869, Purdue University serves approximately 50,885 students from all 50 states and 130 countries. The school provides more than 400 programs across 11 colleges and schools. Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Art, Design, and Performance Programs at Purdue are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
16. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina (Top 30% of colleges considered)
East Carolina University (ECU) houses the College of Fine Arts & Communication, home to the School of Art and Design (SoAD). Housed in the Leo W. Jenkins Fine Arts Center (Jenkins Center), SoAD provides access to dedicated graduate and undergraduate studios, the Wellington B. Gray Gallery, computer labs, seminar and lecture classrooms, and the Burroughs Wellcome Senior Gallery. The Jenkins Center also houses specialized production equipment for projects across all disciplines.
The SoAD at ECU has an Art BFA Program with a 30 credit-hour Concentration in Illustration. Before entering the Concentration, students must complete the Common Core, along with courses such as Narrative Art and Design, Drawing, and Process in Studio Arts. Common Courses include Form, Space, and Color, Visual Organization, Translation as Making, Topics in Multidisciplinary Art, and the Art and Design Capstone.
Course examples for the Concentration include Illustration I: Survey, Illustration II: Concepts and Metaphors, Illustration III: Illustration Principles, Illustration IV: Professional Practice, and Illustration V: Portfolio. In addition the Concentration, ECU’s School of Art and Design provides interdisciplinary studios and coursework in Book Arts, Letterpress, and Community Arts. Other Program features include internships with local, regional and national companies; study abroad experiences in places such as Tuscany, Poland, and Abu Dhabi; and participation in the Senior Exhibition.
Graduates of the Art BFA Program at East Carolina University will enter the job market with a portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared to pursue careers such as Children’s Book Illustrator, Concept Artist, Exhbition Designer, Advertising Illustrator, Graphic Novelist, Textile Designer, Printmaker, Comic Book Artist, Muralist, Surface Designer, Exhibition Designer, Game Artist, Fine Artist, Storyboard Artist, Educator, and Freelance Illustrator.
Founded as a teacher training school in 1907, East Carolina University serves approximately 27,150 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. East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
17. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah (Top 30% of colleges considered)
The School of the Arts (SOA) at Utah Valley University (UVU) provides more than 20 programs to over 1,800 students, making it one of the largest art schools in the state. Programs are housed across four departments including Theatrical Arts for the Stage and Screen, Music, Art and Design, and Dance. Students in all departments have opportunities to intern with places such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), Paramount Pictures Studios, and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Utah MOCA). Students also have opportunities to complete in international internship in places such as Italy, Germany, the UK, and South Korea.
The SOA Department of Art and Design at Utah Valley University has two paths to study Illustration including the Art and Design AAS and the Art and Design BFA. The Art and Design AAS has a Design/Illustration Emphasis that requires 63 credit hours to graduate. Students in this program will take courses such as Illustrative Media and Techniques (I-II), Gestural Drawing, 3D Computer Modeling, 2D and 3D Design, Spatial Drawing, Digital Painting for Illustration, and Graphic Computer Applications.
This two-year degree program prepares students for entry-level jobs in Advertising Illustration, Illustration for Design Studios, Publishing and Printing Firms, In-House Design Departments, and Freelance Consulting.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Art and Design BFA Program at UVU has an Illustration Emphasis that explores Traditional Illustration, Animation, and Digital Illustration, and Animation. Electives options allow students to focus in an area of interest within Illustration. Course examples include Conceptual Illustration, Figure Drawing I-III, Sequential Illustration, Environment Design, Children’s Book Illustration, 3D Texturing and Rendering, 2D Animation for Illustration, Graphic Computer Applications, Advanced Illustration, Narrative Illustration, and Graphic Design.
The Art and Design BFA includes a variety of projects. Among them are 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. This 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 Advertising Agencies, Magazines, Publishing Firms, Printing Companies, Graphic Design Studios, Film and Animation Studios, Game Design Companies, and in Design Departments. Some UVU Art and Design alumni go on to launch their own studios or freelance careers, while others continue on to graduate school.
Utah Valley University (UVU) was established in 1941 as Central Utah Vocational School (CUVS).The school’s primary function was to provide war production training. Today, the UVU serves approximately 43,100 students from all backgrounds, making it the largest public university in the state. UVU students have access to more than 200 degree and certificate programs housed across eight colleges and schools. Utah Valley University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
18. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana (Top 30% of colleges considered)
Herron School of Art and Design (Herron) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has been educating students for over 120 years. Serving more than 650 students today, Herron provides 21 Majors leading to 14 degree programs, along with seven Minor and Certificate Programs. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Herron School of Art and Design houses dozens of classrooms, more than 70 studio spaces, 10,000+ square feet of exhibition space, numerous labs, critique spaces, and fabrication facilities.
For students who would like to pursue a career in Illustration, Herron at IUPUI has a Drawing + Illustration BFA Program with the option to add a Minor in Book Arts, Studio Art and Technology, Graphic Design, Art or Art History. On its own, the BFA Program provides extensive studio experience in both Illustration and Drawing + Illustration. Course examples include Drawing I-IV, Intermediate Illustration I-II, Digital Rendering, Building & Making, Image & 4D Studio, Narrative Drawing, and Professional Practice in Visual Arts I-II.
Students will complete Advanced Drawing & Illustration I and II (Capstone), and a Senior Thesis to graduate.
Graduates of the Drawing + Illustration BFA Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are prepared to pursue positions such Children's Book Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, Cartoonist, Packaging Designer, Editorial Illustrator, Toy Designer, Product Designer, Scientific Illustrator, Concept Artist, Technical Illustrator, Exhibition Designer, and Game Artist. Some program alumni go on to launch their own studios or freelance businesses, while others attend graduate school.
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). However, beginning Fall 2024, IUPUI will become two distinct institutions once again. For now, IUPUI serves 27,000 students, making it the third largest four-year university in Indiana. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the school provides more than 550 academic programs across 17 degree-granting schools.
19. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (Top 35% of colleges considered)
The School of Architecture and Design at University of Kansas (KU) houses the Department of Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Design Department provides access to state-of-the-art facilities; opportunities to participate in semester long internships and both short- and long-term study abroad experiences; workshops and lectures led by top designers; and opportunities to collaborate with KU’s industry partners.
For students seeking a degree in Illustration, the Department of Design at University of Kansas has an Illustration and Animation Concentration within the Design BFA Program. The curriculum for the Program explores Art, Design, Illustration, Drawing, Animation, Marketing, and Professional Practices. Course examples include Advanced Concept Art, Drawing Media for Illustration, Design Lecture Series, Sequence and Narrative Illustration, Ethics in Design, Illustration Concepts, Advanced Animation, Promo and Marketing for Illustration I-II, and Drawing for Design.
Other program features include the opportunity to work in a hands-on studio environment; dedicated computer labs; collaborative experiences; and project development training. The Design/Illustration and Animation BFA Program culminates with Capstone Year, where students will develop a final project and portfolio.
Graduates of the Design BFA Program at University of Kansas are prepared for careers in areas such as Advertising, Book Publishing, Print Media, Motion Graphics, Animation, Fashion Illustration, Toy Design, Editorial, Cartooning, Game Art, TV and Film, Marketing, and Exhibition Design. Program alumni work at top companies such as Disney, Pixar, and Hallmark. Some graduates goo n to launch their own studios and freelance businesses.
University of Kansas (est. 1865) opened on September 12, 1866 with one building and 55 students. Today, the school serves 28,500 students across five Kansas campuses including Lawrence, Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), University of Kansas houses more than 400 degree and certificate programs across 13 academic schools.
20. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia (Top 35% of colleges considered)
Kennesaw State University (KSU) is home to the School of Art and Design (SOAAD), which provides 12 undergraduate degree programs, two minors, and four graduate programs to more than 1,200 students. As part of the SOAAD, all programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Options for Illustrators include the Art BFA with a Concentrations in Illustration or Sequential Art and Comics. Across programs, students benefit from summer art intensives; visiting artists; internship opportunities; and KSU’s 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.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, both interdisciplinary BFA Programs emphasize Studio Art Practice and Fine Arts. Students in both Programs will complete general education and beginning courses such as English Composition, Renaissance Through Modern Art, Drawing I-II, and Computer Applications in Art. Students may enhance the degree by adding an additional Concentration in an area such as Graphic Communications, Painting and Drawing, Art History, Sequential Art, Photography and Video, Printmaking, and Textile and Surface Design.
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. Course examples for the Comic and Sequential Art concentration include Storyboarding and Composition, Electronic Illustration, Sequential Art I-II, Illustration I, Figure Drawing, and 3D Design.
The Art BFA Programs at Kennesaw State University culminate with the Senior Exhibition. Graduates of go on to establish careers as Illustrators for Animation, Television, and Film; Multimedia Artists; Advertising Illustrators; Storyboard Artists for Animation and Games; Book Designers; Product and Packaging Illustrators; and Art Directors.
Founded in 1963 as a junior college, Kennesaw State University is part of the University System of Georgia. The school serves 39,005 students, making it one of top 50 largest public colleges in the U.S. More than 170 degree programs in Arts, Business, Nursing, STEM fields, Cybersecurity, and more are provided across two campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, Georgia, 11 colleges, and KSU Journey Honors College. Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
21. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois (Top 35% of colleges considered)
The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) houses three schools including Art and Design, Music, and Theater and Dance. The CVPA School of Art and Design has been an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1969. Students in the School can earn an Art Studio and Design BFA, a BA or BS in Art, an Art History BA, or a BS.Ed. in Art and Design Education. The CVPA School of Art and Design also has an Accelerated BA/JD Program that leads to both the Art History BA and JD degrees.
Within the Art Studio and Design Program BFA Program is an Illustration Specialization led by professional artists who are active in the Illustration and Scientific/Medical Illustration fields. Students will begin the BFA Program with courses such as Drawing Foundation I, 2-D Foundation, and 3-D Foundation. Upon completion of Foundation coursework, students will move on to courses such as Beginning Illustration and Intro to Visual Communication.
In the Junior and Senior years of the Program, students will take upper division courses such as Computer Vector Applications for Illustration, 2D Animation, Computer Raster, and Visual Communication.
The Art Studio and Design BFA at Northern Illinois University culminates with the Senior Project in Illustration. Graduates are prepared for graduate study or careers in areas such as Children’s Book Illustration, Graphic Novels, Illustrations for Comics, Scientific Illustration, Concept Art for Games and Films, Illustration for Advertising, Product Design and Illustration, and Editorial Illustration.
Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University opened in 1899 as a teachers’ school called the Northern Illinois State Normal School. Today, NIU provides more than 100 undergraduate programs and over 80 graduate programs to approximately 14,365 students. Programs at NIU are housed across 42 schools and departments within seven colleges. Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
22. Boise State University, Boise, Idaho (Top 35% of colleges considered)
Boise State University (BSU) is home to the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS), which houses the Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies. Within the Department is an Illustration BFA Program that begins with coursework in Drawing, Painting, Writing, Printmaking, and Time-Based Art. Once students have developed skills in these areas, they will complete Illustration I before advancing to the Illustration Major. Course examples include in the Major include Illustration II, Studio in Illustration, Figure Painting, and Advanced Studio in Illustration. The Illustration BFA Program culminates with the Senior Project in Illustration course, which includes a formal Presentation or Exhibition.
Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Boise State University will enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared to seek careers in Book Publishing, Cartooning, Animation and Film, Product Design, Advertising and Marketing, Exhibition Design, Technical Illustration, and Game Art.
Founded by the Episcopal Church in 1932, Boise State University opened as Boise Junior College. Today, this public research university serves approximately 26,270 students enrolled in 200 areas of study. Programs at BSU are housed across nine colleges and dozens of departments. Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
23. Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan (Top 40% of colleges considered)
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is home to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), which houses the Department of Visual & Media Arts. An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Visual & Media Arts serves approximately 680 students enrolled in five programs leading to ten different degrees. Students in all programs have access to campus exhibition and independent study programs; experiential learning opportunities such as internships, 4,000+ study abroad programs, and field trips; and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities designed for work in traditional and new media.
The Department of Visual & Media Arts at GVSU also has several paths to study Illustration. For students seeking a focused program in Illustration, the Department has a 126 credit-hour Studio Art BFA with an Emphasis in Illustration. Students who would like to teach and illustrate, the Department has Art Education BA and BS Degree Programs that allow students to Specialize in Illustration through coursework. Both options require 120 credit hours.
Across programs, students have access to courses such as Intermediate Illustration, Graphic Design for Illustrators, Printmaking, Advanced Illustration, Animation, Illustration History, and Painting. All students have the opportunity to complete an internship and a variety of studio electives to enhance the degrees. Studio Art BFA students will complete the Issues in Art Capstone, a Senior Project, and Professional Portfolio to graduate.
Grand Valley State University graduates enjoy a 90% employment rate. Studio Art-Illustration alumni work in a variety of positions in fields such as Magazine Publishing, Book Cover Design, Children’s Books, Advertising, Greeting Card Art and Design, Educational Materials Publishing, Animation, Website Design, Game Art, Fashion Illustration, and Exhibit Design.
Grand Valley State University was established in 1960. With eight locations and centers in Michigan, GVSU serves approximately 21,650 students enrolled in 145 degree programs across seven schools. Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
24. Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan (Top 40% of colleges considered)
Ferris State University (Ferris State) is home to Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), which has several paths to study Illustration. Options include BFA Degrees in Illustration, Life Sciences and Pre-Medical Illustration (Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration), and a 15 credit-hour Illustration Minor. Students in this Program will take Introduction to Illustration, Illustration Techniques, and three Illustration Electives. Examples include Graphic Design for Illustrators, Children’s Book Design, and Publication Illustration.
BFA Program features include participation in the KCAD Illustration Society; internships during the academic year and summer months; and summer travel/study experiences. All students have access to KCAD galleries, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), and state-of-the-art labs, studios, and production facilities.
The Ferris State-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 3D Illustration, Narrative Perspective, Rendering, Digital Illustration Painting, Ala Prima Painting, Illustration I-III, Advanced Inking, Observational Field Sketching, Natural Science Illustration, Contemporary Fashion Illustrating, Graphic Design/Illustration, and Illustration Professional Practice. The Ferris State-KCAD Illustration BFA culminates with the development of a professional portfolio of the student’s best work.
Graduates of the Ferris State-KCAD Illustration BFA Program are prepared to launch their own studios or freelance businesses, or pursue salaried positions such as Cartoonist, Storyboard Illustrator, Children’s Book Illustrator, Editorial Illustrator, Mural Designer, Exhibit Designer, Creative Director, Fashion Illustrator, Game Artist, and Storyboard Artist.
The Life Science & Pre-Medical Illustration (Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration) Program at Derris State University-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 this professional, three-year BFA Program are delivered through Ferris State University, KCAD, Michigan State University, and Grand Rapids Community College.
Course examples include Medical Illustration Methods I-III, Graphic Design for Illustrators, Dialogue & Personality, Medical Illustration Animation, Making: Product, Illustration Digital Methods, Illustration Techniques, and Professional Practices for the Medical Illustrator. The Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration BFA Program culminates with the Advanced Problems in Biomedical Art (Capstone).
Established in 1884 and located in Big Rapids, Michigan, Ferris State University serves approximately 10,075 students enrolled in more than 190 programs across seven degree-granting colleges. Ferris State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
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 approximately 500 students enrolled in 18 programs leading to an AA, AFA, BA, BFA, MA, MFA, M.Arch, or Graduate Certificate.
As part of Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design is accredited by the HLC. KCAD is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
25. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut (Top 40% of colleges considered)
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).