What are the top illustration schools in Connecticut for 2023?

Top 5 Connecticut Illustration Schools and Colleges - 2023 College Rankings
1University of HartfordHartford
2University of ConnecticutStorrs
3University of New HavenWest Haven
4Eastern Connecticut State UniversityWillimantic
5Central Connecticut State UniversityNew Britain

Our 2023 ranking of the top five illustration schools in Connecticut. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
University of Hartford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut
University of Connecticut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut
University of New Haven

The Art BA Program at University of New Haven is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Program that provides the opportunity to study Illustration through required courses and electives. Students may also add the 18 credit-hour Illustration Minor. Course examples across programs include Introduction to Illustration, Virtual Design, Illustration I-III, 3D Modeling and Animation, Digital Illustration, Motion Graphics, History of Illustration, Figure Drawing, Multimedia Communication, Painting I-II, Visual Thinking, Printmaking, Typography, and Contemporary Art.  

Other program features include experiential learning opportunities at art galleries and museums in New Haven New York, and Boston; access to traditional workspaces, state-of-the-art studios, computer labs, and other production facilities; internships at local and regional studios and other organizations; small class sizes and mentorship; and independent study opportunities.

Students in the Art Ba and Illustration Minor also have access to a wide variety of resources through the University’s Career Development Center.

Graduates of the Art BA Program at University of New Haven are prepared to launch careers in areas such as Magazine Illustration, Fine Art, Graphic Novels and Comics, Storyboard Art, Illustration for Animation and Games, Book Cover Art, Scientific and Medical Illustration, Poster Art, Film, and Art Direction.

Founded in 1920, University of New Haven serves approximately 7,515 students enrolled in 82 undergraduate majors, master's degrees in 72 areas of graduate study, and a doctorate in criminal justice. Programs are housed across the College of Arts and Sciences; Pompea College of Business; School of Health Sciences; Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences; and Tagliatela College of Engineering. University of New Haven is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

4. Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Connecticut
Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU or Eastern Connecticut State) houses the Art and Art History Department, home to the Art BA Program with four Concentrations including Illustration, Digital Art and Media Design, Art History, and Studio Art. Features across areas include access to the ECSU’s Fine Arts Instructional Center, which houses state-of-the-art digital and traditional studios; the Eastern Connecticut State University Internship Program; and the opportunity to display student artwork in the Art Gallery and other spaces across campuses.

The Art BFA Program begins with 26 credit hours of required Foundation courses. Upon successful completion of the courses, students will submit a portfolio for admission to upper level courses. Foundation course examples include 2D and 3D Design, Drawing I, Digital Illustration, Relief Printmaking, Digital Imaging, and Introduction to Art History: 1400 to the Present.

The Illustration Concentration (IC) requires 21 credit hours, including 12 in the IC and nine in electives. IC courses include Illustration I-III and Figure Drawing I. Electives allow students to enhance the degree through advanced coursework in multiple areas of Illustration, Art and Design. Advanced Topics in Illustration, Picture Book Illustration, Visual Journaling & Bookmaking, Scientific Illustration, and Advanced 3D Animation. Students will also take Independent Study, Digital Portfolio Preparation, and Senior Seminar in Studio Art (Capstone).

Graduates of the Art BA Program at Eastern Connecticut State University are prepared for careers in Children’s Book Illustration, Advertising, Package Design, Fashion Illustration, Animation, Scientific Illustration, Game Art, Greeting Card Design, Exhibit Design, Film, Editorial, Forensic Illustration, and Architecture. Some program alumni go on to launch their own studios and freelance businesses.

Founded in 1889, Eastern Connecticut State University school serves approximately 4,080 students from 31 states and eight countries. Programs include 40 majors, 60 minors, and  60 concentrations leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. Eastern Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

5. Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut
Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) houses the Carol A. Ammon College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), home to the Department of Art & Design. Within the Department is an Art BA Program with an Illustration Studio Option that combines hands-on art making with studio-based research. Course examples Illustration I-II, Comics and the Graphic Novel, 3D Design, Advanced Watercolor Painting and Related Media, Life Drawing I-II, Digital Processes in Art Making, New Media Arts, Painting I-II, Sequential Art and Advanced Drawing.

In the final year of the CCSU Art BA Program, students will take Independent Study in Art and/or Art Education, as well as Exhibition Research, the Thesis, and the Capstone in Art. Students will have the opportunity to choose between the Professional Level Portfolio or Research Project in Art for their final project.

Graduates of the Art BA Program at Central Connecticut State University are prepared for positions at publishing companies, advertising agencies, museums and other cultural institutions, art studios,  animation and film studios, graphic design firms, art galleries, newspapers and magazines, and design consultancies.

Founded in 1849 as the New Britain Normal School, Central Connecticut State University is the oldest public institution of higher education in the state. Serving approximately 11,800 students, CCSU is also the largest university within the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System. The school provides 100 undergraduate majors in 80+ fields, and graduate degrees in 41 fields across one college and four schools. Central Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).