What are the top illustration schools in North Carolina for 2023?

Top North Carolina Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotte
2East Carolina UniversityGreenville

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

1. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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).

2. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University

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).