What are the top illustration schools in Utah for 2023?

Top Utah Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Brigham Young UniversityProvo
2Southern Utah UniversityCedar City
3University of UtahSalt Lake City
4Utah Valley UniversityOrem

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

1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University

The College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC) at Brigham Young University (BYU) provides a number of opportunities and experiences for all CFAC majors. Serving nearly 5,700 students, the CFAC hosts hundreds of student presentations, performances, and faculty presentations each year. CFAC students also have opportunities to pursue internships; exhibit at or access collections in the Brigham Young University Museum of Art (MOA); engage in research projects; and participate in experiential learning activities in the U.S. and abroad.

BYU’s College of Fine Arts and Communications houses the Department of Design. Within the Department is an Illustration BFA Program that requires 120 credit hours, with 72 credits in the Major.

A Limited Enrollment Program (LEP) that accepts just 40 students per academic year, the Illustration BFA at BYU features courses led by industry professionals with years of experience in their respective areas of specialization. 

Course examples for the Program include Narrative Illustration, Environment Design, Painting the Human Head, Sketchbook, Three-Dimensional Illustration, Character Design for Illustrators, Design Theory and Visual Culture, Advanced Life Drawing, Interdisciplinary Motion, Printmaking Fundamentals, and Design Lecture Series.

In the final year of the BYU Illustration BFA Program, students will complete Senior Illustration Studio 1 and 2, Professional Practices for Illustrators, BFA Illustration Capstone Project: Research, and BFA Illustration Capstone Project: Implementation.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Brigham Young University work in a wide range of fields such as Advertising, Medical and Scientific Illustration, Mural Production, Architecture, Exhibition Design, Book, Magazine, and News Publishing, Entertainment, and Fashion Design. Some Program alumni go on to launch their own studios and freelance businesses.

Brigham Young University was founded as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in 1875 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With 34,390 students enrolled in more than 435 programs, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

2. Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah
Southern Utah University

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.

3. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
University of Utah

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).

4. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
Utah Valley University

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.