What are the top illustration schools in Virginia for 2021?

Top Virginia Illustration Schools - 2021 College Rankings
1Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond
2George Mason UniversityFairfax

Our 2021 ranking of the top illustration schools in Virginia. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College. This public research university serves around 31,100 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 13 schools and one college.

The School of Arts (VCUarts) serves more than 3,000 students and it houses 16 departments and programs offering 18 bachelor’s and five master’s degrees. The VCUarts Department of Communication Arts houses the VCUarts Illustration Program. Several options are available: a BFA in Communication Arts OR Communication Arts with a Concentration in Scientific Illustration, and a Minor in Scientific Illustration.

The Minor is 21 credit hours and acceptance to this unique program is based on a portfolio and application review. The BFA in Communication Arts prepares students for careers in illustration for print or digital publishing, comic book art, or a scientific illustration. The program consists of many new and elective courses “designed to reinforce and expand the drawing, design, and illustration components of the curriculum,” says the school. Students will have the opportunity to develop a variety of projects in illustration and complete an internship and/or study abroad experience.

Course highlights for the program include 3D Modeling for Concept Design, Color Theory, Game Design, Theory and Practice, Imagery for Children, Imagery for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and The Figure in Illustration. Program alumni are 3D Modelers and Animators, Editorial Illustrators, Fine Artists, Game Designers, and Interactive Media Designers. 

The BFA in Communication Arts with a Concentration in Scientific Illustration requires 32 credits in the biological sciences and chemistry, in addition to communication major and illustration courses. Students in the program will also have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad experience. Course highlights include 3D Modeling, Basic Human Anatomy, Digital Drawing, Drawing Studies: The Figure Observed, Environmental Science, General Chemistry, Mixed-Media Illustration, and Scientific Illustration. Program alumni are 3D Modelers and Animators, Concept Artists, Scientific Illustrators, and more.

2. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University

Founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1949, George Mason University (GMU) serves more than 39,000 students, making it the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The school, which also serves 500 students at GMU Korea, offers more than 200 programs in 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) houses the School of Art (SOA), which offers a Minor in Illustration that may be taken with the Art and Visual Technology BA or BFA.

The Minor requires 18 credit hours of study including 2D Experimental Illustration, Digital Printmaking, Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Figure Drawing, Illustration, and Professional Design Practices.

To enter the Minor in Illustration Program, students must earn a 3.0 GPA in both AVT 222 Drawing I (Mason Core) and AVT 323 Drawing II prior to applying. A portfolio review is also required for admission.