What are the top online master's degree programs for illustration?
|Academy of Art University||California||San Francisco|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia||Savannah|
Our list of the top online master's degree programs for illustration. The list is in no particular order and is not intended to be a ranking.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Academy of Art University houses the School of Illustration, which offers two advanced degree options for illustrators seeking career advancement or an advanced degree. Offerings include MA and MFA degrees in Illustration. Both programs are available 100% online, with courses consisting of a mix of lecture content, recorded audio, interactive slideshows, video, written content, and hands-on work. Students will also engage in discussions and activities through the program’s online platform, online studio environment, social media, and real-time streaming of events.
The MA requires 36 units of study including 33 in the major and three in Graduate Liberal Arts. During the first and second semesters of the program, students will take a unique mix of courses such as Chiaroscuro, Clothed Figure Drawing, Color and Design Application for Animation, Head Drawing for Illustrators, and Perspective for Characters & Environment. The third semester covers The Graphic Novel, The Rendered Figure, and 150 Yeast of American Illustration. During the final semester, students will take Refining Layouts in Ink and not one, but two portfolio courses—Narrative Illustration Portfolio and Editorial Illustration Portfolio.
The MFA in Illustration is a terminal degree that requires 63 units of study including 30 in the major, 18 in directed studies, six elective units, and nine in Graduate Liberal Arts. In addition to completing a Final Thesis Project, MFA students will take relevant courses such as Concept, Technique, and Illustration, Digital Painting, Perspective for Characters & Environment, Skill Enhancement: Interactive & Vector Art, Skill Enhancement: Editorial Illustration for Apps & Publication, and Skill Enhancement: Advanced Digital Painting and Professional Practices for Illustrators.
Students in both master’s programs have ample internship opportunities and study abroad experiences such as Summer Study Abroad in Florence, Italy and Study Abroad: Seminar in Europe. The Summer Study Abroad in Florence takes place during 7.5 weeks of summer semester. Program highlights include day excursions to small Italian towns, on-location painting and drawing or printmaking and book arts classes with Academy instructors, and museum visits. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday during the semester.
Study Abroad: Seminar in Europe exposes students to the art of featured regions within the broader context of European history and artistic culture. Students will explore the extraordinary architecture and visit the extensive collections of paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects housed in Europe’s world-renowned museums.
Graduates of the Illustration programs at Academy of Art University are prepared to seek positions such as Concept Artist, Children’s Book Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, Narrative Illustrator, Book Cover Artist, Freelance Illustrator, Reportage Illustrator, Interactive Illustrator for Apps & Web Publishing, Comic Artist, and Consumer Product & Licensing Illustrator.
Academy of Art alumni have been hired by companies such as The Atlantic, Blizzard Entertainment, Dark Horse, DC Comics, Marvel, National Geographic, The New York Times, the New Yorker, Paramount Pictures, Pixar, Random House, Riot Games, Wired, and many others.
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers two advanced degree programs for aspiring illustrators—the MA and MFA in Illustration. Both programs are offered 100% online and there are no required campus visits. In addition, SCAD’s online courses require no specific meeting times and are accessible 24/7. Students complete assignments by designated due dates and participate in online class sessions, where they assess and critique work and expand upon discussion board postings.
The MA requires 45 credit hours of study and the MFA requires 90 credit hours of study. Both programs teach students to use new and traditional media to illustrate everything from film sequences to app icons. Students will learn to “work in a professional environment through a program structured like a working studio,” and they will “develop a personal style and technique, learning to express (their) own unique vision while forming a well-rounded perspective on design.”
Course highlights for the MA program include Media and Techniques, Illustration Markets, Digital Solutions for Illustration, and Illustration Concepts and Composition. Directed Projects in Illustration is also part of the program as well as the Illustration MA Final Project.
The MFA is a terminal degree that offers the opportunity to choose four electives to create an area of focus. Students may complete an internship, and study abroad opportunities are available. Course highlights for the program include Advanced Studio Techniques, Illustration for Publications, Art Criticism, Professional Practices in Illustration, and Media and Techniques. Directed Projects in Illustration (worth three credits) is also part of the program as well the Illustration MFA Thesis.
Nearly 100% of SCAD graduates are employed, pursuing further education, or both within 10 months of graduation. Further, 90% of these graduates are working in the industry for which they studied or in a related creative field.
Schools to Consider: