Jul 10, 2020  
2018-2019 University Catalogue 
2018-2019 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

BFA in Illustration

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Adam Osgood, Program Director



The Illustration curriculum is a blend of drawing, painting, figure modeling, picture making, illustration, creative visual problem solving, digital experiences, self-discovery through mentor-student relationship, history of pictorial image making, and specialized graphic design courses. Some courses are geared to developing foundational skills and others more focused toward professional application. This curriculum offers its majors a wide selection of unique options to explore related to their field and interest of study. Pedagogical emphasis is on discovering and developing the artist within the illustrator and his/her unique point of view. When artists find their unique expression, they can take advantage of all the outlets available to their work. The program prepares individual students for a life in the arts and the flexibility to enter diverse professional areas within it.

Illustration is a unique art form that is defined not by its medium, but by its context. Illustration finds its home in the public sphere of popular media. With a rich history and a modern, contemporary outlook, illustration brings life to concepts and stories through image making. Whether created digitally or by hand, an illustration can be both a masterful work of art and a practical business application. Illustrators marry their ability to create visually striking images with their ability to solve problems in unique and engaging ways. Illustrators create images for a variety of outlets that include children’s books, advertising campaigns, clothing, packaging and store displays, video games, movies, animations, and comic books. Illustrators are art directors, graphic, package and product designers, computer game developers, character designers, digital artists, animators, exhibit designers, and storyboard, concept and studio artists.

Program Objectives

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of figure study and picture making, along with traditional and digital technical skill development, leading to successful image making as it relates to the multi-faceted and ever-changing illustration industry;
  • Discover and develop point of view (critical thinking, self-discovery, and effectively combing content and technique in a unique expression). This includes acquiring critical drawing and thinking skills and developing intellectual curiosity leading to successful problem solving and meaningful visual communication;
  • Understanding the unique aesthetic of the illustrator as designer and the development of knowledge and skills leading to successful design outcomes;
  • Discover the languages, concepts, and practices of contemporary illustration across connected disciplines and have options to further explore those areas in depth;
  • Acquire and demonstrate knowledge of the history of illustration;
  • Demonstrate habits of mind (studio process, research, personal discipline, time management, professional culture of the program) as well as the ability to critique, articulate their work, and present ideas;
  • Acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skills of professional development (presentation, audience awareness, marketing, promotion, business, Web design, entrepreneurship).  Preparing for a life in the arts and the flexibility to enter diverse professional areas within it.

Academic Plan

Academic plans provide a semester by semester suggested course sequence. Plans can be customized through discussions with academic advisors.

Program Requirements (120 credits)

Major Requirements (43.5 - 45 credits)

Students who major in Illustration will complete 43.5 - 45 credits; students who declare a concentration within the Illustration major will complete 46.5 - 48  credits.


Illustration students who declare a concentration should complete the corresponding concentration course sequence below.  Eligibility, process, including entry to fouth year capstones based on completing concentration and subject to portolio review.

Discipline History (12 credits)

Critical Studies (30 credits)

Students will complete a writing placement exam to determine their composition sequence. Students who do not complete the exam may be placed based on standardized tests scores (if available) or high school GPA. Some students may be required to complete additional developmental coursework.

Students will complete one of the following sequences:

First Year Writing (6 credits)



Critical Approaches to the Arts and Culture (9 credits)

  • Select 3 courses from subject CRIT

Scientific Inquiry Foundation Track (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject SIFT

Critical Studies Electives (12 credits)

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • MATH (Math), SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
    • STCU (Cultural Studies), STDA (Dance Studies), STGS (Gender & Sexuality Studies),
      STMU (Music Studies), STPF (Performance Studies) 
  • Select courses from  : Art History or Critical Studies Elective.

Electives (15 - 16.5 credits)

  • Illustration students without a concentration who complete DESN*305 Business Communication for Design Professionals must complete 16.5 free elective credits. Students who complete DESN*499 Design Internship must complete 15 free elective credits.
  • Illustration students with a concentration who complete DESN*305 Business Communication for Design Professionals must complete 13.5 free elective credits. Students who complete DESN*499 Design Internship must complete 12 free elective credits.

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