Masters Degree in Illustration: Program Overviews

Experienced art students may pursue a master's degree in illustration. Find out what you need to do to apply, what programs expect of students, and what you can do with your degree after graduation.

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Essential Information

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in Illustration train students to effectively combine imagery and words to provide a visual representation of text. They also provide technological training so that students are ready to work in today's digital landscape. Prior to graduation, students are expected to submit a written master's thesis.

MFA programs in illustration typically take two years to complete. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and present a portfolio of their work that demonstrates previous illustration experience.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
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  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Master's Degree in Illustration

Master's programs in illustration integrate digital media and technological communications studies with more traditional artistic studies in drawing and painting. Coursework also covers creative writing and business practices that are of concern to illustrators and freelancers. Common course titles include:

  • Drawing and Illustration
  • Traditional and Digital Media Integration
  • Narrative Art
  • Creative Writing for Illustrators
  • Brand Development
  • Visual Essays

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2015, the mean annual wage of fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, was $54,170. The highest paying jobs were in the software publishing industry, where artists earned a mean annual wage of $95,650 (www.bls.gov).

Overall, aspiring illustrators can benefit from the artistic, technological, and business skills they gain by earning an MFA in Illustration.

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