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Medical Illustration Master's Degree Programs

Students interested in combining their passion for art and an interest in biology, anatomy and/or medicine may wish to pursue a master's degree in medical illustration. Learn more about these programs, including common courses.

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Master's degree programs in medical illustration are available as Master of Science or Master of Fine Arts degree programs. No matter which, students in these programs learn a wide range of illustration techniques and problem-solving skills through hands-on learning. Explore these master's degree programs below.

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  • Medical Illustration
  • Medical Informatics

Information for Master's Degree Programs in Medical Illustration

Master's degree programs in medical illustration can be completed in 21 to 24 months and typically include a lot of seminars, lectures, projects and/or a final thesis project. Common coursework for these programs includes topics in illustration and science, including some of the following examples.

Human Gross Anatomy

Students in these programs typically take a course in human anatomy that includes a lecture component, as well as a hands-on laboratory component. Students in the course study the human body in-depth, including aspects like color and structures. Some courses may even dissect human cadavers to allow students to see major organs and systems up close.

Surgical Illustration/Techniques

Depending on the program courses aimed at giving students experience with surgical concepts may use a hands-on approach or a hands-off approach. Courses with a hands-on focus may allow students to actually practice different surgical techniques on laboratory animals in order to draw the different techniques, while other courses may have students observe surgeries in local hospitals to create their illustrations. These courses also usually include a lecture and laboratory component.

Computer Applications

With today's growing reliance on technology, many of these master's degree programs include one or more courses to train students in the utilization of computers and software programs in medical illustration. These courses have lectures, but allow students hands-on experience with the technology during lab or studio times. Students learn about computer graphics and get experience with current software that is used in the field.

Interactive/ Multimedia

Students in interactive media or multimedia courses study techniques and concepts for animation and interactive media and title construction as it relates to medical illustration. These courses may discuss topics in interface design, storyboarding, computer illustration and website design. Again, these courses are typically comprised of a lecture and lab component.

Medical Illustration Techniques

Students in these degree programs are usually required to take multiple courses in various medical illustration techniques, whether these are introductory and advanced courses or courses in specific topics, such as scientific visualization or 3D animation. These courses cover a wide range of topics and techniques used in medical illustration, including, but not limited to continuous tone, aesthetic presentation for publication, digital rendering, motion and transformation. Students usually have a shorter lecture for these courses and longer laboratory sessions.

Common Entrance Requirements

Applicants to master's degree programs in medical illustration must have at least a bachelor's degree and are typically required to have some background coursework in areas like biology and studio art. Programs usually require students to submit GRE scores, but some programs may have specific standards that need to be met, such as a minimum combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 295. Some programs may also have a specific GPA requirement, such as a 3.0 or higher. Applicants commonly need to submit their application and GRE scores along with official transcripts, letters of reference and a portfolio that demonstrates their drawing abilities.

Students can earn a Master of Science or Master of Fine Arts in Medical Illustration from a few different schools in the country. These degree programs typically require a portfolio for admittance and train students in human anatomy and medical illustration techniques through lectures and hands-on laboratories.

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