Illustrator Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Student illustrators can attend schools and colleges in the U.S. that offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Master of Fine Arts. These programs emphasize handwriting techniques, as well as the use of illustration software.

Community colleges and 4-year universities typically do not provide degree programs specifically in illustration, but they may possess art departments with graphic design or visual arts degree programs similar to an illustration degree program. The coursework varies, but courses in two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawing are typically included, and most programs are in a BFA or MFA format.

Schools Offering Illustration Programs

Here are a few of the schools that offer degree programs specifically in illustration:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-16)*
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $5,150
St. John's University-New York Queens, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $38,680
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $37,124
Columbia College Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $24,344
Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $5,230 in-state, $14,230 out-of-state
The New School New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $43,813
Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $34,970

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking at programs in illustration or in a related art field:

  • Art and design colleges may offer customizable degree options with concentrations in illustration, some of which may focus on a type of illustrating career option. Some of the most popular career paths are children's book illustrator, fashion illustrator, medical illustrator and courtroom illustrator.
  • Look for schools with accessibility to studio classrooms and computer lab. Using a college's advanced illustration equipment can help student illustrators formulate assignments and special projects for classes.
  • Consider schools that provide galleries where students can display their artwork and gain exposure.
  • Students may want to consider what type of capstone experience they're interested in; some schools offer illustration internships as capstones, while others may require a thesis.

While there are not many schools that have degree programs directly in illustration, schools with fine art departments may offer concentrations in illustration within another major. The ability to work with digital illustration tools or have work displayed in a gallery are other benefits some schools may offer.

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