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Medical Illustration MFA

Program overview

A medical illustrator is a professional artist with advanced education in the life sciences and visual communication. Collaborating with scientists and physicians, medical illustrators transform complex information into visual images that are used in education, research, patient care, public relations, legal cases, and marketing efforts.

The MFA program provides training in the biomedical sciences, the principles of visual communication, and a variety of digital media including 2D illustration, 3D computer modeling, animation, and interactive media. Students produce a thesis, which involves independent research and visual problem-solving to communicate a complex scientific subject.


Medical illustration, MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ILLM-601 Human Gross Anatomy 6
ILLM-602 Anatomic Studies 3
ILLM-603 3D Modeling of Biomedical Forms 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   HCIN-660    Fundamentals of Instructional Technology  
   HCIN-610    Foundations of Human Computer Interactivity  
   VCDE-711    Design Theory and Methods  
ILLM-606 3D Animation of Biomedical Forms 3
ILLM-607 Computer Applications in Medical Illustration 3
ILLM-608 Scientific Visualization 3
ILLM-890 Thesis 1
  Studio Elective 3
  Science Elective 3
Second Year
ILLM-615 Interactive Media I 3
ILLM-612 Surgical Illustration 3
  Studio Electives 6
ILLM-616 Interactive Media II 3
ILLM-617 Portfolio and Business Practices 3
ILLM-890 Thesis 9
  Graduate Elective 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 61

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA in medical illustration, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in a field of the arts, sciences, or education from a regionally accredited college. The undergraduate degree should include studio art courses, one year of general or introductory biology (for biology majors), and a minimum of three advanced biology courses, such as vertebrate anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, microbiology, genetics, developmental biology, or pathology.
  • Demonstrate, through the quality of the undergraduate record and creative production, a genuine, professional potential,
  • Demonstrate, through the submission of a portfolio, outstanding drawing skills, particularly the ability to draw subjects from direct observation.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) are required. Scores from the International English Language Testing System may be submitted in place of the TOEFL. A minimum score of 6.5 is required. Those applicants coming from countries where the baccalaureate degree is not awarded for programs in the practice of art may be admitted to graduate study if the diploma or certificate received approximates the standards of the BFA, BA, or BS degrees, and if their academic records and portfolios indicate an ability to meet graduate standards.

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Illustrator, medical media artist


Illustration of many subjects, biological, production of medical visuals, medical research centers, textbook publishing, medical associations, pharmaceutical firms, law firms.

Recent Employers

Self Magazine, Advocate Healthcare, Allison Legal Graphics, Design Pointe Communications, Boston University, Rodale Press

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