Combining art and science, medical illustrators provide visual support for the health science and medical instruction fields. From traditional carbon dust renderings to three-dimensional, animated digital imagery, medical illustration spans the fullest range of artistic media. Building on a foundation of drawing and design, students learn how to translate anatomical and surgical sketches into instructional illustrations, courtroom exhibitions, computer graphics, ads, and more.
The major combines the study of the visual arts with science, including gross anatomy. Through collaboration with area hospitals, students are able to draw from direct observation of operations in progress. Digital technology integrated into the studio environment enables students to create highly polished, sophisticated images and well-designed, interactive, educational media presentations that include motion graphics and sound.
Students may select electives that enhance their studies or allow them to pursue an area of personal or professional interest. Electives are available in graphic design, new media design, 3D digital graphics, illustration, graphic visualization, industrial design, interior design, fine arts studio, environmental design, ceramics, glass, metals, textiles, woodworking, filmmaking, and photography. To be eligible for these electives, students must complete the foundation program or have the permission of the instructor. Additional selections are offered as special topics courses.
Medical illustration, BFA degree, typical course sequence
|Course||Sem. Cr. Hrs.|
|FDTN-121||2D Design I||3|
|FDTN-131||3D Design I||3|
|MEDG-101||Human Biology I||3|
|MEDG-103||Human Biology Lab I||1|
|MEDG-102||Human Biology II||3|
|MEDG-104||Human Biology Lab II||1|
|ILLS-206||2D Composition and Color||3|
|ILLS-209||3D Applications: The Figure||3|
|First Year Writing (WI)||3|
|Choose one of the following:||3|
|LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry)|
|LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)|
|LAS Perspective 7 (mathematical)|
|ILLM-507||Computer Applications In Medical Illustration||3|
|MEDS-250||Human Anatomy and Physiology I||4|
|MEDS-251||Human Anatomy and Physiology II||4|
|ARTH-135||LAS Perspective 2 (artistic): History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval||3|
|ARTH-136||LAS Perspective 3 (global): History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern||3|
|Illustration Professional Elective‡||3|
|LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)||3|
|LAS Perspective 4 (social)||3|
|ILLM-501||Human Gross Anatomy||6|
|ILLM-502||Illustrating Human Anatomy||3|
|ILLM-503||3D Modeling Organic Forms||3|
|ILLM-506||3D Animation Organic Forms||3|
|CAD Studio Elective§||3|
|LAS Immersion 1, 2||6|
|Art History Elective†||3|
|ILLM-515||Contemporary Media I||3|
|ILLM-516||Contemporary Media II||3|
|ILLM-517||Portfolio and Business Practices (WI)||3|
|CAD Studio Electives§||6|
|Art History Elective†||3|
|LAS Immersion 3||3|
|Total Semester Credit Hours||124|
Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
† Art history electives are non-studio courses offered by the College of Art and Design or the College of Liberal Arts that examine the historical aspects of art, design, crafts, photography, print media, or film.
‡ Illustration Professional Electives include the following: Illustration I (ILLS-213), Digital Illustration I (ILLS-219), and Zoological and Botanical Illustration (ILLS-563).
§ CAD Studio Electives are courses designated by lab or studio contact hours in the course description.
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
- Studio art experience and a portfolio of original artwork are required for all programs in the schools of Art and Design. View the Portfolio Guidelines for more information.
- Medical illustration requires biology.
1160 - 1320
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in studio art, art history, and liberal arts. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Guidelines for more information.
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Related programs or studio art experience in desired disciplines. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Guidelines for more information. Summer courses can lead to third-year status in most programs.
Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only
Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.
Medical illustration students learn to provide visual support for communications and instruction in medicine and allied health sciences. Graduating students rely on their course work in biology, anatomy, and art in their professional roles.
Medical illustration, BFA degree, typical course sequence (quarters)
|Course||Qtr. Cr. Hrs.|
|2013-215||Foundation Vector Imaging||1|
|2013-216||Foundation Raster Imaging||1|
|2013-211, 212, 213||Drawing I, II, III||9|
|2013-231, 232, 233||2D Design I, II, III||9|
|2013-241, 242, 243||3D Design I, II, III||9|
|1720-050, 052||First-Year Enrichment||2|
|2039-225, 226, 227||Survey of Western Art and Architecture I, II, III||9|
|2019-311||Digital Illustration I||3|
|1004-212, 259||Human Biology II, III||8|
|Choose three of the following courses:||9|
|2019-306||Head, Hands, Facial Expressions|
|2019-323||Zoological and Botanical Illustration|
|2019-345||Illustration Techniques I|
|2021-xxx||Figure in Motion|
|Art History Electives§||9|
|2020-431, 432||Human Gross Anatomy||8|
|2019-304||Anatomical Figure Drawing||3|
|2020-407||Anatomical Wet Media Illustration||3|
|2020-406||Anatomical Drawing and Illustration||3|
|2020-408||Computer Application Anatomical Illustration||3|
|Anatomical Drawing II||3|
|2020-410||Anatomical Illustration Mixed Media||3|
|2020-501||Advanced Medical Illustration||3|
|2020-504||Surgical Drawing and Illustration I||3|
|2020-505||Surgical Drawing and Illustration II||3|
|2020-506||Computer Animation in Medical Illustration||3|
|2020-507||Marketing and Business Practices||3|
|2020-508||Medical Illustration Portfolio||3|
|Total Quarter Credit Hours||189-196|
* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.
† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.
§ Please refer to the list of art history electives.
Students have the opportunity to select electives that enhance their studies or allow them to pursue an area of personal or professional interest. Electives are available in the following areas: graphic design, illustration, graphic visualization, industrial design, interior design, fine arts studio, environmental design, ceramics, glass, metals, textiles, woodworking, filmmaking, photography, and imaging technology. To be eligible for these electives, students must complete the foundation program or have the permission of the instructor. Additional selections are offered as special topics courses.
Art history electives
Students are required to select three art history electives to broaden their understanding of the historical development of the arts. Art history electives include:
2039-300 History of Design
2039-306 Architecture Interior and Furniture Design I
2039-307 Architecture Interior and Furniture Design II
2039-308 Architecture Interior and Furniture Design III
2039-310 History of Crafts
2039-315 Pre-Columbian Art
2039-316 Florence and Rome 1400-1470
2039-317 Florence and Rome 1470-1520
2039-318 Florence and Rome 1520-1590
2039-320 History of Art Criticism
2039-330 Philosophy in Art
2039-340 Symbols and Symbol Making
2039-355 Latin American Art
2039-360 18th and 19th Century Art
2039-368 Scandinavian Modernism
2039-375 20th Century Art Since 1950
2039-376 Renaissance Painting in Flanders
2039-385 Installation Art
2039-390 Native American Art and Culture
2039-395 Theory and Criticism of 20th Century Art
2039-410 The Art of Art History
2039-415 Thinking About Making
2039-425 Public Art/Public Spaces
2039-430 Dada and Surrealism
2039-433 What Is Post Modernism?
2039-435 Art of the Last Decade
2039-438 Body in Art
2039-440 Conceptual Art
2039-443 Art and Technology: From the Machine Aesthetic to the Cyborg Age
2039-452 Art and Activism
2039-459 Art Central Italy 1250-1400
2039-469 Baroque Rome