Medical Illustration bachelor of fine arts degree

409e5b7c-d946-47fe-a059-7242cf251a34 | 128615

Overview

Combining art and science to create anatomical and surgical sketches for instructional illustrations, courtroom exhibitions, computer graphics, and more—all to aid the understanding of medical and health conditions.


Medical illustration students visually support allied health instruction and research.  During the first two years, the program focuses on drawing and traditional illustration skills.  During this time students are attending human biology, anatomy, and physiology classes. Building on these courses, the third and fourth years emphasize 2D and 3D computer illustration and animation. In addition, third and fourth-year students also attend Human Gross Anatomy, which includes full head to toe dissection and creates surgical illustrations based on operating room observation. The medical illustration degree is perfect for students who have a passion for art and science. You’ll explore all aspects of health care, from the molecular level through the macroscopic and into the theoretical.

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.

Electives

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.

Industries


  • Journalism, Media, and Publishing

  • Performing and Fine Arts

  • Health Care

Typical Job Titles

Multimedia Artist Medical Illustrator
Exhibitor Freelance Medical Illustrator
2D Medical Animator 3D Computer Modeler/Animator
Medical Interactive/Interface Designer Medical Web Designer
Medical Legal Illustrator/Litigation Support Specialist Medical Book/Texts Illustrator
Information Graphics Illustrator Medical Editorial Illustrator
Medical Model Designer Prosthesis Designer/Anaplastologist
Forensics Illustrator Ophthalmologic Illustrator
Medical Illustration Educator

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Curriculum

Medical illustration, BFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
FDTN-111
Drawing I
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication.
3
FDTN-112
Drawing II
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication.
3
FDTN-121
2D Design I
This course is a structured, cumulative introduction to the basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design. Organized to create a broad introductory experience, the course focuses on the development of both a visual and a verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing and understanding two-dimensional compositions. Concepts are introduced through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, assigned projects and critiques. The course addresses a wide variety of media, tools, techniques both traditional and technological, and theoretical concepts to facilitate skill development and experimentation with process. Visual comprehension, the ability to organize perceptions and horizontal thinking that crosses other disciplines and theories, are key foundational components to the development of problem solving skills. Accumulative aspects of the curriculum included the exploration of historical and cultural themes and concepts intertwined with aspects of personal interpretation and experience.
3
FDTN-131
3D Design I
This course presents a progressive study over two-semesters in terminology, visual principles, exploration, concept generation, process, and techniques of three-dimensional design. Using hands-on problem solving, student will develop an informed understanding of the 3D form and space with an emphasis on the elements and principles of visual design and their function as the building blocks and guidelines for ordering a 3D composition. A heightened awareness of form and space will be developed through lecture, assigned projects, and critiques. Students will also develop a personal awareness of problem seeking and solving, experimentation, and critical analysis. **Note: May be taken as a one-semester offering**
3
MEDG-101
Human Biology I
This course is one of a two-course set of courses that explores the biology of the human body. This course focuses on: cells, their structure, and organization; the human reproductive cycle; principle of genetic inheritance; transmission of disease and the body’s defense against disease. Recommended to concurrently take: MEDG-103 Human Biology Laboratory I *Note: Taken alone, this course fulfills the Scientific Principles Perspective. When taken with MEDG-103 the two courses together fulfill the Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
3
MEDG-103
Human Biology Lab I
This laboratory complements the lecture material of Human Biology I. Experiments are designed to illustrate the dynamic characteristics of a cell during processes of inheritance, development and disease. Recommended to concurrently take: MEDG-101 Human Biology I *Note: When taken with MEDG-101 the two courses together fulfill the Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
1
MEDG-102
Human Biology II
This course is one of a two-course set of courses that explores the biology of the human body. This course focuses on the examination of the body's structure (anatomy), its function (physiology), the principle of homeostasis that governs the integrated control of all body organ systems, and various disease states (pathology) that affect its health. Recommended to concurrently take: MEDG-104 Human Biology Laboratory II *Note: Taken alone, this course fulfills the Scientific Principles Perspective. When taken with MEDG-104 the two courses together fulfill the Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
3
MEDG-104
Human Biology Lab  II
This laboratory course complements the lecture material presented in Human Biology II. Lab experiments are designed to illustrate the dynamic anatomy and physiology of the human body organ systems. Recommended to concurrently take: MEDG-102 Human Biology II *Note: When taken with MEDG-102 the two courses together fulfill the Natural Science Inquiry Perspective.
1
ILLS-206
2D Composition and Color
This course will provide students with instruction and assignments to practice and apply compositional picture plane dynamics using representational subject matter. Students will explore the principles of composition through the use of formal visual elements such as line, shape, value and color to achieve effective two-dimensional compositions.
3
ILLS-209
3D Applications: The Figure
Learners will build upon their experience in 3D Design I including materials, and building processes, while constructing the human figure. Sculpted figures will portray accurate human anatomic structure, inference of function, and balance.
3
ACSC-010
Year One
The Year One class serves as an interdisciplinary catalyst for first-year students to access campus resources, services and opportunities that promote self-knowledge, personal success, leadership development, social responsibility and life academic skills awareness and application. Year One is also designed to challenge and encourage first-year students to get to know one another, build relationships and help them become an integral part of the campus community.
0
 
First Year Writing (WI)
3
 
Wellness Education
0
Choose one of the following:
3
 
   LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry)
 
 
   LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)
 
 
   LAS Perspective 7 (mathematical)
 
Second Year
FDTN-141
4D Design
4D Design introduces students to the basic concepts of art and design in time and space. Computers, video, photo, sound, and lighting equipment are used to create short-form time-based work. Students learn video, audio, camera, lighting, composite animation, and other skills relevant to all students in majors and programs required to take this course. The course explores elements of moving images, such as serial, narrative ordering, still and moving image editing, transitions and syntax, sound and image relations, and principles of movement. The course addresses the both historical conventions of time in art and recent technological advances, which are redefining the fields of fine art and design. In focusing on the relations between students' spacing and timing skills, 4D Design extends and supplements the other foundation courses, and prepares students for further work with time-based media.
3
ILLS-214
Anatomic Illustration
This course will provide and in depth anatomical approach to drawing the figure. Students will obtain instruction and practice at drawing human anatomy including body and head postures, facial expressions, and hand gestures. Students will be taught anatomical proportioning while drawing from observation from models to convey emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, disgust, etc. Students will also learn to use photo support references. Works will be created in black and white and in color media using light and dark, and warm and cool effects.
3
ILLM-507
Computer Applications In Medical Illustration
Students will learn to use industry-standard raster and vector illustration software to create images of assigned medical subjects. Students will also use page layout applications to combine digital images with text and other graphic elements. Course work emphasizes creation of illustrations to support medical education and publishing.
3
MEDS-250
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
4
MEDS-251
 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects.
4
ARTH-135
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic): History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from Prehistory through the Middle Ages. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
3
ARTH-136
LAS Perspective 3 (global): History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from the Renaissance through the early 20th century. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
3
 
Illustration Professional Elective‡
3
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
Third Year
ILLM-501
Human Gross Anatomy
An in-depth study of the structure of the human body. Emphasis is on understanding the relationships between anatomical structures as well as their form, texture, and color. Dissection of a human cadaver is supplemented with lectures on the structure and function of the major organ systems.
6
ILLM-502
Illustrating Human Anatomy
Drawings of lab dissections and the skeleton will be translated into illustrations designed to support instruction in Human Gross Anatomy. Course teaches what choices need to be made when translating literal drawings into illustrations that support instruction. The target learner for these illustrations is a student attending Human Gross Anatomy at a graduate level.
3
ILLM-503
3D Modeling Organic Forms
This course introduces strategies used to create NURBS and polygonal models of organic subjects in a three-dimensional environment. Assignments stress accurate portrayal of proportions, form, and texture. Instruction will also focus on creating lighting and shader networks that emphasize form and are consistent with surface characteristics.
3
ILLM-508
Scientific Visualization
Emerging technologies enable scientists to visualize structures that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. For example, molecular visualization software allows us to construct highly accurate molecular models from X-ray crystallography and other structural data. Cryo-EM and confocal microscopy are revealing the previously unknown structure of cellular organelles. Medical imaging systems allow us to reconstruct the human body in three dimensions from actual patient data (CT scans, MRI, etc.). This course explores the use of these technologies to provide references for traditional artwork and to export models for digital rendering and animation.
3
ILLM-506
3D Animation Organic Forms
This course explores animating biomedical subjects and processes in their native environment. Students will be ask to research contemporary theory defining their subjects' anatomy and create animations consistent with their findings. Frame-by-frame animation, blend shapes, non-linear deformers and rigging systems will be introduced to permit students to choose the most effective method for creating motion and transformation.
3
 
CAD Studio Elective§
3
 
LAS Immersion 1, 2
6
 
Art History Elective†
3
Fourth Year
ILLM-512
Surgical Illustration
Students observe live surgical procedures and translate their sketches into finished illustrations that are used in medical training, patient education, and litigation. Demonstrations of sketching and rendering techniques are supplemented with lectures on general surgical principles and common procedures.
3
ILLM-515
Contemporary Media I
This course is an introduction to two-dimensional computer illustration, animation, and interactive media as they apply to contemporary methods of instruction in medicine and allied health. Students will be assigned topics in health care and develop an interactive lesson to support instruction of their topic. Students will organize these lessons as a web site.
3
ILLM-516
Contemporary Media II
This course continues the development of a student-created web site designed to assist teaching topics in medicine and allied health. Advanced topics in two-dimensional computer illustration, animation, and interactive media as they apply to contemporary methods of instruction in medicine and allied health, will be presented.
3
ILLM-517
Portfolio and Business Practices (WI)
This course helps prepare students to enter the workforce in full-time positions or as freelance illustrators. Students create a traditional portfolio, personal identity package, and marketing materials. The course also introduces important business concepts such as copyright, licensing, pricing, contracts, taxation, and formation of a proper business.
3
 
CAD Studio Electives§
6
 
Art History Elective†
3
 
LAS Immersion 3
3
 
Free Elective
3
 
LAS Elective
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
124

(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.

 

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

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 Requirements for more information. 
  • Medical illustration requires biology.

Transfer Admission

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 Requirements 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 Requirements for more information. Summer courses can lead to third-year status in most programs.

Learn about admissions and financial aid