Illustrators arouse curiosity, tell stories, and illuminate issues. Our bachelor of fine arts  (B.F.A.) degree program balances imagination and self-expression with refinement of  skills in drawing, painting, digital media, and research.

Admission + Portfolio Requirements

Illustration majors take a variety of studio courses, including drawing, painting, digital, and other media to develop competency with a wide range of techniques. They’ll also take classes to develop conceptual thinking, narrative, research methods, and familiarity with the field. Students are strongly encouraged to develop their own individual vision and aesthetic.

The Illustration Concept classes are offered with four different focuses to help students dig more deeply into particular professional areas. If interested, students can explore more than one. The visual development focus grooms students to find work in visual and character development for animation and gaming. The editorial focus is for students interested in magazine, newspaper, book jacket, and online publishing. The sequential focus is for students who want to work in a serial form, whether comics, graphic novels, or children’s books. The licensing focus is tailored to students who want to create products, patterning, packaging, and countless other manifestations of graphic illustration.

The illustration program offers a multitude of opportunities to intersect with the profession through visiting artists, in workshops and lectures, and on trips to New York City and elsewhere. Students often take advantage of VPA study abroad programs or through SU Abroad, which offers 100 programs in 60 countries. Illustration majors often choose to study at the SU campus in Florence, Italy, or travel to Los Angeles for a two-week industry immersion in animation and film.

Alumni from the illustration program are successful in such areas as illustration for children’s books, comics, graphic novels, newspaper, greeting cards, licensing, advertising, magazine, book and online publishing, as well as visual development in animated films, television, and the gaming industry.

Student Work


Below are the general program requirements for the B.F.A. in illustration.

View official major requirements.

Major requirements: 51 credits
Art history requirements: 15 credits
Academic requirements: 9 credits
Academic electives: 18 credits
Studio electives: 24 credits
Free electives: 9 credits
Total Credits: 126