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

Visit Opportunities

Our illustration majors take classes in traditional, digital, and alternate media to develop competency with techniques. You’ll study conceptual thinking, research methods, and how to communicate narrative while developing familiarity with illustration history and the contemporary field. You’ll be encouraged to develop your unique vision and aesthetic, with guidance towards your professional goals.

The Illustration Concepts classes focus on industry specialties. If interested, you can  explore more than one focus. 

  • Visual Development Focus: visual and character development for animation and gaming 
  • Editorial Focus: magazine, newspaper, book jacket, and online publishing
  • Sequential Focus: comics, graphic novels, or children’s books
  • Product Focus: patterning, packaging, and products

The illustration program intersects with the profession through visiting artists, with workshops and lectures, and on trips to New York City and elsewhere. You’ll visit the  Society of Illustrators (where the program has membership) in the fall and participate in MoCCAFest in New York City in the spring. Students can participate in global study programs through VPA or Syracuse Abroad, which offers 100 programs in 60 countries. Illustration majors often choose to study at the Syracuse University campus in Florence, Italy.

Alumni from the illustration program are successful in children’s books, comics, graphic novels, greeting cards, licensing, advertising, and editorial illustration, as well as visual development in animated films, television, and the gaming industry. 

[A look inside the illustration program and it facilities]

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