Illustration BFA

Banner for Illustration Program


120 credit, four-year program of study

"Illustrators invent and document the visual style of an era. They've been doing it for a long time, and they're still at it."

The Visual Design components of the Design Department include options in Graphic Design/Letterform, Illustration, and Photography/Electronic Imaging. Students may major in any of these disciplines.

The Visual Design cluster's curriculum is rooted in the belief that the contemporary visual artist/designer must have excellent professional skills, be broadly educated, articulate, literate, and be an active participant in all phases of the design process. Design is linked with communication, and good communication is defined by professional vision, courage, and skill--qualities that demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, behavioral, social, and technological factors that influence any design project.

The Visual Design options take advantage of the University's total resources and offer a challenging curriculum, interrelating visual skills with verbal acumen, and exploring the conceptual within the context of the perceptual.

Illustration curriculum guide 2016-17 (PDF)

Requirements for Admission

All applicants must meet portfolio requirements as an element in the department's admission decision. Additional materials may be required. All applicants must also follow UMass Dartmouth's admissions procedures detailed in the University Catalogue.


The Visual Design Illustration option prepares students to master the technical and conceptual skills that are necessary for success within the professional field. Students are introduced to a range of specialized areas such as editorial, book, and documentary illustration. They receive a comprehensive introduction to traditional studio media in drawing, painting, and printmaking, as well as in contemporary electronic media.

The curriculum balances the development of color, composition, and rendering abilities. There is an equal emphasis on the understanding and application of meaning and the interpretation of text and narrative and its translation into visual form. Stylistic experimentation and the imaginative use of visual metaphors are particularly stressed.