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Elizabeth Ross - Illustration


Illustration is the interpretation and translation of text and narrative into visual form. As you pursue your BFA in Art + Design: Illustration, you'll explore the art of telling a story through images.

A BFA is a professional degree with concentrated areas of specialization, so you will take more art courses than you would in a BA program. At UMass Dartmouth, you also have the advantages of a university education where you can diversify your studies and expand your career opportunities.

Your studies will focus on the understanding and application of meaning as it applies to visual communication. You will be introduced to specialized areas such as book illustration, character development, concept art, and documentary illustration and will gain experience in the fundamental principles of color, composition, drawing, and rendering.

As you develop your own personal style, you'll build a professional portfolio and learn about the business aspects of illustration. A degree in illustration will prepare you for careers in animation, illustration, multimedia design, scientific visualization, as well as for graduate study.

Our curriculum combines traditional studio media—drawing, painting, and printmaking—with contemporary electronic media. The program emphasizes stylistic experimentation and the imaginative use of visual metaphor.

Through close work with faculty, you'll explore:

  • tools, techniques, and surfaces
  • symbolism, sequencing, and advanced perspective
  • integration of digital processes

For the BFA in Art + Design: Illustration, you'll complete 78 credits in courses related to your major, and 120 credits overall.

Computer requirement for CVPA majors

Course descriptions, schedules and requirements

The minor in illustration imparts the fundamental skills of illustration—those essential to the rendering of images for publication, such as conceptual skills, technical skills and collaborative skills—to students who are not seeking a professional degree in the discipline.

Most small- to medium-sized organizations seek employees who can meet multiple needs. A minor in illustration will result in a portfolio showing the ability for a graduate to bring additional design experience, skills, and knowledge to the workplace. However, a minor in illustration will not prepare most students to enter the competitive field of illustration directly.

For the minor, you'll complete 18 credits. Five required classes provide students with fundamental skills in illustration, while an elective class chosen from a list of recommended classes allows each student to choose a course aligned with their personal illustration interests.

Note: Minors in this concentration may be required to have a laptop.

Illustration student work

Student success

Emily Fontes '23

Illustration major creates a pitch deck for children's TV show for Honors College APEX project.


  • Edward Gorey House Museum
  • Hasbro
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • National Museum of American Illustration
  • New Bedford Art Museum
  • Piscataqua Fine Arts

Graduate schools

  • Columbia University Teachers College
  • New York Academy of Art
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • UMass Amherst

Career placements

  • Ahead LLC
  • Blue Homes
  • Blue Rain Media
  • Caricature Connection
  • Collective Next, LLC
  • GimaSport
  • Hasbro
  • LogMeIn
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Moss Archive
  • Old Time Sports

College of Visual & Performing Arts undergraduate mean starting salary:

NACE Data Collection of Class of 2022 Undergraduate Alumni


Illustration student Chloe Canterbury paints an electrical box alongside Route 18
CVPA students bring captivating color to New Bedford

Illustration student conducts research, creates concept, and brings life to electrical box.

UMassD advantages

  • Internships: enhance your studies while gaining professional experience
  • Studio facilities: our media labs feature state-of-the art workstations, printers, and scanners with industry-standard software
  • Campus Gallery: exhibit your work on campus

Expand your opportunities

Master of Fine Arts in Visual Design: Continue your education with a master's in visual design. You can choose to specialize in digital media, graphic design, illustration, photography, or typography.

Master of Art Education: With an emphasis on how the arts are integrated into daily life, the MAE program leads to a single-level professional certification in Massachusetts as an art teacher in grades Pre K-8 or 5-12.

Illustration faculty

Bruce Maddocks
Jess Worby headshot
Jess Worby
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