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Study illustration abroad

An in-depth guide to studying illustration as an international student.

Explore illustration programs abroad

See other programs in illustration

Illustration degrees abroad

Illustration is the academic study of visual images and the messages they communicate. Programs in illustration provide students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to get ahead in this creative industry.

As well as studying the principles and processes behind powerful illustrations, you’ll trace the evolution of the industry throughout history. You’ll experiment with a range of artistic methods and media, from drawing and digital, to painting and printmaking. These experiences will help you to master your own visual style.

Illustration is a practice that varies tremendously between countries and cultures. By studying abroad, you’ll encounter new illustrative styles, techniques, processes, and concepts that’ll enrich your artistic education. You’ll become a more original, versatile, and well-rounded artist.

Illustration program structure

You can study illustration at various undergraduate and postgraduate degree levels. Two-year associate degrees introduce students to the fundamentals of the field, equipping you for entry-level employment or further study.

The majority of illustration students choose to enroll in a bachelor’s program. These degrees are offered as a BA across most of the world and you’ll study for a minimum of three years.

However, if you choose to study in the US or Canada, you might pursue a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) course. This four-year program has a more intensive illustration focus, so you’ll take fewer liberal arts classes.

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s, you can enroll in an MA or master of fine arts (MFA) program. Both programs can be studied over one or two years, but they differ slightly in content. MA programs are structured around critical study and research, whereas MFA courses focus on professional artistic practice.

PhDs in illustration are available and can take anywhere between four and seven years to finish. Doctorate degrees are particularly useful if you’re hoping to work in higher education.

Illustration programs are normally taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and studio-based workshops. Most universities will also arrange guest presentations from industry specialists, relevant field trips, and on-campus exhibitions.

Thanks to the wide range of elective modules offered as part of illustration programs, you can easily tailor your degree to suit your interests. However, most courses will cover these key topics:

  • Introduction to visual communication
  • Theories and practice of visual communication
  • Illustration techniques
  • History of art and illustration
  • Contemporary illustration
  • Illustrations for publications
  • Fundamentals of digital illustration
  • Color theory
Illustration program structure

You can study illustration at various undergraduate and postgraduate degree levels. Two-year associate degrees introduce students to the fundamentals of the field, equipping you for entry-level employment or further study.

The majority of illustration students choose to enroll in a bachelor’s program. These degrees are offered as a BA across most of the world and you’ll study for a minimum of three years.

However, if you choose to study in the US or Canada, you might pursue a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) course. This four-year program has a more intensive illustration focus, so you’ll take fewer liberal arts classes.

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s, you can enroll in an MA or master of fine arts (MFA) program. Both programs can be studied over one or two years, but they differ slightly in content. MA programs are structured around critical study and research, whereas MFA courses focus on professional artistic practice.

PhDs in illustration are available and can take anywhere between four and seven years to finish. Doctorate degrees are particularly useful if you’re hoping to work in higher education.

Illustration programs are normally taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and studio-based workshops. Most universities will also arrange guest presentations from industry specialists, relevant field trips, and on-campus exhibitions.

Thanks to the wide range of elective modules offered as part of illustration programs, you can easily tailor your degree to suit your interests. However, most courses will cover these key topics:

  • Introduction to visual communication
  • Theories and practice of visual communication
  • Illustration techniques
  • History of art and illustration
  • Contemporary illustration
  • Illustrations for publications
  • Fundamentals of digital illustration
  • Color theory

How to study illustration abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
  2. Application guidance

    We'll get you to the right place to start your application
  3. Visa & travel advice

    Get help after application, all the way to your first day at university

Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
Our services are 100% free for students like you because we're funded by universities.

Illustration study abroad programs

Illustration undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in illustration

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    Art, Illustration - BFA University of Hartford, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    45,144 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 45,144 USD

    Start date
    May, January
    Show program overview about Art, Illustration
  • false

    Art, Studio with specialization in Medical & Scientific Illustration - BA Oglethorpe University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    39,300 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 39,300 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Art, Studio with specialization in Medical & Scientific Illustration
  • false

    Art: Emphasis in Illustration/New Pictures - BA Seattle Pacific University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,604 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,604 USD

    Start date
    March, September, January
    Show program overview about Art: Emphasis in Illustration/New Pictures
  • false

    Art: Illustration - BFA California State University, East Bay, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,499 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,499 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about Art: Illustration
  • false

    Art: Illustration/Animation - BFA California State University, Long Beach, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,338 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,338 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Art: Illustration/Animation
See all bachelor's degrees in illustration

Associate in illustration

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    Graphic Communication: Illustration - AASc Mohawk Valley Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    6,892 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 6,892 USD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Graphic Communication: Illustration
See all associate degrees in illustration

Certificate in illustration

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    Botanical Illustration - Cert Merritt College, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    June, August, January
    Show program overview about Botanical Illustration
  • false

    Digital Imaging: Digital Illustration - Cert Berkeley City College, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    August, June, January
    Show program overview about Digital Imaging: Digital Illustration
See all undergraduate certificates in illustration

Pathway in illustration

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    Illustration (Foundation) - FD Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,079 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 10,900 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Illustration (Foundation)
See all undergraduate pathways in illustration

Illustration graduate programs

Master's in illustration

  • false

    Illustration - MFA University of Hartford, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    28,115 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 28,115 USD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Illustration
  • false

    Illustration - MA University of Gloucestershire, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    19,713 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,250 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Illustration
  • false

    Illustration - MA Arts University Bournemouth, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    25,592 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,500 GBP

    Start date
    October, February
    Show program overview about Illustration
  • false

    Illustration - MA University of Portsmouth, UK
    • Part-time

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    10,721 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,750 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Illustration
  • false

    Natural History Illustration - MA University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,069 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 35,000 AUD

    Start date
    September, July, February
    Show program overview about Natural History Illustration
See all master's degrees in illustration

Future illustration careers

Over the course of your education, you’ll have built up an impressive portfolio of work and a transferable artistic skillset. Therefore, you’ll be able to showcase your talent and potential to employers across several creative sectors.

Illustration graduates go on to land a range of exciting positions, including:

  • Illustrator
  • Animator
  • Graphic designer
  • Printmaker
  • Concept artist
  • Cartoonist
  • Lecturer
  • Fashion designer

Participating in relevant work experience is one of the best ways to extend your knowledge, demonstrate your passion, and step-up your employability. Speak to your university’s career service about the benefits of securing placements and internships.