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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

How to study illustration abroad

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Illustration study abroad programs

Illustration undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in illustration

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    Illustration (Top-up) - BA (Hons) Buckinghamshire New University, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,120 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,500 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Illustration (Top-up)
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    Illustration - BA Indiana Wesleyan University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    28,184 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 28,184 USD

    Start date
    September, January, May
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Illustration - BA (Hons) University of Gloucestershire, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    20,106 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,680 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Illustration - BA (Hons) University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    17,805 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,000 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Illustration - BA (Hons) University of Northampton, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    17,668 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,900 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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
    January, September
    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
    August, January, June
    Show program overview about Botanical Illustration
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    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, January, June
    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
    14,929 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 10,900 GBP

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

Illustration graduate programs

Master's in illustration

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    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
    January, September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Illustration - MA Arts University Bournemouth, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    25,337 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,500 GBP

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Natural History Illustration - MA University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,160 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 35,000 AUD

    Start date
    February, July, September
    Show program overview about Natural History Illustration
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    Illustration - MA University of Gloucestershire, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    19,517 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,250 GBP

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Illustration
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    Illustration - MA University of Portsmouth, UK
    • Part-time

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    10,614 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,750 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about 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.