D'Angelo Center at Dusk

Illustration, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Art and Design


Our B.F.A. in Illustration develops your mastery of image creation in both traditional and digital formats. You will become proficient in the use of a wide range of media and the application of technical skills each requires.

Illustrators bring narratives to life through the process of making images. It is widely used in books, advertising, clothing, packaging, store displays, movies, graphics, video games, animation, character development, and social media.

The Department of Art and Design has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.

Department Contact

Belenna Lauto
Professor and Chair
[email protected]

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We accept portfolios and applications on a rolling basis, but you must submit the portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15 if you wish to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships. If you wish to apply for early action, please submit your portfolio via SlideRoom by December 15.

You may arrange for a portfolio review by either calling the Department of Art and Design to schedule an appointment with one of our senior faculty members, or by mailing your portfolio in digital form to:

The Department of Art and Design
Portfolio Submission, SJH, B-11
St. John’s University
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439

For portfolio requirements, please visit our department page. If you have additional questions after reading the portfolio requirements, please feel free to contact the Department Chair directly at: [email protected].

If you would like more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission


Program Requirements: B.F.A. in Illustration

To earn a B.F.A. in Illustration, you complete 132 credits in core, major requirements, and elective courses as outlined below. For more information about courses, please see the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Science section of our Undergraduate Bulletin.

Required Studio Courses*

ART 1105Introduction to Graphic Design
ART 1110Foundation Design
ART 1130Color Theory
ART 1200Drawing I
ART 1210Drawing II
ART 1270Illustration I
ART 1280Digital Illustration
ART 2220Anatomy & Figure Drawing I
ART 2230Anatomy & Figure Drawing II
Choose one painting class from ART 2310, 2320, or 3340
ART 2240Drawing as Illustration
ART 2265Global Sketchbook
ART 2280Illustration II
ART 3110Professional Portfolio
ART 3570Junior Sequential Art
ART 4115Senior Sequential Art

*Please note that studio art courses meet for six hours per week.

Required Art History Courses

ART 1710History of Art I
ART 1720History of Art II
ART 2750Historical Modernism 1848-1945
ART 2145History of Visual Communications

Choose One of the Following: 

ART 4125Creative Thesis (9 credits)
ART 4909Internship (9 credits)

In addition, you must select five art electives (15 credits total). 

Required Core Curriculum Courses

DNY 1000C
ENG 1000C
ENG 1100C
HIS 1000C
MFL Electives (2)
MTH 1000C
PHI 1000C
PHI 2200C
PHI 3000C
SCI 1000C
One social science elective from: ANT, ECO, GEO, GOV, LIN, PSY, or SOC
SPE 1000C
THE 1000C
THE 2000-level
THE 3000-level

Career Outcomes

Thanks to their strong personal and professional connections, our professors help students build their own networks in New York’s art scene. Seniors gain internships with publishers, magazines, advertising agencies, graphic design studios, museums, galleries, and other organizations that enable them to launch successful careers.

A survey by the Wall Street Journal survey includes St. John’s among its Top 100 colleges that are “most likely to help students land a job in key careers and professions — areas that are growing, pay well and offer high levels of satisfaction.”  Studios, galleries, multimedia communications firms, and business companies in general rely on the creative intuition and skills of designers to reach their target audience. This competitive field is expected to grow an estimated 13 percent, especially in the interactive media sector. Our alumni find great success within their field of study and most of our interns are hired by the hosting firm before they even graduate.

    Global Approach to Education

    The Department of Art and Design has been a leader in Global Education since 1989. All of the courses we offer abroad are applicable as art electives for B.F.A. candidates. We offer courses and programs in Rome, Paris, Spain, and around the world. We encourage you to use visual media to gain a broader understanding of humanity from both a global and personal perspective.

    Additional Information

    As a B.F.A. student at St. John's, you gain a solid foundation in art theory and its applications to various media. You learn from an enormously gifted, internationally-known faculty of artists whose work appears in galleries, exhibitions and publications in New York City, across the country, and around the world.

    The Department of Art and Design offers full and partial scholarships to first-year students with a record of exemplary skills in high school. Two full-time, four-year scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency in drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design, and/or photography.

    St. John’s also awards a $1,000 incentive scholarship to high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts. Students are selected through the portfolio review process. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo: 718-990-6250; [email protected].

    Our studios provide an ideal atmosphere for you to learn as you create under the guidance of master teachers. Our facilities include the state-of-the-art classrooms with cutting-edge equipment and software.

    In each of our B.F.A. programs, you have the option of electing a thesis or internship as the culmination of your degree. Thesis students work closely with faculty to create a body of work that you may present to galleries or use as part of an M.F.A. application portfolio. Internships are available based on your interests and goals. Since we are located just 20 minutes from New York City, and have established a strong network of affiliates and alumni who now hold impressive positions within the art world, you have an extensive range of internship opportunities available to you. You benefit from our 50 years of experience and educational excellence in the visual arts.