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Illustration, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Illustration guides you in the contemporary delivery of narrative art in digital and print formats.

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Illustration guides you in the contemporary delivery of narrative art in digital and print formats. Our curriculum features courses focused on solid figurative underpinnings to progress toward drawing mastery. As an Illustration major, you gain proficiency in the use of a broad range of media and the advanced practice each of those require. 

Illustrators bring narrative to life through the process of telling stories with images and words. Illustration is widely used in books, advertising, clothing design, packaging, store displays, storyboarding, graphics, video games, animation, character design, and more. Through required design courses for the major, you expand picture making skills to develop artwork that will better express the ideas you want to communicate. 

St. John’s University has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide allowing illustration majors to potentially move into similarly accredited masters programs with ease. 

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Degree Type
Area of Interest
The Arts
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours

Program Mission Statement

Illustration, like Graphic Design, is an applied art and as such seeks to connect Illustration students with career opportunities in the visual communications industry. These careers require not only proficiency in drawing and painting but also technical skills in numerous digital platforms. Equally important to the technical education of Illustration students is intellectual development, which requires all of the knowledge, discipline, sensitivity, and awareness of a liberal arts education. Students in the Illustration program acquire the skills necessary to compete in an ever-expanding and increasingly diverse visual arts industry that serves a vast array of visual communications applications.

Additional Information

In addition to applying to St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, B.F.A. candidates in Illustration must submit their portfolio of original artwork to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service allows you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically to faculty reviewers. We request 12-15 images using JPG format, but also accept other file types as per the instructions on the SlideRoom portal. Specific instructions for your portfolio upload are available on the department page, and in SlideRoom.

After completing the St. John's Undergraduate Application, you will be able to upload your images via SlideRoom.

Portfolios and applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but you must submit your portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15 to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships. For early action, please submit your portfolio via SlideRoom by December 15.

Please contact the Department Chair directly at [email protected] with any questions regarding this process.

For more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John's University, please visit Undergraduate Admission.

The Department of Art and Design awards two full-time, four-year scholarships to first-year students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency and creative potential in their portfolio submission and have met the academic requirements of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Three additional first-year students who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts are offered a $1,000 incentive scholarship. Students are selected through the portfolio review process and must submit their portfolio in our SlideRoom portal by January 15 to be considered. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo at 718-990-6250 or [email protected]


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*

CourseCourse #Title
ART1105Introduction to Graphic Design
ART1110Foundation Design
ART1115Graphic Design II
ART1210Drawing II
ART1270Illustration I
ART1280Digital Illustration
ART2220Anatomy & Figure Drawing I
ART2230Anatomy & Figure Drawing II
ART2310Painting I
ART2320Painting II
ART2265Global Sketchbook
ART2280Illustration II
ART4112Professional Practices for Fine Art and Illustration Majors

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

Choose 3 Courses from the following list:

CourseCourse #Title
ART1120Social Media for Artists and Designers
ART1630Digital Photography (Advanced Photo & Imaging)
ART2115Graphic Production
ART2130Motion Graphics
ART3125Advanced Typography

 Required Art History Courses

CourseCourse #Title
ART1710History of Art I
ART1720History of Art II
ART2750Historical Modernism 1848-1945
ART2145History of Visual Communications

Choose One of the Following:

CourseCourse #TitleCredits
ART4125Creative Thesis9

In addition, you must select four art electives (12 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

Department Contact

Elizabeth DeLuna



St. John Hall B11

Tel: 718-990-6249

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