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Illustration, Bachelor of Fine Arts

BFA Illustration
132 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus


'The Willow Wren', pen and ink with digital color; Illustration by Keri Dodge, BFA in Illustration, 2010

Our BFA in Illustration program aims to provide the student with mastery in the creation of images in both traditional and digital formats. One of the goals of the illustration curriculum is for students to obtain proficiency in the use of a wide range of media and the application of technical skills required by each.

After completing the foundation courses in a variety of media, students will move towards developing a structured sensitivity to storytelling through the creation of images in both traditional and digital formats.

Illustrators bring narratives to life through the process of making images. Defined more by its context and ability to tell stories through the visual, illustration 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 at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.

For more information on our program requirements and assistance with portfolios.


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 portfolio requirements page.
If after reading the portfolio requirements page you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact the department Chairperson 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 online. 


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 new survey conducted 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.

For a small selection of a few of our alumni success "stories", enjoy the links below:

    Global Approach to Education

    In the area of Global Education the Department of Art and Design has been in the forefront of Global Studies since 1989. All of the courses abroad offered by the Department can be taken as art electives by our BFA candidates. Our courses and programs abroad are offered in Rome, Paris, Spain, and during the summers in destinations that span the world. Students are encouraged to view the world as a tangible place and use their cameras, and visual media as tools that aim to provide a broader understanding of humanity from both a global and personal perspective.

    Below is a sampling of some of the courses we offer abroad: The Italian Sketchbook, The French Sketchbook, Painting in Italy, Drawing and Design in Rome, Culture of Southern Italy, a Visual Journey, Photography in Paris, Art in Vietnam, Survey of Art and Architecture

    Additional Information

    Our BFA students at St. John's gain a solid foundation in art theory and its applications to various media. Students 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 freshmen 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 bestows 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 students to learn as they create under the guidance of master teachers. Facilities include the state-of-the-art classrooms, featuring cutting-edge equipment and software.

    Each of our BFA programs avail the student the option of either a Thesis or Internship during their senior year as the culmination of their degree. Thesis students work closely with their chosen faculty advisor in order to embark upon and complete a body of work so as to present to galleries or use as part of their portfolio for future MFA program applications. Internships are individually arranged according to the student’s interests, strengths, and career objectives. 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, the internship opportunities our students have to select from our quite extensive. Our programs benefit from 50 years of experience and educational excellence in the visual arts.