Scientific Illustration

At BVU the experience and practice of the visual arts is an interdisciplinary pursuit. Within the Art Studio major, the areas offered are art history, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, drawing and design. All studio courses involve hands-on experience taught by faculty members who are professional artists.

Artists saving lives

Scientific illustrators get the best of both worlds, and when it comes to their job: they blend an understanding of science and artistic skill into one career. Scientific illustration requires skill in detailed, realist drawing with a range of mediums. Generally, scientific illustrators produce drawings that appear in textbooks, academic journals, museums, magazines, scientific websites, and other scientific sources.

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Artist-in-Residence
  • Professional Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Professor
  • Master Printer
  • Arts Administrator

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Where You'll Learn

A different kind of classroom

As a scientific illustration major, students will dive into our studio and gallery spaces and begin learning new techniques right away in their first year of study. They’ll join a dynamic, creative learning community with intimate sized studio classes, an active studio environment, and a focused outcomes-based curriculum. The faculty are practicing artists that regularly model and communicate the compelling demands and rewards of creative study. By the last semester at BVU, students are fully prepared to begin their career or attend graduate school in medical-related graphic design or laboratory research.


There are many courses available in scientific illustration, ranging from weekend workshops to full degree and postgraduate programs. However, only a few colleges in the United States offer an undergraduate degree in scientific illustration. Additionally, experience in digital design programs and expertise of digital design techniques are vital to a scientific illustrator's career. 

Drawing skills

Scientific illustration requires highly accurate, realistic drawing skills to communicate complex ideas and concepts. BVU students rely on illustration courses to help refine their drawing. Some illustration may copy directly from specimens, but others involve using references and imagination to represent abstract concepts, extinct species and microscopic organisms.

Other Skills

A flair for science is essential for a scientific illustrator. You may choose to specialize in areas such as medicine, paleontology, biology, or chemistry. This is a degree program requiring industry experience before graduating with a bachelor's degree, and the classes at BVU fully prepare you for securing the skills needed before graduation.

Major in Scientific Illustration/Pre-Medical Illustration (63 credit hours)

Biology (22 credit hours)

  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • BIOL 164 Biological Principles II
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy

Scientific Illustration Studio (5 credit hours)

  • ARTD 290 Scientific Illustration
  • ARTD 390 Scientific Illustration II
  • ARTD 495 Internship

Internships consisting of supervised training in illustration, design, computer imaging, systematics and/or collections management may be set up at a studio or research institution.

Visual Art and Design Core (24 credit hours)

  • ARTD 180 Art Foundations: Drawing
  • ARTD 185 Art Foundations: 3D Design
  • ARTD 190 Art Foundations: Digital Design
  • ARTD 195 Portfolio Review
  • ARTD 240 Visual Literacy and Criticism
  • ARTD 250 Life Drawing
  • ARTD 280 Business of Art
  • ARTD 304 Critical Issues in Modern and Contemporary Art
  • ARTD 492 Art and Design Capstone
  • ARTD 493 Art and Design Practicum

One course from

  • BIOL 210 Zoology
  • BIOL 222 Botany
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy

Recommended General Education and Electives

  • COMM 100 Fundamentals of Communication
  • COMM 225 Relational Communication
  • COMM 227 Advanced Public Speaking
  • COMM 230 Business and Professional Communication
  • ENVS 103 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • BIOL 210 Zoology
  • BIOL 222 Botany
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy

Visual Art and Design Studio (12 credit hours)

  • ARTD 270 Illustration & Storyboards
  • ARTD 320 Sculpture
  • ARTD 365 2D Animation
  • ARTD 367 3D Animation


Ms.   Mary  Mello-Nee

Mary Mello-Nee

Associate Professor of Art

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Ms.   Miranda  Pollock

Miranda Pollock

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

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Mr.   David  Boelter

David Boelter

Professor of Art

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