A student being superimposed in front of a magenta background with design sketches.

Create Your Future with a Degree in Graphic Design and Illustration

If you see yourself as a creative problem solver, as someone who wants to effect positive change in the world using your visual skills, discover IUP’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Illustration/Art Studio.

With a focus in both graphic design and illustration, you'll develop a diverse, marketable portfolio as a creative professional. IUP's faculty are working designers and illustrators with real-world experience, who will support and challenge you every step of the way. When you graduate, you'll be ready for hire across a variety of commercial art fields as a graphic designer, illustrator, web designer, art director—or start a venture of your very own, such as self-publishing or indie product development.

What You’ll Learn

A BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration will prepare you with a foundation of experience for the commercial art and design industry. You'll hone your ability to develop creative concepts and learn a variety of in-demand skills such as:

  • Illustration and digital painting
  • Brand identity and trademark design
  • Print and layout design
  • 3D modeling
  • Typography
  • Web and interactive design
  • Graphic novel / concept art development
  • Print media and layout methods
  • Self-publishing platforms and techniques

You'll also choose from a menu of electives, including photography, marketing, painting, and more, to round out your expertise as a visual communicator.

Imagine Your Future

There isn’t just one job, or one industry, you’ll be prepared for. When it comes to what’s next, your options are many—and multiplying all the time—including careers in graphic design, web design, 3D modeling, illustration, art direction, and interaction design.

Career Opportunities in Graphic Design

Organizations, celebrities, and businesses need a brand identity, online presence, and marketing materials to remain competitive. As a graphic designer and illustrator, this leads to nearly infinite opportunities to utilize your skills, from the smallest local business to the largest corporation.

There isn't just a single job or industry you'll be prepared for: your options are many—and multiplying—and include careers on the cutting edge of the commercial arts, including 3D modeling and interaction design.

Recent graduates have found lasting employment as graphic designers and/or illustrators with companies including:

  • Brunner Marketing Agency
  • General Electric
  • Lost Battalion Games
  • The National Park Service
  • Rue21
  • American Eagle International
  • Mind and Media, Inc.
  • Founders Table Restaurant Group
  • Boco Gear

You’ll learn from faculty who have created work for clients such as:

  • British Airways
  • Capcom
  • Chicago Magazine
  • General Motors
  • Rolling Stone magazine
  • Square Enix
  • The US Air Force
  • Psycho Bunny Clothing
  • The New York Times

Career Opportunities

  • Art director
  • Brand and identity specialist
  • Commercial art entrepreneur
  • Creative director
  • Illustrator
  • Layout designer
  • Print designer
  • UI designer
  • UX designer
  • Website designer

Art Director


Median Salary


National Job Growth

Fine Artist, including Illustrators


Median Salary


National Job Growth

Graphic Designer


Median Salary


National Job Growth

Web and Digital Interface Designer


Median salary


National Job Growth

Classes and Requirements

What You'll Study

Your core classes form the foundation of this IUP program and include 2D design and color theory, drawing, introduction to graphic design, typography, illustration, layout for print and web, digital content creation, brand design, advanced illustration, advanced drawing, digital synthesis, web design, career practices, art history, internships, and more.

You'll have a leg up with elective courses in marketing and communications media, which, in total, will prepare you to face the challenges of the contemporary design and illustration industry.

Graduation Requirements

Students will need to complete 120 credits of total instruction hours, including 72 credits in their core content area (including 12 controlled and four to five free elective credits) and 48 credits of liberal studies courses. Students must achieve a cumulative 2.5 GPA and earn a "C" or better in all Art and Art History courses to graduate.

Upon completion of this degree program, you will be prepared to enter a career in graphic design and illustration and will have the skills you need to succeed as an entrepreneur, freelancer, or professional in the commercial arts.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

  • Loading...

Submit Your Portfolio

If you have been accepted to IUP, your next step is to submit an entrance portfolio for review. Follow the directions on the link below to send your work and finalize the process.