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Biological/Pre-Medical Illustration

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Undergraduate Study

The interdepartmental undergraduate BPM I major is designed for students who want to combine their interests and aptitudes in science and art. Based on the theme of "communicating science through art," the major prepares students for careers in biological illustration or for graduate education in medical illustration elsewhere. Graduates enter fields such as biocommunications, environmental display design, free-lance illustration, museum display design, and various careers in the publishing industry.

Entrance into the BPM I program is by application to the BPM I Advisory Committee. Eligibility is based on an academic standard of at least 2.00 CGPA on 30 credits of university level work and a consideration of artistic ability as demonstrated through submission of a portfolio of representative drawings or other art work. Freshman and transfer students usually declare pre-BPM I as their major while satisfying the conditions for entrance into the major, although other majors can be declared.

To earn the B.A. degree offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, students must complete the general education requirements in that college and take at least 41 credits in design and 32 credits in the biological sciences.

Design courses29
Design Representation
Drawing II
Watercolor Painting
Computer Modeling, Rendering and Virtual Photography
Drawing III: Life Drawing
Scientific Illustration Principles and Techniques
Illustration and Illustration Software
Illustration as Communication
Application of Scientific Illustration Techniques
Illustration Internship
12 credits chosen from a list of approved upper level courses in art and design12
Biological Science courses24
Orientation for Open Option and Preprofessional Students
Principles of Biology I
Principles of Biology Laboratory I
Principles of Biology II
Principles of Biology Laboratory II
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy
Fundamentals of Human Physiology
Comparative Chordate Anatomy
One of the following3
Plant Systematics
Plant Anatomy
9 credits chosen from a list of approved biological science courses9

Chemistry and Mathematics are also required as supporting courses. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all art and science courses included in the major and must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in both categories. A brochure is available in 102 Catt Hall that gives a detailed listing of the requirements.

Communication Proficiency Requirement. Students must earn a minimum of C in both ENGL 150 and ENGL 250 or equivalent composition courses and in one advanced writing course numbered ENGL 302 through ENGL 316.

Students in BPM I must complete a senior project or an internship experience (BPM I 497) in which they design and produce artwork that is suitable for publication or public display.


A minor in biological illustration is offered. A minimum of 17 credits must be taken, including 8 credits in biological science courses and 9 credits in art and design courses.

The biological sciences must include:

BIOL 211Principles of Biology I3
BIOL 211LPrinciples of Biology Laboratory I1
BIOL 212Principles of Biology II3
BIOL 212LPrinciples of Biology Laboratory II1

The art and design courses must include:

BPM I 323Scientific Illustration Principles and Techniques3
BPM I 337Application of Scientific Illustration Techniques3
Advanced drawing, illustration, electronic media or painting course

For more information, contact the BPM I adviser in 102 Catt Hall or view the website listed above.


Courses primarily for undergraduates:

BPM I 323. Scientific Illustration Principles and Techniques.

(Cross-listed with ARTIS). (0-6) Cr. 3. Repeatable. Prereq: 6 credits in art and design and 3 credits in biological sciences
Studio basics and professional techniques in black & white, continuous tone, and color. Emphasis on tools, materials, and rendering.

BPM I 326. Illustration and Illustration Software.

(Cross-listed with ARTIS). (0-6) Cr. 3. Repeatable. Prereq: ARTIS 323
Application of painting, drawing, and image making techniques to communication. Development of technical abilities using illustration software. Digital and print production techniques.

BPM I 327. Illustration as Communication.

(Cross-listed with ARTIS). (0-6) Cr. 3. Prereq: ARTIS 326
Studio problems in illustration emphasizing composition and communication. Problem solving methodologies.

BPM I 337. Application of Scientific Illustration Techniques.

(Cross-listed with ARTIS). (0-6) Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. S. Prereq: ARTIS 327
Rendering techniques applied to different types of biological and scientific subjects emphasizing communication. The use of traditional and digital media. Term project required.

BPM I 395. Field Illustration.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. S.SS. Prereq: Permission of instructor
A combination seminar and field trip course emphasizing nature interpretation, field sketching techniques and preparation of a final illustration based on field experience.

BPM I 398. Cooperative Education.

Cr. R. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of the program cooperative education coordinator, junior classification
Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for these courses prior to commencing each work period.

BPM I 435I. Illustrating Nature I Sketching.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 2. SS.
Sketching plants, animals and terrain. Visual communication, development of a personal style, and integration of typographic and visual elements on a page will be emphasized.

BPM I 436I. Illustrating Nature II Photography.

(Cross-listed with IA LL). Cr. 2. SS.
Beginning to intermediate technical and compositional aspects of color photography of natural areas and their plants and animals.

BPM I 490. Independent Study.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 3 credits. Prereq: Written approval of instructor and advisory committee chair on required form in advance of semester of enrollment

BPM I 494. Special Topics in Illustration.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.
Intensive exploration of illustration techniques in a studio or field setting.

BPM I 497. Illustration Internship.

Cr. 1-6. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. Prereq: Junior or senior classification in BPM I, written approval of supervising instructor and advisory committee chair on required form in advance of semester of enrollment
Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.