College of Science

The CSUMB Science Illustration Certificate Program provides students with essential creative and professional skills for building a career in science illustration and related fields.

About the program

  • Students attend 9 months of in person classes from September to June. A list of program courses can be viewed in the Course Catalog. These courses meet in person at our classroom at the CSUMB campus, there is no online/virtual option. 
  • After completing these classes, students complete a summer or fall internship which may be attended in person or online.
  • The entire certificate program can be completed within 12–15 months.
  • Admission to the program is limited to 18 students each year.
  • Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree in order to apply.
  • Visit our Application and Costs page for information about the application process, program costs, financial aid, and instructions for international students.
  • Visit the “About the program” section of our FAQ page for additional general information.

Program highlights

  • Traditional science illustration techniques and media are demonstrated and developed in foundational studies.
  • Digital media skills are emphasized in every quarter and introduce students to software and workflows being used by industry professionals.
  • Students become well-versed in zoological and botanical subjects with opportunities to work from specimens and in the field.
  • Guest lecturers with expertise in art direction, art law, and science communication make special presentations and provide insight into what goes into a successful science illustration career.
  • Students learn how to design and assemble a gallery exhibit to showcase their work at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
  • After completing 9 months of academic course work, students gain additional experience by completing a summer or fall internship with a science magazine, museum, aquarium, university press, zoological or botanical institution, newspaper, or graphic arts studio. For more information, visit the “Internships and Careers” section of our FAQ page.

Program courses

Session 1: September – December

  • SICP 501 - Introduction to Science Illustration
  • SICP 502 - Field Sketching
  • SICP 503 - Introduction to Digital Media
  • SICP 512 - Special Topics in Science Illustration

Session 2: January – March

  • SICP 504 - Science Illustration in Color
  • SICP 505 - Applied Techniques in Natural Science Illustration
  • SICP 507 - Professional Practices for Science Illustrators
  • SICP 508 - Design of Graphics for Motion, Web, and Print

Session 3: April – June

  • SICP 506 - Advanced Techniques in Color Science Illustration
  • SICP 509 - Botanical Illustration
  • SICP 510 - Zoological Illustration
  • SICP 511 - Applied Integration of Digital Media

Session 4: June – December

  • SICP 513 - Internship

More information

If you have questions you can visit our FAQ page or email us at


Illustration of snails on lichen.

Illustration by Lindsey Kernodle