College of Science

Department of Science Illustration

The Science Illustration Certificate Program affords students an opportunity to learn essential creative and professional skills for building a career in science illustration and related fields. It comprises a three-term, full-time sequence of studio and field courses, a series of master seminars designed to familiarize students with the business aspects of careers in the field of scientific illustration, followed by a professional internship. The follow-up internship gives program graduates an important edge both in experience and networking over illustrators who lack such experience. Program graduates have found jobs in art direction, freelance illustration, teaching, museum work, field research, and magazine illustration and graphic design.

Program Summary

  • From September to June students attend in person classes at our classroom on the CSUMB campus. A list of required courses can be viewed in the Course Catalog.
  • From June to December students attend their internship quarter. The internship can be completed in person or be done remotely.
Illustration of serpentine soils

Illustration by Emily Underwood


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.
  • Partnership with the UCSC Science Communication Program gives students the opportunity to illustrate articles for online publication in Science Notes.
  • 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.
Illustration of snails on lichen.

Illustration by Lindsey Kernodle