This page presents basic information about the curriculum of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program, our teaching philosophy and educational goals.

Educational Goals

The goals of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program are:

  • To refine students' expertise in various illustration, design, and animation media,
  • To provide the scientific foundation necessary to prepare illustrations in a medical setting,
  • To teach students to solve visually problems,
  • To establish and meet educational and communication objectives, and
  • To offer meaningful practical experience in medical illustration
Educational Philosophy

The philosophy of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program is as follows:

The Department of Medical Illustration supports the mission and values of Augusta University.

The Program is centered around the belief that its graduates must possess advanced artistic skills and a thorough knowledge of the human body in order to accurately interpret medical and other bio-scientific information. It is the faculty's belief that the students should spend a majority of their time in the art studio perfecting their skills and talents as artists. Emphasis is on problem solving: the creative interpretation of visual information that is not only clear and accurate, but also appropriate for its stated need and intended use. The faculty believes it must challenge each student to work toward the maximum limit of his or her individual creative potential.

This statement receives further credence by the following beliefs held by the Program's faculty.

The activities required of the students are not done because "they've always been done." The Program is based on the premise that all of its activities will have relevance to the students' future professional lives.

The curriculum does not require all of the students to engage in the same assignments, but allows considerable latitude in choosing among options. The faculty believes education involves making decisions and that students must be given a chance to learn how to make such decisions while in school.

Because the faculty believes the students' assignments must have a direct relationship to what professional medical illustrators are doing, the curriculum requires its students, not the professors, to do the reading, the writing and the thinking (the problem solving). The curriculum is directed toward question asking and problem solving rather than rote memorization.

Because it is believed that students learn from people and problems outside the program, its curriculum includes resources from the professional community.

Throughout its history, the Program has tried to maintain a flexible curriculum, emphasizing the fundamentals of art and design. We believe that a combination of traditional methods and contemporary applications are to be sought. Today we are incorporating computer generated art into our creative media, believing that digital techniques are integral to our industry. The curriculum design attempts to describe what the students are expected to learn and how they are expected to demonstrate that learning. It tries to avoid the danger of students being uncertain about how they will be judged. Testing develops from what is taught and not from what the students are assumed to know.

Faculty in the department have chosen to adopt a non-authoritative role, moving away from an adversarial relationship between professor and student toward collaborative effort. Students are given opportunities to supervise themselves, giving them a degree of control in the functioning of the Program.

The Program's concept of knowledge, attitudes and skills is oriented toward the future. This does not mean that knowledge of the past is not useful. It means that the Program attempts to realistically assess what students will need to know in the years ahead, in order to help them learn those things.

Professors must view themselves as learners. This idea develops a learning community where the professor functions as a coordinator or facilitator of activities rather than as a dictator.

In addition to formal teaching, the faculty recognizes that students also learn from other students, and that students who function as teachers learn more than students functioning only as students.

Students are not placed in competitive roles with each other, but function instead in collaborative relationships. The Program strives to achieve a positive and supportive atmosphere in which each member is encouraged to grow in his/her own way, but not at the expense of someone else.

The studio/classroom environment should be characterized by physical comfort, mutual trust, respect, helpfulness, as well as freedom of expression and acceptance of differences.

The faculty recognizes that adult students respond less readily to external factors (such as grades) than to internal motivation. The faculty recognizes that methods and techniques which involve the student most deeply in self-directed inquiry will produce the greatest learning. Beyond meeting the minimal competency in all areas of the curriculum, a student is encouraged to pursue areas of special interest to as great a depth as time, inclination and resources permit.

The faculty believes a student should be encouraged to develop his/her own artistic style, as long as the resulting artwork meets its stated objective. The Program's faculty is willing to be held accountable for its curriculum.

Program Schema
 First Year Second Year
Fall Semester
  • Human Gross Anatomy I
  • Medical Illustration Techniques IA
  • Electronic Media I
Fall Semester
  • Pathology I
  • Medical Illustration Techniques IIB
  • Surgical Observation & Sketching II
  • Multimedia II
  • Investigation of a Problem I
  • Business and Resource Management I
Spring Semester
  • Human Gross Anatomy II
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Surgical Techniques
  • Medical Illustration Techniques IB
  • Electronic Media II
Spring Semester
  • Pathology II
  • Business and Resource Management II
  • Investigation of a Problem II
  • Master’s Project
Summer Semester
  • Cell Biology & Histology
  • Medical Illustration Techniques IIA
  • Surgical Observation & Sketching I
  • Multimedia I
  • Elective: Medical Sculpture

This link provides additional information on the Augusta University academic catalog, School of Graduate Studies curricula, and Medical Illustration Graduate Program course descriptions. Students can continue to enroll until all graduation requirements are completed. Occasionally, one additional semester is necessary. Students have up to five years from the date of initial entry into the program to complete all requirements.