MS in Biomedical Visualization, University of Illinois at Chicago

Founded in 1921 by Professor Thomas Smith Jones, the Biomedical Visualization program (BVIS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago is the second oldest accredited school of its kind and one of only four accredited graduate programs in North America providing professional training for careers in the visual communication of life science, medicine, and healthcare. With a renowned faculty and a curriculum that keeps pace with advances in science and technology, UIC's Biomedical Visualization program attracts graduate students from a variety of disciplines such as medicine, life science, art, sculpture, digital animation, and computer science. 

While maintaining Tom Jones’ vision to educate “artist scientists,” the program has emerged as a leader in interdisciplinary training of life science visualization specialists who become highly skilled, professional illustrators, medical animators, web and media specialists, and anaplastologists. Because the Biomedical Visualization graduate program integrates life science, communication technology, learning science, research, and artistic training, it utilizes the academic resources of multiple departments throughout the UIC campus, one of the leading health research Universities in the United States. In addition, close relationships and unique internships with local professional medical organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, local museums, animation studios, software companies, medical advertising agencies, and other local prestigious universities and medical centers help contribute to a world-class education in a world-class city. 

What We Offer

UIC offers a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Visualization, the foundational and terminal professional degree in the field. A wide range of courses both within and outside BVIS, based in the Department of Biomedical Health and Information Sciences in the College of Applied Health Sciences, provide the foundation of this unique interdisciplinary program.  Opportunities for specialization include original project research or thesis preparation and an elective practicum experience to either focus skills and interests, or explore multiple career opportunities. Consideration of the dynamic needs of our graduate professional education led to a revision of the curriculum in 2014. Course offerings in medical science, learning theory, and visualization have been expanded and will be implemented by the University beginning with the 2014 entering class.


In higher education, accreditation is recognition by a certified accrediting body that a university meets standards of performance and planning that students and the public can rely upon. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC) is the accrediting body for UIC. UIC’s most recent accreditation was in 2007-2008, and the University will apply for continuing accreditation review in 2016-2017.

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604

In addition to HLC oversight, the Biomedical Visualization graduate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Programmatic accreditation by CAAHEP ensures the standards by which our program is measured have been developed by professionals in our discipline and ensures that our program meets or exceeds these industry standards. Our program was awarded continuing accreditation in January, 2016.

CAAHEP logoCommission on Accreditation of Allied Health
Education Programs
1361 Park Street
Clearwater, FL 33756

About the Profession

Graduates leave the program prepared for entry-level practice in the profession of medical illustration as well as related opportunities in visual communication of life science, medicine, healthcare, medical technology, and education. Medical illustrators are unique individuals with diverse skill sets of artistic problem solving and scholarly scientific knowledge, standing at the pivotal intersection of biomedical discovery and visualization technologies. Continued expansive growth in these fields provides opportunity in all aspects of our work, creating visual information to meet demands for knowledge in medical education, patient care, and personal health empowerment.

Medical illustrators are innovators in biomedical visualization, applying their creativity, scientific expertise, and interdisciplinary communication skills for those who benefit from the power of medical and scientific understanding.