MS in Biomedical Visualization

Where art, life science and medicine meet technology for visual communication

The UIC Master of Science in Biomedical Visualization provides an interdisciplinary graduate education to shape leaders in visual communication who create, disseminate and advance knowledge in the life sciences, healthcare and medicine.

Our MS in Biomedical Visualization—which we affectionately call BVIS—is the largest and second-oldest of four accredited programs of its kind in North America. With a curriculum at the cutting edge of science and technology, we attract candidates from among the life sciences, healthcare, fine and applied arts, and computer science. Our students become highly-skilled science visualization specialists in medical illustration, animation, interactive media, gaming, haptics, and virtual and augmented reality, working on the frontiers of discovery.

BVIS integrates medicine, life science, communication technology, visual learning, education science, research and artistic training.  We collaborate with Medicine, Bioengineering and other departments at UIC, one of the nation’s leading health research universities. Our close relationships with other Chicago medical universities, professional medical societies, medical advertising agencies, pharmaceutical companies, museums, animation studios and software companies give our students real-world, hands-on experience.

Please Note: Upon approval of our revised curriculum proposal later this academic year, the MS in Biomedical Visualization program will begin classes for newly admitted students on 6/15/2020, instead of 8/24/2020, as previously scheduled.

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Stats and Facts

Tom Jones, BVIS founder
100 years
of excellence in medical illustration since our program's founding in 1921
CDC Image of the Coronavirus
Worldwide impact
Dan Higgins '03 MS BVIS has collaborated with colleagues at the CDC to create the most well-known medical illustration seen today
Composite image of 18 compiled journal covers
BVIS students publish over 20 journal cover illustrations
Still frame from Paul Veach's award-winning animation
Paul Veach '20 MS BVIS wins first prize in UIC Image of Research Competition
The animation was also shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards
95% of BVIS graduates (2015-2019) secured a job in the field 6-12 months post-graduation
Headshot of Sam Bond
BVIS faculty and alumna, Sam Bond, won two university awards for the year 2020: AHS Alumni Loyalty Award and the UIC Teaching Recognition Program award

Your career

Our graduates prepare for careers in medical illustration and visual communication of life science, medicine, healthcare, medical technology and education. As the fields of biomedical discovery and visualization technologies expand, the demand for life sciences visualization specialists continues to grow.

Many of our graduates become board certified as Certified Medical Illustrators through the Association of Medical Illustrators. CMI status encourages lifelong learning and is a measure of professional competency, evaluated through a written test and portfolio review.

Learn from the best

  • Leah Lebowicz headshot

    Leah Lebowicz, MS, CMI

    BVIS faculty and Associate Program Director

  • Ellen Weiss headshot

    Ellen Weiss, MS

    BVIS adjunct faculty member and professional medical animator

  • Sam Bond's headshot

    Sam Bond, MS, CMI

    BVIS faculty member and Associate Program Director for Undergraduate in Life Science Visualization

Understanding by doing

Our innovative and problem-based curriculum will give you hands-on experience in both the life sciences and the visual arts from the very first semester. You’ll take a minimum of five graduate-level life science courses, beginning with a required course in human cadaver dissection and later a course in clinical sciences. Electives include topics like molecular pharmacology for the medical illustrator, neuroanatomy and ion channels.

Develop your artistic and visual problem-solving skills with required courses in anatomical visualization, visual learning and visual thinking. Then continue on to study digital illustration, graphic design, 3D modeling, animation, interactive media, gaming, haptics, virtual reality, augmented reality, and computer programming. You’ll also be required to conduct original, independent research to produce a project or master’s thesis. Topics can be based on your interests, a request by department partners, or preparation for specialization in your career. These projects emphasize original and critical thinking, preparing you to be a leader and innovator in visual communication.

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Alyssa Nelson headshot

We're here for you

Still wondering what an MS in biomedical visualization can do for you? Reach out if you have questions about our program, and we’ll make sure you get the answers you need.

You can contact Alyssa Nelson at:


The Biomedical Visualization graduate program at UIC is one of four accredited graduate programs for medical illustration in North America. Programmatic accreditation by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) ensures the standards by which our program is measured and have been developed by professionals in our discipline. The rigorous process of CAAHEP accreditation as well as annual oversight ensures that our program meets or exceeds these industry standards. Our program was recently reviewed in 2015 and awarded continuing accreditation in January, 2016 through 2024.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
Phone: 727-210-2350
Fax: 727-210-2354

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 has applied for continuing accreditation review this year.

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

Outcomes Data

This following data from recent graduate surveys is being published as required by our accrediting body, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The five-year average positive placement rate for BVIS graduates 2015-2019 (our most recent data), 6-12 months post-graduation, is 94.6%.