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: MS in Biomedical Visualization program now begins classes during the summer term.

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Stats and Facts

Composite image created by Leah Lebowicz ’12 MS BVIS comprised of artwork by Tom Jones, Alfred Teoli, Craig Gosling ’65 BS BVIS, Jane Hurd ’68 BS BVIS, Scott Barrows ’76 BS BVIS, Kelly Cloninger ’18 MS BVIS, Elizabeth Moss ’18 MS BVIS, Angela Gao ’18 MS B
Centennial celebration
100 years at the intersection of art, life science, medicine and technology
Illustration from Vesalius Trust-A-Thon project, The Night Shift, created by a team of nearly 30 BVIS students
BVIS wins 1st place!
A team of nearly 30 BVIS students won this year's Vesalius Trust-A-Thon with a short game project, The Night Shift, entailing stories about traveling and repairing the body.
A screenshot of the BVIS Instagram account featuring posts in a series called "Faces of BVIS"
Meet the Faces of BVIS
Check out the BVIS instagram account for weekly posts in a series called Faces of BVIS! Take a look at the projects and personal journeys for each of our current second-year students.
CDC Image of the Coronavirus
Worldwide impact
Dan Higgins '03 MS BVIS and team at the CDC created the most well-known medical illustration seen today
Leah Lebowicz head shot
Dr. Leah Lebowicz, BVIS program director
97% of BVIS graduates (2017-21) secured a job in the field within 12 months post-graduation

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

  • Erin Stevens head shot

    Erin Stevens, MS, CFM

    Certified Clinical Anaplastologist

  • Amami Antia-Obong headshot

    Amami Antia-Obong, MS, CMI

    BVIS alumna and full-time faculty member in animation

  • Sam Bond's headshot

    Sam Bond, MS, CMI, FAMI

    The driving force behind the UIC Health Tech Jam

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 2017-2021 (our most recent data), 6-12 months post-graduation, is 96.8%.