Before You Apply

Start planning now

It’s never too early to start planning!

Early preparation is the key to a smooth and successful application and admission process. In the last few years, the number of applicants to our program has grown dramatically. We’re limited by space and resources.

Give yourself the best chance of acceptance by doing your research and putting your best application forward.

Content Section


Before you apply, don’t hesitate to contact us to review your experience and discuss your career interests. We’re happy to meet to review your portfolio no later than October of the year that you apply.

Contacting medical illustrators in your location through the Association of Medical Illustrators Directory can also help you research the profession and prepare your application and portfolio.

Know your deadlines

Applications—including your portfolio—are due December 15 in the year before your intended enrollment.

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply! Start early and give yourself plenty of time to collect all your materials and prepare your portfolio.

Check your requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field of study
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study and for all cumulative graduate work previously taken
  • GRE General Test is required. Preference will be given to applicants with a combined Quantitative and Verbal score above 300 and a Writing score of a 3 or above.
  • Portfolio of original artwork including all requirements (listed at Applying)
  • Prerequisite courses (listed below)
    • *Prerequisite courses must be taken for a grade at an accredited institution. Certificate programs will not count towards prerequisites.

International Students: If English isn’t your native language, you might need to take an English proficiency test. Check out the International Requirements to see if this applies to you.



  • General Chemistry or Introductory Chemistry
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Human Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology I and II with lab.

Two or more of the following:

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental anatomy (Vertebrate Embryology)
  • Genetics
  • Histology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular biology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Neurobiology
  • Physical/biological anthropology
  • Pathology


One or more of the following:

  • 2D vector
  • 2D raster
  • 3D modeling
  • 2D/3D animation
  • Interactive or motion media
  • Computer programming

Prepare your documents

When you apply, you’ll need to submit your transcripts, art portfolio, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Get started on those now! Refer to the Applying page for all the specifics on application and portfolio requirements.

The application process is paperless. Please don’t mail any materials unless told to do so. Documents that you upload (except for your art portfolio) must be in PDF format, no larger than 5 MB in size. “Portfolio” PDFs and secured PDFs which require a password are not compatible with our system.

International Students: You might have a few extra things you need to provide. Read through the International Requirements page to make sure you have everything you need.

Have your test scores sent in advance

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for all applicants. Scores should be sent directly from Education Testing Service to UIC. If you have taken the GRE within the past five years, you must request that scores be sent from ETS to UIC. UIC Institution Code: R1851.

International Students: If English isn’t your native language, you might need to take an English proficiency test. Check out the International Requirements to see if this applies to you.

Learn about tuition and aid

Tuition is determined by the University of Illinois at Chicago, and does change every now and then. You can always see the most up-to-date information on the Admissions website.

Take this time before you apply to see what funding options are available to you. The Graduate College has some great information on financial resources and funding opportunities.

Research fellowships and scholarships

Some of our students have teaching assistantships that utilize their talents in various colleges or administrative areas on campus. Many of these include tuition waivers in addition to a stipend; however, we do not recommend that students in their first semester hold assistantships.

There are also a few Board of Trustees, merit-based tuition waivers available each term, and all students may apply for these. If you’re selected for admission to our program, please request the application form for a first semester tuition waiver.

Other scholarships and fellowships include:

  • Van Doren Scholarship: AHS students in good standing who demonstrate financial need are eligible for the Van Doren Scholarship. First preference is given to minority applicants. All applicants must have on file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for need verification.
  • Tom Jones Scholarship and Alice and Brian Katz Scholarship: These two BVIS awards are traditionally given to second year students during spring semester. Students don’t apply for these—they’re based on academic achievement and potential for success and are voted on by the BVIS faculty.
  • Lillian B. Torrence Award: This award is given to a second year BVIS student based on academic achievement and an expressed interest in rehabilitative activities or studies. If your research project involves rehabilitation and makes a significant contribution to patient care, you stand a good chance of receiving this award.
  • The Vesalius Trust: The Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences strives to develop and support education and research programs in the field of health science communications. BVIS students apply in the fall of their second year for competitive research scholarships and are judged on background, education, project concept, design and production plan.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship
  • Access to Excellence Fellowship
  • Avery Brundage Scholarship