School of Art

With a focus on storytelling, the University of Arizona School of Art’s Illustration, Design and Animation program is ranked 10th in the nation in Illustration among public schools, according to the 2024 Animation Career Review.

The school ranked No. 34 overall in Illustration and No. 4 in the Southwest behind Brigham Young, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and the University of Colorado.

“As a newly structured program, we are very pleased with our ranking,” School of Art Assistant Professor Nicole Antebi said. “We emphasize storytelling, and our program uniquely blends pathways within a studio setting exposing students to experiential learning through partnerships in a diversity of borderlands projects.”

Illustration, students looking at art
The Studio Art BFA program at University of Arizona culminates with the BFA Exhibition. 

Animation Career Review ranks programs based on multiple criteria, including academic reputation, employment data, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of program, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, graduation rate and retention rate. The rankings selected School of Visual Arts in New York as No. 1 overall, and the Fashion Institute of Technology as the top public school in Illustration.

The School of Art provides multidisciplinary Studio Art BFA and MFA degrees with an IDA emphasis. Other program features include courses taught by professionals in illustration, book arts and motion graphics; workshops; visiting artists, designers and illustrators; and access to a studio spaces, labs, museums and state-of-the-art facilities production facilities. 

Examples include the digital imaging lab with large format printing; computer labs with Wacom Cintiq Touch screens and animation stations; University Libraries extensive book art collection; letterpress, binding, and photopolymer platemaking equipment; the Center for Creative Photography; and University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA). 

Students also benefit from team projects with local clients; participation in the Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Student Chapter, the Book Art Collective, among others; internship opportunities; field trips; and study abroad experiences. 

“Our program welcomes diverse voices, skill sets and methodologies and seeks to create a place of belonging for all students,” Antebi said.

In addition to Antebi, the IDA faculty includes Simon Hinchliffe, assistant professor or practice; Kelly Leslie, program chair and associate professor; Jenn Liv, assistant professor; Ellen McMahon, professor and associate dean of the College of Fine Arts; Lisa Watanabe, assistant professor of practice; and Karen Zimmermann, professor.

Graduates are prepared for careers in areas such as traditional book publishing, advertising, animation, game art and design, graphic novels, comic books, children’s books, television and film, editorial, advertising, graphic design and product design.