Certificate in Natural Science Illustration

Creatively Capture the Natural World


Program Details

  • Location: UW Seattle
  • Duration: 8 months
  • Class Times: Evenings, Weekends
  • Cost: $4,614

Next start date

October 2017

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About this Program

Natural science illustration combines the beauty of nature with the precision of scientific observation. Working in both traditional and digital formats, science illustrators produce work for publication in textbooks, science journals and online sites, as well as for exhibition in museums and art galleries.

In this certificate program, you’ll learn to render detailed zoological and botanical illustrations using a variety of media. We’ll cover a comprehensive set of nature illustration skills using carbon dust, color pencil, stipple pen and ink, watercolor and gouache. You’ll study principles related to forms, biomechanics and structural diversity found in the animal kingdom. Learn digital illustration and online publishing techniques, and get tips on contracts, copyrights and how to market your work. 


Artists who want to hone their visual illustration abilities, along with scientists looking to add or improve these skills.

See Requirements

Video Overview

Bart Rulon, one of the instructors of the Certificate in Natural Science Illustration, shares highlights of the program.

Duration: 03:45

what you'll learn

  • Fundamental principles related to anatomical, cellular and physical form and function
  • Techniques to depict form using light, line, measure and perspective
  • Approaches to accurately creating zoological and vertebrate scientific illustrations
  • How to produce wildlife and botanical drawings, including field sketches
  • Methods to enhance the presentation of finished work 

get hands-on experience

  • Study and render biological specimens provided by the program
  • Practice digital illustration techniques in the state-of-the-art Mac computer lab
  • Take field trips to sites such as the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium and Skagit River Wildlife Refuge
  • Have the opportunity to publish in a class anthology and submit an illustration to Stratus: Journal of Arts & Writing
  • Create a portfolio of illustrations and exhibit your work at the Burke Museum on the UW campus 

Program Overview

Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.

Start Dates

Learning Formats


Attend class in person at one of our convenient locations. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. An online learning management system may be required to access some course materials and assignments.


Our special blended programs combine the convenience of online study with the vibrancy of in-person classes for a unique learning experience.

Not available for this program


Enjoy the flexibility of online learning, which allows you to participate in class activities, assignments and discussions on your schedule, from anywhere. Experience cutting-edge technology and a supportive, diverse learning community.

Not available for this program