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Do I need a Bachelor’s degree?

Yes, you need a four-year undergraduate degree before you can apply for our Master’s degree. Please review our admission criteria and prerequisites for further information.

What type of undergraduate degree do I need?

A Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) are the most common types of degrees held by our students (approximately 80% of the students accepted hold Bachelors of Science degrees). But we have accepted many students from a diversity of undergrad programs (e.g. engineering, nursing, history, English, etc.) as long as they have our prerequisites.

How do you calculate my GPA?

Candidates must have obtained a minimum B average (73-76%) in the final two years of undergraduate education. However, two notable points to consider: We select only the best applicants, and that decision is largely influenced by a candidate’s overall GPA. In addition, scholarships and other sources of funding are primarily associated with academic achievement. In other words, the higher the GPA the better.

Do I need a background in art?

Part of the application process to this program requires that you have a strong portfolio of visual work. This can result from full-time study, evening, weekend, or summer courses, or your own personal interest. Formal study is not necessary (though it may, in many circumstances, be helpful).

What about the English course prerequisite?

Taking an English course is not essential. However, you do need to have taken a course which requires long-form academic writing, such as Sociology, Psychology, English Literature, Art History, History, etc.

What are the characteristics of a successful candidate?

When reviewing a student’s transcript, we take particular note of marks in Biology, Histology, Cell Biology and Physiology, as they are required courses to enter our program. If your transcript reflects low marks in several of these areas it could indicate that you will experience some difficulty with the basic science parts of our curriculum, such as the anatomy, neuroanatomy, or pathology courses. These courses are a mandatory part of our curriculum.

When we review a student’s portfolio we are looking for originality and creativity, and visual problem-solving ability. Motivation and dedication are also very important.

How do I know if I am a suitable candidate?

From March to September, you are welcome to email a copy of your transcript and 5-6 small (~200k each) .jpeg samples of artwork to any of our faculty for review and feedback. If possible, please include the five required illustrations described here.

Once I have had the review, how do I officially apply?

Once you have been encouraged to apply, complete the online SGS Application Form. The SGS application for our program is online at:

Note that the BMC program is listed under Program of Study > Graduate Units > Medical Science. Once we have received the completed application, you may be contacted for an interview.

What computer technologies do you use during the 2-year curriculum?

We use a broad selection of technology and development platforms. This includes current versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Unity, Cinema 4D, Maya, After Effects, OsiriX/Horos/Slicer, and UCSF Chimera, among others. We have two computer labs for the exclusive use of our students, with large displays, recent CPUs, graphics tablets, as well as access to 2D and 3D scanners, a 3D printer, and mobile devices.

How many students apply and are accepted each year?

Approximately 130 candidates contact us annually. As many as 90 students formally apply. We accept 18 candidates into the program each year.

Are there any scholarships available?

We offer an entrance award to our highest ranking applicant (the Nancy Joy Entrance Award). Awards are based on available funding, and subject to change without notice. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for any external awards for which they may be eligible well in advance of applying for admission. Other funding information is available here.

What is the job market like for a graduate of your program?

The job market is very good for graduates who have excelled in the MSc.BMC program. Our graduates are hired by companies that specialize in: textbook and journal illustration; medical legal visualization; interactive media design for patient education, online science courses, and continuing education courses for professional certification; 3D animation for pharmaceutical and medical advertising; medical gaming and comics, etc. In addition, a number of our graduates pursue careers in academia or continue their education in MD and PhD programs.

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