Good morning everyone,

I've been wanting to attend a certificate program for natural science illustration for a long time and finally feel in a position to start going forward with it (very exciting). I'm hoping to hear people's thoughts on these three programs in particular:
CSU Monterey Bay, UW, and RISD.

Although I have a couple science degrees I've had a decent amount of formal art training over the years and I feel like Monterey Bay and UW are both more geared towards people who already have most of the necessary art skills, since they require portfolios), whereas RISD is open enrollment and requires some core coursework to start off (not necessarily a bad idea to get some refreshers while also learning new skills and techniques). RISD's program is also by far the longest at ~3 years (CSU is ~10 months + internship, UW is 8 months) but interested students can get started whenever they want to (a major plus in my book). Unfortunately, UW is on hiatus until October 2021 for restructuring and since I know Monterey Bay is pretty competitive  I would plan on spending the next year preparing my portfolio and getting the required letters of recommendation.

I know I've seen a few things in GNSI's journal over the years on Monterey Bay's program and I get the sense that it and UW might both prepare their students for entering the field a little better. But RISD has such a good reputation as a whole!

Does anyone have strong opinions or thoughts about any of these programs?
Thanks very much for any advice you're willing to offer!


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