Master Scientific Illustration

In this international study programme, you will learn to make accurate visualisations of topics from the clinical, medical and biological domain. You will get the skills to use a wide range of traditional and digital visualisation techniques. Unique in Europe!


Unique in Europe!

One image tells more than a thousand words

It is not surprising that in biomedical sciences traditionally illustrations are created to enable communication between scientist and author, teacher and student, or physician and patient. Art and science come together in scientific illustration.

Your future expertise

When you graduate, you are a specialist who makes accurate visualisations of topics from the clinical, medical and biological domain. You have the skills to use a wide range of traditional and digital visualisation techniques.

Best of two top universities

The Master Scientific Illustration is an international study programme in which you will meet students from European countries and beyond. Unique in Europe. It is cooperation between the Faculty of Arts at the Zuyd University of Applied Science in Maastricht and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University.


English/Dutch. The lecturers also speak German.

Study load

Normally you will study and work at the university for about 20 hours a week. In addition, you will have to study at home for about 20 hours a week.


The programme comprises 120 European Credits in total.


Full-time for the duration of two academic years, or part-time for the duration of four academic years, from September until July.

For whom is this master interesting?

If you have a Bachelor's degree, a strong motivation, provable talent in drawing and a profound research attitude, please apply for one of the few student places. Find more information about registration and admission.

The teaching programme

Training in technical skills

Your training has a strong emphasis on the application of conventional imaging techniques in conjunction with photography, video and computer techniques for accurate two-dimensional display of three-dimensional structures. Additional training in digital three-dimensional reconstruction and modelling is given in workshops. You acquire a broad theoretical basis as well as practical experience in working with medical techniques such as dissection, processing of microscopic and macroscopic serial sections and working with medical imaging techniques such as Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Becoming a scientific storyteller

To be able to create a scientifically correct image, you must not only be a good craftsman, but also an outstanding 'storyteller' and communicator. You must be capable of communicating with specialists from different scientific fields, understanding the scientific problem and then be able to convert it into visualisation for a specific target audience. Creating images for patient education requires a different approach than creating images for a group of medical specialists. For this reason, you will not only be trained in anatomy and medical nomenclature but you’ll also be guided in the field of communication. Furthermore, by means of practical assignments (including illustrating a surgical procedure), you will build up experience in making abstractions and schematizations of the reality to create an image that tells the scientific story in the best possible way.

The themes

The teaching programme is built upon three themes:

  • Man
  • Animal
  • Human and Animal Surgery

Each of the themes consists of three to five components and each component involves one or more assignments, which deal with various aspects of scientific illustration and in which various traditional visualization techniques are practised and applied. The assignments are graded in terms of complexity, leading up to the level required for professional practice.

Final examination and graduation

The programme ends with a final examination, consisting of two components:

  • A graduation project in which you write, illustrate and design a publication.
  • An oral examination.

In addition, you exhibit your work in a graduation exhibition and you compose a portfolio of your representative artworks you produced during the programme. The publication and the portfolio serve as a masterpiece that helps you to find work in a professional practice.

Small teaching staff

A small team of dedicated professionals, who all have their own specialism (like scientific and medical illustration, anatomy, software, facial reconstruction etc.), will train you. Input from their work experience and their involvement in issues from the professional practice keep the programme up-to-date, educationally justified and closely connected to this professional practice. They all regularly publish imagery, contribute to congresses and take part in the debate about the profession of scientific and medical illustration. External professional experts contribute as guest speakers in lectures, workshops and in the final graduation projects.

Admission procedure

Admission requirements

  • Previous education: bachelor degree.
  • Additional requirements: you will have to display sufficient motivation and talent in drawing. Also, a research attitude is required.

Admission procedure

As soon as we received your application form we will invite you to the admission procedure, which consists of the following steps:

  1. A preselection based on a home assignment and your digital portfolio.

  2. A motivation interview and evaluation of your portfolio.

  3. A practical assignment.

When you pass the preselection (1) we will invite you for the entrance examination that will take place in Maastricht for a full day. During this day you will be tested on your suitability for the programme. You can show samples of your own work in a portfolio and discuss your work with the admission committee (2). The final part is a practical assignment set by the admission committee (3).

How to apply?

If you want to apply you can register on Studielink, the national information system for Dutch universities. Read more about registration and enrolment. In case you are not a citizen of an EU/EER country, your diplomas need to be verified by an institution in the Netherlands called Nuffic. Deadline for application is the first of May. After registering at Studielink, you will receive a reply from Zuyd.

Program taught in:
  • English

See 4 more programmes offered by Zuyd University of Applied Sciences »

Last updated August 6, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
2 - 4 
Part time
Full time
5,030 EUR
part-time study/€ 9950 full-time study
May 1, 2020
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 2020
End Date
July 2022
Application deadline
May 1, 2020

Sep 2020

Application deadline
May 1, 2020
End Date
July 2022