Distance Learning?

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, have a BFA in Drawing and Painting and have taught high school visual arts for 22+ years. I am interested in earning a certificate/degree in scientific illustration, but am unable to relocate. I have downloaded your listing of education programs and see nothing that is close to me or flexibly scheduled that is more than botanical illustration. Do you have any suggestions that might help me achieve my goal without leaving Salt Lake? Thank you for your time and consideration.


I teach a 3 credit hour class through the Entomology department. It is only one class but should get someone started in the general direction though. If you more information about it, email me directly.



Lana Johnson, Educational Media,111 Mussehl Hall, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


I know a few of the programs (the Denver Botanic Gardens in particular) have on line classes.  Have you checked into taking classes this way? 

Marjorie Leggitt Instructor - Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program

Hello Mary,

If you are interested in botanical studies in particular, the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) in England has a distance learning program. It's done in real time - or should I say by snail mail. However, they will send you their critiques by e-mail if you request that. That allows you to start the next assignment without having to wait for your package of work to return.

If you are looking for a more general scientific illustration program or one with a focus in another area, I am not aware of any opportunities online. The graduate program in the works at SCAD will probably have an online option but that is for the future, not available now.

Maybe another list serve member will have other options for you.


Kristie Kristie Bruzenak Professor, Foundation Studies and Scientific Illustration Savannah College of Art and Design

Check this out!

An astounding FREE selection of classes (lectures,syllibi,textbook lists/tests).

No credits of course but you can go as far as you can go in the comfort of your own homej/laptop. A terrific growing trend in healthy global community outreach.



Sample http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/biology/7-343-protein-folding-misfolding-and-...

Protein Folding, Misfolding and Human Disease




If this is too intensive you might try THE GREAT COURSES at your local library. FREE. Lectures on dvd by University emeritus professors. (literature, physics, medicine, math and much more). http://www.thegreatcourses.com/

Thanks for that info! Just to be clear - the SBA class is a diploma course - no credits, no degree.  Has anyone taken advantage of a distance course in Jaynie's list? I love to hear your feedback on the experience. 

Kristie Bruzenak Professor, Foundation Studies Savannah College of Art and Design

I have a degree in Scientific Illustration and specialised in Botanical Illustration. I have seen the SBA course notes first hand and while it is not a degree course, I have to say that the 3 year course is superb. The whole course is very comprehensive and well thought through and thorough. It is of the highest standard of professionalism and great feed back is given for each exercise, from a group of well respected Botanical Artists in UK.

The structure of the course builds in a clear and logical sequence of learning. Materials are supplied, book recommendations are made and links provided. If you are interested in Botanical Art I can not recommend this highly enough.


Kind regards, Sue Wickison

I have heard the same and know a number of artists who are pursuing or have achieved the diploma. I did consider it at one time but went with the outstanding Morton Arboretum certificate program instead. That's a fabulous program too and I hope they someday offer components online. : )

Kathy G 

Thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions. I'll check into them.

Mary Ann

Dear Tina,

To the best of our knowledge, there are several on-line or distance courses of study related to Botanical illustration. Cornell, Denver Botanic Gardens, Society of Botanical Artists (in England!)

As of yet we have not seen anything related to general nature or science illustration being offered on-line. Though there is a program planned for the SCAD University for 2012

You can find most of these contacts in our on-line PDF listing the Programs we know about: http://www.gnsi.org/resources/training/courses-science-illustration


Hello Tina,


Are you interested in general science illustration or a specific field such as botanical or medical illustration?  Are you interested in a degree program or simply courses to help you develop skils?

Both of those questions impact the answers we can provide.

I can say the the Savannah College of Art and Design is planning a distance learning track for its scientific illustration degree program but that will not be available immediately.

If you fill us in on your specific goals, we'll be able to provide more useful answers.

-Looking forward to hearing from you.




I am looking for information on the new Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh Distance learning program, called a diploma in Botanical Illustration Blended Learning (DIP BI). It is a flagship 3 year program:


I'm wondering if this is a very excellent program, and how it compares to the program you mentioned in England at the Society of Botanical Artists , in which you earn a DipSBA(Dist):


And I also wonder how it compares to any distance learning programs that are in the US.

If anyone has any informaton on this matter, or knows who I can ask for more information, I would be very grateful.




I looked at the site for the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and did not find a botanical illustration  program that was completely distance learning.  I did find a horticultural distance learning program.  That is an entirely different kind of course and involves taking exams rather than building a portfolio of illustrations.

Their botanical illustration diploma program appears to be taught on site. There is a three-year combined program that requires modules of onsite work and online work.  There's a schedule for that posted on the page for the link your provided. 

I may be wrong and I'm sure there ae folks who would be happy to hear of another distance learning educational option. So please let me know if you find I am incorrect.

I don't know anyone who has participated in the combined program or the onsite Edinburgh program.  I hope anyone who has will report on its quality.

Best regards,

Kristie Bruzenak


I would like to ask the same question that is there any distance learning available, for general scientific illustration. I am a complete beginnner, and I would like to build up a potfolio. I am also starting my-self, but maybe useful to attend a course to learn more and also have a certificate. 

Best regards, 


Dear all,

I started a distance learning program for scientific illustration; the first course begins June 4, 2014. At this time, this is a four ten-week course of study (four semesters) and may expand according to interest.

This summer's course is an intermediate session for students already possessing basic drawing skills. In the fall, both intermediate classes and beginner classes will be running.

As far as certificates and degrees, students receive a certificate of completion. This cannot be confused with graduate certificates from the RISD/Continuing Ed or Monteray Bay programs or the various botanical illustration certificate programs,  though much of the course study is similar. I received my certificate from the RISD/CE program, taught in that program for 14 years, at Brown University (art and medicine) for 6, and at Wheaton College (scientific illustration for both the art and biology departments) for several semesters until I moved to NYS.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, I'm happy to send you more information. 


Gretchen Halpert 

[email protected] 



Has the SCAD distance learning track become available?

Gretchen - I have sent you an email!


A new session for scientific illustration distance learning tentatively begins January 20. This is the first of four sessions. One is not obligated to attend all four. 

Session II will begin before then (dates to be finalized this week).  New students may be able to join the existing class depending on space and skill level.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or interests.


[email protected]

Scientific Illustration Distance Learning Program begins two new sessions in April. Session I begins Wednesday, April 15; Session II starts Tuesday, April 14. Session I includes basic drawing skills that are the background to any and all illustration. We cover lighting, scientific conventions, proportion, perspective, and value, and work from a variety of natural history subjects. Medium is graphite, with an introduction to pen and ink later in the term. Session II advances to more complex compostions and techniques, including pen and ink and scratchboard. Both Sessions run 10 weeks. For more information: http://www.gretchenhalpert.com/SIOL.html     Note: Session II is half-full at this writing.

-Gretchen Halpert         [email protected]




Here is a new website for the Scientific Illustration Distance Program: www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com. Student artwork is displayed, along with specifics about the program. Session III (color media and projects) is underway. Sessions I (graphite, scientific conventions, etc) begins September 21, 2015. Session II (pen and ink, scratchboard, professional practices, projects, more) begins September 16, 2015. All are 10-week classes. The program culminates with a certificate of completion, though students are free to take individual Sessions.