Natural History Illustration» open the printable degree» search for more Areas of Study
The Bachelor of Natural History Illustration is the only one of its kind offered in Australia, hence students are those of just a handful worldwide who can illustrate with absolute accuracy across the fields of medicine, taxonomy, and archaeology. Natural history illustration combines art with science, with core courses in design complemented with the potential for courses in photography, biology, environmental and marine science, and indigenous studies available.
Graduates are valued for their broad creative and illustrative experience, scientific and environmental consciousness, and awareness of new technologies and potential application to the discipline. Employment opportunities exist in publishing, education, scientific research and development facilities, libraries, galleries, museums, archaeological and fossil sites, botanic gardens, or with anthropologists, scientists, and taxonomists.
For a more detailed description of Natural History Illustration, visit the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology site.
Take a look at current and past students' work on the School's online gallery.
Academic advice: view Study Pathways for this degree »
Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. For more information view Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours).
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Natural History Illustration include:
Postgraduate coursework programs can add further specialisations in areas including business, safety, quality assurance and teaching. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
The following list provides some example jobs for the Natural History Illustration graduates. Graduates may work in a variety of roles as well as that of Illustrator. Some of these jobs will depend upon the level of study undertaken and level of experience, for example some may require further study.
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the field of natural history illustration. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the field of Natural History Illustration that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
- Art Dealer
- Art Director
- Arts Administrator
- Concept Artist
- Cultural Heritage Officer
- Cultural Interpreter
- Education Officer
- Exhibitions Officer
- Gallery Manager
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Natural History Illustrators are usually employed in the publishing, display, education or exhibition fields. Illustrators may be employed or work freelance in scientific institutions, the publishing industry, educational institutions, libraries, galleries, museums, at archaeological or fossil sites, botanic gardens or for anthropologists, scientists and taxonomists. Below are some examples of possible employers.
- ACP Magazines (Australia)
- Artists in Schools, NSW Department of Education & Training (Australia)
- Australia Council for the Arts (International)
- Australian Antarctic Division (Australia)
- Australian Museum (Australia)
- Australian National Herbarium (Australia)
- Australian National Library (Australia)
- Australian National Maritime Museum (Australia)
- Australian Regional Gallery listing (Australia)
- Botanic Gardens (Australia)
- The Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research (Australia)
- Commercial Galleries, Australian listing (Australia)
- CSIRO Plant Industry (Australia)
- Department of Local Government NSW (Australia)
- Fairfax Media (Australia)
- National Archives of Australia (Australia)
- National Art Gallery of Australia (Australia)
- National Museum of Australia (Australia)
- News Corporation (Australia)
- Pan Macmillan Australia (Australia)
- Paramount Pictures (International)
- Powerhouse Museum (Australia)
- Questacon (Australia)
- Random House (Australia)
- Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne (Australia)
- Saatchi & Saatchi (International)
- Scholastic (Australia)
- South Australian Museum (Australia)
- Western Australian Museum (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Association of Illustrators (UK) (Australia)
- Australian children's books - Australia's Culture Portal (Australia)
- Australian Graphic Design Association (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Medical and Biological Illustration (Australia)
- Australian Network for Plant Conservation (Australia)
- Australian Society of Authors (Australia)
- Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc (Australia)
- Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (Australia)
- The Children's Book Council of Australia (Australia)
- Hire an Illustrator (Australia)
- Illustrators Australia (Australia)
- Premium Network Worldwide (Australia)
- The Society of Botanical Artists (UK) (Australia)
- Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Natural History Illustration are the skills, abilities and knowledge sets that are highly sought after in the art, science, and environmental industries. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
On completion of the Bachelor of Natural History Illustration degree, a graduate will be able to demonstrate:
In-depth knowledge related to the analysis, interpretation and presentation of scientific, studio and field information in a visual format.
Applied understanding of discipline-related research methodology, terminology and practical application of techniques related to Natural History Illustration.
An understanding and appreciation of the theoretical and historical context of Natural History Illustration.
Ability to communicate effectively through a range of verbal, written, presentation and exhibition skills.
An understanding of professionalism and ethics in the context of Natural History Illustration.
Capacity to apply creative and innovative approaches to the visual interpretation of the natural world.
Awareness of new technologies and their potential application to the discipline.
Awareness of studio and laboratory-based occupational health and safety issues.
A level of cultural awareness and appreciation of issues related to biodiversity and the environment.
High level of technical competence and related skills as the foundation to support life-long learning.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.