College of Art, Media & Design Portfolio Requirements

As an applicant to the College of Art, Media & Design, you are required to submit a portfolio of original artwork. We look for individuals who are highly motivated and who provide evidence of visual experiences that demonstrate the ability to succeed in a highly competitive visual arts program.

The portfolio you present will vary based on your own experiences, interests, education, and training. You may submit a broad-based portfolio containing examples of work from a variety of media or a more focused portfolio. Applicants should submit 15-20 examples of original work. The portfolio should include original work samples that showcase your creativity, as well as the skills and media you have learned. It should also highlight your ability to communicate ideas.


Applicants' portfolios should contain a total of 15-20 examples of original work, from at least two of the following mediums:

Examples of Two-Dimensional Media:

  • Drawings from life: figure drawing, still life, landscape
  • Drawings in charcoal, ink, pastel, pencil, etc.
  • Paintings: oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc.
  • Sketchbooks/process books
  • Illustration, storyboards, character design, concept art
  • Prints: traditional (etching, monotypes, silkscreen, etc.) and digital
  • Design: posters, book covers, web graphics, use of typography
  • Collage, mixed media
  • Photography: traditional, digital, black and white, color
  • Screen shots from original films or videos

Examples of Three-Dimensional Media:

  • Sculpture: metal, plaster, stone, wood, etc.
  • Crafts: ceramics, metals, textile design, fibers, glass, jewelry, furniture (wood)
  • Product and toy design
  • Book arts
  • Fashion, costume design
  • Extended media: architectural models, mixed media, model construction, set design
  • Installation: site specific objects in the environment

Examples of Time-Based Media:

  • Animation production: individual and/or collaborative productions
  • Film/video production: individual and/or collaborative productions. State your role in the production. Up to 5 screen shots per film will be accepted as two-dimensional work. 
  • Interactive media
  • Website authoring: site design, site graphics
  • Flash or Director animations or interactive productions
  • Interactive DVD work combining more than one art form
  • Link to Vimeo or YouTube video of your work (please supply password if needed)


An artist’s portfolio is a way to present your talents, express your individuality, and tell us something about your formative creative visual experiences. We would like to see recent, original work that demonstrates your strengths and experience in the visual arts. The selection of pieces in your portfolio will tell us a great deal about you. Choose thoughtfully and carefully those pieces you think best demonstrate your talent and potential for further development in the art, media, and design professions. Just as all talents are different, so are the backgrounds of all students. The Admission Committee keeps this in mind when reviewing your work; we know that applicants’ portfolios may reflect a wide range of experience.

Students looking for feedback on their portfolios during the development process can take advantage of the following options:

  • Schedule a Preliminary Portfolio Review: The Office of Admissions schedules preliminary portfolios to give you the opportunity to have an Admissions Counselor or faculty member review your portfolio in its current stage and offer recommendations for preparing your portfolio for an official review. Preliminary reviews are done Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. To schedule an appointment, contact the Office of Admissions at 1.800.616.2787 ext. 6049. A preliminary review is not required for admission.
  • Join us for a National Portfolio Day: National Portfolio Days offer students another opportunity for a preliminary portfolio review. At these events, you can receive feedback on your portfolio-in-progress from UArts’ representatives, as well as representatives from other schools you may be interested in. The University of the Arts participates in a number of National Portfolio Days hosted throughout the U.S. from October to January. Pre-registration is not required for National Portfolio Days.
  • Enroll in a Portfolio Preparation Class: A portfolio preparation class can be a useful tool in building and polishing a portfolio for review for college admissions. The University of the Arts offers two portfolio preparation classes through its Pre-College Office – Portfolio Preparation for College Admissions, a semester-long Saturday School course, and Portfolio Preparation, a weeklong intensive offered through the Pre-College Summer Institute. Visit our Pre-College Programs page for more information, or check with your local colleges or art centers for portfolio preparation classes offered in your area.
  • Still Have Questions? Contact Us! Our Admissions Counselors are happy to answer questions regarding portfolio requirements. Contact our counselors by calling the Office of Admissions at 1.800.616.2787 ext. 6049, or e-mailing us at

While the presentation of your portfolio needn’t be elaborate, it should demonstrate the respect you have for your work. If you show us your portfolio in person, you should be able to talk about it—what each project involved, how you made design decisions, what you learned from the experience, and how you feel about the finished piece. It is not necessary for you to mount or mat your work as long as it is presented as a neat and coherent body of work. Group the pieces in a specific order, such as by medium, by size, by date completed, or by subject matter. Both you and your interviewer will then have an easier time grasping the full import of what you show. Work done in charcoal, chalk or pastels should be sprayed with fixative and covered with a clean sheet of paper to protect it.

  • On-Campus Review: You should contact the Office of Admissions at 800-616-2787 ext. 6049 or 215-717-6049 to arrange an appointment for your portfolio review, or to register for one of our Portfolio Review Days. An official review can only be scheduled after the Office of Admission has received your application. Portfolio reviews are scheduled on the following days and times:
    • Monday - Friday between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm
    • Saturday Portfolio Review Days
      November 14, 2015
      December 5, 2015
      January 30, 2016
      February 20, 2016
      February 27, 2016
      March 19, 2016
      April 2, 2016

*For transfer applicants, the Office of Admissions will contact you to schedule a portfolio review after we have received all official college transcripts and a list of course work in progress. Transfer portfolio review appointments are subject to program directors' availability. 

  • Electronic Submissions  Freshmen and transfer applicants may submit their portfolio on-line via SlideRoom. Applicants may upload images (jpg), video (mov, wmv, flv) or pdf documents. For good image quality and fast upload, images should be sized no larger than 1280 x 1280 px @ 72 dpi. Video files must be kept under 20 MB. Our SlideRoom portal offers additional instructions for submitting work online. You must provide documentation of the work submitted including a description of the concept, project or problem involved.


As you are seeking admission at an advanced level (above that of a freshman), a faculty member from your major department will evaluate your portfolio. We assume that students seeking advanced standing have completed preparatory course work similar in content to the university’s first year. Your portfolio should include work from these courses in addition to work directly related to your intended major. Although submissions via SlideRoom are accepted, an on-campus, in-person interview is always preferred for transfer applicants.

The Office of Admission will contact you to schedule a portfolio review after we have received all transcripts and a list of coursework in progress.