Portfolio guidance and tips

Traditional portfolios

A portfolio is the folder or collection of your art and design work. It normally comprises sketchbooks, notebooks, research information, development work and final pieces. Your portfolio is likely to be made up predominately of the work you have undertaken on your current or most recent course, whether it be A Level or Diploma. You may include work done in your own time if you feel it’s relevant.

Don’t worry about having a lot of finished work, staff are usually more interested in your ideas and development work. Similarly, don’t worry about having to show high levels of technical skill.

Above all, the portfolio should show a good level of commitment to your studies and evidence of basic art and design skills. We are looking for enthusiasm for your chosen subject, strong visual communication skills, evidence of problem-solving, clear working procedures showing the development of your ideas, experience in a range of different media and materials - 2D and 3D, and an awareness of contemporary artists and designers. Your portfolio can include drawing, painting, photography, computer-generated work, objects and artefacts. It is, therefore, worth spending some time preparing your portfolio, and perhaps asking your current teacher or lecturer for assistance.

Make sure your work is well organised, clean and well presented.

Online portfolios 

Sometime we ask applicants to submit an online portfolio, for example if students are out of the country. An online portfolio is a selection of your artwork, drawings, sketchbook pages, photographs, models, design work etc. that reflect the range of your abilities, your creative process, and your interest in the course that you have applied for. Online portfolios are used by some programmes in order to select suitable candidates for interview.

  • Your online portfolio should showcase approximately 15 examples of your work.
  • Show both finished work and work in progress e.g. sketchbook work or development sheets.
  • You can include course work, sketchbooks, photographs, drawings, paintings, models, sculptures, objects, websites, videos – anything that supports your application for the course you have chosen.
  • You may need to digitise some of your work - use a camera or scanner as required to obtain the best digital images.
  • Add short descriptions for each image, explaining the work, the project and your response.

Setting up an online portfolio and where to send it

There are many websites such as BloggerFlickrMySpace and DeviantArt where you can create your online portfolio for free. Alternatively you can send us a link to your own personal website. Please email the information below to us, with the name of the programme you are applying for in the Subject line.

  • Full Name
  • UCAS Number OR Postgraduate Application ID
  • Website address for your online portfolio
  • Name of the programme you are applying for
  • Contact telephone number 

Please do not submit your online portfolio unless you have been requested to do so as due to volume we will be unable to review it.