For these programmes, the portfolio is the most important part of the application and these notes are intended to offer some guidance in preparing one.
Members of the admissions panel are looking for highly motivated applicants with the skills and attributes that will enable them make the most of the programme. They want to form an understanding of how you, as an applicant, might benefit from and contribute to the programme. The portfolio is one the best devices we have to help form that judgment. It allows us to build up a picture of your capacities to draw, make things, think creatively, manipulate form, organize information, and handle ideas. Therefore it is important to consider carefully how you assemble your portfolio.
Portfolios should be presented digitally as PDF documents. The pages should be set up at A4 size, organised in ‘landscape’ format. Make sure the portfolio is saved as a single PDF file (i.e. not as lots of separately saved pages). On the first page of the portfolio incorporate your name and UUN, and on the pages immediately following include a brief CV and your personal statement. Present your design work in an intelligent and understandable way. Give the titles of projects, and annotate drawings etc. as required. Organise your work so that the admissions panel can see and appreciate your development.
The focus of the portfolio should be on your best and most recent work. It should include representative examples of work undertaken as part of a formal programme of study, any work carried out while in practice, and self-initiated projects undertaken outside formal studies. As much as possible include a variety of work:
KIND: architectural design, speculative projects,art, built, research;
SCALE: furniture, buildings, urban design, regional studies;
MEDIA: freehand drawings, technical drawings, computer drawings, models, sculptures, live performances, paintings, installations, video.
It is important that your portfolio contains your best work. But do not limit this to presentation images alone. Include sketches, studies and working drawings. If possible, include examples from your design sketchbooks and notebooks.
Not all undergraduate courses in architecture, art and design require students to keep sketchbooks or notebooks, so you may not have such material to hand. However, notes and sketches play an important part in design thinking and are important for demonstrating your capacity to investigate and explore in the medium of design.
It is also important to present your most recent work. But, if you have had a longer period in practice or have a diverse educational, professional background, you should include work that would best show the wider scope and development of your career.
Make sure that drawings, photographs, etc., appear at a high enough resolution to be clearly legible. However, avoid files that are so big that the PDF no longer runs quickly and smoothly.