This page gives you information about how to successfully prepare a portfolio for your application. If you have any further questions, you should contact the postgraduate secretary in the first instance.

Applications to the MSc in Architectural & Urban Design (AUD) require the submission of a portfolio of recent work in addition to the academic and personal information as set out in the application form. The portfolio is the most important part of the application and these notes are intended to offer some guidance in preparing one.

The programme has a core commitment to creative experimentation and research rigour in relation to architectural design. Members of the admissions panel for this programme are looking for applicants with the motivation and skill to make the most of these qualities. They want to know how you, as an applicant, might benefit from and thrive within the programme. The portfolio is one the best devices we have to help make those judgements. It allows us to build up a picture of your capacities to draw, make things, think creatively, manipulate form, organize information, and handle ideas. So it is important to consider carefully how you assemble your portfolio.


Portfolios are as diverse in style, content and format as the authors who assemble them. We value this diversity and so try not prescribe too heavily the format of the portfolio. The following are the basic parameters:

  • All work should be contained within a single PDF file, at appropriate resolution for screen view (hard copy/paper portfolios are not accepted)
  • Three-dimensional models, video, performance, or installation work should be represented in good quality photographs. We understand that many kinds of work are not easily represented within the portfolio format, so you will need to translate as best you can three-dimensional and temporal work onto the page.
  • Date all work and present it in a consistent way -- thematically, by project and/or chronologically.
  • Include your name and UUN on the front of the portfolio.

Keep in mind that the portfolio will be used to assess the potential you have to benefit from and thrive within the programme. It is important, then, to look through this website to get a feeling for the range and character of design work being carried out at different levels the Department of Architecture.


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, and any work carried out while in practice, and/or 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 of 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.

Are you interested in studying Architectural and Urban Design - MSc at Edinburgh College of Art?