Graduate portfolios

Master's degree-seeking applicants are required to audition or submit a résumé and portfolio to receive an enrollment decision for their intended graduate program.* Portfolios must be major-specific and follow the individual portfolio guidelines required by the major of interest.

*An in-person audition may be accepted in lieu of a performing-arts portfolio submission. For select master's degree programs, GRE scores may be accepted in lieu of a portfolio submission.

Portfolio submission

SlideRoom allows you to upload files for submission to the admission department as a portfolio. If you have not yet applied to SCAD and would like your work reviewed for admission or scholarship consideration, begin the admission process by applying.

SCAD SlideRoom

Graduate portfolio guidelines

Accessory design

Portfolios should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the design process through conceptual research, technical sketches, renderings and boards. Applicants should present computer-aided design portfolio work. Applicants should show competency in the ability to design for 3-D products with special attention given to both internal and external components creating innovative, whole products. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Advertising

Portfolios should emphasize the applicant's ability to develop original advertising ideas, demonstrate the ability to carry a design through multiple pieces (campaign) and represent the applicant's proficiency with design software. Examples of work should show sensible use of composition, typography and coordination of words and images. Examples may be augmented by other relevant work that reflects the applicant's interests and abilities such as graphic design, photography and illustration.

Animation

Portfolios should demonstrate accomplished art and design skill, including life drawing and evidential understanding of composition, line, weight and balance. Portfolios should evidence effective use of software and tools to support aesthetic choices. Mature artistic or commercial direction should be evident in work that corresponds to the applicant's academic goals.

Architectural history

A university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages that demonstrates critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. The paper should include illustrations, if appropriate.

Architecture

Portfolios should include examples of work completed in architectural and other creative studios, independently, or in a professional office. A brief description of design intent should be submitted with each project, clearly indicating when and in what studio the project was completed and the applicant's role. Portfolios should demonstrate creative abilities and development of a personal architectural and design language, application of concepts to architectonic solutions, and free-hand, analog and digital drawing and graphics abilities.

Art history

A university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages that demonstrates critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. The paper should include illustrations, if appropriate.

Business design and arts leadership

Portfolios should include writing samples with at least one sample of university-level research writing (minimum 10 pages); at least one sample of professional writing demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills; and at least one other writing sample, such as business documents, essays, grant proposals, promotional writing, press releases, planning documents or journalistic work. As part of the portfolio, applicants should select an inspiring existing business (for-profit, nonprofit or hybrid) in their field of interest, which they consider to have an innovative business model. They should answer the following questions, in no more than two pages: What is the business model innovation? What spurred adoption of the innovative business model? How was it implemented? What were the results? What could be done differently to improve upon those results?

The Statement of Purpose must clearly articulate how the business design and arts leadership degree is relevant and how it will enable the student to attain their professional and career goals.

Cinema studies

Portfolios should include a university-level research paper or professional writing samples demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. Additional writing samples related to cinema studies also may be submitted for consideration.

Design management

Portfolios should include academic and/or professional projects that clearly present purpose, scope of work, research methodology and accomplishments. A strong portfolio will reveal confidence and experience in innovation, working with uncertainties and loosely defined problems, and show a high level of creativity through the discovery, re-contextualization and exploration processes. Accordingly, the portfolio should emphasize the importance of images demonstrating how the candidate defines and thinks through problems using sketches, plans, or diagrams in either formal documents or informal journal notes, In addition, project summaries such as business plans, proposals, project briefs or presentations would be considered suitable portfolio material.

Students whose academic or professional background is in business or another field may choose to submit GMAT or GRE scores in lieu of a portfolio. Students admitted on the basis of test scores will be assigned graduate intensive course work during the admission review process. Students wishing to be exempted from assigned intensive course work may submit portfolio materials prior to enrollment to be considered for a waiver of those courses.

Design for sustainability

Portfolios should include academic and/or professional projects that clearly present purpose, scope of work, research methodology and accomplishments. The portfolio should demonstrate the ability to define and process problems demonstrating conceptual thinking skills, reveal interest or experience in sustainability, and should demonstrate a high level of creativity, and attention to detail. It should consist of five to eight samples of work, including short narratives of design processes and project development, and may contain written material in addition to a strong visual or graphic elements.

Dramatic writing

Portfolios should include at least five individual writing samples, preferably screenplays or stage plays. Short stories and essays are acceptable. All narrative samples should demonstrate a basic understanding of dramatic structure. Work should be submitted in research paper/writing format.

Fashion

Portfolios should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the design process through mood boards, fashion illustrations, flats and sewn garments from two-three collections. Applicants should show competency in the use of various industrial machinery and sewing techniques, and should submit 2-D documentation of full-scale patterns, drapes and original sewn garments. The portfolio should demonstrate a high level of technical and conceptual ability, as well as creative research, investigation, problem-solving and an awareness of material processes. Applicants also should demonstrate a well-developed personal and aesthetic/design direction in the ability to develop work around a theme or concept as evidenced by a series of related works.

Fibers

Portfolios should demonstrate a well-developed personal aesthetic vision and the ability to develop work around a theme or concept as evidenced by one or more series of related works accompanied by an artist/designer statement. A minimum of 20 pieces should be submitted. Applicants also are encouraged to submit a selection of sketchbook/process/research work.

Film and television

Portfolios should show knowledge of film and television media and exhibit advanced conceptual awareness and experimentation with the chosen medium. Work should not exceed 10 minutes and a statement detailing the applicant's role in the production should be included.

Furniture design

Portfolios should include six to 10 distinct design projects and show competency in the full breadth of the design process, including research, inspiration or motivation that informed the work. Additionally, examples of visual creative thinking, informative sketching, 3-D visualization/problem-solving such as models, studies or mock ups, as well as digital visual communication, including technical drawing, modeling and presentation, should be included. Work may originate from a range of design disciplines and does not need to be limited to furniture design.

Graphic design and visual experience

The portfolio should consist of the following:

  • A designed professional resume.
  • 4-6 examples of student and/or professional graphic design work demonstrating the visualization of concepts and communication through a variety of media and forms. Multi-component systems will be considered as one example. At least one project must include typographic execution in large quantities (min of 1,000 words) including headlines, subheadings and body copy. (This work must evidence an understanding and application of western typographic rules and expression.)
  • A passion project. The submission must include documentation of the design process (ideation, research, sketches, development and final execution). Everyone is uniquely passionate about something—this may be based on personal experiences across any number of broad topics such as people, history, nature, religion, technology, politics, science, sports, literature, art, music, etc. Choose a subject that you are passionate about and design a multi-component (3 minimum) system. Choice of media and form are open and should be determined by the audience and intended communication of the system but should include integration of image and text with running body copy in at least one solution. Integration of media (digital and analog) and media delivery diversity (print, environment, 3-D, screen/web) are encouraged where conceptually appropriate.
  • All work shown in the portfolio must be fully realized and documented. Template-based presentation composites are not acceptable. All print work must be printed and photographed, URLs for web-based work; working prototypes for other interactive examples.
  • All work shown in the portfolio must have a design narrative (a short description of project concept and intention) with the role the applicant played in the design and execution of the work.
  • Portfolio must evidence working knowledge of appropriate application of industry-standard design software and traditional craft techniques.
  • (Applicable to M.F.A. only) In addition to the specifications for the statement of purpose outlined in the admission requirements, the statement of purpose for M.F.A. applicants must include intended area of interest for thesis work.

Illustration

A portfolio of 12-16 pieces must demonstrate a proficiency in a range of mediums. It must be composed of six to eight finished pieces (full color and black-and-white), which demonstrate an interest in, and a commitment to, illustrative problem-solving; these finished pieces must reflect real industry assignments. In addition to the finished pieces, the portfolio must include three to four pieces of illustration process work (preliminary work, such as conceptual/formal studies, which resulted in the final work in the portfolio). The portfolio must include three to four drawings from life-drawing classes and/or direct observation, as well as work from a personal sketchbook or journal. Work should be submitted in digital format using SlideRoom.

Industrial design

Portfolios should demonstrate your skill sets, problem-solving abilities and the design process through an array of media to include: research, sketching, CAD renderings and model making. Portfolios may include no more than three writing samples with at least one sample of scholarly writing. Work should be submitted in digital format and writings should follow academic paper format.

Interactive design and game development

Portfolios should demonstrate traditional art and design skills through figure drawings, conceptual illustrations and page layouts, interactive projects, 3-D modeling and/or digital games. A strong portfolio includes effective use of 2-D form and composition and an understanding of additive and subtractive color theory. Applicants who intend to focus on interactive design should show interactive work, including interactive or physical computing installations, experience designs, websites, software and other user interface designs and showcase ability to apply typographic rules, layout and composition to Web applications. Applicants must show proficiency with Flash, Photoshop and Dreamweaver (or equivalent applications).

Applicants who intend to focus on game art and level design should include concept art, videos of playable game levels, 3-D rendered stills or video flythroughs of detailed environments. Work should show proficiency with Photoshop, Maya, 3DS Max and Mudbox or ZBrush. (Environments should be submitted as walk-through captures as QuickTime accompanied by rendered stills.)

Applicants who intend to focus on game design should show three to five original designs in digital or non-digital format including rule sets (if applicable), samples of design documentation, and supporting critical analysis. The portfolio should include design work samples that demonstrate ability to communicate rules to players, provide appropriate feedback, set a theme, apply effective mechanics to carry out the theme and create the desired level of strategy and player immersion.

Interior design

For applicants to the M.F.A. program, portfolios should include work from all phases of design: conceptual and process drawings, sketches, perspectives and technical drawings. Work should demonstrate proficiency in the technical requirements of interior design projects, including codes, interior building systems and construction, lighting, interior materials and sustainability as fundamental components of the interior built environment. In addition, portfolio work should show proficiency in graphic communication, hand and digital representation skills and techniques utilized within the advanced study of interior design. Drawings should include floor plans, elevations, sections, and lighting/power plans and perspective renderings.

Applicants to the M.A. program must submit a university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages. Topics should be contemporary, impacting the future of the interior design profession and demonstrate the applicant's critical thinking, analytical and writing skills.

Jewelry

All applicants must submit a portfolio of work consisting of a maximum of 20 images and a writing sample that addresses a contemporary issue in the field. A strong portfolio demonstrates conceptual ability, strong design methodology and confident handling of diverse materials and processes.

Luxury and fashion management

Portfolios should include a professional development plan. The portfolio should demonstrate the ability to define and process problems and to plan or diagram strategies as well as show a confidence in innovation and an emphasis on a high level of creative problem-solving. Project summaries such as business plans, proposals, project briefs or presentations may be included. The portfolio should include a visual component that demonstrates the applicant's understanding of the power of visual representation of a luxury brand and graphics in fashion. Work should be submitted in digital format or research paper/writing format, as applicable.

Motion media design

Portfolios should include at least three motion pieces, each 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length, as well as five to 10 examples of graphic/visual work accompanied by a concept statement. Portfolios should exhibit a strong understanding of visual problem-solving and process, including evidence and understanding of design, typographic motion and animation skills. In addition, portfolios should show knowledge and effective use of industry software and tools to support the aesthetic. Applicants should also submit a writing sample that addresses the role of motion media design in popular culture.

Painting

Portfolios should include 20 examples of work that demonstrate artistic maturity, as well as the capacity to develop an idea through a series of works. Applicants should include a related series of their most recent work that indicates their current artistic direction and demonstrates a committed studio practice.

Performing arts

Applicants should prepare two contrasting monologues or one monologue and one song (must provide sheet music for an in-person audition), 4-minutes total audition length. Submissions through Slideroom are acceptable. Headshots are accepted but not required.

Photography

Portfolios should exhibit a coherence of vision and an excellence in craft. Images should demonstrate significant experience in making photographs, a mature aesthetic awareness and strong technical skills. A successful portfolio should demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to develop an in-depth and consistent investigation into a particular subject matter, aesthetic or genre with an outcome that shows artistic insight as well as visual continuity. Work should be submitted in digital format as a portfolio of 20 images. The inventory sheet should include brief technical notes regarding the nature of the images such as capture method, post production manipulations, print materials. Applicant’s statement of purpose should be no more than two pages and include references to the applicant’s reasons for seeking the degree, post-degree career goals, and any relevant experience in the discipline that does not appear on their transcripts.

Preservation design

Portfolios should include a research paper of 10-15 pages demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. Preferably, the topic would relate to preservation, heritage conservation or history; however, other topics are acceptable. The portfolio should ideally include examples of work that communicate the applicant's artistic, graphic and digital abilities, such as photographs, sketches, perspectives, CAD and/or other technical drawings. Work should be submitted in research paper/writing format and digital format.

Printmaking

Portfolios should demonstrate a mastery of basic printmaking techniques along with a developed body of work that is both conceptually and technically mature; the portfolio should exemplify thematic development, experimentation and sophistication. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Production design

Portfolios should exhibit an advanced understanding of visual problem-solving and process, including evidence and understanding of contextual research, perspective and orthographic sketching, manual or CAD proficiency, rendering in different media (including digital), and model-making principles; and may be augmented by additional work that represents interest and ability in visual and creative professions, with an emphasis on visual problem-solving. Portfolios may include no more than three writing samples. Work should be submitted in digital and research paper/writing format.

Sculpture

Portfolios should include 20 images demonstrate intellectual and artistic maturity, as well as the capacity to develop an idea through a series of works. Applicants are encouraged to include related work that indicates their current artistic direction.

Service design

Portfolios should demonstrate research and creative problem-solving skills applied, but not limited to, brands, services, products, processes, spaces, communications and/or user experiences. Showcase five professional and/or academic projects by providing a visual and verbal explanation of your role in the design process in terms of uncovered insights, framed problems, team-developed ideas and proposed solutions.

Students whose academic or professional background is in business or another field may choose to submit GMAT or GRE scores in lieu of a portfolio. Students admitted on the basis of test scores will be assigned graduate intensive course work during the admission review process. Students wishing to be exempted from assigned intensive course work may submit portfolio materials prior to enrollment to be considered for a waiver of those courses.

Sequential art

Portfolios should show a concentration in visual narrative through sequential art and should demonstrate exceptional skill in both visual and narrative composition, placement of figures within environments, storytelling and figure drawing. A strong personal direction should be evident in the portfolio and substantiated in the written statement of purpose. While digital or traditional coloring is not essential in every piece, the applicant should submit at least three images that demonstrate an ability to work with color. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Sound design

Portfolios should demonstrate ability in one or more of the following: sound design for visual media (film, video, computer animation or games), sound design for theater, production of music recording (but not composition,) or sound art compositions. If possible, film and game sound designers should include screen shots of their work sessions. Work should be submitted as short (2 minutes or less) QuickTime files.

Themed entertainment design

Themed entertainment is a multidisciplinary field of study and a wide range of portfolio content will be considered. Portfolios may include writing samples, design work for props, special effects, costumes, scenic paint, lighting, scenic models, graphics, sculpture, storyboard illustrations, technical drawings, thematic and/or architectural renderings, industrial design prototypes, and any work from a field related to themed entertainment, and should exhibit an understanding of environmental storytelling and process.

Urban design

Portfolios should include examples of work in urban design, architecture and/or landscape architecture, but may include work samples from any art or design discipline. A strong portfolio includes projects that demonstrate clear design intentions, graphic accomplishment and sophisticated design inquiry. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Visual effects

Portfolios should include work that demonstrates familiarity with 3-D and 2-D image creation and manipulation techniques, fluency with software and resource collection appropriate to these techniques. Each piece submitted should incorporate before-and-after material. Work demonstrating programming skills should be accompanied by documentation explaining the nature and scope of the applicant's contribution. The portfolio may also include traditional media-drawing and painting, photography, sculpture and design-to indicate creative direction and aesthetic awareness.

Writing

Portfolios should include at least four individual pieces (10 to 30 pages) from a variety of nonfiction genres, such as personal essay, memoir, literary journalism, promotional writing, writing for the Web, business document, proposal or scholarly essay. Fiction is also accepted. Applicants should submit no more than two pieces from one genre.