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Every applicant to the School of Architecture's undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture degree program must use Carnegie Mellon's SlideRoom portal to electronically submit either the Architecture portfolio or design project, for review by the Architecture admission committee. The Architecture admission committee values the portfolio and the design project equally, so you should choose the option that best fits your needs and situation. You should not submit both.

About the Architecture Portfolio

The Architecture portfolio is the best option for applicants who already have a strong body of creative work completed within the past four years. For the purposes of this application, the portfolio consists of the completion of two forms and the submission of ten different creative works submitted to the Architecture portfolio portal of SlideRoom. Applicants with limited portfolio-level work may prefer to submit the design project to demonstrate creative problem-solving ability.

In your portfolio, we seek evidence of your curiosity, critical thinking, innovation, problem solving, spatial reasoning/visual thinking, ability to synthesize, and desire to make and build things. The quality of the portfolio’s overall composition is as important as the quality of any individual piece. You should carefully curate and arrange your portfolio to tell a compelling story about yourself, your abilities and passions, and your commitment and motivation to study architecture.

If you choose to submit the Architecture portfolio, please keep in mind the following:

  • Acceptable types of work include, but are not limited to: 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, digital work, and inventions. All portfolios must be submitted electronically, so prepare high-quality digital scans or photographs of works where necessary. See a full list of specifications and acceptable file types in SlideRoom. You should include as varied a range of projects as possible, while highlighting your strengths.
  • A portfolio cannot contain more than ten works, each uploaded separately. We understand that within these constraints, some larger or more complex pieces cannot be displayed in their entirety. In this case, please choose one representative image of the piece (or combine a maximum of no more than three images in an effective layout); do not attempt to represent a complex work with a collage of multiple images.
  • All applicants are encouraged to include examples of drawings. Drawings can be observational or created from the imagination, but they should not be drawn from a photo or other two-dimensional image. CAD drawings should not be included.
  • Your portfolio must be submitted electronically via Carnegie Mellon’s Architecture portfolio submission portal in SlideRoom, where you must register/create an account before uploading content. You must submit the Common Application to Carnegie Mellon, first, in order to submit your portfolio to SlideRoom. Only portfolios submitted through SlideRoom before the published deadline will be reviewed by the architecture admission committee.
  • When uploading an image of each work, you will be asked to provide a brief written description of each work. The descriptions should be considered as part of the arc of the portfolio and, as such, thoughtfully composed.
About the Architecture Design Project

The design project is the best option for applicants with limited or no portfolio work. The design project for the 2016-2017 application year is to be completed by the applicant for review by the School of Architecture admission committee. For the purposes of this application, the design project consists of the completion of two forms, a brief narrative, and the submission of the design project requirements to the design project portal of SlideRoom. Applicants who already have a strong body of creative work (completed within the last four years) may prefer to submit the portfolio.

If you choose to submit the design project, you will need to download 2016-2017 design project, carefully review the instructions, and complete the it as directed. Additionally, you’ll write a 200-word narrative. The 2016-2017 design project will be available for download in October. 

You’ll submit your design project to the design project submission portal on SlideRoom. Be sure to use the architecture design project submission portal, not the architecture portfolio portal.

About the On-Campus Review of the Architecture Portfolio or Design Project

The School of Architecture strongly recommends that each applicant, as part of the application process, register to attend an on-campus review of their portfolio or design project submission. The on-campus review involves visiting campus to discuss in person with architecture faculty  your portfolio or design project submission to SlideRoom. During an on-campus review, you’re able to ask questions and engage with School of Architecture students, faculty and staff. Please note that School of Architecture faculty do not critique or evaluate portfolios outside of the scheduled on-campus reviews listed below.

Registration will be available in early October

The School of Architecture requires the online submission of your portfolio or design project through SlideRoom regardless of whether you attend an on-campus review or not. Visit SlideRoom to submit your work electronically.

2016-2017 On-Campus Review Dates:

  • Sunday, November 13, 2016 (Early Decision applicants only)
  • Sunday, January 22, 2017
  • Sunday, January 29, 2017

If participating in the on-campus review of your portfolio or design project submission:

  • Early Decision applicants should attend the November portfolio review day (registering by November 1) and submit their portfolio or design project to SlideRoom by November 1.

  • Regular Decision and Transfer applicants can attend either January portfolio review day (registering by January 1) and submit their portfolio or design project to SlideRoom by January 15.


Architecture Portfolio and Design Project FAQ

How do I submit my Architecture portfolio or design project for review?

Submit your architecture portfolio or design project electronically on Carnegie Mellon’s SlideRoom portal. You must first register/create an account in SlideRoom in order to begin uploading images for your portfolio or design project. In order to submit your portfolio or design project to Slideroom, you must first submit your Common Application to Carnegie Mellon.

Can I submit both the Architecture portfolio and the design project for review by the architecture admission committee?

No, you should not submit both. You should choose which option, either the Architecture portfolio or design project, you’d like to submit to the School of Architecture for review. The Architecture admission committee will only review one submission per applicant.

What if I've already registered/submitted an online portfolio through another institution's SlideRoom portal?

Many institutions use SlideRoom as their applicant portfolio management system, so if you’ve already created a SlideRoom account, you don’t need to create another one to submit to Carnegie Mellon. Use the email and password that you’ve already created on SlideRoom to submit a portfolio or design project to Carnegie Mellon. Please note that the SlideRoom system only allows each applicant one email account. 

Who do I contact if I'm having a technical issue with SlideRoom?

Once you’ve registered with SlideRoom, you’ll see a Help tab on the online portal. From this section of the website you’ll be able to submit your technical questions, which will be answered by a SlideRoom representative. Technical issues with submitting your online portfolio should not be sent to Carnegie Mellon. 

Do I need to submit multiple portfolios or design projects if I'm applying to more than one area at Carnegie Mellon?

Yes. The School of Architecture, School of Art and School of Design at Carnegie Mellon are individual schools with individual admission processes and committees. Each school within the College of Fine Arts has its own undergraduate degree programs, faculty, and therefore, each school has different portfolio/design project requirements. You will select the portal of the appropriate College of Fine Arts school to which you wish to submit your portfolio/design project when registering/creating your SlideRoom account with Carnegie Mellon. Portfolios or design projects submitted to only one school will not be evaluated by the other schools in the College of Fine Arts.

How much does submitting a portfolio or design project cost?

Each submission requires a $15.00 fee that is paid online. For example, if you’re submitting portfolios to the School of Architecture and the School of Design, you’ll be charged $15.00 for each school or a total of $30.00. 

The Architecture portfolio or design project sections of SlideRoom will only allow me to submit 10 images. Can I submit more?

No. The Architecture portfolio consists of 10 different works—no more, no fewer.  The Architecture design project requires you to submit 10 images documenting your process.

For my Architecture portfolio, I have a piece of work that consists of more than one picture, like a 20-page illustrated book. Is it possible to submit multiple images of one work?

In this area, our faculty reviewers strongly believe that “less is more;” that is, including more images entails sacrificing the quality, visibility, and impact of any individual image. In the case of a highly complex work, choose a maximum of three representative images of the piece, and arrange those in an effective layout.

Am I able to provide a description of each work in the portfolio or design project?

Yes. SlideRoom allows you to provide a brief description of each work, including the title, year, medium, and size (dimensions or file size).

There are size limitations to what I can submit. in addition to the portfolio or design project uploaded to SlideRoom, am I permitted to mail a paper copy or a higher-quality digital version of my portfolio?

No. The portfolio and design project reviewers do not accept any mail-in portfolios or supplements. The Architecture admission committee will only review work submitted online through SlideRoom.

I have registered for an on-campus review to show my portfolio or design project. Do I still need to submit them to SlideRoom?

Yes. The School of Architecture will only accept portfolios or design projects submitted through SlideRoom. Your electronically submitted portfolio or design project will be made available during your scheduled on-campus review.