Carnegie Mellon University Undergraduate Admission

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- Carnegie Mellon University Undergraduate Admission

Choose Your Program. Change the World.

Choose Your Program. Change the World.
Fine Arts Admission

Portfolio Submission & Review

Portfolio Submission & Review

All applicants for the undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture degree program must submit one of the following two options for review by the architecture admission committee: either the architecture portfolio of creative work or the architecture design project. The architecture admission committee will value the architecture portfolio of creative work or the architecture design project submissions equally, so you should choose the option that best fits your needs.

Portfolio Submission

The architecture portfolio is the best option for applicants who would like to present a body of creative work completed within the past four years. The portfolio submission will include the completion of two forms and the compilation of ten different creative works. If you decide that the portfolio is not the best option for you, the architecture design project submission may be a better fit for applicants with limited portfolio work to demonstrate creative problem-solving ability.

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

  • Portfolios cannot exceed 10 items. If communicating a sketchbook or multiple views of a work, consider creative but effective ways to meaningfully communicate content with a few images.
  • Projects should be as varied as possible, while emphasizing the strongest work.
  • Acceptable works include, but are not limited to: 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, digital work, and inventions.
  • The architecture faculty encourages all applicants to include examples of drawings.
  • Drawings can be from life or from the imagination, but they should not be copied from a photo or other two-dimensional image.
  • Architecture applicants should avoid including CAD drawings as part of their portfolio. 

Review the architecture portfolio preparation tips for more information about the content of the architecture Portfolio. 

All architecture portfolios are submitted electronically on Carnegie Mellon’s SlideRoom portal. You must first register/create an account in order to begin uploading the content of your portfolio. Architecture portfolios must be submitted according to the deadline for your portfolio to be reviewed by the architecture admission committee.

Visit the SlideRoom Architecture Portfolio Portal to electronically submit your portfolio to the School of Architecture. 

On-Campus Portfolio Review

The School of Architecture strongly recommends that applicants visit campus for an on-campus portfolio review. As part of an on-campus review, you’ll come to campus to interview with architecture faculty about your previously submitted portfolio or design project, and receive an introduction to the school. You’ll be able to ask questions and engage with faculty, students and staff within the School of Architecture. (The School of Architecture faculty doesn't critique or evaluate portfolios outside of the scheduled on-campus reviews noted below.)

  • Registration will be available in early October. 

The School of Architecture requires an online submission of your architecture portfolio or design project even if you plan to come to an on-campus review. Your previously submitted work will be available during your review. Visit SlideRoom to electronically submit your work.

2014-15 On-Campus Portfolio Review Dates:

November 9 (Early Decision Applicants Only)
January 18
January 25

If participating in an on-campus portfolio review:

  • Early Decision applicants should attend the November portfolio review day (registering by November 1) and submit their work electronically by November 1, 12:00 midnight EST.
  • Regular Decision and Transfer applicants can attend either January portfolio review day (registering by January 1) and submit their work electronically by January 15, 12:00 midnight EST.

Portfolio Preparation Tips

When preparing your architecture portfolio, keep in mind that we're interested in understanding your creativity in all its facets – invention, creation, process, and composition.  As a result, we require you to submit a variety of creative works that demonstrate your inquisitive nature, innovative ideas, spatial reasoning, visual thinking and your desire to make and build things. Your portfolio is intended to expose your ability to analyze, problem-solve, think critically and synthesize.

We‘re also interested in determining your commitment and motivation to study architecture. We advise that you consider the process of assembling and submitting your creative/inventive work:

  • How can you best present your abilities, interests and passions through your creative work?
  • Arrange your work to tell a good story about yourself.
  • Select projects that demonstrate a range of media, 2- and 3-dimensional relationships, and a variety of subject matter while still emphasizing your strongest work.

All architecture portfolios are submitted electronically, so please prepare your work for digital submission by photographing and/or scanning high quality images of your work. The School of Architecture allows the submission of ten different works; you'll only be able to upload one image of each work, so please select the image that best represents your work.

Please keep in mind that the architecture admission committee who will be reviewing your portfolio is more interested in understanding your creative intent and design process than your mastery of specific skills or techniques. For this reason, you should avoid submitting drafting work (CAD) as part of your portfolio of creative work.

Portfolio Preparation & Submission FAQ

How do I submit my architecture portfolio for review?
Submit your architecture portfolio electronically on Carnegie Mellon’s SlideRoom portal. You must first register/create an account in order to upload your portfolio.

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 an account, you don’t need to create another one to submit to Carnegie Mellon. You may use the email and password that you’ve already created on SlideRoom to submit a portfolio to Carnegie Mellon. Please note that the SlideRoom system only allows applicants one email account. 

Who do I contact if I'm having a technical issue? 
Once you’ve registered, 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 and a representative from SlideRoom will contact you. Technical issues with submitting your online portfolio should not be sent to Carnegie Mellon. 

Do I need to submit multiple portfolios if I'm applying to more than one area at Carnegie Mellon?
Yes. Architecture, Art and Design at Carnegie Mellon are individual schools, with separate majors, faculty and admission processes, and therefore, different portfolio requirements. You can indicate which school you wish to submit your portfolio to upon registering/creating your SlideRoom account. Portfolios submitted to only one area will not be viewed for other programs.

How much does submitting an online portfolio cost? 
Each portfolio submission requires a $15.00 fee that is paid online. For example, if you’re submitting your portfolio 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 submission section 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 less. 

I have a piece of work that consist of more than one picture, like a 20 page illustrated book. Is it possible to submit multiple images of one work?
We realize that many applicants have works that cannot be shown in their entirety. It’s up to each applicant to edit and present their work in the way that best shows what they’re doing within the limited frame of the application portfolio. What you choose to include and exclude can show reviewers something about what you consider to be important about your own work. Please select one image that best represents each work. 

Am I able to provide a description of each work? 
Yes. SlideRoom allows you to provide a description of each work including a title. 

As there are size limitations to what I can submit, am I permitted to send a couple DVDs of higher quality by mail in addition to the versions uploaded onto SlideRoom?
No. The portfolio reviewers are not accepting any mail-in portfolios or supplements and will only review work submitted electronically through SlideRoom.

I plan to come to campus to show my portfolio, do I still need to submit my portfolio electronically?
Yes. The School of Architecture will only accept portfolios submitted through SlideRoom and your electronically submitted portfolio will be made available during your on campus review.


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