Required Portfolio Review
Applicants to the School of Art must select one of the following options for submitting their portfolio:
All portfolios, whether on-campus or online, are given the same consideration and are reviewed by multiple full-time faculty from the School of Art. We're just as interested in your imagination and creative thinking skills as in your technical skills. We particularly love to see what you make for yourself, so we ask that your portfolio include as much work as possible done independently and outside of the classroom.
Your portfolio should consist of 15 to 20 recent works. Whether you're submitting an online portfolio review, or coming to Pittsburgh for an on-campus portfolio review, your portfolio can include works in any or all of the following media, as appropriate:
- Drawings and paintings done from observation and/or imagination
- Photography, printmaking projects, collage works, mixed media, etc.
- Computer-generated or computer-assisted imagery
- Sculpture or other three-dimensional works in any medium or size
- Environmental or site-specific installations (i.e, work created for a particular location, either indoors or outdoors)
- Works that change with time, such as kinetic sculpture, animation, performance, live-action video, film, audio, etc.
- Interactive projects (such as a game you programmed yourself) or work made with Arduino, Processing, Flash, etc.
We understand that some of the above work (such as performance, installation, or some interactive media) may necessarily need to be presented in documentation. Applicants are also strongly advised to bring (or upload images from) their sketchbooks.
Online Portfolio Review
The School of Art provides an online portfolio review option for presenting your portfolio in lieu of visiting campus for an on-campus portfolio review. Through SlideRoom, applicants can upload, label, arrange and submit their portfolios electronically. (Applicants submitting a portfolio online are not required to attend an on-campus portfolio review. Online portfolio reviews are given the same consideration as on-campus reviews.)
Visit SlideRoom to submit your portfolio to the School of Art online.
If submitting a portfolio online:
- Early Decision applicants should upload their portfolios by November 1.
- Regular Decision applicants should upload their portfolios by January 15.
Please note: SlideRoom charges $12.00 to manage your portfolio for the School of Art. SlideRoom is a private company contracted by Carnegie Mellon to manage applicant portfolios; this money does not come to Carnegie Mellon.
Recommendations For Your Online Portfolio
- We recommend JPEG files of approximately 1MB, or roughly 1000x1000 pixels. Please don’t upload very high-resolution versions.
- Please don’t include multiple variations of the same image taken with different camera settings; just pick one.
- Flatwork (such as paintings, drawings, or prints) should be scanned or photographed so as to fill the digital image completely. Please don’t include picture frames.
For sculptures, 3D media and other physical objects:
- A neutral background is recommended, so that it doesn’t distract from the work.
- For kinetic sculptures or complex installations, consider presenting a 30-second demonstration video.
For video and sound:
- We ask you not to upload video or audio files longer than 3 minutes. If your work is longer, present an excerpt.
- Videos are limited to no more than 120MB, and should be uploaded in .MOV, .MP4, .WMV, or .FLV format.
- If your video uses a soundtrack (such as a song) by someone else, be sure to credit them.
- Audio files are limited to 60MB, and should be uploaded in .MP3 format
For interactive projects, such as a game you programmed:
- We recommend documenting interactive software projects with screen-captured demonstration videos, ideally with narration. Please keep any such documentation videos under 3 minutes in length, and under 120MB. Please let us know which programming languages you used.
On-Campus Portfolio Review
Applicants have the option to bring their portfolio to campus for review. On-campus portfolio reviews offer applicants the opportunity to attend group information sessions, meet individually with an art faculty member and take a tour of School of Art facilities. (Applicants attending an on-campus portfolio review day are not required to submit their portfolio online. On-campus reviews are given the same consideration as online portfolio reviews.)
Register here for an On-Campus Portfolio review.
On-campus Portfolio Review Dates:
If participating in an on-campus review:
- Early Decision applicants should attend the November portfolio review day (registering by November 1).
- Regular Decision applicants can attend any January or February portfolio review day (registering by January 1).
As part of your on campus visit with the School of Art, we’d like to offer you and/or your family members the opportunity to attend a campus tour and information session with the Office of Admission. On January 27 and February 10, we have campus tours at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and an Admission & Financial Aid Presentation at 12:15 p.m. Please check-in at the Warner Hall Admission Lobby if you’d like to attend one of these tours or presentations--registration isn't required for these events. On November 11 and January 20, you can register for our Sleeping Bag Weekend
day visitor or weekend events in order to tour campus, attend a financial aid session and much more.
What to Bring for the On-Campus Art Portfolio Review
Applicants should bring 15 to 20 recent artworks. We ask all applicants to bring their sketchbooks or illustrated journals. In addition, you're welcome to bring any of the following:
- Actual two-dimensional work such as drawings, paintings, prints, etc. (Matting and mounting of works isn't necessary. It's highly recommended to apply fixative to works that smudge.)
- Small and non-fragile three-dimensional work such as sculpture, ceramics, glass, textiles, etc.
- A sketchbook, illustrated journal, etc. (Each of these is considered one item.)
- Digital images, animation, videos, or interactive work. These may be presented from a disc you bring, or from your own laptop computer or tablet. Note: For work stored on disc media, please ensure that your disc performs correctly on Mac OSX 10.6+.
- Work submitted on a CD or DVD. Examples:
- Computer graphics: JPEG or TIFF format, 1024x768 maximum image size, stored on a CD or DVD-ROM.
- Time-based work: Video on DVD; Animations must be composited to play on DVD or as a Quicktime movie.
- Interactive work. Please bring your own laptop to demonstrate your interactive software artworks (games, etc.).
What Not to Bring for the On-Campus Art Portfolio Review
Please don’t bring large or fragile work. Due to space constraints, and for your own convenience, we ask that you not bring flatwork larger than 30”x44”. For large, heavy, and/or fragile works, we strongly encourage you to bring photographic documentation instead. You may also present your work in the form of a web site; please test your URL beforehand in Mac OSX, or bring your own laptop.