Alongside academics, the School of Design has three component requirements to our applicant review process: a video, creative work (portfolio) and essay.

We want to learn more about you. Create a video that shows and tells us something about who you are and what you care about. In addition to talking about what makes you “you” (i.e. your passions, your interests outside of school, etc.) please talk about one project that exemplifies your creative process/thinking and how it relates to you as a person. This project doesn’t need to be “finished or polished.”


  • Keep the video authentic and real. You may use a handheld device—your phone for example—and there's no need for fancy editing.
  • Video should be 90 seconds or less—we won't review any videos over 90 seconds.

2. CREATIVE WORK (Portfolio)
Your portfolio shouldn’t exceed 12 original pieces. It may include work that’s 2-D, 3-D, and/or 4-D. Pieces with a high degree of finish are acceptable, but we’re also interested in your creative process— whether it's in a sketchbook, journal or notebook. Please include at least one slide with multiple pages from any source that shows us how you think and visualize.

For each piece you upload, provide the following:

  • Was it a class or self-directed project?

    • If a class project, what was the prompt?

    • If a self-directed project, what inspired you?

  • Was it a team or individual project? If a team project, what did you do?


  • Submit single page PDF files. Multiple page PDF files won't be reviewed.
  • Digital files (videos, animations, Quicktime Movies, live digital sketches, etc.) shouldn't exceed 2 minutes. If digital files exceed 2 minutes they won't be reviewed.
  • You may submit a 2-minute clip of a longer piece. Please make us aware that it's a sample from a larger piece of work.

3. ESSAY Question
In no more than 500 words, identify an emergent issue and discuss how design can be used to have an impact.

General Notes:

  • All applicants are encouraged to include examples of drawings. Considering the limitations on the number of items you can upload to SlideRoom, when communicating drawings/sketches or a sketchbook, contemplate creative but effective ways to meaningfully communicate content with a few images.

  • Projects should be varied while emphasizing the strongest work.

  • Acceptable works include, but aren't limited to, 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, painting, sculpture, digital and inventions.

Portfolio Preparation & Submission FAQ


How do I submit my portfolio online?

Submitting your online portfolio is done by visiting Carnegie Mellon’s SlideRoom portal. You must first register/create an account in order to upload your portfolio.

What if I have 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 your portfolio to Carnegie Mellon. You can use the email and password that you’ve already created on SlideRoom. Please note that SlideRoom only allows applicants to have 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. Questions regarding technical issues regarding submitting portfolio online shouldn't 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. Portfolios submitted to only one area won't 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 a portfolio to the School of Design and a porfolio the School of Art, you’ll be charged $30.00. 

I have a couple of pieces that consist of more than one picture, like a 20-page illustrated book. Since it’s only possible to upload 12 slides, is there a way to solve this problem?

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 a portfolio. For videos and films this means selecting the most essential portions of the films for reviewers to view. What you choose to include and exclude can show reviewers something about what you consider to be important about your own work. For a project with multiple portions, perhaps a compromise approach would work well -- one image that gives an overview of multiple pages, followed by one or two detail shots of individual pages. SlideRoom provides you with space to describe each work submitted, so you may certainly reference each item as a portion of the whole.

As there are size limitations to what I can submit, am I permitted to send DVDs of higher quality by mail in addition to the versions uploaded onto slide room?

No. The portfolio reviewers are not accepting any mail-in portfolios or supplements and will only review work submitted electronically through SlideRoom.