student reviewing portfolio with staff

Preparing your Portfolio

Your portfolio is an opportunity to show us your technical skills, ideas, creativity, and what makes you unique.

How to Prepare Your Portfolio

  • Only Studio Art (BA/BFA) and Art Education applicants are required to submit a portfolio.
  • Before beginning your portfolio submission, you must have a UT Austin application on file. Find out how to apply.
  • When starting your portfolio submission, you will be prompted to complete a form before moving forward to the portfolio uploader. This form requires your UTeid and will ask you to complete a short answer question and submit an artist statement. Resumes are optional. Once this information is submitted, you will proceed to the portfolio uploader.
  • The portfolio requirement is 12 works of art, with 2 pieces being made from direct observation. The other 10 pieces of your portfolio can be whatever you like. See below for further tips.
  • When submitting your portfolio, please limit your submission to 12 files (12 files for 12 artworks). If you want to submit multiple works from a series or detail shots of art work, please combine images into a single PDF file.
  • When you upload your art work, you will have a text box attached to each file where you may provide additional information (Title, Dimensions, Date, Medium, etc). 

  • For freshmen applicants, the portfolio deadline is December 9.

  • For external transfer applicants, the portfolio deadline is March 9.

  • For internal transfer applicants, the portfolio deadline is May 1.

Submit your portfolio for External Transfer Applicants →

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a portfolio stand out?

An excellent portfolio is a balance of three important things: your technique, your creativity, and what makes you unique. As an interdisciplinary major, we appreciate concept and experimentation just as much as technical skill, and encourage students to submit work from a range of mediums. All mediums are welcome, including, but not limited to, 2D and 3D creations, digital media, photography, performance, animation, printmaking, and craft arts.

A stand-out& portfolio is also photographed well. These days, a smart phone is all you need to properly document your artwork. Look up tutorials on Youtube and other platforms for tips on photographing your work at home using simple tools.

What does working from direct observation mean?

Working from direct observation means to create a piece without using photographic or outside references. When working from direct observation, you are only using what you see in front of you to create your work. Usually observational works are made traditionally, using drawing or painting techniques, but we welcome more contemporary methods too.

Some examples of direct observation subjects would be still-lives, figure drawings, self-portraits, and landscape/architectural studies. Arrange a still life of your favorite objects, draw the inside of your bedroom, or use a mirror to create a self portrait. Where ever your creativity takes you!

What is the short answer question on the form?

Short Answer Question Prompt: What has your art experience been thus far? Please describe the art instruction you may have received in school and outside of school.

This is a not a trick question. We just want to know what access to art you have had thus far! Please tell us about what classes you may have taken, clubs you are apart of, internships or volunteer work you have completed, and any other projects that are relevant to your art experience.

What is an artist statement? 

Artist Statement Prompt: What kind(s) of art do you make? What ideas are you passionate about? Why is making art important to you?

The artist statement should be a well-crafted statement about 1-2 paragraphs in length that goes into detail about what art you make, how you create your work, and what ideas/concepts you are interested in. If you are stumped, imagine you are in a gallery talking to someone about your art. What would you say?

If you need pointers on writing an artist statement, check out "How to Write an Artist Statement."

How much can I say about my work?

When submitting your portfolio, you'll have the opportunity to share an artist statement and answer short answer questions about your art experiences. 

When you upload your 12 files, you will also have space to include a title, dimensions, medium, and a description of the work. A title, dimensions, and medium are all helpful information for our reviewers to know. The description is useful for sharing things that are not evident from viewing the work. (Was this the first time you used this medium? Is this part of a series or an assignment?) If the content is not clear, tell us what this piece is about. 

Who reviews my portfolio?

Each degree program has a committee made up of faculty that review and evaluate students for admission. They review all of your application materials holistically, weighing your artistic, academic, and personal strengths.

How important is the portfolio in the application process?

The portfolio is going to be one of the most important components of your application. Please take your time in submitting a thoughtful, well-prepared portfolio.

Portfolio Reviews

UT Austin offers portfolio reviews to prospective students both one-on-one and through portfolio events hosted during the fall. 

To schedule a virtual portfolio review, please complete our appointment request form. For any other questions, please reach out to our undergraduate admissions coordinator.

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