Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio Overview

Your portfolio says a lot about you: your level of enthusiasm and how you interpret ideas through art. The College of Art and Design is interested in reviewing your best work. This helps us in evaluating your ideas, creativity, and potential.  Your portfolio could include, but is not limited to, examples of drawings, paintings, sculptures, sketchbook pages, design examples, mixed media, animation, and/or time-based media.  All work submitted must be original (not AI generated) and demonstrate creativity through innovative ideas and content, interesting composition, and proficient use of materials.  

Since drawing is the foundation of many disciplines within the College of Art and Design, some of our undergraduate programs strongly recommend including drawings from direct observation and the use of traditional materials (pencil, graphite, charcoal, ink) in those drawings. Do not include drawings copied from photographs, comics, anime, fantasy, movies, or pop culture.

Acceptance of your portfolio does not guarantee acceptance to the university. 

For any questions regarding portfolio guidelines or the submission process that are not answered on this page, please contact RIT's College of Art and Design at portfolios@rit.edu.



For entry into a BFA program within the Schools of Art, Design, and Film and Animation, a portfolio of 7-10 examples of your best artwork is required as part of the RIT application process. A portfolio is not required for freshman students applying to the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences.

Undergraduate portfolio requirements
Interactive version


All of the College of Art and Design’s MFA and MST programs require a portfolio. 

Graduate portfolio requirements

Submitting Your Portfolio

Portfolios can be uploaded electronically via the RIT Admissions Portal. An authenticated login will be required. 

• If applying with the Common App, you will receive instructions for creating your RIT Admissions Portal account via email. It could take 24-48 hours to receive the email.

• If applying with the RIT Application, use the same login credentials. 


What is the College of Art and Design Looking For?

Creativity and Original Ideas

The ideas you present are just as important as the work itself. You can demonstrate creativity through innovative ideas and content, interesting composition and proficient use of materials.

*Acceptance of your portfolio does not guarantee acceptance to the university. 

Acceptable Media Formats

For all drawings, paintings, digital art, photos, etc., each example of work must be submitted as a single PDF in RGB color mode. Each PDF must be 10 MB or less. If you have multiple views of a single example of work, submit a multi-page PDF with a maximum of three pages.

For video files, accepted formats must be submitted in either M4V, MOV, MP4 or WMV format up to 60 MB or less. Videos should be at least 1280 x 720 pixels for optimal viewing.  Do not submit more than three minutes of media in your portfolio. Audio file formats such as MP3, AIFF, or WAV are not accepted. 

Portfolio requirements can be found below or in our interactive version.

Schools of Art and Design BFA Applicants

Drawings from direct observation

Painting, marker renderings, mechanical drawings


Computer images

Page layout, two dimensional design

Sculpture, models

Submit 7-10 pieces of your best work. All work submitted must be original (not AI-generated). Portfolios will be reviewed on the basis of pictorial composition, storytelling, creativity/originality of ideas, drawing and design ability, a sense for the use of materials, and attention to detail.

Since drawing is the foundation of many disciplines within the College of Art and Design, our BFA programs in Illustration, Medical Illustration, Painting and Printmaking (Studio Arts BFA options) strongly recommend that applicants include drawings from direct observation. The drawings should be created with traditional materials such as pencil, graphite, charcoal, ink, etc. Examples should include drawings from direct observation such as:

  • figures, hands, feet (drawn from life, not copied from photographs, comics, anime or fantasy)
  • still life drawings including objects from nature
  • perspective drawings (2-point and 3-point perspective drawings)

Other work could include 2D work, painting, photographs, digital art, sculptures made from any materials, fiber and mixed media work  All submitted work MUST be clearly labeled in Slate.  Add details such as title, medium, and description for all uploaded examples.  For descriptions, include details such as assignments or theme (if any), thought process, role(s) such as director, writer, editor, and any exhibition/award notations. 

School of Film and Animation BFA Applicants

Drawing, digital art, painting


Creative writing

Film or animation

Animation Option

Submit 7-10 pieces of work.  Please do NOT include any form of fan art.  

Animation examples could include:

  • figure drawings from direct observation. Do not copy from a photograph or anime. 
  • original character designs or sketches
  • 3D modeling and renderings (both digital and physical)
  • puppets
  • graphic novel pages
  • video files of sketchbooks (page-turning)
  • storyboards
  • photographs
  • Animations are NOT required, although if included please indicate your role, objectives (story, movement, performance, etc.) or creative contribution to the piece. Please note: do NOT submit more than three minutes of media in your portfolio submission.

Production Option

Submit 7-10 pieces of work.  Production examples should be expressive, original work that showcase individual style as a filmmaker, storyteller or artist. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • photographs, drawings, paintings
  • graphic novel pages
  • storyboards
  • creative writing
  • paintings
  • digital art
  • completed video up to three minutes with a coherent beginning, middle, and end.  Please include your role(s) in the video: director, writer, camera operator, editor, etc.

Please note: do NOT submit more than three minutes of media in your portfolio submission.

Portfolio Evaluation Opportunities

Prior to submitting a portfolio, there are several ways for prospective students to receive an evaluation of their artistic skills from acclaimed faculty in the College of Art and Design.

National Portfolio Days

National Portfolio Day (NPD) events connect young artists interested in pursuing an education in the visual and related arts with experienced college representatives from the top art and design schools across the country. Students receive feedback on their portfolios and learn about academic programs. No admissions decisions or scholarship awards are offered at NPD events, but RIT’s College of Art and Design can accept your portfolio as the visual portion of your application.

This year, NPD events will be offered in-person in locations across the country as well as online. RIT will be hosting an in-person NPD event on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. For pre-registration and a complete list of the NPD events in which RIT will participate this year, please visit our NPD webpage.

RIT Open Houses

Portfolios can be reviewed at RIT’s 2023 on-campus Open Houses: 

  • Monday, Oct. 9
  • Saturday, Oct. 21
  • Saturday, Nov. 11

Registration is highly encouraged and available in August at: rit.edu/admissions/open-house.

Connect and Critique

This virtual event for high school seniors allows students to schedule a one-on-one, 20-minute Zoom appointment with an RIT faculty to have their portfolio reviewed. This year’s event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 15. Learn more at: rit.edu/artdesign/undergrad-connect-critique

More Information

For any questions regarding portfolio guidelines or the submission process, please contact us at portfolios@rit.edu