University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Students applying for the 2024/25 academic year

Candidates invited to attend an interview for our undergraduate Art courses will be offered the opportunity to participate in either an on-campus or an online interview. They will also be required to provide a portfolio of their work. 

Eligible candidates for our undergraduate Art courses will receive an email invitation containing instructions on how to book a date for their interview.

This page provides further information about the interview process, including details on how to prepare and submit a portfolio.

Students applying for the 2025/26 academic year

For candidates applying to start university in September 2025, there is no interview, but you will be asked to provide an online portfolio of your work when you apply.

To learn more about the portfolio requirements, please visit our 2025/26 portfolio guidance page.

The interview process

The interview is a great opportunity for you to meet staff and students, and to discover more about the student experience and opportunities within the School of Art.

  • You will be interviewed by one member of teaching staff from the School of Art
  • Your interview will last for approximately 30 minutes 
  • There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions during the interview; therefore, you may wish to prepare a few questions in advance
  • We will be discussing your artwork, so please have your portfolio to hand (either in person if you are attending an on-campus interview or digitally if you are attending an online interview)
  • Please let us know if there is anything we should be aware of or if there is anything we can do to help in relation to your interview

The interview will focus on the following key areas:

  • Where did you hear about the University of Reading, and what is it that appeals to you about your chosen course and studying at Reading?
  • From your portfolio, choose one piece/project that you are most proud of, and another piece/project that taught you the most during its making. Tell us about the works and your reasons for selection.
  • Tell us about an exhibition that you have visited; where it was, and who/what was exhibited. Discuss what you found interesting about it.
  • How do you think studying Art at the University of Reading will help develop your art practice, and you personally? Are you interested in any of the opportunities to study abroad and/or do a work placement, for example?
  • Tell us about your other interests, including another subject if you are applying for a joint honours degree.
  • What would you like to ask us?

Preparing a portfolio for your interview

  • We are particularly interested in your most recent work – even if it is unfinished – and work you have produced independently and in your own time.
  • Take time with your selection when putting your portfolio together. Do not include everything you have ever done, but a good, clear selection that represents your abilities – the quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
  • There is no limit on how many pieces of work to include in your portfolio. However, we recommend that you make a considered selection of work as it will only be possible to look at a certain amount of work during your interview.
  • Avoid too much repetition of the same kind of work.
  • Demonstrate your personal interest.
  • Show your technical skills, interest in materials and processes, and your ability to learn through experimentation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary practice.
  • Keep your portfolio up to date – don't include very old work.
  • We would like to see some images of your sketchbook pages, worksheets, and preparatory drawings. You can bring whole sketchbooks to an on-campus interview or photograph pages for digital portfolios.
  • Please include the title, media, date, and dimensions of each piece, as well as name of artist (to differentiate between your work and other artist research).
  • Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to research through meaningful investigation, such as other artists, exhibitions, other cultural works (film, texts, etc) or wider areas of interest.
  • Avoid too many direct copies of photographs through painting or drawing; we appreciate that this is technically satisfying but would rather see your ability to experiment. Instead, actively consider the relationship and differences between photography and other media.

Instructions for on-campus interviews

If you choose to attend an on-campus interview, please bring with you a physical portfolio of your work, including sketchbooks or anything else you use to think and plan your work. Large scale and 3-dimensional work should be represented photographically. Please bring your own laptop, tablet, or phone to show video, digital, or sound works, or send us an online link before the date of your interview by emailing the School of Art.

After your 30-minute interview, you will have the opportunity to join a tour of the School of Art's studios and workshops with one of our current students, and explore the wider campus. 

Where will the on-campus interview session take place?

The on-campus interview will take place at the School of Art, which is located near the Pepper Lane entrance to the Whiteknights campus at the University of Reading. The School of Art is Building number 310 on the Whiteknights campus map, next to car park 11.

We would advise you to travel to the University by public transport, where possible, as limited parking is available on campus.

If you are able to find an available space to park on campus, please collect a parking permit from the main office within the School of Art on arrival and display it prominently in your car windscreen for the duration of your visit.

Alternatively, Car Park 1A is a visitors Pay & Display car park, which is located near the Shinfield Road entrance to the Whiteknights campus. Currently, it costs £1.50 per hour to use Pay & Display parking in Car Park 1A, which is approximately a 10-minute walk from the School of Art.

The sat nav postcode for the Pepper Lane and Shinfield Road entrances to the Whiteknights campus is RG6 6UR.

Instructions for online interviews

If you choose to attend an online interview, please send a digital portfolio of your work to the Admissions Support team no later than 48 hours before your interview.   

Please note the following information regarding digital portfolio submissions: 

  • All portfolio images should be arranged into one single PowerPoint or PDF file, and not as separate files/folders. You can save images as viewable onscreen, rather than print quality to help manage file size.
  • If you have a website containing a portfolio of your work, you can send us the link to your website.
  • Please ensure that all images are clearly captioned with the name of the artist (including yourself), title of work, media, date, and dimensions of each piece, and any other relevant information, such as work in progress or preparatory sketch.

The online interview will take place via Microsoft Teams, which is the platform used by the University for remote communication. 

Closer to the date of your interview (around two days before the date of your interview), you will receive a Microsoft Teams meeting invitation via email.

Once you have received the email, please follow the steps listed below:

  • Open the email containing the Microsoft Teams meeting invitation and select "Yes" to accept. 
  • Once you have accepted the meeting invitation, you will need to open your email calendar to access it. Please go to the date and time of your interview in your email calendar to locate the meeting invitation, and click to open it. 
  • On the day of your interview, please open the meeting invitation in your email calendar and select the “Click here to join this meeting” link to join your online interview at the appropriate time. 

Please note, occasionally, our emails could arrive in your junk/spam folder. We therefore recommend that you check your junk/spam folder on a regular basis for emails relating to your online interview.

Frequently asked questions 

If I am applying for a joint honours degree, will I also be interviewed by the other subject’s department?

No, you will have just one interview in the Art department, in which we will ask you to discuss your interest in the other subject.

I have not studied Art A Level / post-16; how should I prepare my portfolio?

If you have studied other creative subjects such as Textiles, Photography, Film, Design, or Media, etc, do include selected works you have made in these, as well as any independent art, design, or craft projects.

Many museums and galleries put on free or subsidised art and making workshops at weekends, often in relation to specific exhibitions, which you could attend to develop portfolio material and which can provide interesting discussion points for interview. Also check whether there are evening drawing, ceramics, or other making classes in your area, often as part of a subsidised local authority offer; this can be a great way to build up skills.

If you studied Art at GCSE level, you may include a few pieces from this; but we really also want to see examples of recent work.

Other suggestions for economical art making:

  • make collages
  • create a work from the contents of a bag, or cupboard
  • draw the backs of heads on your journey to school or work
  • make prints using vegetables
  • create papier mâché sculptures
  • try drawing in the dark, with your teeth, with charcoal tied to the end of a stick
  • photograph all the white shoes you see in one day
  • write a series of instructions for other people, paint the words.

Is there a minimum number of pieces to include in my portfolio?

There is no set amount of work to include and not all the work needs to be completed projects. You could also include sketches, research, and material experiments. We recommend that you try and show at least one example for each of the portfolio preparation guidelines.

Other questions?

We are fully committed to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in our admissions and interview processes. If you would like to request any specific requirements or adjustments around accessibility for your interview, please contact the Admissions Support team. Please rest assured that requesting reasonable adjustments or having special requirements will not affect the outcome of the interview or our decision on whether you are offered a place on the course.

If you have any questions about the interview process or preparing your portfolio, please email the School of Art or phone +44 (0) 118 378 8050.

For further information about our courses and about studying in the School of Art, please visit our undergraduate courses page

Free Online Course to help with your interview


We have developed a free online course, Stress-Free University Interviews, available to students who have offers of interviews at the University for interviewing subjects. It will help you make the most of your skills, build confidence, and enable you to practice those all-important interview techniques.

Book a place on this course