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Eligible candidates who have applied to the following undergraduate courses must provide a digital portfolio of their work:

  • BA Fine Art (3 years)
  • BA Art (4 years)
  • BA Art and Creative Writing
  • BA Art and English Literature
  • BA Art and Film
  • BA Art and History of Art
  • BA Art and Philosophy
  • BA Art and Psychology
  • BA Art and Theatre

After submitting your UCAS application, you will receive an email from our Admissions Team with guidance on how to do this.

Please contact us if you have any particular circumstances that you would like the assessors to consider when reviewing your portfolio.

Preparing a portfolio

  • We are particularly interested in your most recent work – even if it is unfinished – and the work you have produced independently and in your own time.
  • We want to see photos of your sketchbook pages, worksheets, and preparatory drawings.
  • 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 to how many pieces of work you can include in your portfolio. However, we recommend you consider the selection of work, avoid too much repetition, and avoid including very old work. Keep it up to date. 
  • Demonstrate your personal interests.
  • Show your technical skills, interest in materials and processes, and your ability to learn through experimentation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary practice.
  • Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to research through meaningful investigation, such as other artists, exhibitions, other cultural works, for example film or texts, or broader 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.
  • Try to include at least one or two examples of how you have or would exhibit your work, as presentation decisions are important to how a work is received and understood.
  • Please include the title, media, date, and dimensions of each piece and the artist's name (to differentiate between your work and other artist research).

Assessment criteria

For all BA degree programmes with Art, we look for evidence of the following in your portfolio and/or written statement:

  • a willingness to learn and experiment
  • evolving technical skills in some media
  • an interest in exhibitions and the work of other artists
  • some independent art practice (beyond coursework).

Frequently asked questions

I have not studied Art A level/Post-16, how should I prepare my portfolio?

If you have studied other creative subjects for example, textiles, photography, film, design, media, then you should include selected works you have made in these, as well as any independent art, design, or craft projects.

To develop your portfolio, you could attend free or subsidised art and making workshops at museums and galleries at weekends, especially ones related to specific exhibitions. You could also attend evening drawing, ceramics, or other making classes in your area, which are often part of a subsidised local authority offer. This can be a great way to build up your skills.

If you studied Art at GCSE level, you might include a few pieces from this, but examples of recent work is essential.

If you're looking for economical art making, you could:

  • make collages
  • create a work from the contents of a bag, or cupboard
  • make quick sketches on your journey to school or work
  • make prints using vegetables or found materials around the home
  • create papier mâché sculptures

For experimentation, you could:

  • 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, and 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.

Contact us

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