Portfolio requirements

A portfolio of original visual artwork is a requirement for admission to all programs at Alberta University of the Arts. A portfolio submission should include the applicant’s most imaginative, best and most recent work (within two years), and it should include a variety of mediums (two-three minimum) that demonstrate range as an artist. 12 pieces of work are required, including at least one observational drawing.

Each selection of artwork for the portfolio submission must be uploaded to Slideroom, which also provides for the addition of the written Statement of Intent. Applicants will be provided with a link to their personal Slideroom site within one week of receipt of the general application for admission. 

Portfolio submissions and the AUArts Statement of Intent are due February 1. General Application Portfolio deadline:  July 1 (while seats are available)

Original Work Only 

The admissions portfolio must represent your original work. Misrepresenting the work of others as your own is a violation of our Student Conduct procedure, as well as intellectual property rights in general.  Violations are subject to sanction. 

Media Considerations for Finished Work for Your Portfolio Submission 


  • Observational Drawing (landscape, still life or figure drawing) – required
  • Painting
  • Photographs
  • Mixed Media or collages
  • 3-Dimensional artwork such as ceramics, sculpture, textiles, glass, or jewellery
  • Documentation of installation art
  • Creative or critical writing 

Digital Media 

  • 3-D models
  • Video
  • Animation
  • Website designs
  • Performance or installation art
  • Digital art (paintings, digital 3D object design/sculptures)
  • Other forms of digital media

Note: Please refrain from submitting anime/manga and/or fan art

File formats and sizes for uploading to Slideroom

  • Images (up to 5MB each), JPEG, EPS, GIF, PNG
  • Video (up to 250MB each), MP4, MOV, M4V
  • Audio (up to 30MB each), WAV, MP3, AIFF
  • PDFs (up to 10MB each)
  • 3D Models  

Note: You may also link to media from YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud 

Portfolio Components 

Your AUArts Portfolio should include at least one observational drawing and finished work (10-11 pieces) from a variety or range of mediums. Process work (1 piece) from a sketchbook or notebook is optional and can be included in lieu of one of the pieces of finished work.

  • Finished work – Showcase a range of work in its best final state.
  • Process work – Provide some of your sketchbook work including documentation, research and evidence of your conceptual understanding and thought process. To upload multiple photos of your sketchbook pages, save it as a single PDF document, and submit that as 1 piece of artwork.
  • Each piece of artwork should be accompanied by an explanation of how you developed the idea for the piece (up to 50 words per piece). 

Portfolio Evaluation Criteria  

  • Originality, Inventiveness, Experimentation of Concepts – Show the development of original ideas that are well researched and socially relevant. This applies to both the visual pieces, but also to the explanation provided for each piece of artwork selected for the portfolio.
  • Variety of Media, Materials, Explorations– Show experimentation in different mediums – 2D and/or 3D and/or digital – including the use of traditional and modern materials and processes. As well, show variety in your subject matter. Explore topics that interest you in your own life - politics, people, emotion, experiences, dreams etc.
  • Manual Skills, Craft Execution – Show your hand or manual skills in the chosen medium and/or the skill level associated with the work presented. 
  • Presentation and Documentation – Present your artwork in a professional manner (ie: edges cropped, enough lighting, good quality photos, videos or similar). Each piece should have a title, a short description, materials/mediums used, and size. For 3D pieces, work should be photographed from multiple angles with a neutral background. The description of each submission should detail how the concept was developed.
  • Process Work – (Optional) Artwork should demonstrate problem-solving, clarity of process and depth of research as demonstrated by the notebook or sketchbook submission. Examples of media for process work may include images, videos or models of sketchbook work and/or creative research or documentation.
  • Statement of Intent – Include a written statement or in-person ‘interview’ for those attending Portfolio Review events which will provide us with an understanding of you as an artist and how your goals fit with our programs and culture at AUArts.  See below. 

Statement of Intent 

In addition to the portfolio, applicants are required to submit a “Statement of Intent” as part of their admissions portfolio.  The written statement should define why an applicant will thrive at AUArts.  The statement should be no longer than 500 words total and address the following;

  1. Why do you want to go to art school and earn a degree? 
  2. Besides art, what else do you like to do? 
  3. What excites you about AUArts? 

Opportunities to develop your portfolio

In addition to the information available on our website, AUArts offers many opportunities to further develop your admission portfolio:

  • Portfolio Prep course through AUArts Continuing Education and Professional Development 
  • Pre-College program through AUArts Continuing Education and Professional Development
  • AUArts Portfolio Review Day events
  • AUArts Portfolio Roadshow events 
  • AUArts Campus tours/visits with one-on-one reviews 
  • AUArts @ NPDA Portfolio Review Day events 

The following online resources provide guidance and direction for Portfolio submission in general: