Portfolio requirements

A portfolio of original visual artwork is a requirement for admission to all programs.

Portfolio and Statement of Intent

A portfolio submission should include the applicant’s most imaginative, best and most recent work (within two years). It should include a variety of mediums (two-three minimum) that demonstrate range as an artist. 

Applicants will be sent a link to Slideroom to upload their portfolio and Statement of Intent within one week of submitting their application.  

Note: If you are a Transfer Applicant, applying for direct entry to the Bachelor of Design or Bachelor of Fine Arts, see Portfolio Requirements for Transfer Students.

Original work only 

The admissions portfolio must be 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. 

Portfolio Components 

Twelve (12) pieces of work are required. Your AUArts Portfolio must include at least one (1) observational drawing and eleven (11) additional pieces of finished work from a variety or range of mediums. Process work (1 piece) from a sketchbook or notebook is optional, but encouraged, and can be included in lieu of one (1) 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)

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 Evaluation Criteria  

  • Originality, Inventiveness, Experimentation of Concepts – Show the development of original ideas that are researched and socially relevant. This applies to both the visual pieces, but also to the explanation supporting 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, quality photos, videos or similar). Each piece should have a title, a brief 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 proven 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 in a formal essay or cover letter format providing us with an understanding of you as an artist and how your goals fit with our programs and culture at AUArts. See below for more details. 

Statement of Intent 

In addition to the portfolio, applicants must submit a “Statement of Intent”. The written statement should define why an applicant will thrive at AUArts. The statement should be between 300 - 500 words in an essay or cover letter format addressing 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

AUArts offers many opportunities to further develop your admission portfolio: 

Contact admissions@auarts.ca for more information.