Portfolio Guidelines: Graduate Architecture
There are four graduate programs where a portfolio is required. These programs include: Masters of Science in Architecture, Masters of Architecture 4+2, Masters of Architecture 5+1. All other programs do not require a portfolio but it is recommended.
An applicant may also want to submit a portfolio for the following reasons: If the applicant is transferring credits and seeking advanced placement or if the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirements.
Students with no architecture background:
These students are using the portfolio to demonstrate their potential in technical or professional design abilities. The faculty who assess the portfolio will be examining how students tell a story rather than the student’s already established design or technological skills.
1. The submission of architectural work is NOT expected;
2. The submission of examples of creative and/or scholarly items is expected. This may include expressions and activities such as art or craft projects or installations, freehand sketches, photography, poetry, creative or scholarly writing, or compositions;
3. The compilation of work will demonstrate a high level of critical thinking and the ability to think creatively;
4. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate how they apply a design lens to their varied academic backgrounds;
5. The portfolio is intended to show interest and potential aptitude for design.
Students with architecture background:
These students may petition for Advanced Standing and be placed in a higher-level design studio. The portfolios of students who wish to receive Advanced Standing will be assessed by the following criteria:
1. Demonstration of fundamental abilities to design and communicate using the standard skills of the profession (digital, hand drawing, drafting, and modeling) as they relate to a variety of representational methods, i.e., plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, and models;
2. Ability to tell a visual narrative through the presentation, graphic methods and descriptions;
3. Demonstration of an understanding of structural, mechanical, environmental, and enclosing systems;
4. At least one example of site development;
5. Use of a strong design project to show strengths in design work, process behind design, tools used, and the resolution of technical issues.
6. Use of creativity to demonstrate their design outlook and skill level.
Please note that the potential for Advanced Standing will be affected also by student performance in previous design coursework.
Applicants to the architecture department must submit portfolios in hard copy format. Online portfolio links or digital portfolios will not be accepted (the exception will be for international students – PDF only). The portfolio format is flexible, although it should be no larger than 11x17 and must be bound. The use of wood, metal, or glass is inappropriate. There is no minimum or maximum number of required pages, but a table of contents should be included. The student’s name must appear on all materials and portfolios submitted.
Students are expected to submit 15-25 pieces (not pages). Do not submit originals. Creativity and self-representation will be apparent through the use of selected formats.
All work should be the student’s own. The student’s individual contribution to any group or professional design project should be clearly delineated. All projects should include a brief description and whether the work was done for academic, professional or personal purposes. If the work is academic, include school name, course number, course date, course year, and instructor. If the work is professional, include project name, date, city, firm name, and your role.
Font size is important! Please consider the quality and size of font for committee review purposes.
(Note: Advanced placement is not based upon the number of years a student has taken architecture courses, the institution attended, or what placement students from the same institution have received in the past. Placement decisions are made individually on the merits of each particular case. All portfolio decisions are final and may not be appealed by the student).