Portfolio Requirements

A lobby seating area in the Art Building. A chalkboard with doodles and slogans is visible.
 Paintbrushes lay across a smeared canvas
 Prints are pinned to an Art Building bulletin board. Students work and walk in the hallway.
Artwork hung on a wall as part of the Foundations critique
 Art Building lockers, decorated with slogans and colorful paint
 A visiting lecturer gestures to a PowerPoint slide about letterforms

The Department of Art seeks to enroll students who have creative vision and a sense of purpose directed toward professional careers in art education, art history, communication design, and studio art. To assist the department in evaluating the artistic potential and commitment of applicants, an admission portfolio is required of applicants to the BFA studio program, the BFA program in communication design, and BS program in art education.

A designated number of students are recommended each year for admission to the art program and to the University as a result of the exceptional quality of work and potential shown in their portfolios. These students are called talent admissions. Although students must meet other admission standards, the portfolio evaluation can be given priority in determining acceptance.

Portfolio evaluations apply only to those individuals who have submitted a formal application for admission to Miami University with a declared major in Art.

The Office of Admission is responsible for determining acceptance to the University. The results of the Department of Art's portfolio evaluation are forwarded to the Admission Office and serve an integral part in determining acceptance as an Art major.

The Portfolio

The Portfolio should consist of 12 to 15 images of works which best document the depth and breadth of an applicant's experience and potential in art. There are two ways to submit your images:

Preferred Method:
Please visit the website Slideroom to upload your work. Follow the instructions on the site.

Mailing Method:
Submit your portfolio to the Art Department on a CD, with your digital images as jpegs (preferably at 72 DPI, with the pixel dimension to be approximately 600 pixels in the longest direction, 24 bit "millions" color resolution).

    • Include a media listing of the images in jpeg format as well.
    • Because of version issues, PowerPoint format will not be accepted.
    • The Department of Art reserves the right to see actual work if artistic integrity is questioned for any reason.

Mail portfolios to:
Miami University, Department of Art
400 S. Patterson Ave.
124 Art Building

Oxford OH 45056

Portfolios will not be returned unless a self-addressed and stamped package is included with your submission.

Judging Criteria

  • Presentation: concern for the care taken in preparing, submitting, and documenting work.
  • Creativity: demonstration of original thinking and imagination; examples that indicate the development of personal expression.
  • Design and Composition: consideration for the arrangement of visual elements within the parameters of space or form.
  • Self-Motivation: art work done outside of the school setting which reflects the applicant's interest and enthusiasm for the visual arts (e.g. sketchbook, drawings or paintings done at home).
  • Exploration of Media: concern for a flexible use of a range of materials.
  • Technical Proficiency: concern for the manner and skill with which tools and materials have been used to create art work.
  • Drawing Ability: subjects drawn from life (not photographs): still life, portraiture, landscape, anatomy, facility in both color and black and white media, line and full light and shade, controlled abstraction and realistic imagery.
  • Color: facility with wet media: ink, watercolor, oil, tempera, acrylic; facility with dry media: pastels. crayons. colored pencils, markers; varied applications including colored papers and collage, fibers, metals and ceramics.
  • Proficiency in at Least One Visual Arts Medium: concern for, or ability to work well in, one visual arts area or medium.

Communication Design Second-Tier Portfolio Review

In addition to the entrance portfolio review required by the Department of Art, students desiring to pursue the Communication Design major must undergo an additional portfolio review. This review occurs in the spring semester of the first year before registration for the fall semester. This portfolio and interview process determines advancement into the degree program in the second year. A limited number of students are admitted each year.

Learn more about the Communication Design program and the review process.

Portfolio Evaluation Periods

Portfolio submission deadlines:

Portfolios may be submitted to the Department of Art for decisions regarding admission to our BFA Studio Art program, the pre-Communication Design program, and the BS Art Education program as early as October 15 of each year.

December 1: Portfolios received before the December 1 Early Decision deadline will be reviewed prior to December 15. Shortly thereafter, students will receive notification of their portfolio status.

December 15: Portfolios received prior to the university’s December 15 Early Action deadline will receive notification prior to January 15.

(Please note that students interested in a program through the Department of Art that requires a portfolio review do NOT need to have the portfolio submitted before the Early Action or Early Decision deadlines. Portfolios do not affect the decision for admission to the university and may be submitted at a later date.)

January 15: Portfolios submitted prior to January 15 are guaranteed to be considered for all of our talent-based scholarships available to incoming students. There is no separate application process, and all portfolios received prior to January 15 will be reviewed for scholarship support. Portfolios received after January 15 will be considered for talent-based scholarships as funds are available.

February 1: Portfolios received before the February 1 Regular Decision deadline will be reviewed by February 15, and you will receive a decision shortly thereafter.

July 1: Domestic first-year students accepted to the university that have confirmed to the university may submit a portfolio to the Department of Art after contacting the department, and until July 1 for consideration of admission to one of our portfolio-dependent programs, and to receive priority seating into our foundation art and design courses.


Description of our process:

The Department of Art at Miami University uses an entrance portfolio for direct admission to many of our creative programs including the BFA in Studio Art, the pre-Communication Design program (which leads to the Communication Design BFA), and BS in Art Education program. All these programs utilize image, text, composition, color, and other visual characteristics. The programs all require the creation of unique visual content. Those programs also share a core of foundation art and design courses including Observational Drawing, Design and Composition, and Creative Technologies. Because all students in these programs will be creating original and unique visual content as a core component of their education, we use the portfolio as a measure of the student’s experience and capacity to build creative visual content. We also use the portfolio to aid us in the distribution of talent-based scholarships available to incoming first-year students majoring in Studio Art, Communication Design, or Art Education.

The BA in Studio Art does not require a portfolio for admission into the program, nor do our co-majors in Fashion and pre-Art Therapy. If a student currently enrolled in the Studio Art BA decides to transfer into the Studio Art BFA program, a review by the Department of Art of their portfolio of creative works will be required.

The Communication Design BFA is a competitive enrollment limited program that requires the submission of a secondary portfolio to the Communication Design program to be delivered during the spring semester prior to entering the three-year Communication Design program, which formally begins in the student’s second year. The Communication Design portfolio has its own specific set of requirements which can be found here. Acceptance into the Department of Art does not guarantee acceptance into the Communication Design program.

The Department of Art does offer a variety of pathways into all our programs. You do not need to submit a portfolio when you applying to the university. If you would rather, you are welcome to enter into the Department of Art as a BA Studio Art major or the College of Creative Arts as an undeclared major. If you then would like to transfer into one of our BFA programs or our Art Education program, you can create a portfolio of creative works from coursework taken during your first semester for review by the Department of Art. As an undeclared major you would still have access to our priority registration for foundation classes, we can still pre-seat you into foundation courses, and you can still have academic advising with one of our first-year academic advisors.

If you decide to submit a portfolio with your university application, the Portfolio Review Committee will evaluate your portfolio for admission to our pre-Communication Design, Studio Art (BFA) and Art Education programs. If we decide your portfolio does not yet demonstrate the proficiency to be admitted directly into one of those programs you are not denied from the program, but rather we ask that you submit a portfolio through the transfer process once you have taken a few of our classes. We want to make sure you have the sensibilities to grow and prosper as an artist, designer, or art educator and that you have a strong likelihood of successfully completing your chosen program. Transfer guidelines for the Department of Art can be found here.

Students will sometimes create artworks specifically for the portfolio, but typically the portfolio is comprised of a collection of works created throughout one’s high school experience. You can find more information about our portfolio requirements here.