Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio Overview

Artistic disciplines require a measure of skill and dedication. Because accepted students become part of an elite learning community, they must first demonstrate a proven level of artistic talent. Your portfolio will help us evaluate your artistic skills, artistic preferences and familiarity with various types of artistic media.

Your portfolio says a lot about you: your level of enthusiasm, the types of work you are interested in and how you interpret ideas through art. The work included in your portfolio will indicate whether you show promise in the program for which you are applying. Acceptance of your portfolio does not guarantee acceptance to the university. 

For any questions regarding portfolio guidelines or the submission process that are not answered on this page, please contact RIT's College of Art and Design at [email protected].

View an interactive version of our portfolio requirements

Submitting Your Portfolio

Portfolio work can be submitted digitally via SlideRoom or mailed on a flash drive (see below addresses). Flash drives will not be returned. Please ensure images are formatted in RGB color mode. The clarity of the slide or digital images is of utmost importance.

Portfolios may also be mailed to the Undergraduate Admissions Office or Graduate Admissions

Undergraduate Freshman and Transfer

Rochester Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Admissions Office
60 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604


Rochester Institute of Technology
Offices of Graduate and Part-time Enrollment Services
Bausch and Lomb Center - A130
58 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

What is the College of Art and Design Looking For?

Creativity and Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship in a work of art is as important as the ideas presented. You can demonstrate creativity through innovative ideas and content, interesting composition and proficient use of materials.

Acceptable Media Formats

Images (up to 5 MB each), video (up to 250 MB each), audio (up to 30 MB each), PDFs (up to 10 MB each) and 3D models may be submitted in addition to links to external media on YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud. Please ensure images are formatted in RGB color mode.

Undergraduate Portfolio Requirements

Students applying to BFA programs in our Schools of Art, Design and Film and Animation are required to submit a portfolio in addition to their application to RIT. Portfolios are not required for freshman students applying to the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. Acceptance of your portfolio does not guarantee acceptance to the university. 

Schools of Art and Design Applicants

Drawings from direct observation

Painting, marker renderings, mechanical drawings


Computer images

Page layout, two dimensional design

Sculpture, models

Submit 10-20 pieces of your best work. Portfolios will be reviewed on the basis of pictorial composition, creativity/originality of ideas, drawing and design ability, a sense for the use of materials, attention to detail and craftsmanship.

There should be a minimum of three samples of drawings made from direct observation (not copied from photographs, comics or "fantasy"). Other work could include paintings, photography, page layout designs, computer images, two-dimensional design, sculptures, models, fine crafts, mechanical drawings and marker renderings.

All images and documents submitted should be clearly labeled. Information such as title, size, media, date, assignment or theme (if any) and any exhibition/award notations should be included.

Medical Illustration Applicants

Applicants to the medical illustration program in the School of Art should include at least six samples of natural forms in their portfolio, such as shells, elements of the human figure, bones or plants drawn from direct observation.

School of Film and Animation BFA Applicants

Drawing, digital art, painting


Creative writing

Film or animation

Animation Option

Submit 8-10 pieces of work: 

  • 2-3 images from direct observation (NOT from a photo or drawing)
  • 2-3 images from your imagination/visualization
  • 3-4 pieces that showcase storytelling. Images should convey a sense of place, character or an event, not just a representation of an object or character. This can be a series of sequential images such as storyboards, graphic novel pages (one page would count as one image) or individual images, including photographs. Animations are not required, although if included please indicate your role, objectives (story, movement, performance, etc.) or creative contribution to the piece. Figure drawing, gestures and video files of sketchbooks (page-turning) are also encouraged.

Please do NOT include any form of fan art.

Production Option

Submit 8-12 examples of expressive, original work that showcase individual style as a filmmaker, storyteller or artist. This may include, but is not limited to, video, animation, photography, creative writing, performance, drawings, digital art, paintings, scripts, storyboards or film. Please submit no more than four videos and musical pieces; each video should be edited down to four minutes or less for review purposes.

Graduate Portfolio Requirements

All of the College of Art and Design’s MFA and MST programs require a portfolio. For those interested in one of them, visit graduate portfolio requirements to find your intended area of study and then call or email the listed department contact to obtain specific portfolio requirements.

Portfolio Review Opportunities

Prior to submitting a portfolio, there are several ways for prospective students to receive an evaluation of their artistic skills from acclaimed faculty in the College of Art and Design.

National Portfolio Days

National Portfolio Day (NPD) events connect young artists interested in pursuing an education in the visual and related arts with experienced college representatives from the top art and design schools in the country. Students receive feedback on their portfolios and learn about academic programs. No admissions decisions or scholarship awards are offered at NPD events, but RIT’s College of Art and Design can accept your portfolio as the visual portion of your application.

As the COVID-19 guidelines continue to evolve, the National Portfolio Day Association is determining the format of its NPD events for this fall. Please refer to rit.edu/artdesign/npd for updates on portfolio review opportunities.

More Information

For any questions regarding portfolio guidelines or the submission process, please contact us at [email protected]