Portfolio preparation

Your creativity is as important to us as your exam results. To showcase what you can do, in most instances, we’ll want to see a digital portfolio.

We want your application process to go as smoothly as possible so, to give you an idea what to expect, we've put together some videos and information below. You will also be invited to attend one of our virtual 'Preparing Your Portfolio' events.

NB If you're applying for our BA (Hons) Digital Media, you do not currently need to submit a portfolio.

What do we look for in the portfolio?

15 pieces of work or projects that show your skill in the chosen subject.

More specifically, we are looking for:

  • Any drawings from life
  • Evidence of how you tackle a project
  • Research and development of ideas and thought processes
  • Example of experimentation with new materials, media, processes or methods
  • For the BA Illustration and Animation: any moving image work (short films or animations) and any examples of visual narratives, sequential images or storyboards

How does the undergraduate portfolio process work?

You will be asked to provide a digital portfolio for review. Please send all your work as a PDF or a website link to admissions-ahss@aru.ac.uk, or upload it to the applicant portal when requested by our Admissions Team - and no later than two weeks afterwards this request.

Please compress the PDF or use an email transfer service such as WeTransfer for larger files. Remember to include your name, the course you are applying for and your student ID number.

If you would like to discuss your work face-to-face please email admissions-ahss@aru.ac.uk, who will send you a link to book a time slot. Remember to include your name, the course you are applying for and your student ID number. Please also send your digital portfolio as above.

If you choose to come in and show us your work please allow for up to 1.5 hrs on campus, as you will also have the opportunity to ask staff and current students questions, take a tour of our facilities and explore the campus. You can bring your hard-copy portfolio and sketchbooks, or we can just discuss your digital portfolio.

If you're applying for one of our Masters courses, please visit our postgraduate portfolios page for course-specific information.

Portfolio FAQ

Are there any course specific requirements for the portfolio?

The guidance above is relevant for all courses, but for the BA Illustration and Animation please provide moving image work (short films or animations) and any examples of visual narratives, sequential images or storyboards.

My portfolio is too large to upload to the applicant portal. Can you please advise how I can send this into you?

If your portfolio is larger than 10MB, please email a pdf of your work (you can convert to PDF using InDesign or Powerpoint if you don't have Adobe Acrobat DC) or a link to your personal portfolio website to admissions-ahss@aru.ac.uk. Please host any videos on a video sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo - you can set them as 'unlisted' and just send us the links. If you're unable to share your video via a video sharing site, please use a file sharing service such as Google Drive or Drop Box (make sure your file is less than 1GB).

Am I able to submit more than the 15 pieces stated in the portfolio guidelines?

You need to select and curate your best work. 15-20 pieces might be 4-5 projects, including your final pieces and supporting develop work. Maybe you have a favourite project that has 8 pieces and 3 smaller projects with fewer pieces. Be creative! For example, you could send us a link to a video of your flicking through your sketch book.

I do not have a portfolio. Am I still able to apply?

A portfolio is your showcase for your creativity. If you do not have a portfolio you will need to create one before you apply. You may want to consider an art foundation course or the foundation year at ARU college.

More information on portfolio preparation:


Preparing your portfolio

Postgraduate courses

How to build your art portfolio for University