UNSW School of Art & Design’s Portfolio Entry Scheme provides international students with ATAR (or equivalent rank) that is just below the entry cut-off with the opportunity to be considered for admission based on a combination of their academic results and creative potential.
Applicants for Postgraduate coursework degrees are not required to submit a portfolio.
We recommend that Portfolio applications be submitted within one week of submitting your UNSW or UAC application.
If you have a high enough rank or mark, you can gain direct entry into our programs. However if you have a score or ranking that’s just below the cut-off to our programs, we encourage you to submit a Portfolio showcasing your art, design or digital creative work.
If you are a student transferring from another university, TAFE or a private (VET) college or tertiary institution you can also submit a portfolio to support your application. Your Portfolio can boost your chances of receiving an offer. Portfolios may include a personal statement along with art, design, digital or written work.
UNSW School of Art & Design’s Portfolio Entry Scheme provides students with the chance to prepare and organise their work and showcase their creative potential. We are not expecting perfection. We are simply looking to see your creative potential as well as a willingness to learn and try new techniques.
Off-shore international students (international students not completing high school in Australia or New Zealand) who wish to submit a portfolio must apply for a UNSW School of Art & Design degree directly to UNSW here.
On-shore international students (completing high school in Australia) who wish to submit a portfolio must apply for a UNSW School of Art & Design degree through UAC (if you are eligible to apply through UAC).
UNSW School of Art & Design is looking for you to show your potential as an artist, designer or media creative, with a commitment to succeed in the creative studies.
To demonstrate this, the portfolio will need to include:
- A cover letter that explains your interest in studying at UNSW School of Art & Design, and your interest in the degree (or degrees if you have more than one preference). The letter should tell us about your interests and achievements and be no more than 400 words.
- Visual or written material consisting of any 1 of the following:
- A maximum of 6 images of your art, design or digital work (with captions or short statements) OR
- A video or animation or website showcasing your work OR
- 500 word essay on the critical review topic as outlined below
Critical Review Topic
Imagine you are a critic for a newspaper with an educated but non-specialist audience. You are asked to write a review of a current temporary exhibition or festival program.
You can choose broadly including art and design exhibitions, or new media displays. The purpose is to inform your audience and to provide some context or background for the work.
You will need to both describe and comment on the work. The purpose is to foreground your own interpretation so you are not required to do any additional research or provide biographical details for the artists or producers.
All Portfolios must be submitted online using the portfolio submission website.
(Hard copies of portfolios sent by mail will not be assessed or retained.)
Some general advice:
Have someone check your work for spelling and grammar, but ultimately the work must be your own and not copied from someone or somewhere else
Submit only your best work if you have lots to choose from
If making, designing or assembling isn’t your best skill, showcase what is. If research or enquiry is your best skill, consider the essay question.
We are not expecting perfection. We would just like to see a small sample of the work you have done, as well as a demonstration of your passion for the degree you are applying for. We want to see your work and potential – not someone else’s.
Applicants should read the Frequently Asked Questions below for further details.
- Who can submit a portfolio for entry to UNSW School of Art & Design?
International students who have applied or have a preference for any of the following degrees at UNSW and are expecting or already have a ranking that is within 5 points of the entry requirement are invited to submit a portfolio.
International students who have an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Average Rank) of at least 70 (or equivalent rank or mark) are invited to submit a portfolio.
To gain entry to the above degrees, an ATAR of 75 or equivalent is required for direct entry. If an applicant has already achieved this score, then a portfolio submission is not required. A table that outlines international qualifications that are equivalent to an ATAR score of 75 can be found here. If your qualification is not listed please contact us for assistance.
- I want to do a double degree with another Faculty. Do I need to submit a portfolio?
You must meet the entry requirement for the double degree independent of the portfolio, therefore portfolios are not considered for double degree entry. We encourage double degree applicants to list a stand alone Art & Design program as one of their preferences, the portfolio will be considered for the stand alone preference only.
- Why do I need to provide a portfolio?
Academic ranking as a single selection criterion has not always provided an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their aptitude for creative study. Portfolios provide an opportunity for you to provide additional material to application that demonstrates your creative potential.
- Do I still have to apply to UNSW if I submit a portfolio?
Yes, all applicants must lodge a formal application for admission, and all offers will be made through UNSW Admissions or UAC.
- I previously deferred my offer do I need to submit a portfolio?
If you previously have deferred an offer and you now wish to study the same degree you will not need to re-submit a portfolio.
- I want to transfer from TAFE/college or another university; do I need to submit a portfolio?
Students looking to transfer from another university or TAFE/college are invited to submit a portfolio which will be considered alongside previous academic achievement.
- How will places be allocated to applicants?
All offers are made through UNSW based on merit. Applicants who have submitted a portfolio will be re-ranked based on a combination of a portfolio score and academic score/rank.
- Will I be able to get any feedback on the assessment of my portfolio?
Once your portfolio has been assessed, you’ll be notified by email, with information about the next step in the application process.
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or would like to speak with one of our advisors, please don’t hesitate to contact us.