Graduate Admissions

A portfolio is required in order to be considered to any of our graduate programs.

Your portfolio should demonstrate your interest, experience and approach to design. The projects should highlight the program specific requirements/recommendations to which you are applying.

Program-specific Portfolio Submission Guidelines

Portfolios may display examples of work and experiences from a range of undergraduate disciplines, including but not limited to Architecture, Crafts, Fashion, Fine Arts, Illustration, Interior Design, Industrial or Product Design, Photography, Textiles and Transportation Design.

Applicants to Color & Materials Design MFA should include a minimum of six projects in their portfolio, including academic, personal and professional work. Submit a variety of work that shares the breadth of your skills, however seemingly unrelated to color and materials design.

Portfolios should show use of Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and additionally, any rendering software if those skills are established.

We look for work that demonstrates:

  • A strong interest in color, materials and finish [CMF] design in conjunction with providing insight into your individual work
  • The use of CMF design to make aesthetic selections that express the functional and emotional attributes of products, artifacts or experiences
  • Both research and making practices e.g. hand skills including drawing, model-making and prototyping, evidence of construction and making
  • Good organization and design in presenting ideas and concepts
  • Engagement with sustainability and human-centered design methods in developing relevant ideas
  • Material based innovation
  • The ability to write and communicate in English at a professional level
  • The ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, e.g. group projects and collaborations. (Please see below regarding Submission of Collaborative Projects)

Your portfolio should consist of a minimum of 4-6 projects including academic and professional work.

Submit work that demonstrates passion and curiosity for innovation, and that you aren't afraid for complex design challenges.

The portfolio must demonstrate versatility, criticality, rigor, and point of view, and accomplishment working in design projects.

We look for abilities to:

  • Research, investigate and analyze topics
  • Identify important user needs and desires
  • Take a systems approach to design solutions
  • Develop solutions for real needs and create values for the human condition.
  • Be attentive at related business dynamics
  • Draw and/or otherwise visualize new ideas
  • Write and communicate effectively

You are encouraged to include pieces that show your ability to work in a multidisciplinary team indicating clearly your role and contribution to the project.

The program is open to individuals with an undergraduate degree or higher in Design or a relevant post-graduate work experience with a design background.

The MFA program in Interaction Design seeks students with the maturity and discipline to engage in an intensive, two-year commitment to prepare for a fulfilling career. Candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for clarity of intentions, structure of thinking, and demonstration of discipline and process. Critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity are essential. Point-of-view about interaction design specifically and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also important.

  • Portfolios may display experience from a wide range of domains, including but not limited to interaction design, product design, industrial design, software design, and graphic design; even expertise in engineering, social sciences, and humanities are welcome. However, they must reflect one or more of the following.
    • Design skills: conceptual organization, disciplined process, and strong aesthetics
    • Systems skills: holistic viewpoints and systemic modeling in order to understand complex situations and needs, and to design for their improvement.
    • Making skills: evidence of craft, whether in physical materials, software interfaces, or human interactions, including iteration, refinement, and convergence toward explicit design goals.
    • Because of the demands of interaction designers in today’s work contexts, added consideration will be given to applicants who possess one or more of the following optional skills:
      • Professional experience with design or implementation teams in any of the domains mentioned above
      • Empathy for social, economic, and global challenges, including but not limited to energy, natural resources, income disparity, and social justice
      • Implementation of web, app, or other general coding skills for front-end, back-end, platforms, cloud, and APIs
      • Proficiency in toolsets for 2D, 3D, animation, and prototyping of all kinds.

Upload items that communicate your technical and design expertise and problem-solving skills. NOTE: It is required that applicants for the Transportation Design program include a significant number of original sketches in their portfolio submission and/or an additional sketchbook.

  • Your portfolio should include a minimum of 3-4 design projects including academic, personal and professional.
  • All projects must have a clear representation of the phases of the design process - including your project brief, research, target market development, concept ideation, development and final renderings and models - presented in a fluid, clear, systematic manner that is graphically composed.
  • Submissions should demonstrate your technical creative skills including freehand sketching in accurate perspective, use of Photoshop and Alias – or other use of 2D/3D modeling and rendering software.
  • Include a significant amount of original process sketches and/or a separate sketch book as a PDF attachment in SlideRoom, or if necessary, mailed or e-mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in critical thinking, creative conceptualization and visual communication.

Submission of Collaborative Projects

We understand that design work is often the result of collaborative work in a multidisciplinary environment. Please explain your contribution to the creation and development of the work in a brief statement within each project.

Types of items that can be submitted as part of your portfolio:

Images (up to 10MB each), Video (up to 500MB each), Audio (up to 60MB each), PDFs (up to 20MB each), Models (Sketchfab) and Other Types (.psd) (up to 20MB each) and links to media from YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud.