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Portfolio Tips

As a prospective student, you will need to submit a selection of 15-20 examples of your strongest and most recent artwork that reflects your interests, skills, and willingness to explore, experiment, and express yourself. We encourage you to include work representing a sustained interest and/or development over time.

At MassArt, we review your portfolio within the context of your own experiences and exposure to art and design instruction. Although there is no universal approach when constructing a portfolio, you may want to consider the following:

Create original artwork for your portfolio 
  • Include pieces that showcase your own unique voice as an artist, materials that you love to work with, and subject matter you’re interested in exploring
  • Your portfolio may concentrate on a single medium or may show a variety of media
  • Show what makes you stand out as an artist: how do you see the world? 
Strike a balance between technical and conceptual skills
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the principles and elements of art and design; 
  • You may include both class assignments and self-directed work
  • The strongest pieces are often those which merge technical and conceptual skills
What not to submit
  • Do not include artwork that is a direct copy of another artist’s work, design, ideas or characters
  • In addition, please do not submit theater performances, musical recordings, screenplays, or creative writing samples in your portfolio. If submitted, they will not be reviewed.
Be open to feedback
  • Practice speaking about your work and sharing ideas
  • Feedback may help you find recurring themes, ideas, and techniques in your work
  • We’re here to help; visit us at a National Portfolio Day or schedule a virtual portfolio review:

Schedule Virtual Portfolio Review

Document your work
  • When you apply to MassArt, your will submit your portfolio electronically; plan on photographing any work that isn’t in a digital format already
  • We recommend documenting your work periodically - that way, if a piece gets lost or damaged, you can still use it for the portfolio
  • Represent your hard work well: make sure images are cropped, have accurate color and value, and that the files aren’t too small
Edit your portfolio
  • Produce as much work as possible so that you can find your strengths and be selective when choosing your pieces
  • Take an inventory; choose only your strongest and most recent work when applying
  • Trust your instincts! 

Submitting your portfolio

  • Portfolios must be submitted digitally. Please apply using the Common Application, and a link will be provided for you to complete your portfolio within 48 hours. 
  • Each digital image file can be saved as a .jpg, .gif., or .png, and must be at least 72 dpi. You can also submit films, videos, or animations.
  • Do not submit pre-formatted portfolios, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, or links to websites

Transfer students are encouraged to submit a larger, more diverse portfolio if they have completed studio art or design courses at the college level. Please submit 3-5 work examples from each class to demonstrate the skills you have gained through the coursework you have completed so far. Transfer credit will be awarded based on the strength of the examples provided. 

Most transfer students with prior studio credit submit a portfolio with 20-30 work samples demonstrating their strengths, interests, and the work created in previous classes. Submitting a variety of media is encouraged when appropriate. 

Prospective transfer students are encouraged to schedule a virtual portfolio review and/or information meeting before applying:

Schedule Transfer Portfolio Review • T: 617.879.7222 • F: 617.879.7250