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Appalachian State University Department of Art


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Portfolio Review


The Department of Art seeks to enroll the most capable and motivated young artists and designers in its degree programs. Admission is limited and highly competitive.

The following degree programs require a candidacy portfolio review: BFA in Studio Art, BFA in Graphic Design and BFA in Art Education (K-12).

The following degree programs do not require a candidacy portfolio review: BA in Art and Visual Culture with concentrations in Art History, Studio Art or Art Management, BS in Commercial Photography and BS in Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology.

The candidacy portfolio indicates the student's preparedness for entry into the department's rigorous and demanding studio-based curricula. It shows the applicant's aptitude for visual expression and demonstrates technical skills that have been acquired in the art and design.

Newly admitted freshmen and transfer students are strongly advised to attend the Department of Art meeting scheduled during freshmen and transfer orientation sessions where additional important information is given to all prospective art majors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Candidacy Portfolio Review relate to the Foundations Portfolio Review?

The Foundations Portfolio Review no longer exists. The Candidacy Portfolio Review replaces the Foundations Portfolio Review for all BFA programs. This change serves two purposes: 1) it allows easier access to introductory art courses for students across all majors, and 2) it creates consistency in how students are admitted into all BFA programs.

When in my college career do I submit to Candidacy Portfolio Review?

Application at the earliest point of eligibility is recommended, to allow time for re-application or change of major if the application is unsuccessful. For most students, the prerequisite courses will be completed during the fall of the sophomore year, though students with transfer credits may be eligible to apply sooner.  All declared BFA majors must pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review before enrolling in any 3000-level classes within their major.

Do I need to apply to Candidacy Portfolio Review if I already passed the Foundations Portfolio Review?

For BFA Studio Art and BFA Art Education majors, no. For Graphic Design majors, you will still need to pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review that has been in place for many years.

Is the candidacy portfolio review for Graphic Design changing at all?


May I apply to more than one Candidacy Portfolio Review in the same semester?

Yes. You may apply to one, two, or all three reviews, provided you have met the necessary pre-requisite course requirements.

What happens if I don’t pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review?

You have several options:

How many times may I re-apply to the Candidacy Portfolio Review?

You may re-apply to each Candidacy Portfolio Review one time. In other words, you could potentially submit to each BFA program twice, for a grand total of six Portfolio Reviews.

What courses should I take if I’m not sure which BFA program I intend to apply?

Evaluate the checksheet for each major. There are many classes that overlap amongst the majors, including five of the six pre-requisite courses. Register for courses that will fulfill requirements for all majors in which you are interested until you have advanced to candidacy in one or more majors.

Portfolio Review for Art Education

Coursework to have completed by the end of the semester in which portfolio is submitted
Portfolio Submission Date

Monday, April 23, 2018 via Google form

Portfolio Contents

Interviews will take place on Dec 7, 2017. Here is a link to sign up.

For information about Candidacy Portfolio Review for BFA Art Education, email Brooke Hofsess at

Portfolio Review for Graphic Design

Prospective BFA Graphic Design majors can find information about its Candidacy Portfolio Review here.

For information about Candidacy Portfolio Review for BFA Graphic Design, email Mark Nystrom at

Portfolio Review for Studio Art

All intended BFA Studio Art majors must submit portfolios for review to be formally admitted into the program, and before enrolling in 3000-level studio courses.

Portfolio review happens twice a year, at the end of each semester. Studio Art faculty will meet with interested students during group advising meetings each semester to announce the deadline for portfolio submission, explain the review process, and answer any questions.

You must complete or have in progress the prerequisite courses listed below to qualify for review. A C grade or higher in each course is required for admission to the program.

For information about Candidacy Portfolio Review for BFA Studio Art, email Jeana Klein at

Coursework to have completed by the end of the semester in which portfolio is submitted
Portfolio Submission Date

Monday, April 23, 2018 via SlideRoom

Portfolio Contents

10 images of your best work, including:

The portfolio and application essay must be submitted via SlideRoom. The link to the portfolio review will appear below four weeks prior to the deadline.

Please complete all required boxes on SlideRoom including: title, dimensions, media, and additional information, which should include a description of the assignment, your process, your thinking, and/or your creative problem solving.

Application Essay

Write an essay of no more than 500 words in response to one of the following prompts:

Documentation of Art

As an artist, most opportunities in your career will be judged from images. Good documentation of your portfolio is critical. For installation work and many 3D media, giving a sense of the work may include offering various angles, carefully considered lighting, and appropriate setting. This is your chance to give us the best possible experience of your work. Here are some helpful tips:

Image Specifications:

Documenting Your Work [PDF]

Review Process

All members of the Studio Art faculty will review portfolios and essays submitted via Slideroom by the deadline each semester. Students will be notified of their acceptance status within three weeks of submission.

The review process is competitive. The committee will assess not just your achievements but your potential for future growth as an artist. Strong grades in your prerequisite courses do not guarantee a successful review.

If you do not pass the candidacy portfolio review, you may resubmit your portfolio for one further review only. Before resubmitting, you are strongly encouraged to consult with studio art faculty for advice and feedback. You may continue to advance toward your degree via additional art history courses and 2000-level studio art courses.

Submitting your portfolio for review signifies that you have read, understood, and will observe the conditions of the review as described in this handout.