Additional Information for Art & Design Students

Admission Overview for Art & Design Applicants

Applicants to all programs of study at the New England School of Art & Design are evaluated on the basis of academic achievement, ability to communicate purpose and commitment, and on the strength of their portfolio. Applicants applying directly to the BFA as either a Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration or Interior Design major are required to submit a portfolio as part of the admission process. The portfolio is an additional admission credential; it should contain only the best and most recent work. Students without a portfolio are encouraged to pursue a major in art or design once they have been admitted to the University. For more information on how, be sure to see the section below: If you don’t have a portfolio or are undecided about an academic major.

The Portfolio

In selecting candidates for the BFA programs, the School of Art & Design relies most heavily on the caliber of applicants' portfolios. We are looking for portfolios that demonstrate versatility. Showing that you can do several things well indicates that you are prepared for the diverse and rigorous first-year foundation program required of all Art & Design majors. Artwork you include in your portfolio may be pieces produced in your high school art classes or on your own. You can build your portfolio by taking courses at art schools, museums, and through adult education programs. Outside courses will expose you to a broader range of teachers and students, strengthen your application and accustom you to working independently, which is a crucial aspect of art school.

What to include/not include in your portfolio:

  • 12-15 examples of recent, original, finished work
  • Work should demonstrate experience in observational drawing/painting (still life studies, self-portraits, figure studies). You may also include abstract and design-based pieces in drawing, paint or collage.
  • Select a variety of work that demonstrates a range of media and techniques
  • Do not include anime, manga-based work or pieces copied directly from photographs
  • Limit the number of computer generated pieces and photographs

How to submit your portfolio:

Transfer Portfolio

Transfer applicants must submit an admission portfolio (see above). In addition, transfer candidates, who have completed studio courses at a regionally accredited college or university should be prepared to present an extensive portfolio (5-10 pieces per course) representing work from each course for which they are seeking transfer credit. Whenever possible, applicants should include syllabi as well as course descriptions for any courses for which they are seeking transfer credit. Transfer portfolios will be reviewed by the School of Art & Design once all admission credentials have been reviewed by the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

If you don't have a portfolio or are undecided about an academic major

Applicants who do not have a portfolio but are interested in the BFA, have two options if they apply for admission to the University:

1. Apply to Suffolk as "Undecided Arts and Sciences" Major.

Once accepted, enroll in the Pre-College summer program. Upon completion of this program, students can submit a portfolio for review prior to the start of the fall semester. Those who meet the portfolio waiver requirements are eligible to petition the School of Art & Design Chairman for entry into the BFA program.


2. Begin your studies at the University as "Undecided Arts and Sciences."

Complete Foundation Drawing I, 2D/Color and Integrated Seminar 1 or Perspective & Rendering(depending on the student’s anticipated major). Earn a combined GPA of at least 2.7 in those courses, with no grade lower than a C+. Students who meet these conditions will be exempt from the NESADSU portfolio requirement and will be invited to join the Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) program. Students may petition the Foundation Portfolio Committee to review samples of their course work if the minimum GPA requirement is not met. Students also may solicit letters of recommendation from their professor(s) in support of their candidacy. At the end of the first semester, students who are not invited to join the BFA program will be strongly advised to pursue another major at the University. Such students may apply completed studio courses to an art minor, or use them as electives per the approval of their Major program of study.

2013-2014 National Portfolio Days

National Portfolio Days are designed to help further the artistic development of young artists by bringing together experienced college representatives from across the country to review prospective students' artwork and offer feedback. These representatives are from regionally accredited colleges and universities, which are members of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). As a NASAD member, Suffolk's School of Art & Design will participate in many Portfolio Days events

General Information on Portfolio Days.

Information for Pre-merger Graduates & Former Students (prior to 1996)

Since the 1996 merger of The New England School of Art & Design and Suffolk University, many pre-merger graduates have returned to complete the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree at Suffolk University. In brief, an applicant's academic, studio, and professional background are considered within the framework of current BFA degree requirements. In order to earn the degree, all applicants must complete a minimum of 45 credits at Suffolk University's Boston campus in order to meet the residency requirement. BFA candidates may attend on a full- or part-time basis and may take day or evening classes during the fall, spring and/or summer semesters. There is no application deadline. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after the application form, requisite credentials, and portfolio review results have been received by the Office of Undergraduate Admission. Pre-merger students and graduates considering this opportunity are invited to contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission to request a current catalog and application. Owing to the distinct academic and professional background of each applicant, a telephone consultation with a School of Art & Design administrator is advisable.