For off-campus transfers (for students currently or previously enrolled at other schools, and are not MassTransfer students)

Students currently or previously enrolled at other institutions and who wish to major in art must apply to the university through the Common App. Please refer to Admissions for Common App deadlines. At the end of the Common App, a link to SlideRoom will be provided for you to submit your portfolio. Portfolio deadlines are approximately two weeks after the Common App deadlines.

Portfolio Deadlines for Off-Campus Transfers

  • November 5 (to begin as an art major the following spring).

  • March 4 is the deadline for priority consideration, (to begin as an art major the following fall), with a final deadline of April 15.

Note: Massachusetts community college graduates who have already completed the requisite art and art history courses need not submit a portfolio. If you believe you fall into this category, please contact a transfer specialist in the UMass Amherst Office of Admissions at @email or (413) 545-0222.

After you have submitted your Common Application, submit your portfolio here:

Transfer Students for Fall 2024 Admission | Available December 1, 2023–April 15, 2024
Transfer Students for Spring 2024 Admission | Available August 15, 2023–November 5, 2023


For on-campus transfers (for current UMass students in other departments who wish to become art majors)

Students currently enrolled at UMass who wish to major in art must submit a portfolio. Please contact the department to schedule a meeting to discuss your study options with an advisor; we will then provide you with a link to submit your portfolio online.

You must use your UMass email address in Slideroom. Portfolio deadlines for on-campus transfers

  • October 7 (to begin as an art major the following spring)

  • March 18 priority deadline, April 1 final deadline (to begin as an art major the following fall).

Submit your portfolio here:

Transfer Student Portfolios (On-Campus or Mass Transfer Only) Spring 2024 | Available August 1, 2023–October 7, 2023
Transfer Student Portfolios (On-Campus or Mass Transfer Only) for Fall 2024 | Available October 11, 2023–April 1, 2024


For MassTransfers (students completing an approved MassTransfer associate degree program at a Massachusetts community college)

Students completing an approved MassTransfer associate degree program at a Massachusetts community college and who wish to major in art must apply to the University through the MassTransfer application on the transfer admissions website. After submitting the MassTransfer application, a link to SlideRoom will be emailed to you for portfolio submission. Students who have completed a two-year ART degree at a participating MassTransfer Community College are not required to submit a portfolio. All other transfer students must submit a portfolio.

Portfolio Deadlines for MassTransfer applicants

  • October 7 (to begin as an art major the following spring)

  • March 18 priority deadline, April 1 final deadline (to begin as an art major the following fall).

Note: Priority deadlines are set to allow for participation in course registration for the following semester. Failure to meet these deadlines will jeopardize your ability to register for your preferred classes.

Submit your portfolio here:

Transfer Student Portfolios (On-Campus or Mass Transfer Only) Spring 2024 | Available August 1, 2023–October 7, 2023
Transfer Student Portfolios (On-Campus or Mass Transfer Only) for Fall 2024 | Available October 11, 2023–April 1, 2024


Portfolio Requirements

The Department of Art seeks to enroll students who have creative vision and a sense of purpose directed toward professional careers in studio art, art education, and design. To assist the department in evaluating the artistic potential and commitment of applicants, an admission portfolio is required of all applicants to the BFA Studio Art program, the BFA program in Art Education, and BA program in Art. 

BFA concentrations in Studio Art (animation, ceramics, intermedia, painting, printmaking, sculpture) or Art Education are not declared at the time of the application process and are declared in consultation with academic advisors after foundational courses are complete. All applicants should choose to apply as either a BFA or BA student.

The Office of Admissions is responsible for determining acceptance to the University. Although students must meet other admission standards, the portfolio evaluation is given priority in determining acceptance as an Art major. The results of the Department of Art's portfolio evaluation are forwarded to the Admission Office and serve an integral part in determining acceptance as an Art major. Admitted students with exceptional portfolios will be recommended for merit-based scholarships, such as the Chancellor's Talent Award (CTA), usually awarded in their first year upon enrolling at the university. CTA’s take the form of either partial (out-of-state) or full (in-state) tuition waivers and may not usually be combined with other undergraduate tuition awards. All applicants who submit an art portfolio are considered for these awards.

Due to high demand, the Department of Art cannot meet with students or prospective students for portfolio reviews before submission, nor can staff or faculty review portfolios via email. Please attend the Portfolio Review hosted on campus each October or invite a representative to attend an admissions event at a Massachusetts High School or Community College near you. Our last Open House and Portfolio review was on the 22nd of October, 2023. Please keep a look out for our events page to stay updated on upcoming events. 


Portfolio Evaluation Criteria

  • Presentation: Care and concern for preparation, submission, and documentation of work; artwork is presented clearly in all still image and/or time-based documentation with the appropriate editing (e.g. cropped, neat, use of appropriate lighting, in-focus, detailed, and high resolution images)

  • Creativity: Demonstration of innovative thinking and imagination; examples that indicate the development of personal expression.

  • Design and Composition: Consideration for the arrangement of visual elements within the parameters of space or form.

  • Self-Motivation: Portfolios should include work done outside of an academic setting, reflecting the applicant's interest and enthusiasm for the visual arts (e.g. sketchbook, artworks created at home or independently).

  • Exploration of Media: Flexible use of a range of materials and approaches. Experience with more than one of the following is encouraged: wet media - ink, watercolor, oil, tempera, acrylic; dry media - pastels. crayons. colored pencils, markers; varied applications - colored papers and collage, fibers, metals, found objects, clay, ceramics, creative technologies and software.

  • Technical Proficiency and Craft: Concern for the manner and skill with which tools and materials have been used to create art; work is in a stage of completeness and not rushed or messy. 

  • Art from Observation: Portfolio should include subjects drawn and/or constructed from life (not photographs or images of previously created artworks), including but not limited to: life drawing, still life, portraiture, figure drawing, landscape, anatomy, in both color and black and white media. Proficient use of elements such as: line, light, and shade are encouraged; both controlled abstraction and realistic imagery are acceptable.

  • Basic or Intermediate Proficiency in at Least One Visual Arts Medium: Concern for, or ability to work well in at least one visual arts area or medium.

Tips for Submitting your Portfolio:

  • There are no specific requirements for media, style, or content; instead, we hope to see evidence of your thoughtfulness, passion, close attention, and careful execution. We value breadth (a wide range of media and content, an experimental spirit) as well as depth (multi-part projects, focused engagement with one idea, theme, or process). Your portfolio should represent your best work and demonstrate independent thought; please do not submit copies of others’ original artwork.

  • Artworks created, in part or entirely, using digital media are welcome to be included in portfolios, as long as the work is created based on the artist's own unique practice and development of skill with artistic media. Automatically generated images, such as those employing artificial intelligence (ai), are not acceptable in most circumstances.

  • Design projects and commercial art are welcome to be submitted alongside what could be traditionally considered fine art.

  • SlideRoom provides fields for applicants to enter important information about your artwork (including title, media, size, date completed) and a description. The Title field is required; if your piece does not have a title, enter "untitled". The other fields are optional, and are an opportunity to provide information to help us understand your work. If your work was an assignment, use the Description field to describe the assignment and how you interpreted it to arrive at your result.

  • Time-based submissions (video, audio) should be limited to no more than three items and no longer than five minutes total.

  • SlideRoom accepts a broad range of file types and sizes;  

    • Images up to 5 MB each

    • Videos up to 250 MB each; videos may also be linked from YouTube and Vimeo

    • Audio up to 30MB each, audio may also be linked from SoundCloud

    • 3d digital models linked from SketchFab

  • Please do NOT submit your portfolio as a presentation (such as PowerPoint or Keynote) or as a PDF binder.

  • For more help with SlideRoom, including resizing images and video, suggested file types, and other technical questions, please visit the SlideRoom Support page.

  • The Department of Art reserves the right to review actual work if artistic integrity is questioned for any reason.

Our Process

The Department of Art uses an entrance portfolio for direct admission to many of our programs including the BFA in Studio Art, BFA in Art Education, and BA in Art. At UMass Amherst, studying “studio art” encompasses a range of areas, including, animation, ceramics, design and technology, intermedia (photography, digital media, and video), painting, printmaking, and sculpture, as well as professional practices, writing and research, community engagement, creative career experiences, and the theory and practice of teaching art. 

All of our programs utilize image, text, composition, color, form, space, and other visual elements. Our programs all require the creation of unique visual content. Those programs also share a core of foundation courses exploring drawing, design, composition, and creative technologies. Because all students in these programs will be creating original and unique visual content as a core component of their education, we use the portfolio as a measure of the student’s experience and capacity to build visual content and problem solve creatively. We also use the portfolio to aid us in the distribution of talent-based scholarships available to first-year and transfer students majoring in Studio Art or Art Education.

If you decide to submit a portfolio with your university application, faculty will evaluate your portfolio for admissions into the BFA and BA programs. If we decide your portfolio does not yet demonstrate the proficiency to be admitted directly into one of those programs and you have gained admission to the University, we ask that you submit a portfolio through the transfer process once you have taken a few of our classes as a student enrolled in another major or as an undeclared Exploratory Track student. We want to make sure you have the skills and sensibilities to grow and prosper as an artist, designer, or art educator and that you have a strong likelihood of successfully completing your chosen program. 

Applicants who fail to submit a portfolio by the published deadline will not be reviewed.

Students Without a Portfolio:

The Department of Art does offer a variety of pathways into all our programs. You do not need to submit a portfolio when you apply to the university. If you would rather, accepted students are welcome to enter the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA) as an Exploratory Track major. If you then would like to transfer into the BFA, BA, or Art Education program, you can create a portfolio of creative works from coursework taken during your first semester or first year for review by the Department of Art. As an Exploratory Track major you would still have access to foundation classes.

Applicants who are interested in becoming Art majors, but who do not currently have a portfolio, can apply to the University with the declared major: Exploratory Track - Humanities and Fine Arts. ET - HFA students who then successfully complete Art 104, as well as Art History 100 and 110, or Art History 115, with a grade of C (2.0) or better, may then apply to become an Art major by submitting a portfolio of work to the Department of Art. For more information please contact The College of Humanities and Fine Arts Advising Center.

Minor and Certificate Programs

The Minor in Art and Certificate in Design and Creative Technologies (applications launching Fall 2023) do not require a portfolio. Freshman year applicants do not apply to the Minor and Certificate programs at the time of applying to UMass and submitting a portfolio. Those admitted and enrolled in an undergraduate program other than art may declare a Minor in the first year at UMass Amherst. The Certificate in Design and Creative Technologies is a competitive limited enrollment program that requires the submission of a secondary application and accepts applicants from current art majors, and undergraduate students from other majors, in their first and second year enrolled at UMass. The Certificate has its own specific set of internal application requirements that will be launched in Fall 2023. Acceptance into the Department of Art does not guarantee acceptance into the Design and Creative Technologies Certificate program. Access to design and digital media courses are available to all art majors looking to complete their studio requirements with such courses.