SUNY Purchase Portfolio Instructions

Arts Majors Offered:

Art History, Arts Management, Graphic Design, Painting & Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Visual Arts

Portfolio Submission Deadlines

Spring: January 1

Fall Priority Admission: December 15 – Receive a decision in January

Fall Final Deadline: February 15


In-person portfolio review events provide students with an opportunity to present their work to a faculty member for discussion and feedback prior to submitting the final application portfolio online at Students are not required to attend an in-person portfolio review, but it is strongly recommended.

Purchase College VISual Media Campus VISit
Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Are you interested in all things visual?  Come and find out what studying and working in visual media is all about!

  • Meet faculty and students from Graphic Design, Painting & Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Film & Media Studies, and Costume Design.
  • Get advice on building your portfolio and/or have your portfolio reviewed.
  • Learn about financial planning for college and beyond.
  • Hear from Purchase College alumni about their careers.

Online registration for this event will be available in September.

Express Decision Portfolio Review Day
Purchase College
Friday, February 5, 2016
10:00am – 4:00pm

Online registration for this event will be available in January.

Portfolio Requirements

All Applicants Must Submit The Portfolio Online at There is a $10 fee per portfolio submission payable at Please submit only one portfolio to the School of Art+Design major program of your choice. Available undergraduate major programs are:

  • BFA Undeclared Visual Arts (fall semester admission only)
  • BFA Painting and Drawing
  • BFA Graphic Design (fall semester admission only)
  • BFA Photography
  • BFA Printmaking
  • BFA Sculpture
  • BS Visual Arts

All students complete a general visual arts foundation year in the freshman year of all programs. Accepted students will begin their chosen specific major programs only after they have completed the first academic year at the School.

*NOTE: If you experience difficulty uploading your portfolio, you must contact Slideroom technical support at for assistance. Please allow one day for a response. You can also consult the Slideroom Helpdesk and FAQ at

Portfolio Content Requirements:

  • Twelve (12) to twenty (20) examples of work:
    Include title, size, date, and a short description of each piece you submit.You must include both of the following two assignments among your work:
    1. One self-portrait in any medium
    2. Choose one from the following:
  1. Two drawings from direct observation (not from photos),
    b.  A set of three drawings/paintings that demonstrate your ability to look at an object in a new and interesting way. Working from direct observation (not from photos), you should draw or paint the same object three times, each time presenting it in an entirely new way. You can change your viewpoint, scale, composition, environment, lighting, etc. You can also change the medium and technique. The object can be anything, but you are encouraged to select something that would enable you to demonstrate your talents. Your goal is to show your skills, creativity, ambition, and engagement.
  • Reflective Statement (400-500 words) or Video  (2 minutes maximum):
    If you are submitting a video please limit the clip to 2 minutes.
    Please use this opportunity to give us an understanding of who you are as a person, artist, and student. What inspires you? What challenges you?


    1. Describe an event that has made an impact on you. Why was it important?
    2. If you could invite three individuals to dinner who would they be? Why those three?
    3. What would you talk about? (for example: artists, writers, public figures, or people you know).
    4. Give us an example of when you challenged “the normal.” What were the issues and what did you do? How do you feel about it now?

Additional Portfolio Requirements for Transfer Applicants to Graphic Design

Transfer applicants to the BFA Graphic Design program must include:

  • Four pieces with typography, one which demonstrates typographic hierarchy
  • Create 2 works based from one of the following open ended prompts. We welcome creative interpretations:
    • An independent project (not an assignment)
    • A research-based (visual) piece
    • A piece demonstrating harmony
    • A piece demonstrating contrast

Your portfolio must consist of a minimum of twelve (12) and no more than twenty (20) examples of your work, inclusive of the two assignments plus your Reflective Statement or Video.

Both the self-portrait and the observational drawings are required of all applicants, regardless of major choice. The balance of the portfolio will be evaluated as a demonstration of both the breadth and depth of your visual interests.

Additional Portfolio Information:

Label your images: Please list title, media, size dimensions (where applicable) and provide a description for each piece.

Detail shots: If it is appropriate, you may provide detail shots of particular works. Be sure to indicate if an example is a detail shot.

Multiple views: If a single image does not adequately display your work (e.g. a large sculpture) you may include more than one image.

Photography: Applicants wishing to apply to the photography program should convey their competence in photography by submitting photographs of their already printed images (i.e., a picture of your picture). This is true for both film and digital photography.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are released on a rolling basis beginning in January for students who have met the December 1 Priority Application Deadline. Students meeting the Regular Application Deadline of February 1 will receive decisions on a rolling basis from February through early April. If you are offered admission, you will be asked to submit an enrollment deposit by May 1.

For more information click here.