Graphic Design Portfolio Review Strong basics. Strong cohort. Strong future.

We believe in giving students an opportunity to develop a portfolio for submission regardless of your background in the arts or design prior to entering college. This keeps class sizes small and ensures you always have access to upper-level classes.

Why a portfolio review?

Students come to the Graphic Design program with a diverse range of previous exposure to art and design. Some arrive from high schools with robust art programs while others may only get to experience a single art class a month or have had their interest piqued through yearbook or a school newspaper.

No matter. Portfolio review evens the playing field and provides every student with a strong understanding of the basics of design.

What is portfolio review?

Portfolio Review (GRDS 200) is the benchmark review to gain access to upper-division courses leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design.

You also can think about it as an “audition.”

UT is not alone in this practice. Other highly-ranked design programs across the U.S. limit the number of students who enter their programs.

You will benefit because portfolio review keeps class size small and guarantees placement in all required major courses.

When does portfolio review happen?

Portfolio review is undertaken at the end of your first year at UT, a time when many students make the shift from one major into another.

What does this review, or audition, entail?

In your first year, you will take a series of four Graphic Design Foundation courses that provide a solid-base understanding of design principles, process and application of design. At the conclusion of the year, you will present specified projects developed in these courses and participate in an interview with all the current Graphic Design faculty. The faculty take great care in determining the outcome of this review. Every student who has applied, regardless of outcome, receives a detailed letter on their application.

Graphic design student project

What if I don’t pass portfolio review?

Traditionally, around 50% of the students who apply for credit in Portfolio Review are accepted, leading to a dedicated and motivated cohort of Graphic Design students.

While not all students make it through, you have several alternative options. Some students choose to come back and reapply the following year. Students can take the valuable skills learned in this first year and pursue degrees in advertising, marketing, media communications or studio art.

The Graphic Design program is also in the process of developing a minor for which these first-year courses would apply toward completion (estimated Fall 2021).

Graphic Design student project

You’re not alone.

The great team in our Center for Student Development will assist you to be aware of these options as you move through the first-year.

We have a solid, respectable record of achievement that is directly tied to the rigorous curriculum, visionary faculty, dedicated adjunct faculty and motivated and talented students.