Visual Art & Art History



Portfolio Requirements

Your portfolio evaluation

All BFA applicants must show a portfolio. Please be flexible when scheduling your appointment online.  Information on this process will be emailed to applicants after we recieve your application.

Parents are welcome to take part in the faculty presentation, question and-answer period, and tour of the facilities. We regret that parents may not be present during the one-on-one interview so as to provide both the evaluator and applicant quality time to focus on and discuss the portfolio.

What happens during a portfolio evaluation?

You should expect to be at York for approximately two hours. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled portfolio review appointment. Upon arriving, follow the signs to the meeting area in the Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts where you will be checked in and assigned your one-on-one interview time.

When you have signed in, proceed to the location for a faculty presentation. This will be followed by a question and answer period and tour of our facilities by Department of Visual Art and Art History students.

One-on-one interviews take place after the faculty presentation. Please be outside of your interview room approximately 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time and wait to be called in by your evaluator. Your patience during this time is appreciated.

Following your one-on-one interview please pack up your portfolio and take it with you. You are welcome to take the tour of the Visual Arts facilities if you have not already done so, however, you have completed the formal evaluation of your portfolio and may leave at this time.

Preparing Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is a collection of your best pieces of artwork. The pieces you select for your portfolio demonstrate your interest and aptitude for a serious education in the arts. When preparing your portfolio, select works that show diversity in technique and variety in subject matter. The work may be executed in any medium. Most importantly, remember that quality is better than quantity. Original work is preferred for on-site evaluations, however, presentation space is limited to 4' x 4'. See below for instructions to accommodate this restriction.


  • Select only 8 pieces of work that best reflect your original creative thought and which demonstrate your technical skills.
  • Include independent work as well as work carried out for class assignments.
  • Include a current sketchbook/journal as one of the 8 works. One only.
  • Include a variety of works representing at least 2 of the following disciplines: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, computer-generated imagery, audio-video and/or experimental work.
  • Label each piece of artwork with your name, address and phone number.
  • DO NOT include framed work. It makes it very difficult for evaluators to judge the true merit of your work.


  • Large, heavy and/or awkward works may be submitted as slides or good quality photographs. Label each slide or photograph clearly with the medium, date, rationale and actual size of the piece.
  • You may mat or mount your pieces to protect them, but it is not required. If you choose to mat or mount your artwork, use only neutral gray tones, black or white.

We welcome your interest in the Department of Visual Art and Art History. Please follow the above instructions carefully so that your portfolio evaluation will be a positive experience. Be prompt and treat your interview as an opportunity to present yourself with confidence and with professionalism.

Out-of-Town Applicants

We strongly encourage all our applicants to attend an in-person evaluation on campus as it offers you the most extensive and engaged experience. However if you live more than 400km away from York University, or have other extenuating circumstances that preclude you from coming to campus, you may arrange to submit your portfolio online.