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BFA Portfolio Review

Students in the BFA program are required to choose an area of emphasis in order to focus their studies. Although the program is open enrollment, students continuing in the BFA beyond four semesters are required to pass a Portfolio Review in their chosen area of emphasis. The seven emphasis areas are: Art and TechnologyCeramicsGlassPainting and DrawingPhotographyPrintmaking, and Sculpture.

To apply to an emphasis area, you must have completed the Foundations courses--or be in progress of completing the Foundations courses the semester of your review:

  • ART 2000
  • ART 2100
  • ART 2200
  • ART 2300
  • ART 2400

Each emphasis area has specific courses they will recommend you complete before applying and may also have additional advice about the amount and range of work from the core courses to present, which is generally two courses at the 2500 level or above; check with your specific area for guidelines.

Contents of the BFA portfolio should represent a variety of work done in the core course sequence but should specifically represent the emphasis area to which the student is applying.

Students register for Art 2900 in the semester they wish to apply for Portfolio Review. 

Students are notified of the outcome of the review by email from the Undergraduate Chair during the following week. For those accepted into an emphasis area, the letter will include information about contacting your newly assigned faculty mentor. For those not accepted into the emphasis area, you will be provided information about your options.

Contact your faculty mentor, your area coordinator, the Department of Art Academic Advisor for more information and the next steps for enrolling in  ART 2990.

Application Procedures

When should I apply?
The application process begins the first week of the semester of the intended review. The written portion of the application is due by the posted application deadline. Students enrolled in Art 2990 will receive an email at the beginning of the semester with more information regarding the application process.  

BFA emphasis area applicants must first complete the Foundation series of courses, the bulk of the Core series, and up to two courses in their intended emphasis area. Your faculty advisor will help you decide on an appropriate time to apply. Applicants must have a 2.25 minimum GPA in the Art major courses and a 2.0 minimum overall GPA.

As a BFA candidate, you will be enrolled in the Carmen Course 2990, which gives you access to resources, detailed information, and the application portal and rubric for your review. 

What does the Review consist of?
There are three parts to the application:

  1. Application packet
    1. Statement of intent
    2. Application form
    3. Advising Report
  2. Portfolio
  3. Interview

Your application packet is four pages and includes the application form, your written statement (see below), a copy of your advising report, and your program plan.

The written statement is three paragraphs (fewer than 500 words, 12 pt. Ariel font, 1.5 spacing).

  • Paragraph 1 is background information, i.e., who you are, how you became interested in art, and why you decided to study at Ohio State.
  • Paragraph 2 explains why you are applying to your particular area of emphasis.
  • Paragraph 3 recounts the strengths and challenges you have identified in your artwork.

The quality of writing and thinking presented in your written statement will be a consideration in the application outcome.

Your portfolio must include examples of work consistent with the advice of your emphasis area. Generally, it is expected that you will present 12–15 pieces. Select your best work; include at minimum 4 to 8 pieces that reflect your interest and ability in your proposed area of concentration.

Depending on the area, you may want to include either actual pieces or documentation of your artwork. Acceptable documentation includes photographic prints, color printouts, or slides in a slide page (will not be projected). Documentation intended for viewing on a computer must be on a CD that will run on a Mac and in an appropriate presentation form such as PowerPoint or QuickTime. Please check with the area to which you are applying for specific guidelines.

How do I prepare for the Portfolio Review?
You will have approximately one hour to prepare your portfolio presentation in the space reserved. Be sure to plan for all your needs and bring any tools, computer or AV, electric cords, hangers, tape, pins, etc., with you. Any exceptions must be negotiated with the area faculty before review day. Some areas may have specific computers for you to use with your files.

How long is the interview?
The interview will occur with the area faculty in the portfolio viewing space. Those students not currently presenting work will be asked to wait outside. You will have approximately 10 minutes for the review. The faculty will have looked at your written materials before the portfolio interview. Be prepared to present your work and answer questions about your written materials. Removal of your work will begin as soon as all interviews have concluded in that area. Please restore the area to its original configuration on that day.

What happens next?
Each team of faculty will evaluate the works in your presented portfolio in combination with the written statement and interview. This synthesized evaluation will ensure that each element of the portfolio and interview process reflects a solid knowledge base and the potential for success in the rigorous professional preparation expected of each student in a BFA course of study at The Ohio State University.

A successful application to your chosen area of emphasis will be evidenced by your aesthetic and conceptual potential, focus, and commitment beyond the minimum course requirements as presented in your portfolio, the clarity and depth of your written statement, and your capacity to participate fully in the interview process. Please note: Although individual course grades and your cumulative GPA at Ohio State will be considered, they are not the sole basis for this review.

If you are not accepted into your emphasis area, you will meet with the Undergraduate Chair to decide on a course of action. In consultation with the Undergraduate Chair, you may petition to reapply to the same or different emphasis area, pursue the BA degree in Art, or pursue a minor in Studio Art. Students who reapply will have one semester from their first emphasis review to reapply. Students not admitted after their second application will not be permitted to pursue a BFA at Ohio State.