Art & Design Students

Savor that feeling when you have the best of two worlds. At Suffolk, you’ll enjoy an outstanding art school education and a comprehensive university experience. Our dedicated 42,000-square-foot visual arts facility features traditional and digital studios, a fabrication lab, a gallery, and a materials library.

Students in Suffolk's Art & Design Department earn their degree with a major or minor in:

If you wish to be admitted to one of these majors, you must demonstrate your visual arts potential in addition to satisfying all undergraduate application requirements. Typically, this is done by submitting a portfolio of the work you have already completed in art classes or by producing the portfolio equivalent through studio coursework at Suffolk.

There are two paths you can take to admission into an Art & Design major. The path you choose depends on the readiness of your visual skills at the time you apply to Suffolk.

Art & Design Admission Overview & Portfolio Requirements

If you already have enough artwork to create a portfolio, you may apply for direct admission to one of our Art & Design degree programs by submitting a portfolio for consideration along with your admission application. This could be either an undergraduate or transfer portfolio. Portfolios can also be presented for review to a Suffolk representative at National Portfolio Day Events, which are held throughout the country (see details below).

Admission Portfolio Guidelines

The portfolio will contain 12 – 15 examples of your recent, original work. These may be pieces produced in high-school or other art classes, or on your own.

A strong portfolio will showcase a balance of technical and conceptual skills and demonstrate an understanding of basic art and design principles.

You’re encouraged to include a variety of work that presents a range of media and techniques. The portfolio should reflect your interests and indicate your versatility and willingness to experiment.

You should select work that shows who you are as an artist/designer. Creativity can be expressed in different ways, so include examples that reflect your unique perspective.

Other things to consider:

  • While Art & Design offers several areas of study, the portfolio doesn’t need to be tailored to a particular major. A broad-based portfolio often provides a better sense of your abilities, experience, and potential.
  • Though observational works aren’t required, half of your portfolio should demonstrate your hand skills through painting, drawing or three-dimension work. You can include finished drawings made over a long period of time as well as quicker sketches and storyboards. You’ll take drawing classes in Art & Design’s first-year Foundation Program, so an indication of relevant experience will be helpful.
  • Leave out pieces copied from another artist’s work or made from templates. It’s fine to work in a particular style, but copies or cookie-cutter work won’t show that you’re effectively tackling creative challenges.

Assembling the Transfer Admission Portfolio

If you’re a transfer applicant who has completed studio courses at a regionally accredited college or university, you’ll submit a portfolio with a minimum of 15 pieces, including 3 – 5 pieces from each course for which you’re seeking transfer credit.

Transfer portfolios will be reviewed once all your admission credentials have been received by the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

If you’re a transfer applicant but are not seeking transfer credit for studio coursework, please follow the Freshman Admission Portfolio Guidelines.

Demonstrate Your Visual Skills Through Suffolk Coursework

If you need to build a portfolio—or are not certain about your major path but are interested in the visual arts—you may apply to Suffolk University as an undeclared major with an interest in art and design.

Register for Specific Studio Courses from the Art & Design Curriculum

Undeclared majors enroll in the same studio coursework in the first semester as an Art & Design major. This means that you can explore your interest in the creative disciplines while building a body of work that can be assessed for admission to your preferred Art & Design degree program. Undeclared majors typically enroll in the three studios during their first semester of coursework, which vary slightly depending on your intended program:

  • ADF S101 Foundation Drawing I
  • ADF S166 2D/Color
  • ADF S171 Integrated Studio I (for Graphic Design; optional for Studio Art)
  • ADI S110 Digital Orthographics (for Interior Design)

If you are an undeclared major, you will have two opportunities in your first semester to have your work assessed for admission to a program. The first opportunity is at the mid-point when your studio faculty review work you have produced in the first half of the semester and make recommendations to the Foundation Program Director about your candidacy. If your work successfully demonstrates your readiness for entry into the Art & Design program, you will be invited to the major at this time.

If your studio work needs further development, you will have another opportunity to be assessed at the end of the first semester based on your studio course grades. If you earn a 2.7 GPA in the three studio courses (ADF S101, ADF S166 and ADF S171 or ADI S110) with no grade lower than a C+, you may be invited to join an Art & Design program. If you do not meet the GPA requirements in these studio courses, you may petition the Foundation Program Director to review samples of your work. You may also solicit letters of recommendation from your studio faculty to further support your candidacy.

If you are not admitted into the program after completion of the three studio courses, you may apply completed studio courses towards an Art Minor in Foundation Studies. In some cases, these studios might also be used as elective credits in another major, depending on the program.