These portfolio guidelines are designed to help you with your preparation for applying to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD).

We hope that you will find them useful. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.

Portfolio Guidelines

A single portfolio of work must be submitted in support of your application and interview. All work should be contained within a portfolio, which should not be larger than 850 x 635mm (35 x 25 ins).  It must open and close easily. Envelopes, paper, parcels, boxes and additional packages are not acceptable. Drawings must not be rolled up. Computer generated material should be printed out and not submitted in electronic format (disk / CD/ DVD). We reserve the right to refuse acceptance of work that does not conform to these specifications.

Three-dimensional objects must be represented by good quality photographs taken from more than one viewpoint.  Paintings submitted must not be framed or glazed.

Examples of work should, if possible, be mounted, no matter how inexpensively. Small pieces should be mounted in groups or on larger sheets.  When mounting, it would be helpful if images did not overlap.

All pieces of work must be clearly marked on the back with the applicant’s name and address.

The portfolio must bear the applicant’s name and address.


The interview panel will pay particular attention to your sketchbooks, especially with regard to the extent to which they reflect the range of your interests and experience. Sketchbooks are regarded as being of great value in recording images, exploring ideas and developing concepts. The interview panel hopes that such books will be intact and will not be contrived from an edited selection of smaller pieces of work. Such collections are valuable but not regarded as genuine working books. A maximum of four sketchbooks is regarded as sufficient evidence of this work.

Interview and Assessment of Creative Work

When you are invited to attend interview you will be asked to produce evidence of ‘creative ability’ and demonstrate ‘intellectual ability and philosophical interest’. What do we mean by that?

The degree programme for which you are applying requires a wide range of abilities including a developed visual understanding and a certain degree of ability in theoretical reflection and critical thinking. Furthermore, skills in expressing your ideas visually as well as verbally and in writing are very important.

What sort of evidence are we looking for?

We will expect to see that you have a developed visual understanding and ability to express your ideas visually in an imaginative and persuasive manner. We will assess your aptitude for creative work on the basis of your submitted portfolio. There we will look for evidence of your ability to develop ideas and carry them through from the concept stage to a finished work embedded in a process of reflective thinking about each stage of the working process. The interview will give you an opportunity to reflect on your creative development to date. 

You are expected to provide insights into your range of interest within and beyond visual culture. We would like to see your enthusiasm for the visual arts present and past as well as your appetite for intellectual thought.

You will be asked to demonstrate your interest in philosophy beyond the context of your own working practice.

You should display a basic degree of familiarity with some fundamental philosophical concepts and, broadly speaking, the history of ideas. We will also be interested in your ability to think critically and to express and argue your point of view coherently and convincingly.

You can expect to be asked questions on the following sort of themes:

  • What importance do you attach to written records of your work and how are they related to your practical work?
  • What have you recently read that has impressed you, and why has it impressed you?
  • What art exhibitions have you most recently visited?  What did you think about those exhibitions?

Your portfolio submitted to the interview panel will be looked at to access your enthusiasm, creative ability, intellectual and practical skills in the visual arts. Consideration will be given in conjunction with the outcome of the interview to your potential for further development and a demonstration of your interest in philosophical thought. 

The interview panel will also be looking for indications of the person compiling the portfolio, your visual awareness and understanding, the range of your interests and experience and the level of your commitment to the visual arts. The portfolio should include representative examples of work undertaken as part of a programme of study. The compilation of a portfolio should not be regarded as an end in itself, but rather as one of the results of that study. Logical presentation assists in this and there is much to be gained by grouping the work in categories such as drawing, painting, lens based work, 3D-work and so on, in chronological order.

There is no virtue in quantity alone, and you should not include multiple colour variations of prints, for example. Applicants are advised to seek the help of their Art & Design teacher/tutor in the presentation of an admissions portfolio.

Digital Portfolio Guidelines

Please submit 15 images (or film clips) that best describe your work. Your selection should be drawn from a range of projects that demonstrate the quality and diversity of practical skills and creative conceptual development in your work.

Context and Research

We are interested in seeing a sample of your contextual and background research. This is often located in your sketchbooks or development sheets. Please scan or photograph some examples (keeping to a maximum of 2-3 pages), to demonstrate your research and development process.

Creative Process

We would like you to demonstrate your creativity within your portfolio. We are looking to see how you, as an individual, develop a project and visualise creative ideas.

If you are applying to Art & Philosophy, studio modules are shared across Contemporary Art Practice so the same criteria applies as for Fine Art, but it is a good idea (though not compulsory) to give a sense of your knowledge of Philosophy and how it has influenced your visual thinking.

This could be evidenced by samples from your sketchbook, or you could provide a sample of writing. 

Note: Please provide a short description and sizes with each work.

Practical Skills

At this stage in your education we are looking for a broad range of media handling skills e.g. drawing, printmaking, sculpture, painting, digital processes (digital or traditional collage, photography, film), and any combination of these.

Digital Portfolio Submission Format

We accept the following formats:

  • jpg, jpeg, gif, tiff, tif, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, png and bmp file types are allowed and each file size limit of 5Mb
  • Movie files can be submitted providing links to YouTube/Vimeo or QuickTime movies


Early school work that has been superseded by later, more mature work, need not be submitted – please select quality examples that best represent you. Work made out-with school or college may be of particular interest.

Digital Portfolio Submission

You will be prompted by our Admissions Team to submit your digital portfolio (and answer a few questions in respect of your interest in studying art & design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design), via the University of Dundee Applicant Portal, thereafter, if required, we may contact you to arrange an interview in person or via Skype.

If you require further information on any aspect of the application consideration process or the undergraduate programme in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.