Contemporary Art Practice MA/PG Dip/PG Cert application portfolio advice

We look at portfolios as part of our selection process as some of our postgraduate courses need specialist skills. It is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your creativity, innovation and design skills and what inspires you.

A good portfolio should indicate something of your personality, it should be clearly structured, easy to read and well presented. It should consist of quality work rather than quantity so be selective about what you show.

Your portfolio should include work that has been photographed or recorded. It is also helpful to see documentation of work in situations where it has been exhibited and to have some indication of how your work has developed over a period of time. Please respond to the advice we have set out here as best you can.

What are we looking for?

  • A good degree (or equivalent) in fine art or a field appropriate to the area of study
  • If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience, we will consider your application on an individual basis
  • An ability to develop your work critically over a period of time
  • An awareness of contemporary fine art practice
  • The potential to question, take risks and to thrive in a challenging environment
  • An ability to contribute constructively to group learning and teaching events
  • A motivated and independent approach to learning

What should a portfolio contain?

Contemporary Art practice
We are looking to see how you develop ideas and how you research effectively for your area of interest. Make sure you have a portfolio that demonstrates creativity, an in depth involvement in your work and also clearly documents its resolution.


Written work

Please include a piece of written work or recent example of your artist’s statement. We like to see how well you can articulate your practice. Even though this is primarily a practice-based programme, you will have written tasks to do throughout the course and you will also be asked to write a 5,000 word reflective report to accompany your final presentation.

Size and format

Option one - online submission

  • Please submit your digital portfolio as a multi-page single PDF file
  • Files need to be compressed or zipped and not exceed 1GB in size and submitted via
  • For moving images such as animation or video please use .mp4, .MOV or .AVI format
  • All work needs to be saved in one folder and labelled with your name, student reference number and the name of the course you have applied for

Option two - personal website

  • You can also send us a link to a website that displays your work
  • The website must be public (no sign up, passwords or logins), written in English, and have clear navigation
  • Your website must render correctly in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari