Portfolio Guidance for International Students

The following guidance is relevant to international students and EU who need to submit a digital portfolio at the point of application to the following courses:

  • BA (Hons) Art and Design
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art
If you are a full-time UK-based home student applying to a course within the School of Art please see your specific portfolio guidance here


  1. Aim to include approximately 20 pieces of work. 15-24 pieces of work are acceptable but a good range needs to be shown.
  2. Examples of the type of work that you can include, but are not limited to, are as follows: drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, installation, printmaking, photography, multimedia, digital artwork, 3D digital design and textiles.
  3. If you're applying to BA (Hons) Art and Design, show elements of design in your work e.g. 3D objects, textiles or computer aided design.
  4. The most important and necessary thing to include is scanned pages from your sketchbook/s or photographs of them as this shows us the process behind your work and how your ideas develop.
  5. If you would like to include any 3D pieces please include photographs of them that show a sense of scale, texture, material, colour and context.
  6. Whether it’s from your course or produced independently, include your most recent work and present it in a coherent order. Remember the order you present it in is the order it will be viewed in.
  7. Demonstrate your interest and awareness of contemporary art and design by providing evidence of exhibitions you’ve visited and your opinions on them.
  8. If you would like to include film content keep it to a short 30 second snippet or less.
  9. Work outside of prescribed school/college work is always welcome. For example, if you’ve been making relevant work through your job, or a specialised class, include this.
  10. Annotations and labelling is a must. Please add project titles so we can see where they start and end, label items and annotate pieces that need context.
  11. Finally, to help your reviewer get a better understanding of you and your portfolio please include answers to the following questions:
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Out of the work you have included, which piece is your favourite and why?
    • Who are your favourite artists? How do they relate to your work?
    • What are you inspired by?
    • What are your aspirations?
    • Why do you want to study BA (Hons) Art and Design at Birmingham City University?

Skills we would like to see

  1. Willingness to experiment using a range of media, materials and technologies.
  2. Creativity and risk-taking.
  3. Use of a visible design process for idea development.


  1. Submit your work as one PDF or PowerPoint file.
  2. Your digital portfolio should be no more than 10MB. Please compress your file if it exceeds the limit.
  3. Ensure your work has a good screen resolution.
  4. Add any links to video, animations, and moving image work to your PDF or PowerPoint. Please check that these links work before you submit your portfolio and that they can be easily accessed. We will not be able to view links that require a password.


If you are an international student and would like support with your portfolio, please contact Demitrios Kargotis to arrange support via email or video call.

Request support