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Portfolio Guidelines

FAQ – PORTFOLIO


Do all programmes at NCAD require a portfolio submission?
A portfolio submission is required for all studio degrees at NCAD. These are all of the studio based programmes.

A portfolio is NOT required for AD215 Visual Culture.

What will I put in my portfolio?
An entrance portfolio is a collection of visual work that shows your potential to study art and design at third level. The NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines are designed to help you put your portfolio together whether you are starting from scratch or using work you have developed in another context. We want to see your Research and Observation your Ideas Development and your Developed Creative Work. You should also include at least one Notebook, remember the best portfolios will show all your processes.

How closely do I have to follow the NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines?
The Guidelines are only there as a guide to people who may wish to have an idea about how to start their portfolio and have a path to follow to complete it. We found that through having a brief, it really helped people who liked to follow set rules, but for people who did not like to be so confined in their approach to creating their portfolio, it was seen as a bit of a hindrance. So now we have made it accessible to everybody.

How Should I submit my portfolio?
For 2021 all portfolio submissions will be online through our online Portfolio Submission Portal. We will not be in a position to accept or review any physical portfolios this year. Detailed instructions on how to submit your portfolio online will be made available through the NCAD website.

Will online submission change what goes into my Portfolio?
An online submission process does not change what we are asking of you in terms of how you develop your work, the processes you use and how you document that process including the use of worksheets and notebooks. However, you will need to record your work digitally through photography and other means so you should factor in time to do this. You should also factor in time to register with and upload your work into the portfolio submission platform to avoid any last minute stress.

When should I submit my portfolio to NCAD?
The deadline for Portfolio submission for First Year entry September 2021 is Friday 5th February 2021 lease note it is your responsibility to submit your portfolio on time. We would advise that you do not leave your portfolio submission to the last day.

How will my portfolio be assessed?
Your portfolio will be assessed by a team of NCAD academic staff with professional and specialist expertise in art & design. The assessment panel are particularly interested in how applicants research and develop their ideas in a visual way, and in their imaginative and creative responses to ideas, to observations, to processes and to concepts. The main areas of assessment are: Creative Enquiry and Visual Research The level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this. Idea Development and Material / Technical Exploration Your ability to explore and develop ideas in an appropriate way, and your level of skill in the use of materials and techniques. Critical Judgement, Selection and Resolution How well you judge which ideas have the most potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.

Can I get an extension on the deadline for Portfolio Submission?
It is not possible to get an extension on the submission deadline – all portfolios must be submitted by the published closing date.

When will I be told the outcome of my portfolio assessment?
We will write to you by the end of March with the result of your portfolio assessment. This letter or email will tell you if you have achieved the necessary score for a conditional offer. A conditional offer is an offer that is dependent on you meeting the minimum academic entry requirements through your Leaving Certificate, QQI FE Award or other. If you do not get a conditional offer we will tell you if you are on a waiting list for an offer. Each year we make a number of offers to applicants from the waiting list. Offers are made in August through the CAO. All applicants are placed on a ranked list based on portfolio score. Offers are made in descending order from this list to applicants who have met the minimum academic entry requirements.

Can I carry my Portfolio Score forward to the next year?
We recognise that our applicants put a lot of work into the preparation of their admissions portfolios. If you have passed the portfolio review stage but not received an official offer from the CAO, NCAD will allow you to carry forward your portfolio score to the application process the following year. Once you have told us you wish to carry forward your portfolio score and you have given us your new CAO number you will be eligible for an offer based on your original portfolio score and subject to the normal entry requirements and any portfolio cut off points in the year that you are now applying into. An example of where a Portfolio Carry Forward might apply is when an applicant fails to meet the minimum academic entry requirements in the first year of application.

For more information and to view some sample portfolios visit Portfolio at NCAD.