Portfolio Requirements for Transfer Students

Only those transfer applicants who seek advanced placement in the undergraduate architecture studio sequence are required to submit a portfolio of creative work as part of their application to the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program. See below for guidelines on portfolio content and format.

Portfolio Submission and Priority Deadline

Portfolios must be submitted directly to the School of Architecture at the time of initial application to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Portfolios are accepted until the March 31 University application deadline for transfer students; however, portfolios submitted by January 31 will be given priority consideration.

College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts
University of Illinois at Chicago
Attn: Maria Tolbert 
929 West Harrison Street, 208 Jefferson Hall, MC033
Chicago, IL 60607

Please note that the University will sometimes extend the transfer application deadline; visit the Admissions Deadline website for confirmation. However, since the School of Architecture maintains a highly competitive admissions process, early application is strongly recommended.

Portfolio Content

A successful design portfolio is a collection of creative work that displays strong conceptualization and visualization skills, evidence of critical thinking and design development, and an overall intellectual curiosity.

The content of the portfolio should consist primarily of creative work, and may include various modes of representation, such as pencil drawings, paintings, sculptures, graphic designs, physical models, 3D visualization renderings, etc. Emphasis should be placed on demonstrating how a creative idea is developed from conceptual sketches to a more finalized project.

Transfer applicants who are eligible for potential advanced placement (see criteria above) should include architectural design work done in an academic setting, and should present sketches, models, diagrams, and hand or CAD drafted presentation drawings to emphasize the architectural design process from conceptualization to final design presentation.

The portfolio should NOT document CAD drawings from CAD courses (i.e. basic or advanced computer-aided drafting courses, introduction to architectural CAD courses, CAD for Architectural Drafting courses, architectural CAD courses, etc.) or internships in an architectural office. Applicants should NOT submit blueprints or construction drawings from an office or from building science or technology courses. All drawings from these sources should be excluded from a portfolio because they do not provide an indication of an applicant's creative work.

In addition, the overall design of the portfolio itself should demonstrate a level of thinking, care, and consistency that is commensurate with the applicant's creative work. Aspects of the portfolio that should be carefully considered and consistent throughout are: page size, orientation, and layout; font style, labeling, and descriptive text; title pages; use of color, etc.

Portfolio Format

The UIC School of Architecture accepts 8.5" x 11" (letter size) or smaller portfolios only; if coursework is done in a larger format, applicants should scan and reduce it to a smaller format. All portfolio material must be bound and less than 1" thick. Loose (unbound) sheets and formats larger than 8.5" x 11" will not be accepted. The applicant's name must be clearly visible on the cover page. Please note that the following are not accepted: digital portfolios, slides, rolled or folded prints or drawings, original documents or drawings, or more than one portfolio per applicant. Portfolios that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be reviewed.

Portfolio Return

Upon completion of the admissions process, the portfolio may be returned by mail. Applicants who would like for material to be returned by mail should enclose a stamped, self-addressed, appropriately-sized mailing container when the portfolio is submitted to the School. Correct postage must be provided. Do not send cash, checks, or money orders to cover postage. Portfolios will not be mailed to an address outside North America. Portfolios not returned by mail are held in the School office for no longer than six months.