Graduate Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio standards and expectations vary per discipline at the graduate level. For more specific portfolio tips, sign up for an MFA information session or schedule a Portfolio Review with a counselor through our admissions portal.

Portfolio Requirement for MFA Programs

15-20 images including the name of each piece, approximate dimensions, medium, date, and file type (e.g., jpeg, tiff, gif, mov, mpg). Submit your portfolio online at

Need help on your portfolio or have questions about what to include? 

Schedule a portfolio review with an Otis Admissions Counselor online.

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More Tips and Recommendations

Your portfolio is one of the key aspects of your application and can weigh heavily in your admission decision. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are successful at putting together a strong portfolio:

Use a DSLR if you can to shoot your work, but you can also take good photos with your smart phone. Smaller pieces can be scanned at high resolution. Think about your lighting and also make sure to color correct/crop.  Your work should look on the screen as close as possible to the way it looks in real life. Use neutral backgrounds of black, white or grey to photograph 3D works. Save all of your images to the cloud so they are backed-up and document as you finish your work! You do not want a piece to get damaged or lost before you have the chance to capture it. View our Photo Documentation Guide developed by our Otis Photo Lab.

These descriptions should be a few concise sentences about the piece and its concept. You should also include the dimensions and medium. You will submit these descriptions along with your work in SlideRoom. Please make sure you proofread for typos!

Think about the curation of your portfolio (which pieces you will include) and the order that you will upload your works into SlideRoom. The maximum number of images you can submit is 20, so think about which pieces capture a balance of your technical skills and creativity. There should be an organizing principle to your portfolio, which may be by medium, theme or project. Think of how you want your images to flow and the viewer to experience them. You do not need to include the maximum of 20 images. Take out an older piece, or one that is not as strong as the rest or perhaps does not fit with the others in your portfolio. Remember, your portfolio should be a reflection of your best, most recent work!

Showing your work to an admissions representative is a great way to practice talking about your work and getting feedback on what you can do to improve. Having multiple portfolio reviews from diffiernt institutions can also help you curate a specific portfolio to each institution you are applying to. Schedule a portfolio review with an Otis representative here

Contact Us

Wherever you are in your college search, we want to meet you! We are here to answer your questions about Otis College and help you with the application process.

Leo Alas (they/them)
Graduate Admissions Counselor

Phone: 310-665-6826
SMS: 323-870-6820

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