Art Applicants

How to apply and create your portfolio

1. Complete the common app. See application deadlines and details.

2. Submit your portfolio in-person or electronically

  • Attend a Portfolio Review Day: If you plan to attend a Portfolio Review Day in person, you can bring your portfolio with you and you do not have to upload digital files of your work. If you are unable to attend any of the offered sessions but still wish to submit a portfolio in person, please schedule an appointment by emailing Mitch Messina at, or by calling 585-389-2530.

  • Digital Submission: If you are unable to visit campus for an in-person review prior to an admissions decision being made, you should create digital files of your portfolio and email them to Mitch Messina at or submit them creating a SlideRoom account (free). Note: Coming to campus for a review with faculty is an encouraged, important part of the admission decision and scholarship-selection process.

Scholarships available

Nazareth offers additional scholarships based on the quality of students’ portfolio submissions. 

Portfolio Requirements

A strong portfolio includes a significant number of pieces based on direct observation from life (as opposed to photographs). We recommend portraits and self-portraits, drawings of hands and feet, landscapes, perspective drawings and a well-composed still-life. Do NOT include pieces that are copied from published photographs, advertisements, logos, copyrighted characters, etc.
In addition a strong portfolio should demonstrate your artistic spirit and personal creative direction within your area of interest.

The portfolio is evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Understanding of the elements of art and principles of design (dynamic, balanced composition).
  • Idea development (content is inventive; the piece communicates an idea).
  • Craftsmanship (evidence of skill; technique enhances the meaning of the art).
  • Presentation of the portfolio (professional, clean, well-organized); electronic and slide portfolios must have documentation of images, and the images must clearly and accurately represent the work.

The pieces chosen for your portfolio should include:

  • Your strongest work.
  • At least three different media (pencil, charcoal, pen & ink, pastels, acrylics, water color, collage and some three-dimensional work if possible: clay, metals, etc.) Photography and digital work can also be included.
  • Drawings from life (still life, self-portrait, figure drawing, landscape).
  • Thematic projects showing the development of concepts.

Portfolio Recommendations

Basic drawing from life
Three-dimensional works
Thematic projects

Nazareth College Art Department faculty review portfolios and provide a score that is used to make a final admissions decision.

Majors that require a portfolio review

Note: there is not a portfolio requirement for the Art History major.