Apply as a First-Year Student


Admission to the School of Art & Design is a two-part process: you must be accepted to the University of Illinois through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions application process and to the School of Art & Design through an online portfolio review. We encourage you to submit your application and all required items to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the same time you submit your portfolio to the School of Art & Design.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions Application

The University of Illinois application is completed online. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions evaluates your academic performance, test scores (ACT/SAT, if applicable), and essays with the University requirements for admission to the School of Art & Design.

All first-year Art & Design students apply to one of the following majors in the College of Fine and Applied Arts: Art & Art History, Art Education, Graphic Design, Industrial Design,* Studio Art (BA), or Studio Art (BFA). Studio Art concentrations (fashion, general studio art, new media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture) are declared in the first year of study. Undecided students apply to Art Undeclared. Art Undeclared students will declare their Art & Design major by December 1 of their first year of study. First-year coursework for all students will include courses in drawing, 2D, 3D, and 4D practices.

*Please note: admission to Industrial Design will not be available for the 2024 cycle, but is currently expected to reopen to applicants in 2025. Students admitted to alternate programs who successfully transfer to Industrial Design may expect to begin the 3-year core curriculum in Fall 2026. If you have questions, contact Michael Foellmer at or 217-244-8462.

Early Action Deadline

November 1

Regular Admission Deadline

January 5

Decision Dates

Early Action decisions will be released in late January and Regular Admission decisions will be released in early March. You can check your admission status in myIllini.

Inquiries regarding your admissions status should be directed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The School of Art & Design will not be able to respond to admission status questions.

International Students

Additional information can be found here.

School of Art & Design Portfolio Review Process

The second part of the application process involves submitting a portfolio of your creative work to the School of Art & Design.

Submit your digital portfolio using the School’s Fall 2024 First-Year Portfolio Submission Form. If you encounter problems with the form or have questions, contact Michael Foellmer at or 217-244-8462.

  • Early Action Portfolio Submission Deadline: November 1
  • Regular Admission Portfolio Submission Deadline: preferred January 5, and no later than January 14.

The portfolio is a collection of your recent work that illustrates your ability for advanced study as an art and design practitioner, educator or historian. It should demonstrate your ability to create and communicate ideas visually using various mediums and technical processes. The portfolio should consist of 10 examples of your recent work. Examples of work could include drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, photographs, digital artwork, designs (product and other objects), and video. Work illustrating proficiency in a variety of mediums is encouraged. Drawings from real life observation are preferable to those copied from photographs or other images. These drawings can be exploratory, i.e. spontaneous, or more finished.

Portfolio Submission Guidelines

  • Required: 10 JPEG images, where, ideally, the pixel dimensions are between 1000 and 1500 in either height or width. Individual image files should not exceed 500 KB. IMPORTANT: Check the image file property size (Right click > Properties in Windows, Control+click > Get Info in Mac), and, if necessary, use an image editor (e.g., Photoshop) to adjust the pixel dimensions and the final file size.
  • Optional: Enter up to 2 direct video links, using Vimeo or YouTube. Be aware, the admissions committee might not watch more than 1-2 minutes. Configure your submission appropriately (trailer, excerpt, etc.).
  • Optional: Enter a web address for your art work webpage.

Faculty in the School of Art & Design will evaluate the portfolio and the outcome will be forwarded to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, who will then contact you. All offers for a place in the School of Art & Design depend on you meeting the University’s entrance requirements along with a positive assessment of your portfolio.

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