How to Apply

School of Visual Arts

Undergraduate Admissions

All applicants to the College of Fine Arts must apply through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and meet the standards of admission to Boston University. In addition to completing an application to Boston University, all prospective CFA students must have an artistic evaluation by the College of Fine Arts. All portfolios must be submitted digitally at bucfa.slideroom.com.

The portfolio is a critical part of the admissions process for SVA applicants. The faculty committee is interested in reviewing recent work that shows off you technical ability and prowess, as well as work that shows your creativity and personality. It is this combination that is critical. Ask yourself, “does this piece represent my highest level of execution?” “Does this piece say something about my ideas and creativity?” “Do the faculty at BU need to see this piece to understand who I am and what I can do?” If the answer is yes, than it should go into your portfolio.

Your portfolio is one piece of the holistic admissions process and will be considered along with all other aspects of your application when making an admissions decision.

Applicants to the undergraduate program in the School of Visual Arts at Boston University must upload their portfolio online. 

Portfolios are to consist of at least fifteen (15) and not more than twenty (20) samples of work. The portfolio review committee is especially interested in seeing examples of the applicant’s ability to work from observation.

Portfolios are required to include:
  • 15-20 total images
  • Included in those 15-20 images there needs to be at least 3 drawings from direct observation, preferably 2 Still-Lifes and 1 portrait. Please note that this is a minimum requirement and you may include more if you like.
Tips & Hints:
  • Portfolios consisting primarily of photography are not acceptable
  • The documentation of your work is crucial to how it is received by the faculty committee. Please ensure that your images are of the highest quality, in focus and well lit.
  • You do want a diverse portfolio, but how you achieve that diversity may vary. It does not necessarily mean that you need many types of media.
  • Only include recent work (approximately the past 6-9 months) as this will best show the state of your current practice and ability.
Visual Arts Portfolio Submission Deadlines
Early Decision Trustee Applicants ED2 Regular Decision
November 1 December 1 January 3 February 1

BU School of Visual Arts at National Portfolio Days

Boston University School of Visual Arts is a proud member of the National Portfolio Day Association and will be attending many events around the country this year. Please check the National Portfolio Day Association website to find out if we will be at an event near you.

Individual Portfolio Reviews & Campus Visits

There is no better way to know if a college is going to be the right fit than visiting. Prospective students are encouraged to come take to schedule an individual visit or participate in an on-campus visit day. Portfolio reviews are available by appointment during individual visits should a reviewer be available.

Students interested in transferring to Boston University’s School of Visual Arts should refer to the University’s transfer policies and guidelines on the BU Admissions website.

All applicant portfolios will be evaluated for first semester freshman standing. Students may enter the program at a higher studio level should their transcript and portfolio reflect and adequate amount of studio practice at the collegiate level. This will be contingent upon a transcript evaluation performed on a case-by-case basis. The highest level that a student may enter the program is as a first-semester junior.

Admitted students seeking advanced standing are strongly encouraged to contact Jessica Caccamo, Assistant Director for Admissions in the School of Visual Arts, to complete the transcript evaluation process before submitting their enrollment deposit. Read more about the transfer process at bu.edu/transfer.  


Graduate Admissions

Visit the School of Visual Arts Graduate Admissions page for more information.