Admissions & Portfolio Process

UMBC applicants and current students who plan to major in visual arts with a studio concentration (animation, cinematic arts, graphic design*, intermedia, photography, print media) must submit a portfolio application in addition to the standard UMBC Undergraduate Admission Application. Students who pass the review earn the portfolio milestone, which is a prerequisite for most studio courses. Students pursuing the visual arts major with a concentration in Art History and Museum Studies do not need to submit a portfolio since studio courses are not required to complete the degree requirements.

*If you are interested in Visual Arts @UMBC, please look over the degree programs offered by the Department of Visual Arts. 

*The Department of Visual Arts is currently not accepting students into its BA in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. Instead, we encourage prospective students interested in pursuing a career in graphic design or visual communications to apply to the BFA in Design with a concentration in Graphic Design.

Portfolio Application Overview:

The portfolio application consists of an artist statement, a portfolio including six to eight pieces of the applicant’s creative work** of choice, and an itemization of submitted artwork.

All portfolio applications must be submitted on-line at

Please note: there is a $10 application fee payable during the on-line process.

Portfolio Review Dates

There are two portfolio review dates that coincide with the Undergraduate Admissions Office important deadlines. After the October and January review dates, all portfolios will be reviewed on a rolling basis. After the October and January deadline, all portfolios should be submitted by the first Friday of every month. Applicants are notified of decisions three weeks after the deadlines. Please note there will be a Blackout period from May to August, where no portfolios will be reviewed.

  • October 6, 2023
  • January 5, 2024

Current UMBC Students who plan to pursue the visual arts major should follow the procedures outlined in the Slideroom link, including an upload of transcripts showing all college course work.

New first-year and transfer students must submit a separate UMBC Undergraduate Admission Application at least two weeks before the selected portfolio review date. UMBC Applicants do not need to wait for an Admissions decision before submitting a portfolio application to the department.

Linehan Artist Scholar applicants must submit their on-line portfolios by the January review date and are encouraged to submit UMBC undergraduate applications by the early action deadline of November 1. In addition to the information supplied on the UMBC Common Application, applicants will also need to complete the Linehan Artist Scholars application to be considered as a candidate for the program. The application and all supplemental materials must be received by January 15.  For more information:

**What is a Portfolio?

If you are unfamiliar with the term “portfolio” or the contents of a “portfolio” think of it as a self-curated collection of your work that best displays your creative abilities. Many applicants will build a portfolio of work with projects completed in art, design, and photography courses at their High School or Community College. If your school didn’t afford you these opportunities, don’t let the lack of a formal portfolio dissuade you from applying to UMBC. Most likely, if you are applying to the Visual Arts Department at UMBC and are interested in one of our areas of concentration, you are making creative work on your own. This self-initiated creative work is your portfolio.

Many students have successfully been accepted into the Visual Arts Department based on the strength of their self-initiated creative works. This work has been quite varied, but has included such work as:

  • Self-Portraits
  • Collages
  • T-Shirt designs
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Designs for yearbook and school newspapers
  • Fliers for community and school functions
  • Films posted to YouTube
  • Animations

This is not an exhaustive list of all the creative ways you may be expressing yourself through your work. If you are uncertain if your creative work is suitable for application into the Visual Arts Department, take pictures of your work (photos will your cell phone will do) and send them to

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Students may explore a number of resources to help pay for their education and to gain invaluable work experience to build up their vitas before graduation. Scholarships, employment, student loans, and fellowships provide these opportunities to Visual Arts undergraduates.

The Linehan Artist Scholar Program offers competitive awards to freshmen ranging from $5,000 – $15,000 per academic year for in-state students, and from $10,000 – $22,000 per academic year for out-of-state students, to assist in covering tuition, mandatory, fees, and another expenses. Out-of-state students are encouraged to apply.
Fine Arts Scholarships range from $500 to $1,000.

To be considered for either award, new applicants must submit on-line portfolios by the January review date.  Go to UMBC Undergraduate Admissions for other financial aid information.

Visit the Department
Come see for yourself! Tours of the Visual Arts Department are held bi-weekly on Friday mornings. To see a list of tour dates and to register, please follow this link or call the Visual & Performing Arts Admissions Counselor at 410-455-3745. An interactive map of the campus and surrounding area, with driving directions is available at the UMBC Campus Map.

Visual & Performing Arts at UMBC
Check out all of the Visual & Performing Arts programs at UMBC by visiting the Visual & Performing Arts webpage.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Visual Arts Department
Fine Arts 111A
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, Maryland USA 21250

Click here for directions

tel: 1(410)455-2150
fax: 1(410)455-1053