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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.

*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, two recommendations and a portfolio including six to eight pieces of the applicant’s choice, two assignments (described below) 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.

Required portfolio assignments included on the slideroom application:

Required Assignment 1: Collaged Self-Portrait

  • Sketch an outline of an image or object (such as your face, house, shoes, bookbag, etc.) that represents you.
  • Using your lines as a guide, create a collage that captures your sense of self.
  • You may use any kind of materials including photographs, drawings, cloth, plastic, metal, etc.

Required Assignment 2: Tourist/Artist Photos

  • Select an outdoor scene or environment that is interesting to you.
  • Take four photographic images of this scene as a tourist would see it.
  • Take four photographic images of the same scene as an artist would see it.
  • Save as individual files and label each “Tourist” or “Artist”.

Portfolio Review Dates

Four portfolio reviews are held each year: one in the Fall and three each Spring. To allow time for recommendations to be received, portfolios are reviewed approximately two weeks after published deadlines. Applicants are notified of decisions three weeks after each deadline.

  • October 4, 2019
  • January 10, 2020
  • March 6, 2020
  • May 1, 2020
  • October 2, 2020

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:

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.

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