Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Any advice for a successful portfolio?Show only work which reflects your strengths – both creative and technical. After you upload your portfolio files, add a title to each piece. This will help the reviewer in understanding your portfolio work. Please limit your titles to a maximum of thirty (30) characters.
Do all applicants receive a portfolio review?Yes. We ask all applicants to submit their work through the online portfolio system for review.
For my Design portfolio can I use work I have submitted as projects or on other applications?Typically, the applicant selects their pieces to show in their portfolio from school assigned projects, personal interest projects (e.g. a book cover you designed on your own for your favourite novel), ideas (sketchbook, concept/idea book, etc.), development/variations of ideas (design process documentation), extra curricular art/design classes and professional work where appropriate.
How do I add a course that is restricted or reserved?Undergraduate students can request enrolment into a course that requires departmental permission by completing the MachForm at  This form may be used up until  the last date to add a course without permission (refer to under Add/Drop Deadlines to find the dates for the current academic term).  After such time, students need permission of the instructor to add a course. AMPD Departments handle these permissions differently and it is best to ask the Department for advice or to get copies of the required paperwork (if by voicemail or email, always include your full name, student number, the course code and instructors name)
How do I apply for Design?
How do I get in touch with my Professor?You can find your professor’s email address by looking them up in the York Atlas or your course syllabus. You can also contact your professor to find out what their office hours are to talk in person.
How many pieces should I include in my portfolio?Include 8 portfolio pieces. Additionally, upload scanned or photos of 8 pages from your sketchbook as a single file.
How will my portfolio be evaluated?Your portfolio score is based upon a 100 point system as follows:
  1. Quality of the work: 60 points
  2. Ability to embrace process: 40 points
I am a York Student, how do I change my major or minor?If you are currently enrolled and registered as an undergraduate student and wish to request a transfer to a different academic program/degree, please review the information at: and submit your program change request via the following link: A number of AMPD programs require an audition/interview/portfolio review before you can be admitted. When you submit your program change request, you should also contact the Department office (if by voicemail or email, always include your full name, student number, the course code, and instructors name) Cinema & Media Arts (Film) CFT 221 or 416-736-5149 or Computational Arts (Digital Media) GCFA 232 or 416-736-5187 or Dance ACE 301 or 416-736-5137 or Music ACE 371 or 416-736-5186 or Theatre CFT 322 or 416-736-5172 or Visual Art & Art History GCFA 235 or 416-736-5187 or   Please note: Design is unable to accommodate Internal York Transfer students for 2019/20 and 2020/21.
I have completed previous education, will I receive transfer credits?Students who have completed previous college, university or IB credits could be eligible for transfer credits. After you apply, your transcripts will be evaluated and you will be notified of your transfer credits with your offer of admission. More information is available here:
Is there a preferred file format?Still image files may be sent in pdf, jpg, png, or gif formats. Each still image file should be no larger than 5 MB. Do not include more than one work per file. Videos will be accepted in mpg, mp4, mov, avi, wmv, m4v formats. Video files should be no longer than two minutes in length and the size of each video upload is limited to 60 MB. Please note that videos are considered part of your selection and should not be used as a method of showing examples of additional still images. It is recommended that the sketchbook be a multipage (8-10 pages) document (e.g. pdf)
What are the academic requirements if I am applying to Design directly from a high school in Ontario?Ontario Secondary School Diploma OSSD which includes six 4U or 4M courses, including ENG4U, and all Faculty or program specific prerequisites. Francophone applicants may present FRA4U, FEF4U or FIF4U. We accept a combination of U and M courses. We may offer you early conditional admission if you have strong Grade 11 finals and/or interim Grade 12 results. Applicants must meet the admission requirements in order to participate in the selection process for final admission. The Executive Committee may consider applicants not meeting the requirements on an individual basis.
What does guaranteed consideration mean? Can I apply or complete my audition/interview/portfolio review after the deadline?Anyone who completes their application before the deadlines listed for their application cycle will have their application reviewed. Applications may be accepted after the guaranteed consideration deadline on a first come first served basis until the program is full.
What is a 1900 course and why is there no scheduled time?Six credits from the AMPD 1900 3.00 series of courses, outside the major, are required of all School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design degrees. These courses may be used toward satisfying the humanities general education requirement, the in/out requirements or an AMPD elective. For students admitted to the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design with a minimum of 54 transfer credits, the six credits from the 1900 3.00 series of courses outside the major are optional. Only courses with FA/_ _ _ _ 1900 in the course code fulfill this requirement. You can find them in the York University Courses website by searching School of the Arts, Music, Performance & Design, the Department and 1900 under 'Faculty, Subject and Number.' Some 1900 courses such as Dance have online lectures so when you add them to your schedule there won't be a scheduled time for class but there may still be a scheduled tutorial.
What is the York BDes looking for in a portfolio?During your portfolio review, the faculty will be looking for the following:
  1. The breadth and quality of investigation in your work (as demonstrated in the selected pieces shown, your idea/concept books, and your design process documentation),
  2. Evidence of the various creative thinking processes employed in your work,
  3. Demonstrated visual abilities in your work (typography, colour, composition, perspective, drawing),
  4. Technical skill in a diverse range of media and tools used,
  5. Communication skills as demonstrated by your ability to discuss your work and thought processes in your writing
  6. Care in the selection and presentation of your work.
What work should I include in my portfolio?Assembling Your Portfolio Your portfolio should comprise 10 to 12 samples of original work that demonstrate a wide range of ideas and competency with different media and tools. At least one piece in your portfolio should present word(s) and image(s) that communicate a message. In addition to the types of work listed below, 8-10 scanned pages from your sketchbook or concept/idea book are required. Your portfolio should contain your best work from at least 3 of the following areas (areas 1-6 are highly recommended for inclusion):
  1. Two-dimensional design work e.g. designs for posters, logos, letterheads, book/magazine covers and interior page spreads.
  2. Typography e.g. poetry or words using an expressive font or page layout, typeface designs, expressive lettering, projects with text settings designed for clear communication. Drawings and experiments with typographic form.
  3. Interactive media e.g. web site design and/or other interactive work.
  4. Motion graphics e.g. video or animation using images and typography. Short pieces with a strong message are preferred.
  5. Drawing & Illustration e.g. direct observational drawings are preferred (not drawn from photographs). Imaginative drawing is also welcome. It is good to demonstrate the use of a wide variety of media (pen & ink, charcoal, pastel, coloured pencil, marker pen, collage, digital drawings).
  6. Photography e.g. B&W prints, colour prints, hand-tinted prints, digitally manipulated.
  7. Painting e.g. representative and/or non-representative in oil, acrylic, watercolour, gouache.
  8. 3D Design/Sculpture e.g. scale models from plan drawings, craft and fibre experiments.
The sketchbook or concept/idea book is a very important component of the portfolio. It should contain a variety of studies and examples of your media/tools experiments and demonstrate an exploration of visual and annotated ideas, comments and critiques. It will represent a variety of things that interest you and the ongoing development of ideas. Include 8-10 scanned pages from your sketchbook as a single file.
When is the application deadline?
Where do these portfolio pieces come from?Typically, the applicant selects their pieces to show in their portfolio from school assigned projects, personal interest projects (e.g. a book cover you designed on your own for your favourite novel), ideas (sketchbook, concept/idea book, etc.), development/variations of ideas (design process documentation), extra curricular art/design classes and professional work where appropriate.