All applicants are expected to submit a bound sample portfolio of art/design work (no larger than A3 and between 20–30 pages (single or double sided) with a completed Cover Sheet (PDF). CDs/DVDs of additional material are also accepted but only when accompanying a printed hard-copy portfolio. Upon signature of the application form applicants certify that the work submitted is entirely their own. Plagiarism is unacceptable in the academic setting and students are subject to penalties including dismissal from the programme if they commit an act of plagiarism.
Applications and portfolios will be assessed by the admissions panel and applicants will be informed by email whether they are invited to an interview at the AA. The interview takes the form of a discussion around the applicant’s range of interests and focuses on the portfolio of work in architecture, the arts or related areas. The interview is a two-way process: the panel wants to see what skills and interests the applicant has, so it is important to spend time preparing a portfolio. The applicant has the opportunity to ask questions about the School and to have a look at its working spaces and facilities.
Portfolios for initial submission
All applicants are expected to submit a bound portfolio of art/design work (no larger than A3, and between ten and 30 pages). CDs/DVDs of additional material (for example digital work which cannot be provided in paper format) are also accepted but only when accompanying a printed hard copy portfolio. The portfolio should be no larger than A3 (297x420mm). The portfolio doesn't have to be strictly A3 or A4 size. Please only send a CD/DVD if it contains additional work to what is in the hardcopy portfolio – do not send a CD/DVD if it is only a repeat of the hardcopy work.
Please include a selection of highlights of your work to impress the admission panel enough for them to want to invite you for an interview! Please show a range of different work. Please also demonstrate the process behind your work, e.g. sketches or development drawings/models, rather than just including final images.
Portfolios will only be returned if requested, and a £50 postage fee is paid in advance, or if the portfolio is picked up in person from the AA on a date prearranged by the AA. Portfolios will be returned/available to pick up when the AA no longer requires them for assessment purposes. Please wait to be informed that your portfolio is ready for collection.
Portfolios for AA interviews
The AA is looking for students with a creative imagination and plenty of motivation! Sketches, models, photographs, paintings, notebooks, and essays, all help to build up a picture of your particular interests and skills. It is important to read the prospectus, which will give you an idea of the wide range of work carried out in the School.
There is no single way of preparing a portfolio. Many applicants will have artwork from school, but the AA is interested in any kind of project that is self-motivated and it is best not to bring a portfolio based solely on school artwork. Portfolios should include some recent work; models or sculptures can be photographed and live performances can be recorded in a variety of ways. It is important that any drawings should be from life, or drawn on site.
The interview panel like to see original images where possible, but understands if reproductions have to be shown due to size or weight constraints. It is better to bring more work rather than less so that you have a range of examples to demonstrate your skills. However, please take into account how much you can carry, and the limited amount of interview time which means you will not be able to show every piece of work.
Every portfolio we see will be different. The purpose of the interview is to try and assess each student’s potential and ability to benefit from the course. We will let you know within a very short time whether we are able to offer you a place. Portfolios brought to an interview can be taken away directly after the interview.
Foundation and First Year
There is no single way of preparing a portfolio. Many applicants will have artwork from school, but the AA is interested in any kind of project that is self-motivated, and it is best not to bring a portfolio based solely on school artwork. It is important that any drawings should be from life or drawn on site – copies of photographs are not acceptable.
Those applicants who are making a career change should consider carefully what might constitute their portfolio. The sort of project that might be undertaken would be to take a room that you know well, and record it in a set of images that tell their own story. Alternatively, you might take an area where you live and map a journey that describes not only the physical surroundings, but also your own response to them.
Intermediate and Diploma
Those applying to transfer from other courses into the Second, Third or Fourth Years should show a range of work that they have carried out during their course, as well as any self-motivated projects undertaken outside of their course. Please be sure not just to present final images, but to show the process, development and thinking behind your work, perhaps in the form of sketchbooks or working drawings.