Undergraduate | Admissions

UCI’s Department of Art is an interdisciplinary art program dedicated to exploring and expressing a broad range of ideas through creative practice and experimentation. To be considered for admission into the undergraduate Art major, students must submit a portfolio of recent artwork accompanied by a one-page artist statement. The portfolio review is designed to identify, recruit, and admit highly motivated, artistically talented high school seniors and transfer students dedicated to their creative practices who would thrive in UCI’s Art Department.  The review process is designed to evaluate and credit students for their investment in their creative practices, which is not captured by the weighted GPA or other numerical metrics used in the admissions process.  The Department of Art seeks creative thinkers and encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply, regardless of prior access to high quality arts education.

UCI Admissions will email all Art applicants in early December with instructions on how to submit the portfolio.

Portfolios must be submitted by January 4.



  • To be considered for admission into the Art major, students must submit a portfolio of 10 images or up to three videos totaling no more than 5 minutes in duration as well as a one-page artist statement.
  • Portfolios will be reviewed by Art department faculty with expertise in a given media area. During the submission process, students will select the media represented in their portfolio: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography & printmaking, new media, or video, as well as the media they may be interested in studying at UCI. Faculty do not expect applicants to have studied all media they may study at the college level.
  • Portfolios will be evaluated on their creativity and inventiveness, formal and technical skills, conceptual aptitude, and thematic cohesion.
  • Current UCI students who wish to transfer into the major may apply after completing 2 Lower Division studio course(s) with a B or higher. 




How do I select which work to include in my portfolio?

  • Students are encouraged to submit a cohesive body of work in the media of their choosing rather than a selection of unrelated work.  Works created independently of classroom assignments, or works created in a portfolio class reflecting a student’s creative direction are preferable to a selection of assignments.  Students may submit work in more than one medium, though a thematic focus is recommended.  Students are encouraged to work with any trusted art teacher or mentor who is available to provide feedback on work selection, though we understand that not every applicant will have access to this assistance.


Who should apply at the freshman level?

  • All students interested in expressing their ideas through visual and time-based art are invited to apply.  Students dedicated to a personal artistic practice without access to high school level arts coursework are also encouraged to apply. (Yes, this includes students doodling incessantly, TikTok video-makers, DIY inventors, etc.) AP portfolio is not a requirement for admission, and faculty are mindful that access to arts coursework varies greatly, especially in public schools.


What should I include in my artist statement?

  • The Artist Statement is an opportunity for applicants to discuss their artistic influences, cultural background and inspiration.  The Department of Art seeks to recruit a diverse cohort of applicants in the spirit of UCI’s culture of inclusive excellence.  


Should I still apply if I’ve only made art on a table, smartphone or computer?

  • While our Art Department offers many courses in analog media – painting, drawing, analog photography, and sculpture – faculty are aware that students may enter having worked primarily with digital drawing and painting. This is not a disqualifier for admission, though applicants should understand that coursework in painting and drawing is taught with analog media, ie paint on canvas and drawing on paper, with digital technology being employed as a supplemental tool rather than a primary medium.


If I am taking an AP Portfolio course, should I submit this work as my portfolio?

  • Our portfolio review criteria is not identical to the AP Portfolio review, though students may choose to submit work developed in an AP Portfolio course.  AP Portfolio is not a requirement for admission into the major.


What role does digital media play in your courses?

  • We offer a minor in Digital Arts; however, we do not offer courses in commercial arts, illustration, or graphic or web design.  Adobe Photoshop is included in our digital photography class, though the course is designed to develop students’ creative voice through photography using digital media as a means rather than a primary end.


“I’m not good at drawing - should I still apply?”

  • If  you are passionate about making art and expressing your ideas through artistic media, then yes!  Beyond courses in drawing and painting, our program includes courses in photography, painting, video, performance, sculpture and digital media.  


What kind of careers do students completing your BA program pursue?

  • Students receiving their BA from UCI’s Art Department pursue a number of paths.  Some pursue advanced degrees including MFAs in Fine Art, MFAs in Graphic Design and MAs in Arts Education.  Others go on to work in arts education, arts administration, fine art studios, and a variety of other fields where creative critical thinking is valued.  Arts and culture production currently represent 7% of California’s GDP, and we encourage our students to pursue careers in a broad range of creative fields.


Junior Transfer FAQ


Do you have any additional advice for prospective Junior Transfer students?

  • We encourage applicants to review our course catalog to ensure that our major is a good fit for the applicant.  Having completed two years of college coursework, junior transfer applicants are expected to apply with a portfolio composed of college-level studio artwork.


How do courses in UCI’s Art Department compare to those offered in community colleges?

  • We find that community colleges offer students excellent instruction which tends to focus on technical, skill-based learning of a specific medium.  UCI’s interdisciplinary program combines technical instruction with idea-driven conceptual development to help students express their ideas through visual and time-based media. Many junior transfer students have thrived in our undergraduate program, with some entering the Undergraduate Art Honors program and some subsequently pursuing graduate MFA programs.