How to Apply: Current UT Austin Students
(for internal transfer or simultaneous major)
Application Deadline: March 1
Looking for information about this program before applying?
Learn more about the undergraduate Design program.
On this page:
- Things to Know Before Applying
- Eligibility Requirements
- UT's 60-Hour Rule
- Application Instructions
- Portfolio Instructions
- Information About Portfolio Reviews
- Portfolio FAQ
Things to Know Before Applying
- Before beginning the application process to internally transfer or add a simultaneous major, students should schedule an appointment to speak with the department’s Undergraduate Academic Advisor. Include your EID in all email or phone messages.
- Admission to the Design program is competitive and selective. When applying to this department, you are strongly advised to develop a backup plan for pursuing other majors. Use resources such as the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling and Wayfinder to determine what majors might be right for you.
- The maximum number of times a student may apply to the Department of Design is two.
- Applicants are strongly encouraged (but not required) to take Department of Art and Art History Core courses at UT or transfer in course equivalents so you’ll be on track for a timely graduation. However, AAH Core courses do not have to be completed prior to applying or being formally admitted to the department.
- All incoming students to majors in the Department of Design must have a laptop computer. Read more about the department’s laptop requirement.
Meeting minimum academic and GPA requirements, submitting all application materials by the deadline, and completing departmental AAH Core courses (or equivalents) does not guarantee eligibility or acceptance to the department.
You are eligible to apply to internally transfer from another UT Austin college or add a simultaneous major in the Department of Design if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You are currently enrolled as an undergraduate student at UT Austin and it is spring semester. (applications are not accepted during fall semester)
- You will have no more than 60 hours of coursework completed in-residence at UT Austin by the fall semester for which you’re applying for admission. (see note below regarding UT’s 60-hour rule)
- You have not already applied twice to internally transfer or add a simultaneous major in this department.
- You have an overall 3.0 GPA at UT Austin. The Admissions Committee gives preference to applicants who have at least a 3.0 GPA by the end of the semester in which the student applies.
Only required for Add Simultaneous Major applicants: You have completed 30 credit hours in-residence at UT Austin. These 30 hours cannot include AP, IB, credit-by-exam, dual or transfer credits. You may apply to the department for a simultaneous major while in progress to meet the 30-hour requirement, but you must complete these hours prior to the fall semester for which you would potentially be admitted.
UT’s 60-Hour Rule
From the university’s general information catalog:
Students may not transfer to another college or school after they have completed sixty (60) semester hours of coursework in residence. Students who wish to seek an exception to this rule should petition the dean’s office of the college into which they would like to transfer. Approval of the petition will take into account a student’s ability to graduate within four years of entering the university.
Note — If you have completed more than 60 hours and would still like to apply for a change-of-major to the Department of Design, submit application materials as instructed below, but do not submit an appeal form to the College of Fine Arts dean’s office until you are notified to do so. If your application receives a strong review, and if you will have completed more than 60 hours when admission notifications are sent by mid-July, the department’s undergraduate academic advisor will send you the appeal form and detailed instructions. Exceptions to the university’s policies on internal transfer are only made in very rare circumstances when the student can provide evidence that they are on track for a timely graduation. Students with more than 60 hours can only attempt to be admitted via this appeal process one time.
Application Deadline: March 1
Are you currently a major in the Department of Design?
Current majors in the Department of Design who wish to change between B.F.A. Design and B.A. Design, should visit the undergraduate academic advisor to learn about the application process and deadlines.
For students outside of the Department of Design currently at UT
The application for internally transferring (change of major) or adding a simultaneous major is made through SlideRoom. Follow the steps below and submit all materials by the deadline above. The SlideRoom portal typically opens February 1 for the March 1 deadline.
- Create a SlideRoom account. If you need assistance with SlideRoom, refer to their support section.
Specify your Mode of Admission (UT Change/Add Major) and Program.
- B.F.A. in Design
- B.A. in Design
- Upload a Resume.
- Complete all general questions and your statement of intent, which should explain the personal and professional goals you have for the area in which you are applying to study.
- Letters of recommendation are not necessary and will not be reviewed as part of any application.
- Upload a portfolio. See below section for requirements and suggestions for preparing your portfolio.
Your portfolio is an opportunity to show us your ideas, creativity, technical skills and what makes you unique. Submit 12 of your best works in any medium or discipline. These should be projects that you have made yourself using the tools of art, design or engineering. Portfolio projects can certainly be created with software tools, but at least four submissions should be made by hand (not software-supported in any way). These hand-made submissions should include at least two observational drawings.
- Create a SlideRoom Account.
- Choose your mode of admission (UT Change/Add Major) and program (B.A. or B.F.A. in Design). Make sure that your major selection on SlideRoom matches your major on your Apply Texas application.
- Answer some basic questions and respond to the design-specific short essay.
- Upload your media and include written descriptions for each project.
- Submit your portfolio by March 1.
- Check your MyStatus page. Portfolios should display as received within 5 business days.
Want feedback on your portfolio before submitting it? Attend a portfolio review.
On-Campus Review Days
Faculty provide prospective undergraduates feedback on the work they’re considering submitting in their admission portfolio. These events are held on-campus in the Art building and also provide students an opportunity to tour the department, sit in on student panels, and interact directly with faculty, current students and staff.
Fall 2018 dates and location to be announced soon!
Please check our website again in the coming weeks for more information.
National Portfolio Days
National Portfolio Days are large-scale events held in cities across the U.S. that offer students a chance to review their portfolio with representatives from a variety of art programs and institutions from all over the country. Faculty and staff from The University of Texas at Austin will attend the following events this year:
Sept. 29, 2018
Dallas, Texas — National Portfolio Day
(no registration required)
Sept. 30, 2018
Houston, Texas — National Portfolio Day
(no registration required)
The University of Texas at Austin, along with other Texas colleges and universities, visits Brownsville, Texas each year to meet with prospective art students from South Texas. During this portfolio day, faculty and staff provide feedback on admission portfolios and other information about the application process. This is a free event that is open to the public.
Oct. 27, 2018
Valley Portfolio Review Day (location TBD)
What makes a portfolio outstanding?
An excellent portfolio is a balance of three important things: your technique/technical ability, your creativity, and what makes you unique. Include whatever you believe to be your strongest work in any or many media. This could include 2-D or 3-D art or design work, performance art, graphic design projects such as logo-design or yearbook layouts, application development, website design, robotics, coding or other digital concepts you’ve explored. If you have only been able to study a limited number of media, put together a range of work from those for submission. We just want to see what you think represents the work you love to make. Please note that you do not need to have formally studied or practiced design to have a strong portfolio for this program. We are looking for evidence that you like to make things, are a creative thinker, and can solve problems.
Review our design program description and remember that we’re interested in a wide range of ideas and skills. We want to see how you think! Give your works descriptive titles (“poster design,” “prototype for chair,” “wireframe for a productivity app,” etc.) and tell us what materials, techniques, and/or software you used to create it. Feel free to include sketches and process documents as well.
When documenting your work, make sure you are taking photos or scans that have good resolution/clarity to show detail, are well-lit, and are cropped appropriately.
I’ve done a lot of creative things outside of my classes. Can I include those works in my portfolio?
Yes! We are interested in getting to know you and seeing a wide variety of hands-on projects. Have you worked in a wood shop or welded? Are you interested in building virtual worlds? Have you designed a set or costume for a performance? We’re interested in all varieties of work!
What if I have great ideas, but I don’t have the money or resources to bring them to life?
That’s ok! Past applicants have shared their ideas as sketches or plans for future projects. We are excited about these ideas, too!
Are there any things I should consider leaving out of my portfolio?
Avoid a portfolio full of celebrity portraits or copies of popular anime/cartoon characters. We want to see your originality and experience your ideas. School projects are fine as well.
Can I see an example portfolio?
No, because this process should be unique to your background and ideas. There’s no right or wrong way to create a portfolio.
How much can I say about my work?
For our portfolio submission we utilize an online platform called SlideRoom. When you begin uploading your work, you will see that there are text boxes available to provide a description for each piece. This is an opportunity to provide context for your work. Please take advantage of this space and in your words, tell us about each piece that you are submitting. Think of it as a chance to tell us something that might not be evident about the piece from just looking at it. (What are the dimensions? What materials did you use? Was this the first time you used this medium? Is this part of a series?) You also want to be economical about your words—tell us the most important details in as few words as you can.
- Place your strongest works first.
- Submit works that closely relate to design.
- Crop out the negative space around the work, or photograph works against a neutral background.
- Photograph your work in natural light.
Students will be emailed notification via a Secure Academic Note (SAN) that reports their application results, whether they are admitted or declined. Typically, notification is sent mid-July. Please do not contact the department about the status of your application; you will be notified when decisions have been made.
For students admitted to the department, the SAN will include specific information about the process for changing or adding a major, mandatory academic advising and registration procedures.
Students whose admission is declined will not be given details as to why they were not admitted. Once admission decisions have been made, applications are not reviewed a second time. If you are not admitted but still want to connect with our department, we welcome you to join one of our student organizations, register for our non-major courses or attend one of our events.