Graphic Design BFA

Portfolio Guidelines and Special Notes


Program Admission Contact:

Prof. John Luttropp, 973-655-4163

University Admission Contact:

Erin Samples, 973-655-4331

Apply  I  Portfolio  I  Interview  I  Transfers  About

How to Apply

Instructions for submitting an application to the Graphic Design program (and all Art and Design programs) are available at: How to Apply.  Below are instructions regarding the Portfolio and Interview.


What to Include in a Graphic Design Portfolio

The Portfolio Interview is an opportunity to present your creative work and learn more about the Graphic Design program.   We ask that your application/portfolio include the following:

  • One-page Statement of Interest that tells us who you are, how you became interested in graphic design, your goals for a career in the field, and what you hope to accomplish in our program.

  • Selection of at least 15 and no more than 20 pieces of original art and design work. Applicants are advised to review the department's overall Portfolio Preparation Guidelinesfor studio applicants prior to attending the interview. Ideally portfolios should include some graphic design work, but may also contain original 2-D or 3-D artwork. Graphic design portfolios should be presented neatly in book form or as separate pieces, either well-protected in plastic sleeves or separately mounted onto boards. We expect a professional presentation. Portfolios submitted by transfer applicants should consist primarily of graphic design projects.

  • Sketchbook or loose sketches showing preliminary ideas for projects. We want to see how you develop and refine your ideas. Transfer applicants must include thumbnail sketches and preliminary comps for all graphic design projects.

  • Photocopy of your high school or college transcript.


Back to top |

The Portfolio Interview

Portfolio interviews are conducted by one or more graphic design faculty or alumni. Interviews generally take fifteen to thirty minutes: they give applicants an opportunity to discuss their work, ask questions, and see our facilities. Family and friends are not allowed to be a part of the interview, but may ask questions afterwards. Transfer applicants who bring a copy of their transcripts will be advised about where to begin in our program. (Note: As there are no portfolio reviews for the BFA in Graphic Design in June, July, or August, you must make sure you’ve completed your interview prior to June 1).

*Note about Special Circumstances: Where travel for an in-person interview is prohibitive, applicants can opt to have their uploaded, online portfolios reviewed as their total submission.

There are three potential outcomes of the portfolio interview for Freshman Applicants:

  1. Candidates who show strong potential for success in the program will be accepted as BFA in Graphic Design majors.
  2. Applicants who show strength in art but do not have sufficient graphic design work in their portfolio may be accepted to the BA in Fine Arts, Studio Concentration and may reapply to the BFA in Graphic Design after taking beginning-level graphic design courses at MSU.
  3. Applicants that do not show potential for success in the major will not be accepted.

Admissions Note: Only students who have submitted an application to the university and have been invited to a portfolio review will be considered for the Graphic Design major. Following the portfolio interview, the Graphic Design program will forward results to the Office of Admissions, which will then notify students of their admission status. Questions about your application and admission status should be directed to the Office of Admissions at 973-655-7063.

Notes to Transfer Applicants

  • A maximum of nine credits of 100- or 200-level graphic design coursework taken at other institutions may be accepted as Major Studio Courses in the BFA in Graphic Design program. Equivalent transfer courses for New Jersey Community Colleges can be found at

  • After being notified of a request for a portfolio review, transfer applicants must email a link to their portfolio web site (or email a PDF portfolio that includes sketches and completed graphic design projects), bibliographical statement, and scans of college transcripts. PDFs must be under 5MB in size and must be emailed to Professor John Luttropp. If a transfer applicant is found to meet the expectations of the program, he or she will be contacted for an in-person interview.

  • There are two potential outcomes of the portfolio interview for Transfer Applicants:
  1. Candidates who meet the equivalent skills and expectations for success in our program will be accepted as BFA in Graphic Design majors.
  2. Applicants who do not show potential for success in the major will not be accepted.


Back to top |

About the Graphic Design Program

Information about the Graphic Design major (including an overview description and curriculum) may be found on the BFA in Graphic Design Web page.

Back to top |