BFA Product Design Applicants

How to Apply / Portfolio Guidelines

Program Admission Contact:

Dr.Denis Feigler, 973-655-2091

University Admission Contact:

Zachary Brower, 973-655-7703

Applying   l   Portfolio Guidelines  l   Transfer-student Notes   l  About the Program


Applying for admission to the Product Design BFA program is a 1-3-Step process:

STEP ONE. Submit an application to Montclair State University.

  • To apply as a New Freshman or New Transfer student, you must first submit an application to Montclair State University via the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. (Go to Undergraduate Admissions to fulfill this step.)  Following staff review of the submitted application, applicants who meet the University's academic requirements will be emailed an invitation to proceed to STEP TWO.
  • To apply as an Already-Enrolled MSU Student seeking to change your major, skip above step and proceed to STEP TWO.  If accepted to the program, your final step will be to complete and submit a Change of Major/Minor Form to the Department of Art and Design Office - Calcia Hall, Suite 109, along with your program letter of acceptance.

STEP TWO. Submit an application / portfolio to the Department of Art and Design.

Academically qualified applicants will be instructed to electronically submit a Step-Two application and portfolio to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom, the Department's admission software. (note: MSU-enrolled students may go directly to SlideRoom  to get started.)  A $15 fee applies.

STEP THREE. Attend an on-campus interview

After your application has been received, the Product Design faculty will evaluate your material and, if your submission meets the minimum requirements for the program, you will be invited to an on-campus interview.  The Product Design interview provides opportunity to learn more about the program, see the facility and meet with students, in addition to sharing with us details about your work. You should also be prepared to discuss your reasons for choosing the major. (note: While family members and/or friends are not allowed to be present during the interview, they may ask questions after the interview has been completed.)

Note: The on-campus interview is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. (Where travel to campus is prohibitive, applicants can opt to have their uploaded, online portfolios be reviewed as their total submission.)

Interview Dates

Portfiolio interviews for Product Design will take place by individual appointment. Eligible applicants will be advised to select an early appointment date, with consideration to the following: (a) Spring applicants must interview before January; (b) Fall applicants should interview by March; (c) Post-March dates, where available, are intended for late-transfer and MSU-enrolled student applicants. 

Interviews will take place in Finley Hall on campus (see campus map.)

Following the Portfolio Review/Interview

Following the portfolio review, the Department will forward its acceptance decision to Undergraduate Admissions, which in turn will notify you of your admission status.

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What to Include in Your Application and Portfolio

Before completing the SlideRoom application, it is recommended that you first gather the necessary information and file docs for uploading, including:

  1. Your pre-college Cumulative GPA

  2. Your SAT Scores -- optional; as they appear on your transcript if being submitted

  3. Your Product Design Portfolio pieces: 

    Your Product Design portfolio should include work that demonstrates your interest and aptitude for the I.D. profession as well as your understanding of proportion and structure through visual presentation.  While you are welcome to submit fine art work as part of your portfolio, free-hand line drawings of objects in two-point perspective are considered to be most important.

  In addition, please adhere to the following instructions:

  • Submit original work only (work that was not traced or copied from pictures.)

  • Do not exceed 15 pieces in total (including the three compulsory drawings as described below.)

  • Submit your best and most recent work.
  • Drawing Samples -- Your portfolio should include drawings from direct observation, such as figure drawing, still life objects, interiors, or from your imagination.

    In addition, your portfolio MUST consist of at least THREE customized, finished drawings drawn in two-point perspective - one each from the following design themes: 

    1. Furniture
    2. Transportation
    3. A consumer product or product equipment of your choice

    (Note: In the above requirement, we are looking for candidates to demonstrate creativity, rationality, attention to detail and proportion.  Construction accuracy and composition is also important.  Do not shade the drawings; only concentrate on line quality and the criteria mentioned above.)

  • Writing Samples -- Your portfolio must also consist of two pieces of writing, each between 250 and 350 words on the following topics:

    1. How you would hope to have changed by the time you graduate from the Product Design program.
    2. A personal passion or obsession other than visual art or design. Is there something you love to do, that you cannot stop thinking about? 

Tips for uploading documents:

  • Portfolio images and writing samples may be uploaded in a variety file types including: jpg, png, gif and pdf.
  • For fast upload and good image quality, your image files should be sized approx. 1024 X 768 px @ 72 dpi.
  • Please note that you will find several Art and Design majors listed in the SlideRoom portal; it is very important that you upload your images to the major to which you are applying.


Resources for Developing Portfolios

Recommended web pages providing portfolio preparation help:

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Special Notes for Transfer Applicants

 Transferring Course Credits -- Overview

  • Transfer applicants must first be accepted into a major before courses completed at any prior accredited higher educational institution can be evaluated for transfer.  The Department of Art and Design follows University published guidelines for transferring credits, including any articulation-agreement policies that may apply to your previous institution(s.) Undergraduate Admissions will first evaluate your transcript(s), after which an Art and Design program advisor will determine whether and which courses may count towards the intended major degree requirements.  Courses not included in the articulation agreement (e.g. for institutions outside New Jersey) will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Evaluations are based on comparing levels and content of incoming courses with comparable MSU courses in accordance with reviewing catalog descriptions, syllabi and congruence of material covered.  Courses deemed to qualify must receive final approval at the Department, College and University levels. Equivalent transfer courses for New Jersey Community Colleges can be found at

Product Design Considerations

  • Applicants transferring from community colleges must complete the four-year sequence of major studio classes of the BFA Product Design program unless they demonstrate excellence in visualization, model making, digital sketching and human factors,  as well as completed courses that focus on these subject areas.

  • You may be considered for the Sophomore level if you have completed the first year of studies at a university in an accredited Product Design program and have achieved at least a C+ or higher in each major course.  The majority of your work must directly apply to the Product Design area and demonstrate adequate knowledge of related subjects.

  • Notes:
    • The same compulsory portfolio requirements as for freshman candidates apply to students transferring from community colleges. 
    • Because this is a BFA design program as opposed to a BA fine arts program, a maximum of nine credits of 100- and 200-level coursework taken at the community college may be accepted for Studio Course credits, depending upon the grade(s) received and the presented competence level. With no previous product design education, transfer students from community colleges will have to complete the four-year Product Design program.
    • If you are transferring from a New Jersey community college into the BFA in Product Design major, please follow the guidelines suggested on the NJ Transfer Web page.
    • The NJ Transfer's Plan Academic Program (RTP) feature allows you to choose the institution at which you are currently enrolled and the Montclair State program into which you wish to transfer and lists the best courses for you to take while at your current institution.
    • While at the community college level, it is important that you concentrate on your Foundations classes (e.g. 2D and 3D Design, Color Studies, and Life Drawing), rather than taking too many classes in an area of specialization, as they may not satisfy the required competence level of a BFA degree.

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About the Product Design Program

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

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