Please follow the general portfolio requirements for your portfolio if you are applying to the following departments:
- Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
- Fine Arts
- Interior Design
- Visual and Critical Studies
Drawing samples are the most important part of the portfolio for applicants to the majors listed. Please include examples of drawing done from the direct observation of live, three-dimensional situations. These can include self-portraits (using a mirror for reference), figure drawings, object studies, still lifes and landscapes. (Two-dimensional references can be included in a portfolio, but should be kept to a minimum.)
Painting, printmaking, drawing and/or collage work that expresses the color sense of an applicant is welcome.
Three-dimensional work that explores notions of composition, light, form and/or spatial relations should be submitted in digital format (CD-R) and should include shots from multiple viewpoints.
Design projects and computer-generated images can be included but should be kept to a minimum. Applicants with computer-based interests are required to submit a portfolio that demonstrates their drawing-from-observation skills.
Sketchbooks offer important insights into the creative process of an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to include the most recent sketchbook at the time of a portfolio review.
Please see additional portfolio recommendations by department:
Advertising; Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects; Fine Arts; Design; Visual and Critical Studies
Design projects and computer-generated images are not recommended for inclusion in Computer Art portfolios. However, applicants that do submit this work should be careful that it is not about what a computer program can do but what an artist can do with a computer program. It is recommended that this type of work be kept to a minimum and is submitted in conjunction with drawing, painting, and/or sculpture.
Animation applicants should be careful not to overload their portfolios with images of comic or cartoon characters. Though character development is essential to successful animation, the ability to take objects (people, places, things) that exist in the real, three-dimensional world and place them (and make them move) believably in the two-dimensional picture plane is key at this point. This potential is better demonstrated at the point of admission by direct observation work.
Cartooning and Illustration
Cartooning applicants are encouraged to share their "professional" interests and abilities with the College. Applicants who publish their own zines, create graphic novels, or run their own strips should include these as part of their portfolio. However, applicants should be careful not to overload their portfolios with images of comic or cartoon characters. Though character development is essential to success in the cartooning world, the ability to take objects (people, places, things) that exist in the real, three-dimensional world and place them believably in the two-dimensional picture plane is key at this point. This potential is better demonstrated at the point of admission by direct observation work.
Examples of drafting, design, or digital projects can always be included in a portfolio. However, applicants must be careful that the work submitted is not so much about what a computer program can do but what the applicant can do with a computer program. Applicants should also be able to discuss the unique concepts behind their design work. It is recommended that this type of work be submitted in conjunction with drawing, painting, and/or sculpture.
1. Is SVA accredited?
The School of Visual Arts is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215.662.5606. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
SVA is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and is a member of the International Association of Independent Schools for Art and Design (AIAS) and the Association of Independent Schools of Art and Design (AICAD).
2. What undergraduate majors are offered at SVA?
The School of Visual Arts has been authorized by the New York State Board of Regents to confer the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts on graduates of four-year programs in advertising; animation; cartooning; computer art; design; film; fine arts; illustration; interior design; photography and video; and visual and critical studies.
3. Is it possible to choose two majors?
All applicants must select one program to major in. Since SVA majors require students to complete an intensive four-year studio program it is not possible to "double major" at SVA. However, cross-registration into other departments is available on a case-by-case basis, with the permission of departmental chairs.
4. Is it possible to obtain a degree as a part-time student?
Part-time study is only available for the BFA Design Program on a case-by-case basis. Students can complete the entire program through the Division of Continuing Education. Prospective students can apply for evening matriculation status through the Office of Admissions, following the same procedures outlined for the full-time study. Also, a variety of courses in the full-time program are scheduled between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm.
5. Does SVA have programs for high school students?
Yes. Each year, more than 600 high school students enroll in pre-college studio courses held on Saturdays during the fall and spring and in an intensive three-week program each July.
6. How do I schedule a portfolio review or tour?
Please click here to schedule a portfolio review and click here to schedule a campus tour. It is recommended that applicants schedule an appointment two to four weeks prior to the date they would like to visit. Please note that housing is not shown on the general admissions tour, but may be available by special prior arrangement.
7. Does SVA have housing?
SVA houses approximately 1,400 students in its four residence halls. Students are permitted to stay in SVA housing throughout their four years of study. As such, not all students can be housed each year. It is recommended that applicants who are interested in housing and whose first choice is SVA complete the application for admission process as early as possible.
8. Can I study abroad as an SVA student?
SVA offers both summer abroad and semester abroad programs. Summer Arts Abroad programs are up to three weeks in length and are open to anyone who meets the course prerequisites. Detailed program information is available in the summer Continuing Education catalog and on the Special Programs website. Third year, matriculated students may apply to the International Exchange Program (IEP) to study abroad for one semester at an affiliated exchange partner institution. A list of affiliated schools is available in the Registration Book or from the exchange program administrator. Countries currently represented in the IEP include Belgium, China, The Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
9. Does SVA accept advanced placement credit?
Yes. For the exam score of 5, SVA will award 3 elective credits in studio for AP art, and 3 credits for scores of 4 or 5 in selected Art History and Humanities and Sciences courses. Neither credits nor exemptions are given for English Language AP examination.
10. Does SVA offer internships?
The Office of Career Development offers an internship for-credit program for qualified juniors and seniors. SVA students have completed internships at over 600 different companies.