Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that we receive here in the Admissions Office regarding portfolios. Hopefully these will help you if you have any concerns. If not, just drop us a line, at, where we will be happy to get back to you with any answers you need.

Do all programmes at NCAD require a portfolio submission?

A portfolio submission is required for all studio-based degrees at NCAD. A portfolio is NOT required for AD215 Visual Culture. Back to top

What will I put in my portfolio?

An entrance portfolio is a collection of visual work that shows your potential to study art and design at third level. The NCAD Portfolio Guide is designed to help you put your portfolio together whether you are starting from scratch or using work you have developed in another context. We want to see your Research and Observation your Ideas Development and your Developed Creative Work. You should also include at least one Notebook, remember the best portfolios will show all your processes. Back to top

How closely do I have to follow the NCAD Portfolio Guide?

The Portfolio Guide is designed to help you get started on your portfolio. You are not required to adhere to the guide or to incorporate the guide words. We encourage you to build your portfolio your way. Back to top

How should I submit my portfolio?

Online through our Portfolio Submission Platform. Detailed instructions on how to submit your portfolio online will be made available through the NCAD web site when the Portfolio Submission Platform opens in November. Back to top

When should I submit my portfolio to NCAD?

The deadline for Portfolio submission for First Year entry in September 2023 is Friday 10th February. We suggest that you give yourself lots of time. Remember, you're asked to make a submission for each course you are applying for so uploading multiple submission may take longer than you think. You should not leave your portfolio submission to the last day as NCAD staff may not be available to help you with any questions that may pop up. Back to top

How many files can I upload?

We ask for 10-15 files as part of your portfolio. The maximum is 20; you will not be able to upload any more than that. Back to top

What file types do you accept?

The platform will accept images, videos and pdf documents. 

  • Images can be jpeg / jpg / png / tif / tiff / gif
  • Videos can be avi / m4v / mov / mp4 Back to top

What is the maximum file size?

Each file can be no larger than 20mb. Back to top

Can I upload files that are larger than 20mb?

We can allow for videos that are larger than 20mb. All other file types should be no larger than 20mb. 

To include larger videos, you will need to first upload them to YouTube or Vimeo and post the link into the platform. The platform provides instructions on how to do this. 

It is very important that you make sure your YouTube or Vimeo videos are set to Public or Unlisted. Videos on YouTube or Vimeo that are private will not be accessible to NCAD staff and this material will not be reviewed. Back to top

I accidentally left YouTube or Vimeo Videos on private. Can they still be reviewed?

We suggest that you change the privacy settings on the video. If your portfolio has already been reviewed then the material will not have been included. Back to top

How will my portfolio be reviewed?

Your portfolio will be reviewed by a team of NCAD academic staff with professional and specialist expertise in art & design. The review panel are particularly interested in how applicants research and develop their ideas in a visual way, and in their imaginative and creative responses to ideas, to observations, to processes and to concepts.

The main criteria for review are:

  • Creative Enquiry and Visual Research- The level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
  • Idea Development and Material/Technical Exploration- Your ability to explore and develop ideas in an appropriate way, and your level of skill in the use of materials and techniques.
  • Critical Judgement, Selection and Resolution- How well you judge which ideas have the most potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome. Back to top

Can I request an extension on the deadline for Portfolio Submission?

It is not possible to have an extension on the submission deadline – all portfolios must be submitted by the published closing date. Back to top

When will I be told the outcome of my portfolio assessment?

We will write to you in mind-April with the result of your portfolio review. 

Offers are made in August by the CAO. All applicants are placed on a ranked list based on portfolio score. Offers are made in descending order from this list to applicants who have met the minimum academic entry requirements.

International applicants are notified of an offer directly by NCAD. Back to top

Can I appeal my score?

No. The score you are issued is the final score and there is no appeals process. Back to top

Can I carry my Portfolio Score forward to the next year?

We recognise that our applicants put a lot of work into the preparation of their admissions portfolios. If you have passed the portfolio review stage but not received an official offer from the CAO, NCAD will allow you to carry forward your portfolio score to the application process the following year.

Once you have told us you wish to carry forward your portfolio score and you have given us your new CAO number you will be eligible for an offer based on your original portfolio score and subject to the normal entry requirements and any portfolio cut off points in the year that you are now applying into. 

An example of where a Portfolio Carry Forward might apply is when an applicant fails to meet the minimum academic entry requirements in the first year of application. Back to top


Download this information in Word format

To find out more about preparing your portfolio for NCAD, visit our Portfolio site here.

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