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Submitting a Portfolio

The deadline for your portfolio to be submitted to the Ruskin for entry in 2019 has now passed.  Please check this page for updates about how to submit your portfolio in 2019 for entry in 2020. The submission of your portfolio forms the second part of your application to study Fine Art. Please note that no application can be processed without both your UCAS submission and your portfolio; these two parts ensure your application is valid. 

Your Portfolio

The Ruskin will only accept one portfolio per applicant. The portfolio may be submitted in either physical or digital format. International applicants and those living at some distance from Oxford may prefer the digital option.  

Applicants are expected to be selective about the work they wish to present. Your portfolio should contain up to 20 pieces of work (including sketchbooks and notebooks which each count as one work).  If you are submitting film, please ensure each submission runs for a maximum of 3-4 mins. For three-dimensional or site-specific work (or anything that exceeds the size/weight limit), please provide a photograph or other documentation in place of original work. 

If you are submitting a physical portfolio, it must be no larger than A1 size, and should not weigh more than 10kg. No additional packages, tubes, large works or parcels will be accepted beyond this stated allowance.  Please ensure that you put your name on each piece of work that you submit within your portfolio, including each sketchbook. 

Portfolios presented as digital content, including images of original work, and any links to external internet-based work, must be provided in a physical media - i.e. you should send a USB stick or a DVD/CD to the Ruskin. 

If you wish to add a narrative of the submitted work in your portfolio, simply include an A4 sheet (or text document on digital submissions) lisiting the works (title, medium, size etc).  There is no formal requirement to do this but you are welcome to name your works or include a short description.

Digital submissions should be in one of the following formats and readable on Apple Mac Systems:
• QuickTime format for video. • TIFF or JPEG format for still images. • GIF files. • YouTube and Vimeo links are also accepted, as are links to internet-based work. 

It is preferred that content on a DVD is burnt as data rather than as a stand-alone DVD.  

If you are submitting internet-based work (eg videos on YouTube), you should include a text document on the USB stick listing all external internet work and providing live links.

Each film submission should only run for 3 - 4 mins, in order that you can present a variety of your work.  

Please note that these terms are relevant for all applicants, national and international

During the process of reviewing portfolios, tutors look for work that goes beyond the mere fulfilment of school curricula.  We search for highly motivated activity, over and above any school project-based work, and for a breadth of engagement, a sense of purpose and strength of opinion in the way the portfolio is edited. It is important for us is to be able to discover a sense of the temperament underlying the work, and to sense the deeper interests that inform the portfolio.  We are not interested in finding a particular formula or a specific style, but in signs of energy, ambition, critical reflection and creativity. Your portfolio should show that you have:

•    An independent and creative mind

•    An ability to go beyond the requirements of the school curriculum

•    Strong motivation

•    Visual curiosity and imagination

•    An informed awareness of contemporary art

Approximately 50 applicants are invited for interview on the strength of their portfolio.


Portfolio delivery

It is each applicant’s responsibility to deliver and arrange collection of their portfolio and to meet all associated costs.

NB - applicants sending portfolios from overseas should ensure that they state on the Airway Bill that the item has no value; if a value is given, the package will be subject to Customs duties, which are charged to the Ruskin on delivery: the Ruskin cannot be liable for these charges, and may not be able to accept the package.

Portfolios should be delivered to:

The Ruskin School of Art, 74 High Street Oxford, OX1 4BG.  Deliveries can be accepted between Mondays and Fridays from 9.30 am – 8.30 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9.30am – 12 noon.

When arranging delivery of your portfolio, it is extremely important to ensure that your work is securely packaged.   Please note that the University uses the work you submit to the extent necessary for the conduct of the admission process. The University is not in a position to verify the contents of portfolios, or to make any special arrangements for care, custody or return. The University cannot therefore accept responsibility for any loss or damage.

Please also remember that it is your responsibility to clarify with courier companies the importance of delivering your work by the deadline and to meet all the associated payments. The delivery and return of a portfolio remains entirely a candidate’s responsibility.


Portfolio collection

The colleges will advise you in November if you have been shortlisted for interview.

The Ruskin normally retains the portfolios of those applicants who have been shortlisted until the interview date in early December. Portfolios can then be taken away once the interview process is completed.

If you are not shortlisted, you should arrange to collect your portfolio from the Ruskin. Portfolios can be collected during normal office hours. Please ensure your portfolio is collected by 5pm on Friday 14 December. 

If you need your portfolio for other purposes before receiving notification of the progress of your application, you can collect it, and, if invited, bring it back for your interview.  Please ensure that you contact the Ruskin office in advance to make arrangements to collect your portfolio:

We recommend a local courier service, for assistance in the delivery and collection of your work: Mail Boxes Etc at 94 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9FN. Telephone: 01865 741729.    Email: 

N.B.  It is important that the courier company you book to collect your portfolio has your name, i.e., the name that is on the submitted portfolio, so that they know whose work to collect. In the past, companies have arrived with only a delivery address (which may be different to the address you provided on your UCAS form). We cannot release portfolios without the courier company providing a name.