Design Portfolio Guidance

When you apply for our one-year Masters courses you will need to submit a portfolio. This is your chance to demonstrate your design skills.


Your portfolio should include samples of work from previous or current education and employment. You can also add any other artistic or written work where appropriate. It should reflect the scope and variety of your training and experience with particular emphasis on your personal interests as well as your skills. A distinctive, original approach, or work that shows a clear insight into a subject matter will stand out. We welcome professional and cultural diversity and endeavour to treat every applicant on their individual merits.

Contents of portfolio

Please include: 

  • Examples of your design and creative work or work from related fields
  • 3-5 projects you have worked on
  • At least one single authored project
  • Your final or most recent project

Your portfolio can contain: 

  • Design or planning projects
    • Concept sketches and/or diagrams, showing development of ideas, approaches, methods and how you organise your ideas
    • Finished drawings of original design or planning work
    • A written explanation of the problem, the goals and objectives of the project, overall concept, how the solution was reached
  • Research projects or publications
    • Extract of the material which gives a good impression of the overall project including the problem, the method and findings
    • Summary explanation of the objectives, findings and conclusions of the work

Whenever a project has been completed within a team please indicate your role and responsibilities.

Supporting information

For each project define:

  • Name and location of the project
  • Academic or professional
  • Individual or group work
  • Your role in the process and exact contribution to the project
  • Year/semester of your study in which the project was carried out
  • Date when the project was carried out
  • Name and e-mail address of the supervisor of the project

Size and structure

Structure your portfolio with a clear sequence of pages and include a contents page, information sheets for every project, and explanatory text to give context. The portfolio cover should include your full name and contact information.

  • Do not exceed 20 MB
  • No larger than A4 and a maximum of 20 pages
  • No more than five pages per project
  • PDF format
  • Do not use the booklet format (ie: showing two pages per screen)
  • Landscape layout suits our requirements best

"My Street" assignment

As a further test of your critical, representational and observational skills, we ask that you submit a piece of work (one page only) that illustrates an aspect of the street/road/lane that you live on. This can be in any medium and should be accompanied by a short text of around 250 words.
This should be the last page of your portfolio.

We are interested in your creative work and critical thinking abilities as well as your passion and understanding of the programme you are applying for. Thus, it is important that through critical thinking, you connect your creative piece with the feel of the programme you are applying for. For example, a straightforward sketch of the house opposite yours may show how well you can sketch, but it will not necessarily demonstrate your ability to look beyond what is immediately apparent. You do not have to live in an area of particular architectural significance, in fact looking below the surface of what you consider to be an ‘ordinary street’ may create more interesting pieces of work. You may highlight aspects that work well or emphasise the parts that you wish to criticise. You may use pockets of text, as annotation to communicate your ideas or to write a paragraph (limited to 250 words) describing your critical thinking. This text is expected to be imaginative, insightful and expressive, and not purely descriptive. We are much more interested in your critical approach to your piece of work and not the techniques that you have used to make it. 

Some examples are as follows: 

  • MA in Architecture Design: We are currently working on the theme of ‘Precarities’ and would like to invite you to link your illustration and text to that theme, in whichever way you wish to approach it. 
  • MA in Urban Design: A critical reflection on the street in relation to a chosen topic or theme focusing on urban issues. For example the work could focus on your street and the city, street and infrastructure, street and social life, and more.
  • MSc in Sustainable Architecture Design: A critical view of the lack or the potential sustainable approach/es to a street, community, building or the needs of the neighbours/occupants.
Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.