Undergraduate Admissions: Art

In addition to the university's general requirements, B.F.A. applicants are required to submit a portfolio online via Cornell AAP SlideRoom.  The Art Department at Cornell is a school for the artist scholar and scholar artist. We offer the same rigor you would find in an art school within the context of a world-class research institution. Students are expected to inform their art through one of the widest selections of fields of study. The visual arts evolve through the fusion and synthesis of different forms and content. Different forms stem from different cultural traditions, and the diversity of content stems from a multitude of lived experiences. The Art Department seeks to bring together a cohort of students that reflects a dynamic and diverse cultural environment. Thus, students and faculty engage and contribute together in this process of cross-pollination and fusion. 

Art is aesthetic, not anesthetic. Be curious, think critically, solve problems creatively, and do it all within your means.  

We value and are looking for one or more of these:

  • Form: A language informed by your culture or sub-culture
  • Content: A creative voice informed by your experiences
  • Drive: Self-initiated and pro-active
  • Rigor: You search for the form that resonates with your content / you search for the content that resonates with your form
  • Empathy: The world through your voice
  • Passion: You create because you care

Portfolio Requirements

Applicants must submit their portfolios online at Cornell AAP SlideRoom. The portfolio should consist of high-quality images of 14 pieces of work plus 6 works in response to the AAP prompts below. The media of the work represented is optional, but it is to the advantage of the applicant to include work representing several of (but not necessarily limited to) the following media: drawing, digital media, painting, photography, print media, and sculpture/installation. Applicants should choose those media that best reflect their highest level of conceptual and technical development. While there is no requirement that any particular subject or style of work be included in the portfolio, the faculty admissions committee would like to see a selection of work that has been made both independently and in school, and that reflects the applicant's creative interests at this point. 

AAP Prompts:

1. UNIFORM. Design a uniform that defines you. This could be a garment that liberates you, supports your creative practice, or signals what matters to your work. Present a design for a wearable garment.

2. LOST AND FOUND. Interview a person of your choice about an object they have lost that they wish they could get back. Use your skills to re-interpret the object and then give the object to the person you interviewed. It is up to you how you want to share this process with us: a photo, video, drawing, movement, etc. 

3. TIME AND PLACE: For a week, take a few minutes to document either a sunrise or sunset and create artwork from the experience. You are encouraged to choose a format and medium that resonates with you. What does the sunrise or sunset mean or look like in your life?

4. SCALE AND SIZE 1. What would you like to make if you had unlimited financial resources? Describe the project in detail. Now, tell us how you would realize that idea with only $50. Like all the other prompt responses, this should display imagination rather than a labored finished work. Don't overdo it! 

5. SCALE AND SIZE 2. Create a monumental gesture that fits in your pocket. 

6. THE EVERYDAY: Elevate one of your daily rituals into a work of art.

Acceptable file formats include image files (JPG, PNG, GIF) and video files (MOV, MWV, FLV, MP4). Portfolios will be added to all other admissions materials for review by the Department of Art admissions committee. Do not send CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, videos, cassettes, slides, or notebooks of photos. Do not send original works of art by mail.

The Department of Art admissions committee will not begin to consider an application until all requirements, including a portfolio, have been submitted.

Transfer Applicants

  • External transfer application deadline: March 15
  • Portfolio deadline: March 1

Students considering a transfer into the B.F.A. program should be aware that, if admitted, a transfer credit evaluation will take place. This process requires syllabi from any classes for which an admitted student seeks credit, as well as a portfolio of work for any studio classes. Applicants should prepare these materials in advance so they can be submitted promptly if an offer of admission is made. Admitted transfer students will have two weeks from the date of admission to submit all transfer credit materials. AAP will not accept transfer credit materials before an offer of admission is made.

  • Internal transfer application deadline: December 1 (spring) and May 1 (fall)

Internal transfer is an option for current Cornell students who wish to transfer between colleges at Cornell. It is also an option for current AAP students who wish to transfer into a different AAP program.

Students interested in transferring into an AAP program must follow a college-specific internal transfer application process. All questions regarding the process for transferring can be emailed to the Office of Admissions at aap-admissions@cornell.edu.

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