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Art & Design Scholarships

The School of Art & Design awards over $100,000 in scholarships each year. New and returning UNC students may submit a portfolio through the UNC Universal Scholarship Application to be considered for one of these talent-based scholarships. Art scholarships are only available to students majoring in Art & Design.

Scholarship Application Guidelines

To be considered for an Art & Design scholarship, you must submit a PDF portfolio containing five examples of your artwork.

Fall 2022 Scholarship Deadlines
  • Priority Deadline: February 1, 2022
  • Final Deadline: March 15th, 2022
How to Apply

Submit a PDF portfolio through UNC’s Universal Scholarship Application. If you have been admitted to UNC, you may access the application beginning November 1 by logging into your Ursa account and clicking on the “Financial” tab. You must be admitted to UNC to access the Universal Scholarship Application.

Portfolio Requirements

Include the following materials in a single PDF document:

  • Cover Page
    • First and last name
  • List and descriptions of artwork
    • Title of each work
    • Media used
    • Description of each piece (50 words or less)
  • Images of artwork
    • Include five different pieces
    • One piece per page
    • Include only one image of each piece
  • Statement of Educational Goals
    • Between 250 and 500 words


  • Do not use special characters (-_+=?!.,) in your file name – only letters and numbers.
  • Scan/photograph flatwork (drawings, paintings, etc.) to fill the digital image completely. Do not include a border, matte, or frame.
  • We strongly encourage incoming first-year students to include work in a variety of media.
  • If you are submitting video, animation, or other time-based work, please include a web link in your PDF.
  • If you have an online portfolio or professional website, you may include a link on your cover page.

Portfolio Templates

You are welcome, but not required, to use one of our templates to create your scholarship portfolio. If you choose to use a template, you may modify it as you see fit.

Creating a PDF

There are several ways to create a PDF file. You are welcome to use whatever software you prefer, as long as the final product is saved as a PDF.

PDF Tutorials:
Online PDF Converters

A variety of online PDF converters are available for free. Many of these converters will allow you to upload a file (such as an image, PowerPoint, or html file) and convert it to a PDF automatically. Be careful that you are using a reputable and safe file conversion service if you choose to find one online. We do not recommend any particular site or service.

Tips for Documenting Your Portfolio

  • Photograph your work on a large smooth neutral solid-colored background (gray or beige) without distracting textures.
  • Do not shoot your artwork on a pure white or black background (the dramatically light or dark color of the background will interfere with your camera’s internal metering system and produce an under- or over-exposed image).
  • Shoot your work so that it is perpendicular to the camera lens. Otherwise, the lens will create unusual distortions.
  • When shooting two-dimensional pieces, it may be easier to lay your work on the ground and position yourself above the work. Using a ladder or tripod may help you position yourself high enough to avoid cropping any of the artwork. Large work may need to be propped up on a support and shot straight on.
  • When shooting three-dimensional work, make sure to position the work carefully for the most descriptive point of view. This may require positioning yourself above or below the work, or shooting an additional view from a different vantage point.
  • Shoot tightly, emphasizing the piece you are shooting. Pay attention to everything in your frame. Do not include mattes, frames or distracting background elements.
  • Do not shoot any framed artwork under glass. The camera will capture distracting highlights and reflections in the glass.
  • Shoot your work outdoors, preferably on an overcast day. Do not shoot in a bright sunny location. The sunlight will create extreme highlights and distracting shadows. If you cannot shoot on an overcast day, then place your work on the north side of a building, again to avoid extreme lighting.
  • If your camera has manual controls, you should “bracket” your exposures, meaning you should shoot at the camera’s suggested meter reading as well as shooting two additional frames, one under and one over the suggested meter reading. For example, if your automatic setting records the piece at f/11, shoot another at f/16 and another at f/8.
  • Ask your art teacher for assistance if you are unsure about capturing good quality images for your portfolio.

Additional Financial Aid and Scholarships

Talent scholarships are offered in addition to UNC financial aid and scholarships based on merit, need, and other factors. More information about UNC's financial aid opportunities for future students can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

WUE allows students who hold residency in a participating state to pay tuition at a maximum of 150% the resident tuition rate, a savings of over $6,000 per year!

Learn More

Ready to get started?

If you have not yet applied for admission to UNC, you can start your application at unco.edu/apply. You must be admitted to UNC in order to access the scholarship application.