Admissions

Admission to Oswego is based upon the applicant’s academic and personal qualifications and is made without regard to sex, race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation or physical disability. Oswego seeks men and women of ability and promise who have the capacity for intellectual growth and the motivation to achieve. Freshmen and transfer students who seek information on admission to the college or wish to schedule a visit to the SUNY Oswego should call the Admissions Office at 315.312.2250.

Admission to the BFA programs

If you are interested in applying to one of our BFA programs, you are encouraged to do so prior to your admission at SUNY Oswego. If you are applying or transferring into one of the four BFA degree programs (Graphic Design, Fine Art, Illustration, or Interaction Design) you are required to submit a portfolio for review by the faculty of the Department of Art and Design. In addition to this, you must submit a statement of intent, an annotated work list, an application form and copies of your transcripts.  

Written Statement

Please include a 500-1000 word written statement describing your art/design work, interest in art, and future career plans. As a professional artist, designer or educator, you will be required to write about your work, and you must be able to describe your work to a diverse clientele. Therefore, writing statements are carefully examined; grammatical and spelling mistakes are not acceptable.

First, describe one or more of your artworks in terms of its visual formal elements, including line, space, light, color, texture, design, and the other elements of composition. Secondly, carefully analyze the content of one or more of your pieces. What meaning is communicated to the viewer, and how is this achieved? Finally, compare one of your pieces to that of a well-known artist or graphic designer. When discussing your plans at Oswego, be sure to address your previous experiences in art and your long-term career goals. Such as the qualities you possess that would ensure your success.

Transcripts

Submit an unofficial copy of your academic transcripts. These may be copies given to you by your school and stamped by the transcript office of the school issuing the document. A digital copy of your transcripts must be included in the application.

Portfolio Requirements

The portfolio serves as a visual summary of your experience with art-making and/or graphic design. The Department of Art Faculty Review Committee will evaluate your portfolio.  The committee will examine your portfolio based on the following criteria:

• Perceptual Skills — ability to draw from direct observation.
• Composition — definition of space regarding foreground, middle ground, background, color, shape, etc.
• Craft — technical knowledge and skills in media as well as presentation.
• Concept — use of the formal elements of design to express your ideas.
• Critical Analysis — ability to reflect on the quality of the work and speak to its strengths, weaknesses, and intentions.

Your portfolio is submitted in a digital format. The portfolio must contain fifteen (15) examples of your best original artwork that reflects your development in the areas of Design, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture, Graphic Design, and Digital Media.  

Annotated Work List

The annotations should include name, size, medium, date, and a brief statement about the purpose of the work, such as why it was made and the intended audience. Please be thorough in describing the work. Please indicate whether or not the project was done for a class and whether or not it depicts your solutions to the problem. Explain why you made the choices that you made. Remember, we are looking for evidence you create your own imagery and proof that you have the fortitude to discipline yourself and build skills and hand-eye coordination. We want to see a balance of original work and the studies all artists do to gain skill and ability. [The annotated worklist is where you prove you have done the work and understand what that means.]

Specific to BFA—Studio Art Portfolios

If you are applying to the Studio Art program, including at least (6) pieces based on direct observation such as still life, landscape, interior spaces, portraits, and figures. We discourage work produced using magazine photo montage, stipple, airbrush, and scratchboard. Additionally, we discourage “heavy metal,” science fiction, and fantasy imagery, as well as T-shirt art.

Specific to BFA—Illustration Portfolios

If you are applying to the Studio Art, Illustration Track, include at least (6) pieces based on direct observation such as still life, landscape, interior spaces, portraits, and figures. Work produced in collage, pen & ink, colored pencil, scratchboard, or paint mediums are acceptable.

Specific to BFA—Graphic Design Portfolios

If you are applying to the Graphic Design program, including examples of design studies that illustrate your skill in positive/negative space, two-dimensional design studies, color, and drawing. When including graphic design pieces, be sure to note the source of all imagery (is it stock art or clip art?) or written content (name of author) in your annotated worklist. You should also include at least four (4) pieces based on direct observation, such as still life images, landscape, interior spaces, portraits, and figures. We discourage work that has a preponderance of computer-generated filters or step-by-step tutorials. Instead, we look for work that shows how well you can design and plan a composition with as much original imagery as possible.

Specific to BFA—Interaction Design Portoflios

If you are applying to the Interaction Design program, including examples of design studies that illustrate your skill in positive/negative space, two-dimensional design studies, color, and drawing. When including graphic or interaction design pieces, be sure to note the source of all imagery (is it stock art or clip art?) or written content (name of author) in your annotated worklist. We discourage work that has a preponderance of computer-generated filters or step-by-step tutorials. Instead, we look for work that shows how well you can design and plan a composition with as much original imagery as possible.

Submission Formats

You can use any of the following formats:
•  Website with all 15 pieces with annotations
•  Google Drive Folder with individual pieces in PDF, JPG, MP3, MP4, DOCX, RTF formats. Include your annotated work list in the PDF
•  Website with all 15 pieces. Include your annotated work list in the PDF

Application Submission

Apply by submitting the BFA application formYou must be signed into an email account to access the form. This email account will be collected and used to contact you.


Admission to the BA programs

Students admitted to Oswego qualify for acceptance into one of the five BA degree program tracks: no additional application processes are required.  Students will choose from Studio Art, Graphic Design, Art History, Illustration, or Interaction Design.  All first-year students and transfer students are enrolled in courses designed to help them address their development as artists and designers, including exploring the benefits of a BFA degree versus a BA degree. Academic mentors and advisors can assist students through this process.

Specific to Transfer Students — All transfer students should keep in mind that no more than 27 hours of Studio Art/Graphic Design credit may be transferred into the BA program and no more than 40 hours of studio art, graphic design, or art history credit may be transferred into the BFA program

Typical Questions:

Why would I want to apply to the BFA program?

The BFA degree is a specialized degree for which students take a large number of courses in their discipline (Graphic Design or Studio Art). It allows for advanced training in these areas and is often the choice of students who wish to enroll in a graduate program. SUNY Oswego requires the BFA degree of students who wish to apply to our Masters in Arts Teaching degree (MAT).

Why do I have to submit a portfolio to gain acceptance to the BFA program?

Due to the large demand for the BFA program we can only accept a limited number of students. Only the students that show a high level of artistic and academic skill are accepted to this program. This selection process allows us to control both the number and quality of students that gain admittance to this degree. It is a highly competitive process and should only be undertaken by students who have a true passion for and skill in their discipline; not all students who apply to the BFA program are accepted.

What do I do if I get rejected from the BFA program?

First of all, do not panic; this does not mean you are a bad artist or designer. The BFA is an extremely competitive program and many of the people who apply are not accepted the first time they apply. You can apply a second time if you want to do so. Contact your faculty advisor or mentor and ask them to assist you in the preparation of your portfolio. Make sure they know you were rejected, this way they can help you scrutinize for weaknesses in your application. 

What if I wanted to pursue a Masters in Art Teaching degree, do I need a BFA degree?

Yes. SUNY Oswego is one of the few schools that requires students who wish to enroll in our MAT program in Art Education to have their BFA degree in a visual art discipline.