Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:

Crafting a Quality Portfolio

What makes a good portfolio?

Landscape architecture candidates can be required to submit a portfolio, which exhibits the candidate’s experience, talents, skills, creativity and interest in landscape architecture.

Content: What is included in a portfolio?

The portfolio may include anything which demonstrates the candidate’s creative potential as a landscape architecture student.  It can include examples of design, drawing and construction, as well as fine arts and crafts.  We require the submission to be in digital format and it may include drawings, sketches, paintings, or photography; and photographs of models, ceramics, sculpture, woodworkings, crafts, etc.  It may also include non-visual media such as writing and music. Submit only materials that most effectively express your potential for creative expression.

Evaluation: What makes a portfolio strong?

  • Variety: An effective portfolio demonstrates a variety of interests, abilities and skills.  A portfolio that is well rounded, with a diversity of media and project types is stronger than one which is dominated by just one type of work.  Try to achieve a balance.
  • Quantity: We will review ten to twelve works. Fewer examples of work will not provide an accurate view of your experience and skills. However, do not “pad” the portfolio with more than twelve items, we will not review additional works. Select only your best examples of creative expression.
  • An Interest in Landscape Architecture: Your work should demonstrate an interest in the natural and built environment. An entire portfolio of skillful portraits does not necessarily reflect your interests and desire to study landscape architecture.
  • Organization and Order: Make sure the portfolio possesses a clear organization in which projects are thoughtfully grouped and arranged thematically. Give special attention to the sequence of the work.
  • Clarity, Neatness and Effective Presentation: Your potential as a landscape architecture student will be shown through the care with which the portfolio is assembled and presented. Attention should be paid to the design and composition of the portfolio itself.
  • Good Photographs and Reproductions: Quality work is often handicapped by poor reproductions, which make the projects difficult to see, appreciate and evaluate. Insure that your work is clearly and accurately represented. Try not to compromise your efforts with poor lighting, fuzzy focus or extraneous images in the background.

Procedure and Schedule: What is the deadline and when will I know the results?

  • Portfolios will be received in the Department of Landscape Architecture between January 1 and February 15 each year.
    The portfolios will be evaluated the Graduate Committee from the Department of Landscape Architecture.
  • The quality of the portfolio and essays will be the main determinant in the decision; however, space available in the program will determine the actual number of students who will be offered admission.
  • Students who have submitted portfolios and have been accepted into the program will be notified of the decision in writing no later than April 1.
  • Students who are accepted will enter the program in the following Fall.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions regarding the portfolio submission, please feel free to contact the Department of Landscape Architecture at 814-865-9511. We look forward to seeing your work. Good Luck!