All our accredited courses require a portfolio to be submitted as part of your application to study with us at West Dean. If you want to find out more about the application process, please visit our admissions page.

Interior design

The content of the portfolio will vary depending on the applicant’s background. The portfolio is reviewed holistically alongside the application, and we have received a broad range of work in the past.  

Some of the things we look for:  

  • General design skills, including the graphic presentation of the portfolio  
  • Any sketching or drawing skills  
  • Any physical modelling  
  • Evidence of technical drawing (i.e. plan drawings, section drawings, and/or elevation drawings)
  • Any digital renderings or visuals  
  • Plus, any relevant information that demonstrates creativity

If you do not come from an interior design, architecture, or other spatial design background, it would be worth thinking about your creative work and how it applies to interior design.  

If your skills and experience are more in line with design and creative industries and you are not as confident in technical drawing, it might be worth having a look at one of our technical drawing short courses to help with your portfolio.

See all interior design courses

FdA Courses

There is no single layout or correct portfolio to aim for, it’s about showing us who you are and your passion for the subject, even if you haven’t studied it before.

Here are some things to consider when putting together your portfolio:

  • Firstly, decide what projects you would like to include; it’s useful to see a variety of your works so that we have a greater idea of where your skills are.
  • It’s great to see finished pieces, but progress photos and evidence of exploration and experimentation will show us your ability to develop an idea from concept and to challenge yourself.
  • It is always good to include photos and videos of you working on the practical aspect so we can see your hand-skills.
  • Show us who you are - we want to get to know your style, your inspirations and what your aspirations are.
  • We’re happy to see work from previous courses, work experience and personal projects outside of education.
  • If you have no prior experience related to the subject area, use your portfolio to show us what interests you about the subject.

You could choose to present your works and experiments in a portrait or landscape format, but it’s preferrable if you keep the format consistent throughout. When photographing your work or sketchbooks, try and do so in good natural light and against a plain background.

Try not to worry if you cannot provide a portfolio - the College will provide a practical exercise that can be completed remotely to assess mental agility and dexterity and suitability for the programme.

See all FdA courses
Fine Art portfolio information for West Dean

Fine Art and BA Art & Contemporary Craft

Your portfolio should consist of an initial 10 images to support your application. We’d advise selecting carefully to avoid repetition – consider which aspect of your work each image would prompt discussion.

Include your version of sketchbooks and journals to show the thought process behind your work. Ensure documentation is high quality. The idea is to cover past experience, present knowledge, and future potential.

Be prepared to speak about the following aspects at interview in relation to your portfolio:

  • Practical – materials and methods
  • Theoretical – ideas, art theory
  • Professional – context of galleries, artists, etc.
See all Fine Art courses
Art student at West Dean


Up to 30 pieces of artwork produced through attending local classes, courses and self-directed/taught. Show the breadth of your creative experience.

Include preparatory work – sketchbooks such as experiments and samples with media, drawings for personal interests or designs for artwork.

See all Art, Design & Contemporary Craft courses

Creative Writing

Graduate Diploma

Your portfolio should be a presentation of a sample of creative writing that you have completed within the last two years.


Applicants should submit a portfolio consisting of 3000 words of prose fiction, demonstrating a commitment to writing. The portfolio should show evidence of current practical work and related development and an appropriate level of engagement with current debates in the publishing industry.

See all Creative Writing courses

Conservation Studies

Graduate Diploma

When putting together your portfolio for the Graduate Diploma Conservation Studies in any discipline, we recommend including:  

  • Evidence of manual dexterity and focus  
  • Experience of working with your hands, and ideally related to conservation   
  • Evidence of interest and any experience in cultural heritage, a conservation studio, museum etc.

As part of the application process, you will also be set a practical test.  


Portfolios for the MA Conservation Studies should include detailed evidence of conservation experience, such as treatment reports.

See all Conservation courses