Sophomore Portfolio Review

In order to take upper division courses in graphic design at PSU, all students are required to meet all prerequisite requirements. This includes both those courses which are listed as prerequisites of the BA/BS degree or the BFA degree and the Sophomore Portfolio Review (SPR) itself. If students have not passed the Review, then regardless of experience or class standing they are not qualified to take 300- or 400-level courses. Transfer students who are ready to begin third and fourth year requirements must also pass the Portfolio Review. The purpose of this Review is to ensure that students are learning skills required for successful completion of the program.

The Sophomore Portfolio Review is based primarily on creative performance. Supporting documentation such as a the writing sample, contextual statements, and process notebook contribute to the evaluation as secondary elements. The focus of the Review is on the totality of the projects presented, with emphasis placed on the ability to demonstrate the expertise needed to be successful in upper-division courses.

The Sophomore Portfolio Review is a milestone for all students in Graphic Design. Regardless of the outcome, there are several pathways available to students.


The Sophomore Portfolio Review 2019 handbook outlines the guidelines for participating in this year’s Review, and includes evaluation criteria, intended outcomes, frequently asked questions, and a checklist of required pieces and other portfolio components. Review all requirements carefully as some have changed from previous editions.

Reading through the handbook is critical to success, and it is suggested that you both read through thoroughly before beginning your portfolio and refer back to it frequently when making decisions or determining what to include.

Download the 2019 Handbook →

2019 Important Dates & Deadlines


Monday, June 10, 2019
AB 320

No late submissions will be accepted. Notices will be posted around the Art Building/Annex, on, and in the weekly newsletter.

You will need to both register for the review online and physically drop off your own portfolio. The following week, your score will be sent electronically, and you will be given instructions for when and where to pick up your portfolio.


Thursday, Jan 31 at 1PM in AB 320
Wednesday, Feb 13 at 1PM in AB Annex 160
Thursday, Apr 11 at 1PM in AB 320

Three Information Sessions are held prior to the Review to discuss the Review process. All students expecting to participate in the Review must attend one of these sessions. These sessions give a thorough overview of what is to be expected, an opportunity to see examples of past portfolios, and info about accessing help from a variety of resources.

Please arrive on time with materials ready for taking notes. There will be time at the end of the presentation for asking whatever questions you may have. Before attending an Information Session, note that it is in your best interest to read the SPR 2019 Booklet.

Attendance of one of the information sessions is a requirement for participating in the 2019 Sophomore Portfolio Review (but you only need to come to one of the three sessions).


Prior to physically dropping off your portfolio at the date and time specified above, you’ll need to register for the review online. Registration is relatively quick and ensures faculty know you’re on your way to drop off a portfolio.

Register for the Review →



We’ve been there too! No sleep, constant anxiety, feeling like you are living an endless loop of critiques and revisions. The Sophomore Portfolio Review is probably one of the most stressful times of a design student’s life. But you don’t have to face it along (and you shouldn’t have to). The PSUGD Mentorship program is here to help! Mentorship is a program that pairs Juniors & Seniors who have passed the Review with Sophomores who are wanting help and insight into how to better their Portfolio.

Learn more about mentorship →


In prior years, students successfully organized a number of critique groups to help themselves develop their portfolios and get to know their peers. Some groups may already be out there, but if you can’t find one, start one! Have a group already that you want other students to know about? Email Sean Schumacher and he can add it below.


Full time faculty in PSUGD have advising hours each term and are happy to help give feedback on portfolio pieces and ensure you have all necessary classes to take the Review. Check the School of Art+Design’s “Book an Advising Appointment” page for office hours and to schedule an appointment. Walk-in hours are also available.


For recommendations on where to get supplies or printing done, go to our general resources page.



Don’t feel like you even know what a portfolio looks like… or is? Let Flaunt help! Flaunt, edited by Byrony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit (of Brand New and other UnderConsideration blogs), curates a fantastic selection of high-quality, professional-grade graphic design portfolios. It’s a great way to see what “effective, compelling, and memorable portfolios of creative work” look like.

Grab a copy of Flaunt, in print or e-book form, from their website!


For a tutorial on photographing your work, check out Briar Levit’s fantastic online guide to help you do exactly that booklet. Prefer a PDF instead of an online booklet? You can download your own here.