Prospective GSD M.ARCH I: New Online Portfolio Submission (or any other online) discussion


To all prospective students who are applying to GSD M.ARCH I :

It doesn't look like they are accepting physical copies of your portfolio. They are doing online submissions now, which more info can be found in this link (along with other admission requirements),

But for point of this thread, here is the direct quote from the link above:


Applicants to degree programs other than the Master in
Urban Planning program must submit a portfolio that
includes their most important and representative design
and research work. Master in Urban Planning applicants
do not need to submit a portfolio. The portfolio for Master
in Design Studies and Doctor of Design applicants should
consist of scholarly, academic, and/or professional
work and may or may not include visual material, at the
discretion of the applicant, and as related to the proposed
All portfolios must be submitted online via SlideRoom
at  There will be a $12
submission fee paid directly to Slideroom.  Portfolios
should be formatted as follows:
•  PDF files only – no separate JPG, TIFF, or PPT files.
•  Portfolios may be composed of up to eight separate
PDFs, 20MB maximum per PDF. Total pages
submitted may not exceed thirty (30); these pages
may be organized in a single fi le (i.e., one 30-page
PDF of 20MB or smaller) or divided into smaller
sections (i.e., several PDFs whose combined page
count is 30 pages or less).
•  Portfolios will be viewed by the Committee on
a typical computer screen, so please format
accordingly. Recommended sizes for page layouts are
12” x 18” or A3.
•  A maximum resolution of 150 dpi is recommended for
all images appearing in the portfolio (or for the whole
PDF fi le).  RGB is the recommended format for color
management on computer monitors.
•  When importing line drawings into PDF format, please
check that line weights are properly reproduced or
•  Text fonts should be legible when portfolio pages are
viewed full-screen on a 15” monitor.
•  Applicants have the option of submitting one video 
as a supplement to the PDF portfolio.  Videos should
be in MOV or WMV format and no more than 60
seconds in length. Videos should be sized for 640 x
480 px.  In exceptional cases where video has been a
primary focus of an applicant’s previous design work,
up to three video fi les may be submitted


I have some couple rants and questions:

1. 30 pages???????? so let me get this straight - the limit of the portfolio is only 30 pages? 

2. The recommended sizing is 12" x18"; is anyone following this or doing another size? this is somewhat unexpected as I started doing my portfolio months ahead without checking the website and I have been working on a 6.25 x 10.25 comic book layout in Illustrator. Wondering if I should submit what I have been working on or rework the layouts into the recommended sizing.

3. How do I make sure line weights import to .PDF correctly? 

4. kinda wish we can submit hard copies. I might send them an email to ask if I can still send one. 

Oct 9, 11 5:48 pm

That must have JUST changed because a few weeks ago when I first looked I was so excited that they accepted hard copies.  Now I am just incredibly disappointed and angry. 

I emailed them asking if I could also submit a hard copy but I expect the answer to be "no."

Oct 9, 11 6:09 pm

I just sent them an email as well. I was so eager to print a hard copy because i was very optimistic of its final production. I will comply with the online submission as long as I am able to send a hard copy as well.

I do not to want exclude or reduce any of my projects as I have feel it will loose my application as a whole. I really hope they will grant this request.

Oct 9, 11 6:29 pm

It's been changed for a while now (I remember seeing it as early as August). I noted on the commiserate 2012 thread that nobody seemed to be talking about it. qtip's reply led me to believe others knew and didn't really have much to say about it (we have a discussion on issues with the new format there too).

Anyway, a few points:

I'm assuming the 12 x 18" format is meant to be a landscape orientation. It's wide enough for most people with portrait oriented portfolios to adapt their spreads. The inches specification is probably a reference to aspect ratio since they'll be viewing the portfolios on a 15" monitor.

If you look at the 30 page limit as a 30 spread limit, it should be more than enough. Long portfolios tend to grow tedious after the first 50-60 pages or so. You don't want a reviewer flipping through quickly just to get to the end. If your portfolio is really that long, it could be taken as a sign that you aren't critically curating your work.

As far as reproducing line weights, I recommend that you rasterize your line drawings. If they view them in Acrobat (and most likely will have the enhance thin lines option on) your line weights will not display properly as vectors. Vectors only really matter when printing anyway. I actually intend to rasterize entire pages in Illustrator, making each page 1-2MB for easier uploading.

Also, if your drawings are so intricate or if you just have lots of vector line work, that they slow your computer down in any way, like if InDesign lags in high quality display performance, it will probably lag on whatever computer they'll be using. We don't know how powerful their viewing computer is so it's best to minimize the processing power required to load the portfolio. Rasterizing your drawings (at high quality settings, of course) would avert this potential problem.

Oct 9, 11 9:21 pm

UC Berkeley has an online portfolio requirement as well.

Only their maximum page requirement is only 12 pages.  Is this normal? 12 pages seems exceptionally small, especially in comparison to GSD's 30 page limit.  Does anyone have experience in applying to Berkeley's program? Is there a format requirement similar to GSD's 12x18? I haven't been able to find much information on their submission process aside from the link I've included.

Oct 10, 11 6:58 pm

^ thanks for including Berkeley's link. Since they say it's only 12 pages but doesn't specify the size like GSD, should we say that 12x18 is a safe size to go with online submission?

I have to say 12 is really, really, really small but I think if we put them in 24" x 34" X) boards we should be able to fit 2-3 projects for each page.

Oct 10, 11 7:47 pm

@batman The GSD's old, hard-copy limit was 40 pages; assuming you export spreads (@10.25"x12.5") you now actually get 60 pages.  If you need more than that you haven't edited enough.

All the old portfolio advice still holds: the reviewers are going to skim through these pretty quickly so 1) don't assume they will be willing to zoom and pan through oversized pages with miniscule images 2) present a clear organization (don't squeeze a lot of projects onto one page) 3) look through your .pdf at full screen before submitting to make sure your images and text are legibly scaled.

Oct 13, 11 6:47 am

I'm still a bit confused about which layout is most preferable.  Normally, the good portfolios I've seen tended to be extra-wide when laid out: something like 8" x 20" landscape (the spread consisting of two 8" x 10" pages, approximately).

For the 12" x 18" limit, would it be smartest to maximize this computer-screen space by literally making each page that size?  Which in print format (for other schools' applications) would translate into a spread consisting of two 9" x 12" portraits side-by-side?  (A bit smaller, maybe.)

I think wide-landscape portfolios look great in print, whereas portrait orientation looks weird... but I can't decide what to do for this online format.


Oct 17, 11 11:23 am

@batman: "I have to say 12 is really, really, really small but I think if we put them in 24" x 34" X) boards we should be able to fit 2-3 projects for each page."

i'm wondering if it's a good idea to fit so many projects in per page? i guess i just don't have more than 12 projects, but i would probably want to do a project per page, or if you haven't got that many projects, 2 pages for big projects, and a page per small one? the only time i might fit two projects on a page is if you've taken sculpture or furniture design classes and want to put projects from those in. i dunno - just a suggestion. i'm still puzzling over how best to approach the 12-page portfolio myself, admittedly!

Oct 17, 11 11:52 am


Have a basic question on the GSD portfolio dimensions: Does 12x18 mean that portfolios must be portrait (12x9 per page) instead of landscape?  Thanks!

Mar 22, 13 4:03 am


I would really like to find the answer to that question too! My first question is- do they refer to a spread (as in 2 pages side by side) when they say layout must be 12"x18'?

And if they do then whats 12 and whats 18- my first understanding was that it would be 18" horizontal and 12" vertical per page- but somehow that seems very odd.

I wonder if anyone figured this out??

Aug 6, 13 11:41 pm


I'm assuming they mean 12 high x 18 wide spreads, since the portfolio will be viewed online. So it'll be slightly bigger than 2 portrait letter size pages per spread (11x17).

Aug 7, 13 2:35 am

Ok, so just to get this 100% perfectly clear...

The GSD wants you (or prefers, rather) to submit a portfolio that totals in 12x18 SPREADS, meaning that you will have two pages, 9horizontal by 12vertical, side by side, per every slide.


They want EACH page to be 12horizontal x 18vertical, and they will view the pages individually.


After looking at their Q&A, I found this:

Q: How are spreads viewed?

A: The Admissions Committee will view each page of the PDF separately. If you wish to maintain the spread, we suggest that you turn a two-page spread into a single page in a PDF. Otherwise, what would have been two pages in a printed portfolio will be two pages in the PDF.


So now I am inclined that they want each seperate page to be 12x18, and spreads are out the window.

Can anyone confirm this? I just need to get it straight once and for all.


Sep 16, 13 3:17 pm

if you got 50 pages, I dare you to send that in... I doubt they'll decline you admission if your work is exceptional :)

Sep 17, 13 1:52 am

I did send them a 50 page portfolio as meeting with requirements of each and every university is almost impossible.

I didn't get into GSD but was accepted to GSAPP,Washington- St.Louis and Taubman with the same thing.

Sep 17, 13 11:47 am

I can't believe there is this much discussion about a pretty straightforward task. How did anyone ever manage to submit their portfolios before there were discussion forums to add to the self-doubt?

If you think 30 pages is too small to showcase your impressive oeuvre before you even get into masters, just wait until you have to send out a single-page portfolio sampler to prospective employers once you graduate. I pity the portfolio review committee.

Sep 18, 13 2:14 pm

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