Alternative Pathways

Portfolio Submission

Important: Portfolio submissions for 2018 have now closed.

The portfolio submission is a way for students who have achieved close to the required ATAR (or equivalent) to gain entry into our programs.

In conjunction with the HSC and other formal assessment systems, it assists the University of Sydney to identify students with the potential to excel in higher education in architecture or design computing.

Students expecting to receive an ATAR of up to five points lower than or roughly around the ATAR are encouraged to apply by submitting their portfolio.

Portfolio submission is only available for domestic applicants to the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Bachelor of Design in Architecture(Hons)/Master of Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture and Environments, Bachelor of Design Computing, or the Bachelor of Design Computing/Advanced Studies. Portfolio submission is not available for the combined degrees with engineering.

Submission Components

Personal statement or letter

The personal statement is your chance to express to the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning why you would make an ideal student in your desired degree. Your statement should include any experience or knowledge you hold in the area for which you are applying to study, as well as anything else that demonstrates your interest in design. Keep it succinct, but do show us your enthusiasm for studying your chosen course.

Modes of study


References are a great way of demonstrating to the school that you have the qualities we seek in a student. Your references don’t have to be from someone with a background in architecture or design, but it is important that they attest to your strength of character. Generally, these references may come from your teacher or school principal, club directors or sporting coaches. Applicants for the Bachelor of Design in Architecture and the Bachelor of Design in Architecture(Hons)/Master of Architecture are requested to submit one reference only.


The portfolio is the main element of your application. It is a small sample of the creative work you have done. This might include artwork, architectural work, web design or development, 3D modeling, technical drawing, written work and anything that demonstrates your skills in design and creativity.

Your portfolio should exhibit two primary characteristics:

Breadth. Your portfolio should present a broad mixture of your creative work, especially sketches and freehand drawings for architecture or digital media for design computing. It can include anything you think is relevant; such as design and technology work, digital media or online work, graphic design, photography, life drawing, and models you have

Passion. By this we mean those pieces on which you have worked hard, and of which you are proud – work that best expresses your commitment to design and creativity.

An important aspect to consider is the number of works you put into your portfolio. Tell us your story but avoid repetition. A portfolio should be no more than about 12 pages long or, for those with a digital portfolio, about a dozen animations or rendered images. Remember to mount and label your work and present it as professionally as possible. Tell us what the piece of work is, how you produced it, and when.

Broadway Access Scheme

Students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage may apply to the Broadway Scheme, which falls under the banner of the University of Sydney's Educational Access Scheme (EAS) coordinated by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

The scheme is mainly intended for current-year Australian Year 12 students who expect to receive an ATAR (or equivalent). Over 600 Broadway Scheme places are awarded to eligible applicants each year.

To learn more about this scheme visit the Student Administration Broadway Scheme information page.