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First Year

Take your passion for design and turn it into a lifelong career. Majoring in design provides the tools, knowledge, and curiosity necessary to transform your ability to solve complex global problems that enhance the world and improves lives.

Studio Based Majors

Architecture (BEDA), Art+Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design

Admission in Fall semester ONLY

Important Dates

  • Mid-October: Encouraged to submit Common or Coalition Application in order to meet the November 1* portfolio and essay deadline via wolfPAW
  • November 1*: Application Due for Studio-Based Majors (Including Portfolio and Design Essay for Studio-Based Majors uploaded via wolfPAW)
  • Late December: Admissions Update College of Design provides recommendations (admit, interview, decline) to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will provide an update within wolfPAW.
  • Mid-January: Interview by invitation only. Students who are invited to an interview will be given specific instructions on how to participate and what to prepare.
  • Late February: Final Decisions Final notifications will be released by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Steps to Complete Application:

  • Submit a completed Common Application or Coalition Application with a studio-based major as your first-choice major. We strongly suggest choosing a second choice major on your application, if applicable. Your second choice major cannot be another studio-based major.
  • Use wolfPAW to upload your portfolio + essay and complete your application.

*Important! You will not have access to wolfPAW until 14 days after you submit your application. We encourage you to submit your application by mid-October to ensure you have time to complete and submit your portfolio and design essay by the November 1 deadline. Incomplete portfolios or portfolios received after November 1 may not be reviewed for admission. Check your wolfPAW account frequently to view any missing application materials, check your application status and upload materials. 

The checklist for completing an application to NC State University can be found within your personalized wolfPAW account. 

Portfolio + Essay Guidelines:

A portfolio is a collection of your strongest work. This is a showcase of who you are as a maker and creator. Submissions do not need to be major-specific. Any medium is accepted. You must submit 10 images. Guidelines can be found here: Admissions Booklet for Freshmen and Transfer Students (Download a PDF).

The Design essay prompts the applicant to think creatively about the world around them. You will receive your major-specific essay question on your wolfPAW account. Please submit your essay as a .doc or .pdf file.

Application Timeline:

  1. Undergraduate Admissions reviews applicants then sends a list of competitive students to the College of Design.
  2. The College of Design then reviews the student’s 10-piece portfolio and design essay.
  3. Applicants will receive an admissions update from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in their wolfPAW account in late December.
  4. Applicants continuing in the review process will be invited to participate in an interview for Admissions Review Day in January.
    • Admissions Review Day is a mandatory interview with faculty members or department heads. This part of the admission process is typically held on a Saturday in late January. Applicants will be notified in December if they have been selected and will receive detailed information at that time.
  5. Final notifications will be released by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in late February.

Non-Studio Based Majors

Design Studies

Admission in Fall and Spring semesters
No portfolio required.

  • Apply via the Common Application or Coalition Application by the Undergraduate Admissions deadlines.
    • We HIGHLY recommend that you put a second-choice major. If you are not selected for your first choice major, you could be under consideration for your second choice major. Your second choice major cannot be another studio-based major and should be something that interests you.
  • About 2 weeks after you apply, you will receive access to your wolfPAW account, your applicant portal. Check your wolfPAW account frequently to view any missing application materials, check your application status and upload materials.

Got Questions?

Sarah Brewer

Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator

Tameka Whitaker

Assistant Dean of Student and Academic Services

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Interested in learning more about NC State Undergraduate Admissions? Fill out the form below:

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