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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 – Fall Admissions ONLY

Important Dates

  • August 1st: Application opens for first-year applicants looking to apply to NC State University.
  • Mid-October: Students are encouraged to submit Common or Coalition Application in order to gain access to the NCSU wolfPAW system which is the platform used for the submission of their portfolio by the November 1st deadline.
  • *November 1*: 10-piece Portfolio and Design Essay due for Studio-Based Majors in wolfPAW. In order to submit the required portfolio and design essay, the Common or Coalition Application should have been submitted before November 1. 
  • Late December: Admissions Update – College of Design provides one of the following recommendations to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (Accept with no additional review from design needed; Invitation to Interview with the faculty in the department; Declined for studio-based major). Undergraduate Admissions will review recommendations for final evaluation and provide updates in wolfPAW.
  • Mid-January: Departmental interviews for studio-based major applicants by invitation only.
  • Mid-February: Final Decisions will be released by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  • May 1st: Deadline to confirm your undergraduate enrollment into admitted major.

Admissions Process

Steps to Complete Application:

Fall Entry

  1. 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. Your second choice major cannot be another studio-based major.
    • *Important! Submit your application by mid-October to ensure you have time to complete and submit your 10-piece 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 portals checklist frequently to view any missing application materials.
  1. After your application has been processed, you should receive an email from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to gain access to wolfPAW portal.
  1. Use wolfPAW to upload your 10-piece portfolio and design essay.
  • You must upload 10 SEPARATE design pieces for your portfolio and 1 document for your essay into wolfPAW.

Design Essay Prompt – Your essay question is available below and in your wolfPAW account. Please submit your essay as a .doc or .pdf file in wolfPAW.

Design Essay Prompt – Fall 2024 Admissions

Architecture AND Industrial Design Prompt

Discuss one project in your portfolio that best reflects your current understanding of design. Consider how it might be received or used by somebody other than yourself. 250-300 word count. 

Art + Design Prompt

Reflect on your interest in Media Arts, Design and Technology. Select one project in your portfolio that best demonstrates your understanding of Animation, Gaming & Interaction Design, or Fibers & Soft Construction. Discuss how this project demonstrates your understanding of the design process, and how it’s connected to your potential career in design. 250 – 300 word count

Graphic and Experience Design Prompt

Discuss one project in your portfolio and describe your process in creating it, explaining your decision-making and any inspiration you drew from it. 250-300 word count.

Portfolio Guidelines

What is a Portfolio?

The digital portfolio consists of works you have designed from a wide range of experiences and mediums. These can be designs you have created in high school, community college, workshops, commissions, or learning new skills on your own time. Design pieces do not need to be major-specific; any medium is accepted. You must submit 10 SEPARATE design pieces into the wolfPAW portal.

Portfolio Recommendations

Recommendations for the portfolio vary per major, please review the Admissions Booklet for Freshmen and Transfer Students. Common mediums may include the following;

  • Two-Dimensional Design
    • Drawing, Sketching, Painting, Pastels, Charcoal, Screen Printing, etc.
  • Three-Dimensional
    • Sculpture, Ceramics, Furniture, Woodwork Making, Metals, Fibers, etc.
  • Digital Media
    • Photography, Animation, Video Game Clips, Videography, Graphic Design, etc.

Students are encouraged to showcase their creativity and passion for design through various mediums.

*The College of Design DOES NOT provide assistance with portfolio development!*

Digital Portfolio File Sizes and Types:

We support media files as large as 5GB, larger files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. 

We support the following file formats:

  • Video: .3g2, .3gp, .avi, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mp4, .mxf, .webm, .wmv
  • Audio: .aac, .m4a, .mka, .mp3, .oga, .ogg, .wav
  • Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif, .tiff
  • Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

(Portfolio Guideline PDF)

Interviews – By Invitation ONLY

Mandatory interviews may be conducted in order for the departmental faculty and/or their representatives to learn more about the student’s interest in the applied major. Invitations and details will be provided to the invited applicants in late December.

Admissions Review Process and Procedures 

Each application undergoes a holistic review by departmental representatives and the university’s Undergraduate Admissions office. The reviews take into consideration all of the items listed above, with an emphasis departmentally on academic record, portfolio of creative work, and essays. Applicants may be asked to interview with departmental representatives as part of the review process. Departmental admissions recommendations are forwarded to the university’s Undergraduate Admissions office, who then make final decisions.

Tours and Virtual Info Sessions

Want to learn more about the College of Design? Sign up for an in-person tour or virtual information session. You can also connect with a Design Ambassador as they are current design students.

Leazar Hall

Non-Studio Based Majors – Fall and Spring Admission

Design Studies: Important Dates

Fall Entry

  • Early Action – Application Deadline November 1st
  • Regular Decision – Application Deadline January 15th

Spring Entry

  • Regular Decision – October 1st

Steps to Complete Application:

  1. 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.
  • No portfolio required or design essay.
  1. After you apply, you will receive access to your wolfPAW portal, which is your applicant portal. Check your wolfPAW account frequently to view any missing application materials, check your application status and upload materials.

Got Questions?

Tameka Whitaker

Assistant Dean of Student and Academic Services

Leanne Bajkowski

Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator

Emily Burdo

Embedded Counselor, College of Design

Ellen Hammond

College Scheduling Officer

Courtney Ray

Graduate Student Services Coordinator

Melissa Simpson

Director of Career and Academic Advising

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