What is the Alternative Admission Scheme?

UNSW Built Environment recognises that your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or equivalent may not reflect your potential in creative thinking and making.  We are pleased to offer you the Alternative Admission Scheme to give you the opportunity to submit a portfolio of your work to support your ATAR.

Your portfolio submission should be a selection of your best own creations and should describe where your creative imagination and skills lie.

The Alternative Admission Scheme is optional. Applicants who do not submit an application under this scheme will be assessed on their ATAR (or equivalent).  Following your submission, assessors will review your portfolio and cover letter and may invite you for an interview. 

Find out what makes a good portfolio: 

How do I submit my portfolio?

You must have your chosen UNSW Built Environment degree as a UAC preference to be eligible.

Once you have lodged a UAC application for your preferred UNSW Built Environment degree, and wish to apply under the Alternative Admission Scheme, simply click here to submit your portfolio or view the specific requirements for your degree below.

Important dates

• Applications open 9am, Monday 3rd September and close 6pm, Friday 16th November 2018.

• You will be advised if you have been selected for an interview by Friday 23rd November 2018.

• Interviews will take place week commencing Monday 3rd December 2018.

* Any offers made will be through the usual UAC offer process.

General advice
  • Have someone check your work for spelling and grammar, but ultimately the work must be your own and not copied from someone or somewhere else.
  • Submit only your best work if you have lots to choose from. As submissions are made via our portfolio submissions website, we will not be accepting hard copies or any physical pieces. The size and number of items in your portfolio must establish your ability to consider both content and the assembly of that content in a coherent creative manner.
  • The portfolio should be crafted in a clever and enticing manner. Risk and originality of thinking and making are encouraged. Think about the layout of your portfolio and how it is presented, its graphic qualities and the story it tells. We are not only interested in your final design or products so include some of your process work, technical drawings, patterns or draft designs. 
  • The interview will be a short conversation between you and UNSW Built Environment staff. You should demonstrate your research, understanding and interest in this field of study. This is a chance for you to convey your strengths for study in your chosen degree. 
How are places allocated?

All offers are made through UAC in the usual way, that is, we fill available places starting with the highest ranked students and work down the ranked list until we have made all the offers we can down to the expected cut‐off.  If there are places remaining, applicants who have submitted a portfolio and are within 10 points of the cut‐off will be re‐ranked based on a combination of a portfolio and interview scores and ATAR (or equivalent). The remaining places will be offered to applicants in ranked order until remaining available places have been allocated.

 

You must have your UNSW Built Environment chosen degree as a UAC preference to be eligible.

What should your portfolio submission convey?
  • Innate talent: experiential quality evident in creative work may identify particular talents for future success in this degree.
  • Inquisitive mind: an intellectual hunger and the ability to conceptualise pertinent to the interdisciplinary nature of architectural studies.
  • Craftsmanship: an aptitude for visualisation, tactile qualities of materials and the making of artefacts that are essential to the architectural/design professions. Creative and digital work too should be considered.
  • Pre-knowledge: previously gained experience and knowledge in your field of interest that show a passion for the study of your chosen degree.
Submit your portfolio for the Bachelor of Architectural Studies

1. Create your portfolio

Portfolios come in many shapes and contain a variety of works, including photography, design work, drawing, painting, sculpture, digital and online work, conceptual art. Selected work from the high school subject of 'Design and Technology' can be included in your portfolio. The size and number of items in your portfolio must indicate your ability to consider both content and the presentation of that content in a coherent, creative manner. This portfolio should be considered as a summary of your best creative outputs. It must be a maximum of five pages A4 digital format.

Your portfolio should be crafted in a clear, meaningful and designed manner, where the essence of your creative work and its assembly communicate to the assessors your aptitude for this particular degree. Experiential quality, an inquisitive mind, originality, and craftsmanship are attributes we are looking for.

Needless to say we know you are not yet a graduate of this degree, so the purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate your aptitude for study rather than your mastery of architectural studies – do not worry about presenting a professionally polished portfolio; instead you should be direct, daring, and attempt to reveal your specific talent and potential.

It is essential that the portfolio itself and all the work in it have been created by you.

To find out more information on how to put a good portfolio together watch the lecture 'Preparing your Portfolio for Alternative Entry' video, presented by Bruce Watson, Discipline Director, Interior Architecture.

Alternatively, you can use this portfolio Helper. We encourage applicants with extensive experience, or with no prior design experience to submit a portfolio of their work. If you already have a design portfolio this Helper can be used to refine it. If you don't have a portfolio and don't know where to start then you can start here. Finally, if you are not yet sure if studying Architecture is for you then completing this project will give you an insight into the kinds of design projects you could be working on in your first year in the UNSW Architecture program.

2. Write a cover letter

The letter should introduce you to the University in a concise manner. The length of the statement is 500 words maximum and should explain why you are uniquely suited to be admitted to the Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree at UNSW. The letter will also tell us of your other interests and capabilities that would potentially enable you to succeed in this degree. The letter must be written by you.

3. Submit your portfolio and letter

Submit your portfolio and letter online here (hard copies will not be accepted).

4. Interview

After the first three criterion above has been considered, a number of interviews will be offered to potential candidates based on their submissions. The interview will be a face-to-face 30-minute discussion and will be conducted by two UNSW architecture staff.

 

Submit your portfolio for the Bachelor of Interior Architecture

1. Create your portfolio

The portfolio is a concise gathering of creative work that provides evidence of your potential design capabilities and demonstrates your creative thinking and making.

Portfolios come in many shapes and contain a variety of artefacts, photography, previous design work, art, drawing, sculpture, digital and online work, process work etc. The content is a selection of your best own making and should describe to the assessors in a few quick moments, where your creative imagination and skills lie.

The size and number of items in your portfolio must establish your ability to consider both content and the assembly of that content in a coherent creative manner.  This portfolio should be considered as a type of visual literature review, a summary of your best creative outputs. It must be a maximum of five pages A4 digital format.

The portfolio should be crafted in a clever and enticing design manner, where the essence of your design work and the quality of the works assembly communicate to the assessors your aptitude for this degree. Risk and originality of thinking and making are something we embrace.

You are at the beginning of your design studies so this is a portfolio that demonstrates your aptitude for study rather than your completion of design studies – don’t be scared as we know you are not a graduate of design yet!

It is essential that the portfolio itself and all the work in it have been created by you.

To find out more information on how to put a good portfolio together watch the lecture 'Preparing your Portfolio for Alternative Entry' video, presented by Bruce Watson, Discipline Director, Interior Architecture.

2. Write a cover letter

Write a cover letter that explains in no more than 350 words, your interest in studying Interior Architecture at UNSW. It should briefly and honestly tell us what you are about in relation to the study of Interior Architecture at UNSW.

The letter will also tell us of your other interests and capabilities that would assist you in a university career in design. It should be a personal response to the following statement:

“Interior Architecture is the Architectural shape of Interior Design and encompasses the creative thinking and making of all possible Interior environments. At UNSW Interior Architecture, we foster within our students the idea of interiority as a breadth of conditions and experiences within a 21st-century global context.”

3. Submit your portfolio and letter

Submit your portfolio and letter online here (hard copies will not be accepted).
 

4. Interview

After the first three criterion as above has been considered, a number of interviews will be offered to potential candidates based on their submissions. The interviews will be a face-to-face 30 minutes discussion and will be conducted by UNSW Interior Architecture staff.

Submit your portfolio for the Bachelor of Industrial Design

1. Create your portfolio

Written or visual material that can be in a variety of forms, such as photography, previous design work, art, sculpture, digital or online work. The portfolio should be considered as a type of visual literature review, a summary of your best creative outputs. It should be a maximum of five A4 pages.

To find out more information on how to put a good portfolio together watch the lecture 'Preparing your Portfolio for Alternative Entry' video, presented by Bruce Watson, Discipline Director, Interior Architecture. 

2. Write a cover letter

Write a cover letter that explains briefly and honestly, in no more than 350 words, your interest in studying Industrial Design at UNSW – why you believe Industrial Design is for you.

Tell us of your achievements, interests and attributes that would assist you in studying design at university. It should also include a personal response to the following statement:

The designer’s role is to create products and systems that work in the real world – addressing social, commercial and environmental contexts – and enhance life through innovation and with respect for user needs

3. Submit your portfolio and letter

Submit your portfolio and letter online here (hard copies will not be accepted).

4. Interview

After the first three criterion as above has been considered, a number of interviews will be offered to potential candidates based on their submissions. The interviews will be a face-to-face 30-minute discussion and will be conducted by UNSW Industrial Design staff.

Submit your portfolio for the Bachelor of Computational Design

How do I access the alternative admission scheme?

1. Create your portfolio

Written or visual material that can be in a variety of forms, such as photography of designed and built physical objects (could range from designing and built things for your bicycle or in your home); previous design work (such as art, drawings or sculpture documented through a digital process by using computer-based computer programs such as Sketch Up or Adobe programs) as well as computational and computing objects such as writing computer programs or developing small electronic hardware components. The portfolio should be considered as a type of visual literature review, a summary of your best creative outputs from the items listed above. It should be a maximum of five A4 pages.

To find out more information on how to put a good portfolio together watch the lecture 'Preparing your Portfolio for Alternative Entry' video, presented by Bruce Watson, Discipline Director, Interior Architecture.

2. Write a cover letter

Write a cover letter that explains in no more than 350 words, your interest in studying Computational Design at UNSW. It should briefly and honestly tell us what you are about in relation to the study of Computational Design at UNSW. The letter will also tell us of your other interests and capabilities that would assist you in a university career in design. It should be a personal response to the following statement:

Computational Design represents a profound shift from using the computer to produce or represent pre-conceived forms in architecture to conceive and simulate building designs with the help of a computer. With this in mind please answer the two questions in your essay: First, what is the strength of a computer and secondly, how could architectural designers use this strength to conceive and simulate buildings?

3. Submit your portfolio and letter

Submit your portfolio and letter online here (hard copies will not be accepted).

4. Interview

Upon review of your portfolio and letter, you may be invited for an interview. The interview will be a short conversation with you and UNSW Bachelor of Computational Design staff. You should demonstrate your research, understanding and interest in this field of study. This is a chance for you to convey your strengths to study and design buildings through the use of a computer in the Bachelor of Computational Design.

Submit your portfolio for the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

1. Create your portfolio

Written or visual material that can be in a variety of forms, such as photography, previous design work, art, sculpture, digital or online work. The portfolio should present a summary of your best creative outputs. It should be a maximum of five A4 pages.

To find out more information on how to put a good portfolio together watch the lecture 'Preparing your Portfolio for Alternative Entry' video, presented by Bruce Watson, Discipline Director, Interior Architecture. 

2. Write a cover letter

Include a cover letter that explains, in no more than 350 words, your interest in studying Landscape Architecture at UNSW. It should briefly and to the point, telling us in your own words about the skills, knowledge and life experiences you have that you believe would make you a suitable candidate to study Landscape Architecture at UNSW.

The letter will also tell us of your other interests and capabilities that would assist you in a university career in design.

Please also provide a personal statement which completes the following two phrases:

 

  • As I understand it, Landscape Architecture is involved with…
  • My interest in studying Landscape Architecture stems from…

3. Submit your portfolio and letter

Submit your portfolio and letter online here (hard copies will not be accepted).

 

4. Interview

 

After the first three criterion as listed above have been considered, a number of potential candidates will be selected to have an interview based on their submissions. The interview will be a face-to-face 30-minute discussion and will be conducted by UNSW Landscape Architecture staff.