While colleges and universities make every effort to accept as many transfer credits as possible, it is sometimes difficult to receive full credit for completed coursework in the major. This is particularly true because the content of a course varies greatly from school to school and degree programs are organized differently. In our department, your petition for transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis.

It is especially difficult to transfer credits in the major from schools with two-year degree or certificate programs to four-year degree programs. The BA and BFA degrees are much more specialized, and the first-year through fourth-year courses are structured to treat material in greater depth. The Department of Art & Art History evaluates as many transfer credits as possible, but transfer students should not be overly optimistic. You will often learn that transfer credit is accepted by the University but may not be accepted by the department for major credit. Regardless of how many transfer credits the Department of Art & Art History accept to count towards your major requirements, the credits you received from your previous (regionally accredited) institution will count towards your overall credit requirement for the university (a minimum of 122 credits are required to graduate with a bachelors degree).


Students begin with ARTH 2500 Introduction to the Art History, and then go on to a range of upper-division coursework in the specialization of their choice. Potential art history majors will often get credit only for the Introduction class and will be expected to complete the rest of the major here.


Students must take First-Year Studio Foundation Series courses of 21 credit hours (including the Introduction to Art History course) before any work in the art major emphasis area can begin. As a transfer student, you will usually be placed in the First-Year Studio sequence. Depending on the strength of your transfer portfolio, serving as a “placement” exam, you may not be required to take all eight first-year studio classes. In addition to the possibility of some first-year courses being waived, a student may be allowed to advance onto the second year coursework in their emphasis area while finishing the foundation courses. Depending on the student’s portfolio review some second-year courses may be waived.


Please review the checklist and suggestions below as you create your portfolio. Portfolios are submitted online, through Box. is a secure, online, file sharing and collaboration software all University of Utah students have access, the department uses for transfer review because it is secure. Requests for transfer credits are reviewed on a rolling basis, and it may take a few weeks for your portfolio to be reviewed.  If you have not heard back in a 3-week time period, please contact the art office at or 801-581-8677.


Drop a zipped folder titled with your first and last name in the Dropbox below and be sure to include the following:

  • Up to twelve pieces of art for each course you are attempting to get credit. Photos of artwork must be high quality and legible. Please organize your images in folders labeled with the ART, FA, and/or ARTH course you would like considered for credit.
  • Transcripts from previous institutions with courses you want to get credit for highlighted.
  • Your completed Transfer Student Portfolio Form.
  • Suggested: Any further information from the course, including syllabi and assignments from the courses you want to get credit.


  • For all pieces, principles of organization in compositions should include balance, scale and proportion, contrast, repetition, rhythm, and unity and variety.
  • Take great care in photographing your work for your portfolio, make sure what you submit accurately represents your skill level.
  • If you are attempting to waive the 2D foundations series please keep the following in mind when selecting pieces:
    • Demonstrate basic principles such as line, perspective, value and color.
    • Painting and drawing work derived from photographs do not make successful portfolio pieces.
  • If you are attempting to waive the 3D foundations series please keep the following in mind when selecting pieces:
    • Work should exhibit strength in composition through the use of visual elements, i.e., line, shapes and planes, mass, space, texture, color and light, etc.
    • Show an attention to technique and demonstrate a reasonable proficiency in the handling of construction materials such as foam-core board, plaster, wire, wood, and clay.
  • If you are attempting to get credit for specific emphasis area courses please review the descriptions of those courses (found on the General University Catalog). Try and submit work that is comparable to what you would have covered in the courses you wish to waive or substitute.
  • Faculty in desired emphasis area review portfolios for courses in their emphasis areas.
    • Printmaking Tips: Provide as many pieces as possible, each class should have many different pieces at different stages. If providing photos of prints they must be high-resolution and quality photos.
  • Label your items, syllabi and transcripts as clearly as possible to make it simple to understand what you are asking for.
  • If you cannot provide syllabi for a particular course, you can write a brief paragraph (3-5 sentences) outlining what you learned in the course. This may provide more context that would allow the faculty to see more clearly your understanding and skill set.
  • Use caution and care when photographing your pieces for inclusion in your portfolio. Present your work in the best light possible.


I am a professional artist but have never taken art classes for college credit, can I get credit for my experiences?

We do not accept credit for “life experience” you must have college credit from a regionally accredited institution in art to make waiving courses possible.

Do I have to submit works created during the courses I took?

No, you may submit pieces created from any point in time. If you took your art courses years ago, we prefer to see works that you have created more recently.

Can I get credit for AP Courses?

If you are pursuing a BFA in Studio Art and took AP Art History and received a 3 or better you will get credit for ARTH 2500, Introduction to Art History. If you are pursuing a BA in Art History, or a Minor in Art History you must have received a 4 or 5 to receive credit for ARTH 2500.

If you have credit from AP Studio courses you are welcome to submit a portfolio. However, please be aware that these portfolios are critically evaluated and rarely accepted for credit towards the major. If you received a 3 or better in one of the AP Studio Art areas you will receive 6 credit hours toward your overall 122 credit hour requirement. If you are planning on majoring or minoring in the fine arts the portfolio process will determine whether those 6 credits count towards your major requirements or only towards the general university requirements. If you are not majoring in the fine arts the 6 credit hours will automatically count towards your Fine Arts Intellectual Exploration requirements.

If you have additional questions about the Portfolio Process for Art Majors please contact a College of Fine Arts Academic Advisor.