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Interview for Extended Degree Programme Art and Design

What is an interview?

It's a process to assess whether you're suitable for a place on the course. It's a chance to show us your knowledge about the subject and your enthusiasm for the career.

Being invited to an interview event doesn't mean you're guaranteed a place on the course - the point of the day is to help us come to a mutual decision. We need to decide whether to make you an offer and you need to decide whether you like the course and the university.

To find out what will happen on the day, see the subject-specific information below. The timings listed are approximate, so please keep your plans for travelling home flexible.

When and where is my interview

If you're invited to an interview you'll receive an email telling you when it is and where to go.

It's important to be on time. You should arrive 30 minutes before the start time so you can register. If you're delayed on the way to the event call 0114 225 5555 and ask for Admissions.

What happens at an interview?

On the day you will be given a comprehensive presentation about the course and shown around our workshops and studios. Whilst this is happening course staff will look through your portfolio and after these two processes you will be seen individually in an informal interview. You may be asked questions about your personal interests to enable us to understand what motivates you to pursue your creative discipline. We won't try to 'catch you out' or ask embarrassing questions. We want you to feel at ease and be able to ask any questions you may have.

You will not be asked to describe everything in your portfolio, but you should be able to talk in detail about one piece of work (often a project of our choice) and to answer questions about it.

We may ask you

  • why you have chosen this course
  • to talk about designs and/or designers you particularly admire and why you have chosen those examples. This enables us to see that you are aware of design and have your own opinions about it.

There will be an opportunity for you to ask us questions. You may have questions about the course or something you need to know about living in Sheffield. It's fine if you wish to make a few notes as a reminder.

What else can I experience on the day?

You will have the opportunity to tour the Head Post office and see the facilities and workshop. Portfolio storage is available between 9am-4pm if you would like to explore the city whilst attending your interview.

You can attend a tour of our campuses or accommodation every Wednesday.

Alternatively, if you would like to visit our campuses in your own time, please view our self-guided tour booklet. Find out about our tours and book your place now.

Do I need to prepare anything in advance?

For the interview, you should bring a portfolio containing examples of your work. We ask for this to understand your creative experience and potential ability. It should evidence your interests in your creative specialism to date. This may include past and current school or college work, other personal projects, work in progress and other work that you feel demonstrates your creative potential. 

Take time with your selection when putting the portfolio together. Do not include everything you have ever done, but a good, clear selection that represents your abilities.

What should be in my portfolio?

Your portfolio should provide a clear view of your creative potential through work you have done. We do not look for highly finished professional work, but we want to see imagination, enthusiasm and a confident visual style.

The portfolio should include some or all of the following

  • A range of drawing skills. Different types of drawing and mark making can all be useful.
  • Graphic design (typography, illustration, printmaking, layout), art, craft or photography work – and any relevant work done in your own time.
  • Screen-based/digital work can be brought on a clearly labelled CD or DVD.
  • 3D work and making skills in wood, metal, plastic, card, fabric etc – or good quality photographs of the work if it’s too big to bring with you.
  • Anything you have made, drawn or produced that enables you to express your creative potential. It’s fine to do extra work if you feel that your portfolio is missing something.

If school or college work is likely to be sent away for assessment or put on display, keep copies so that you can still include good work in your portfolio.

How should I organise my portfolio?

We will only have a short time to look at your portfolio. The important thing is to assemble a lively collection that shows both the breadth and depth of your work.

Organise your portfolio as a set of projects. Put them in an order that seems to make sense – it doesn’t have to be in the order in which the work was done. You don’t have to include every bit of work you've done. Be selective, but not too selective. Show your process – sketchbooks and evidence of research and development is important.

Portfolio commentary

Include your name on your portfolio, clearly but sensitively. Add a short explanatory title (one or two sentences) at the start of each piece of work saying what it is, what it’s about and when it was done. This will help to ensure that your portfolio is understood when you are not there to explain it.

What do I need to bring with me?

Your completed portfolio of work.

What are we looking for?

Throughout the process, we will be looking for people who are genuinely interested in their subject with an enthusiasm and motivation to guide themselves through self-directed learning.

When meeting with prospective students we are looking for creative potential. We want to see that you have a range of abilities which might include drawing, making and computer skills. We want to see that you have visual sensitivity and some knowledge and awareness of design in the real world. It is also helpful if we can tell that you work hard, that you can develop design ideas and work under your own steam, which is why we like to see the development process behind your design work.

The five key areas we are potentially looking for in your portfolio are

  • drawing skills and sketchbooks
  • conceptual thinking
  • computer skills
  • process/making skills
  • development work

Who is on the interview panel?

Sheffield Hallam teaching staff.

What should I wear?

Dress reasonably smartly, but there is absolutely no need to wear a suit. Smart but casual clothing will allow you to feel confident and at ease.

How do I find you?

Please allow plenty of time for travelling as parking is limited on all campuses. Please read signs carefully when parking as there are restrictions in place. We strongly recommend that you use public transport where possible.

More information about getting to the campus, public transport links and parking.

I'm disabled and require support at the interview. Can you help?

If you have a disability (this includes sensory and physical disabilities, dyslexia, mental health conditions and medical conditions) and you feel that you will need some support during the interview process (for example, a sign language interpreter, note taker, materials provided in different format or wheelchair access), we strongly recommend that you contact the Events team on 0114 225 6737 or a.mallon@shu.ac.uk within three days of confirming your interview.

The selection team will then be able to make any reasonable adjustments so that you can fully participate in the interview without any disadvantage.

Disability advice whilst studying at the University

You may or may not have indicated that you have a disability on your application form. In either case, the Disabled Student Support Team is keen to hear from you. If you would like to meet or talk to an advisor to discuss, in confidence, possible support whilst studying, please ring +44 (0)114 225 3813 or email disability-support@shu.ac.uk

What happens after my interview?

After the interview our decision will be communicated via UCAS track, so please check your account regularly.

You will receive one of the following decisions.

Conditional offer for the course that you have applied for – you must fulfil certain criteria (usually based on the qualifications you are currently taking) before you can be accepted on the course. If the requirements are met, the offer becomes unconditional.

Unconditional offer for the course that you have applied for – usually made when you have already completed your qualifications and met the academic requirements we are asking for.

Unsuccessful – unfortunately we are not able to offer you a place on the course. We do not feel that you have the necessary skills or experience to be successful on one of our courses. However, this does not prevent you from applying in the future, should you undertake further study to develop your skills and experience and portfolio.

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