Bachelor of Architectural Studies:
Portfolio Package

The deadline to submit your portfolio is March 3, 2023, by 11:45 p.m. (ET).

The Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism (ASAU) at Carleton University requires prospective students to submit a portfolio as part of their application to the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) program. The portfolio is an essential part of the application—an applicant will not be considered for admission if they do not submit a complete portfolio.

The BAS has three programs: Conservation and Sustainability, Design and Urbanism. Applicants only submit one portfolio, even if they are interested in multiple BAS programs. ASAU has provided a description for each program further in the document.

The 2023 Portfolio Requirements have changed. Many of the questions ASAU receives from applicants are clearly answered in this document – please read carefully.

The four steps below are a synopsis of the BAS application process. To apply to our program, you must:

Step 1: Understand the different opportunities between the three programs: Design, Conservation and Sustainability, and Urbanism – study them carefully.

When applicants apply to Carleton University (Step 2), they are asked to rank their preferred programs/majors. The order in which applicants rank their programs/majors determines which Admissions Committee (C&S, Design or Urbanism) reviews their portfolio.

Step 2: Apply to Carleton University to get a Carleton ID number and rank your preferred BAS program. The ID number is required to submit your portfolio.

Step 3: Create an account in SlideRoom. The ASAU SlideRoom portal will be made available to applicants in mid-December.

Step 4: Submit your Portfolio via SlideRoom by March 3, 2023 before 11:45 p.m. (ET).

It is our intention that the application process to the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program be a creative challenge for you. The following text provides explanations, answers questions, and indicates where you can get additional information to our program.

Part 1: Program description

Our pedagogical principles – we are a creative design school that promotes imaginative exploration and risk-taking. We want students to understand that design is a collaborative, technical and artistic endeavour. We seek applicants interested in thoughtful making, considered material research, expressive representation, and who aim to become more socially aware of our (built) environment.

The Bachelor of Architectural Studies has three programs: Conservation and Sustainability, Design and Urbanism. All three programs are creative, studio-based curricula where students work on increasingly complex projects. All BAS students learn to manage the competing demands of function, aesthetics, technology, and construction and are trained in a variety of representational tools including drawing, (digital) model-making, writing, verbal presentations, and media such as photography, video, and other emerging digital techniques. Below are brief descriptions on what makes each program unique.

Conservation and Sustainability

The Bachelor of Architectural Studies in Conservation and Sustainability addresses both the conservation of historic architecture and principles of sustainable design as applied to buildings and the urban fabric. C&S students explore contemporary theories of critical conservation, adaptive reuse, integration of new and historic structures, and traditional and emerging construction methods to reconsider our past for tomorrow. C&S courses are supported within the School and by the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies.


The Bachelor of Architectural Studies in Design explores the development of new buildings and programs. Design is increasingly focused on community engaged, and environmentally responsive work. Projects explore the impact of buildings on existing communities and their surroundings. Studios are supported by a robust sequence of technology, history, and media courses to form a comprehensive understanding of building design practices, and its social, technical, and regulatory context. Design courses are supported within the School and by the Department of Architectural History and Theory.


The Bachelor of Architectural Studies in Urbanism examines the form of the city and the complex network of forces, such as climate, technology, politics, transportation, and economics, that produce our built environment. Project-based studio courses explore the impact of urbanization on both the traditional core and the expanding periphery. Students in Urbanism can pursue a range of careers from planning to urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. Urbanism courses are supported within the School and by the Department of Geography.

Part 2: Portfolio requirements

An applicant’s portfolio submission must include:

  • the applicant’s full name (the legal name used on their Carleton University application).
  • the applicant’s student identification number (nine digits starting either 101 or 102).

a) Brief CV (one page)

Briefly describe five academic, athletic and/or artistic accomplishments.

Applicants are suggested to include: educational (high school and post secondary) achievements, activities, hobbies, awards and recognitions.

  • For students who are currently, or have completed CEGEP, college or another university program please mention these educational experiences in the CV.

b) Why your preferred BAS program?

In 150 words or less explain why you selected your preferred program (Design, Conservation & Sustainability, or Urbanism), and what makes you a compelling candidate.

Our Advice: Describe why you prefer your first choice. We are looking for a diverse pool of applicants, where each person can bring something unique to our programs.

c) Short essay

Write a short text between 250 – 300 words for this application (not an essay written for other schoolwork). Choose one of this year’s topics from the questions below. Please include the topic question at the top of your submission.

We are broadening the essay requirement. You can use any voice (first, second and/or third person) and you are welcome to include an illustration, or consider an alternative format such as a graphic ‘novel’. Whatever form of writing you select, please edit carefully and respect the word count.

Essay topic 1:

  • Cities are a collage of old and new with local and foreign influences and materials. Pick a neighbourhood that you know (near or far) and discuss how/why these conditions coexist. What have residents done to make this an enjoyable space?

Essay topic 2: 

  • Describe your dream public space; how/why/what would you need, to make it a space for equity?

 Essay topic 3:

  • Describe a building, place, event, artwork or book that helped you understand the urgency and complexity of the climate crisis? How might your future BAS studies address this issue?

Our Advice: Text will be evaluated on content and clarity. Please take the time to ensure that your text is grammatically correct and free from spelling errors. Like all creative work, writing is an iterative process and editing is crucial to improve your text. We recommend starting the essay early, and to edit your work to improve its flow and key points.

d) Required drawings

The four required drawings focus on creativity (how well you interpret the theme), and technique (how well you can visualize things). It is up to the discretion of the applicant whether they use one technique or multiple techniques; works can be mixed media. Applicants can work in any media, however, works using analog media (pencil, watercolour, pastels, etc.) are preferred.

In the required images we are wary of digital drawings/illustration work, so please consider this technique carefully.

The themes are intentionally open ended to invite creative reflection rather than literal responses. Images may be different sizes.

When you submit on SlideRoom, you have the opportunity to write a short annotation. In the annotation please include: 1) the theme you are responding to, 2) a title, 3) a brief description (optional)

E.g. 1) Theme 1: The World Around You; 2) Title: A winter’s day; 3) Description: this charcoal drawing shows an abandoned factory near my home.

Select four themes from the list below:

Drawing Theme 1: “The world around you” 

  • consider the broader social, cultural, political, and environmental context

Drawing Theme 2: “An event”

  • focus on a moment and its broader implications

Drawing Theme 3: “Re-considering the existing” 

  • consider a present-day building/environment and re-consider its future

Drawing Theme 4: “An abstraction”

  • consider how you can retain the essential elements of an object or idea

Drawing Theme 5: “A tiny detail”

  • focus on the small and how it works

Drawing Theme 6: “A process changing over time” 

  • consider how you show an evolution of a place and its inhabitants

Our Advice: Start early. We are looking for interesting interpretations of the themes, strong tonal range (dark to light), a compelling composition, interesting use of materials or technique, and spatial depth (a foreground, middle ground, background). We encourage the explorative use of different media.

e) Optional images

you can submit up to four additional images to show other forms of your personal creative work, such as sculpture, digital work, photography. This may include images of dance, theatre, fashion design, textile arts, or making skills such as woodwork.

These images (images 5, 6, 7 and 8) can show any other forms of creative work which you produced on your own or within the context of a class.

We do not accept videos, PowerPoint/Keynote presentations or web links.

Our Advice: Use this opportunity to show the breadth of your creativity.

Portfolio Advice:

Keep the portfolio clean and simple. The Admissions Committee is focused on the images, not the graphic layout. Unless you are particularly adept at graphic design, please refrain from unnecessary frames, borders and/or fonts.

Photograph your work carefully, in an evenly lit space, on a neutral background. Be careful to take the photo directly above the image so the image is sharp, clear and free of distortion.

Part 3: Using SlideRoom to submit your portfolio

You will submit your portfolio digitally using an online program named SlideRoom.

To submit you must first create an account. We apologize that this has an associated cost (approx. $10.00 USD) and will require a credit card.

Please create an account early to prevent submission issues near the deadline date.

Save your written documents (filenames: Applicant Description and Written Exercise) as PDF files.

Save your visual work (filenames: Image_1, Image_2, up to Image_8) as JPG files.

Uploading your portfolio

a) Fill out the required fields: full name as per your Carleton University application, and student number.

b) Upload your images.

  • If you need assistance with SlideRoom, the help button is at the top-right-hand-side of the screen.
  • You can make changes to your portfolio up until the moment you finally submit. After that, no changes are possible.
  • It is not possible to make multiple submissions.
  • We no longer accept physical portfolios. However, in extenuating circumstances, an applicant may be given permission to submit one. The applicant must first contact the Undergraduate Administrator (email: in writing to outline the specific reasons prohibiting online submission.

c) Submit before the deadline.

We get hundreds of submissions in the last 24 hours before the deadline, please submit a day early – it will be a great help to our staff if you submit, even a day before the deadline.

Part 4: Deadline, prerequisites, assessment, offers and contact information

Portfolio Deadline: Wednesday, March 3 2023 at 11:45 p.m. (ET).

Prerequisites and English language requirement

You are responsible for meeting all admission requirements for the Bachelor of Architectural Studies. Please note that if you will be completing the Math or Physics requirements only in the summer, you will not receive consideration during the first round of admission offers. Once you have completed all academic requirements and Admissions Services has received your final grade reports, you may be considered for a space on the waiting list.

Please also note that if you are submitting an English Language Test in support of your application, you must submit the results before March 1, 2023 in order to be considered for an offer of admission.

Assessment and offers

Your submission will be assessed carefully in as timely a fashion as possible. Due to the high volume of applications and the competitive nature of the selection process, we aim to provide a decision before the end of April 2023.

Contact information

Want to learn more about Architectural Studies? We invite you to join us for an upcoming event or visit the Architectural Studies website.

You can also contact the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism by telephone at +1 613-520-2875 or by email at

Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism website

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