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Applicant Portfolio

The MHCID program at UCI waives the GRE requirement for applicants who submit a qualified portfolio of their work. But what constitutes a qualified portfolio?

The portfolio is traditionally used in creative fields, like photography or design, to showcase an individual’s outstanding work. The MHCID applicant portfolio is similar, but is broadened to include examples from all fields of employment. What is important is that your portfolio reflects your strengths and expertise. A strong portfolio will demonstrate your ability to study at a graduate level as much or more than a good GRE score. Therefore you should include examples that demonstrate the following:

  • Strong writing skills
  • Familiarity with computers and technology
  • Strength in your current field

All the work that is included in the portfolio should be accompanied by a summary page that helps our review committee assess your work and the role that you played in creating it. A typical summary page might include:

  • Description of work
  • Skills that were used
  • Outcomes that resulted from completing the work

The level of detail in a summary page will vary depending on the work that it represents. For example, a portfolio piece such as a logo or brochure design may only need a brief summary, because the demonstrable skill is assessed visually, whereas a high performing database query might require a more in-depth explanation.

Not everyone will have examples of work that are easily transferable to the portfolio format. For example, a programmer may want to showcase code that they have written or a writer might want to share a published work. In this case, a summary page should include a richer, more in-depth analysis of the work. If the work is publicly visible, applicants should provide information on how to view that work. If work is private or confidential, such as a business plan, applicants may redact information as appropriate (e.g., financial details about a former employer or client).

Portfolio Size

A strong portfolio should include 3-4 individual pieces that you feel best showcase your work. This range is intentionally broad and should only be used as a guide. If you only have 2 or 3 strong projects that you want to include, then don’t add 1 or 2 additional weak ones.

Portfolio Format

Your portfolio should be formatted as either a custom website or a PDF. PDFs can be uploaded into the application system. Active websites should have their links embedded in either your statement of purpose or your resume.

We are working to make sure that the application system does not send you error messages if you do not include your GRE scores. Big university information systems can be tricky, so this doesn’t already work. If you are including a portfolio, please do not worry if you get an auto-generated message requesting GRE scores.

For any additional questions, contact the program director at