Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design gives students the chance to experience different art and design disciplines, while helping them build a portfolio for their application to an undergraduate course within University of the Arts London or beyond.


Course Director

Claire McCormack

Course Location

Foundation Building, 1 Wilson Road, London SE5 8LU

Study LevelFoundation
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year
Home/EU Fee

For those under 19 years old on the 31 August of the year you join the course - Free (2016/17).

For 19 years old and over - £5,420 including registration fee (2016/17).

International Fee

£14,040 plus registration fee (2016/17)

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 4 September - Friday 15 December 2017
Spring Term DatesTuesday 2 January - Friday 23 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 9 April 2018 - Friday 18 May 2018
Application Route

Apply direct to Camberwell College of Arts

Application Deadline31 January 2017

Content and Structure

The Foundation Diploma is taught at its own dedicated site on Wilson Road, Camberwell.

Foundation Diploma students have a year of creative exploration ahead of them, where they’ll learn which art or design specialism is right for them. 

The Foundation Diploma has full-time students from all over the world, and we offer in-studio support with English language tasks for any of our students who need this. 

This multicultural environment is an important part of our course, as it brings together opinions and experiences from a variety of different cultures that all Foundation Diploma students can benefit from.


When applying to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students must choose from the following two modes of study:

Diagnostic mode

Students will be introduced to all three disciplines - Art, Communication and Design, before choosing one specialist option.

This mode is best suited to students who are unsure which discipline they wish to choose and want a broad range of experience to help them decide their future direction. 

Specialist mode

Students will be introduced to the specialist options within their chosen Art, Communication or Design discipline. 

This is for students who are very confident in their future direction. This mode allows you to apply directly to one of the three disciplines.

The three disciplines and specialist options within them are: 


  • Art - with specialist options: Drawing, Painting, Photography and Time-Based Media, Sculpture
  • Communication - with specialist options: Film and Animation, Graphic Design, Illustration
  • Design - with specialist options: Design for Performance, Theatre, Stage and Screen. 3D, Product and Spatial Design

Please note:

  • We may offer you a place on the course, but in a different mode to the one you requested on your application form
  • If you are interested in Fashion and Textiles you should apply to the Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins

The course is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Learning Skills and Content

An introduction through lectures, seminars, studio projects, gallery and museum visits.

Part 2: Development and Progression

All students then get to decide on one specialist option and are given the tools to help them: 

  • Understand how to work at BA level
  • Work independently and with confidence
  • Understand, adapt and safely use practical methods and skills for creative production
  • Solve complex problems through the application of art and design
  • Take responsibility for their research, planning and time-management
  • Effectively present themselves and their work to different audiences
  • Develop a portfolio for BA application

Part 3: Project Proposal and Realisation

The diploma finishes with a personal project proposal that requires students produce a body of work for their final assessment, which will also become part of the college's end of year exhibitions.


  • Claire McCormack - Programme Leader and Design Pathway Leader
  • Laurence Noga - Art Pathway Leader 
  • Frank Owusu - Communication Pathway Leader


Throughout the diploma, students have a Personal Tutor who ensures they receive the appropriate guidance to prepare them for Higher Education. This involves preparing an application and developing a portfolio of subject specific work. 

Foundation Diploma students will be encouraged to progress to undergraduate study within the University of the Arts London. Our foundation and undergraduate academic staff will be on hand to support and guide students through the application process.

Our diploma graduates typically go on to take up their first choice degree at undergraduate level, with a high number continuing their studies within the University. Our students can also progress to courses throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

Entry Requirements

  • Portfolio of work
  • 1 GCE A Level / AVCE / BTEC National Diploma / GNVQ Advanced Diploma supported by 3 GCSEs grade C or above
  • International Baccalaureate; students need to achieve at least 3 certificates - 2 at Higher Level and 1 at Standard Level - with a minimum grade 4 in each certificate
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • IELTS Academic Test for UKVI level 5.0 or above if English isn’t an applicant’s first language, with at least 4.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our English Language requirements). You must take the IELTS Academic Test for UKVI test. No other test can be accepted. IELTS Academic Test for UKVI is approved by the UK government for your UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. It is accepted as proof of your English language ability

Portfolio advice:

  • Show a clear and organised presentation of your work
  • Put your most interesting work first
  • Include self-directed work
  • Your research should be included on separate sheets and next to relevant pieces of work. This is to help us understand the development of your ideas 
  • Notes should be in your sketchbooks. Do not add lots of notes to images
  • Take photos of large work. Maximum size - A4
  • Due to time constraints we can't view films, videos or DVDs. Please present this work in the form of storyboards and stills
  • You do not need to put your work in plastic sleeves
  • Label your portfolio with your name
  • International applicants should add the title, media and dimensions of each piece in the bottom left corner of the image

Portfolios should demonstrate the following:

  • An interest in art, design or related subjects
  • Creative thinking and problem solving abilities
  • Research and investigative skills
  • The use of a range of materials and processes
  • Visualisation skills - drawing, photography, 3D work, etc

Apply - Home / EU

Home / EU applicants

Applications for 2017 entry will open in November 2016.

The deadline will be 12.00, Tuesday 31 January 2017.

Personal statement

Your personal statement should:

  • Be a maximum of 500 words
  • Tell us why you have chosen the course and how it will help with your future plans
  • Describe aspects of your current work that support your mode of study choice
  • Talk about the type of work you want to make whilst on the course


  • One reference is required 
  • Your referee should be able to comment on your ability to succeed on the course 
  • You should contact your referee in advance to tell them they will be receiving a reference request from the college
  • Your referee will be automatically emailed when you submit your online application

What happens next?

If you meet the entry requirements you may be invited to attend a portfolio review.

Please note:

If you do not live in the United Kingdom or you can't, for exceptional reasons, attend a portfolio review, you may be able to submit your portfolio online via Flickr.  You may also be able to arrange for a parent, guardian or friend to bring it in for you.

Maths and English GCSEs

If you are a UK or EU student who has been accepted onto the Foundation Diploma, but did not achieve a grade C or above in GCSE English or Maths, you will be given the opportunity to retake the exams as part of your Foundation Diploma course.

When you enrol, you’ll need to provide evidence of your qualifications. 

If you have not achieved minimum C grade in English or Maths, we will automatically enrol you onto a compulsory GCSE study programme. This will be closely tied to the Foundation Diploma course, so you’ll be studying things that are relevant and interesting to you.

Please note:

  • We will keep a record of your attendance in accordance with the Further Education Attendance Policy. If you fail to turn up to your GCSE classes regularly and on time, your progress towards your Foundation Diploma could be affected.
  • You must resit your GCSE English and / or Maths exams as part of the study programme, but failure to achieve a C grade or higher will not affect your achievements on the Foundation Diploma
  • It is highly likely that a degree-level course will require you to have a C grade or higher in English and Maths

Apply - International

International applicants

Applications for 2017 entry will open in November 2016.

There are two ways international students can apply to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: 

Applying through a UAL representative

Please do not use the online application form if you are applying through a UAL representative or the UAL Asia office. 

You should speak to your representative to find out how to submit your application.

Applying by online application

After you have submitted your online application you will receive an email asking for your personal statement.

Personal statement

Your personal statement should:

  • Be a maximum of 500 words
  • Tell us why you have chosen the course and how it will help with your future plans
  • Describe aspects of your current work that support your mode of study choice
  • Talk about the type of work you want to make whilst on the course

Immigration History form

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form.

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email (or post), with copies of the following documents:

  • Your passport photo page 
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this)
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma - if completed. Translated into English)

Please note:

If you do not send us your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Interviews and your portfolio

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to interview. 

If you live in the United Kingdom:

You should bring your portfolio with you when invited for an interview at the College.

If you live overseas:

The interview and portfolio review will be done by telephone. 

Your portfolio can be submitted in the following ways:

  • A link to your personal website
  • Upload your portfolio to Flickr 
  • Email your portfolio as a PDF attachment (no bigger than 7MB)
  • Post your portfolio on a USB or CD

If you choose to send your portfolio as a PDF, on a USB or CD:

  • You need to include 30 images - including sketchbook and development work
  • All images should be arranged into one PDF
  • All images should be no larger than 1024 x 768 pixels
  • It needs to be formatted for both Mac and PC

Where to send documents and portfolios

By email to:

Please note - the email account has a 7MB attachment limit per email. Files should either be compressed or sent in more than one email.

By post to the address below:

UAL Central Admissions
University of the Arts London
272 High Holborn
United Kingdom 

What happens next?

We will email you to let you know the outcome of your application. This will usually be within one week of your interview.

If your application is successful we will send you an offer letter. 

The letter will contain details on how to accept the offer and how to get a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.


Enquire about this course

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