Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

We encourage an exploratory approach, giving you a critically creative environment and a wide range of skills to begin defining your own creative practice. The course is unique in offering both specialist and diagnostic modes of study. If you’re confident about your future direction, the specialist course lets you apply to one of five curriculum areas. The diagnostic course allows you to explore a wide range of art and design disciplines as part of your preparation for BA application.

5 great reasons to apply

  • You’ll have a choice of four curriculum areas; Fine Art; Three Dimensional Design and Architecture; Fashion and Textiles; Graphic and Communication Design
  • If you want to explore your options, there’s a diagnostic pathway option where you can explore all the curriculum areas before making up your mind
  • Most of our students go on to study at degree level at Central Saint Martins or other UAL colleges
  • You’ll take part in an exhibition at the end of the course, open to the public, family and friends
  • You'll be introduced to a range of materials and methods of working to research and develop your ideas and learn how to evaluate and reflect on your progress. We’ll help you to build a portfolio and prepare you for interviews to enter higher education and employment.

Facts

Programme Director

Chris Roberts

Course Location

King's Cross, London

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

2016/17:

Age 19 to 23
£4,020 plus registration fee TBC (last year's fee was £124) *

Age 24+
Awaiting government decision (last year's fee was £5,297) plus registration fee TBC (last year's fee was £124) *

Under 19 - £0 *

*As on 31 August 2016

Following a change in Government policy the tuition fee rate for Home/EU students aged 19 and over on this course in 2016-17 will be determined once statutory funding rates for the course have been published.

It is expected that Home/EU students aged 19 and over on this course who satisfy the relevant criteria will be able to take out a loan to cover the cost of their fees. In 2015-16 the tuition fee for loan-funded FE students is £5,290.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

2016/17 fees: £14,040. Registration fee: TBC (last year it was £124)

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2016
Autumn Term DatesMonday 5 September 2016 – Friday 16 December 2016
Spring Term DatesMonday 3 January 2017 – Friday 24 March 2017
Summer Term DatesMonday 10 April 2017 – Friday 19 May 2017
Application Route

Direct application - see the How to Apply section below.

Content and structure

The Foundation course at Central Saint Martins is based over two sites: King's Cross and Archway. This course is part of the Access to HE and Progression programme.

There are two modes of study:

  • The diagnostic mode allows you to spend time within each of the 4 curriculum areas before specialisation.  This mode is best suited to students who are not yet certain of a particular subject.
  • The specialist mode is for students who are confident of their future direction.  This mode allows you to apply directly to one of the 4 curriculum areas.

The 4 curriculum areas are:

Please note that from the academic year 2016/17 Performance Design and Practice will be based at the Progression Centre, Wilson Road as part of the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Foundation Diploma. 

Each curriculum area is sub-divided into pathways.  Please see curriculum area pages for further information about the curriculum areas and their pathway options.

Whichever mode you choose, over the first 10 weeks (Part 1 of the course) you will rotate through a series of projects that will ask you to experiment with a range of materials and processes that support ideas development within art and design.  After this initial period of investigation and experimentation you will be guided, through tutorials and assessment, to the specialist pathway that best suits your interests and abilities.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design runs for 32 weeks full time over one year and is divided into three parts.

Each part is made up of units and each unit has a credit value. Units are the basic building blocks of your course and can be described as a self-contained package of learning defined in terms of learning time. This includes taught time, independent study, access to resources, and assessment.

Each part is made up of 40 credits. Part 1 consists of 40 Level 3 credits and Parts 2 and 3 consist of 40 Level 4 credits each.

To progress to Part 2 you're expected to complete the units of Part 1 successfully.

To progress to Part 3 (i.e. Unit 7) you're expected to complete all previous units successfully. To be awarded a Foundation Diploma you must accumulate 120 credits in total. This means you'll need to complete all units of the course in order to gain the Foundation Diploma.

You're expected to attend Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10.30am - 4.30pm, and occasionally on a Wednesday or Friday for workshop inductions and additional classes.

Course outline

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is designed to enable you to learn through discovery and exploration by engaging with projects, lectures and study visits. The foundation course is essentially a transitional experience in art, design and communication, preparing you for a place in higher education or for employment.

The wide range of specialist options reflects the progression opportunities available at degree level within the college and the university. The foundation course's pathways allow you to build a subject-specific portfolio in readiness for degree course applications.

Part 1 - Learning Skills and Content

Through studio and workshop projects you'll be introduced to a range of materials and methods of working. You'll learn how to research and develop your ideas and how to evaluate and reflect on your progress.

Part 2 - Development and Progression

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is designed to help you build a portfolio and to prepare you for interview to enter higher education and subsequent employment. Building on skills from Part 1 you'll integrate your research, ideas and methods of working to produce a body of work that allows you to analyse your interests and ambitions and to investigate directions to pursue.

Part 3 - Project Proposal and Realisation

The focus of Part 3 is on further development of your individuality and independence as you propose and realise your final major project integrating planning, research, ideas, methods, evaluation and reflection. Your project is displayed in the foundation exhibition - open to the public, family and friends.

Developing your skills

Throughout The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design you'll learn new skills to enable you to progress successfully. These skills, which are also appropriate to higher education and employment, include the use of machinery and materials, presentation skills for articulating your ideas to your peers or at interview, and presenting your work in a portfolio or at an exhibition. Most importantly you'll gain study skills in order to 'learn how to learn'. This kind of independent learning builds the self-motivation, commitment and initiative that allows you to develop your projects independently, guided by a supportive tutorial structure.

Staff

Programme Director
- Chris Roberts

Fashion and Textiles
Jo Simpson
Oonagh O’Hagan
Gail Evans

Fine Art
Adrian Scrivener
- Beatrice Denton

Graphic & Communication Design
Lucy Alexander
Tim Meara

3-Dimensional Design and Architecture
Karla Newell
Nicola Malkin

Performance Design and Practice
Marie Blunck-Ward

Careers

Most students go on to study at degree level at Central Saint Martins or at other UAL colleges.

Some go on to study at colleges nationally or internationally. Others choose postgraduate study or enter the world of work directly.

Entry requirements

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design requires portfolio evidence

Selection to this foundation course is determined by the quality of your application, meeting the minimum entry qualifications, and satisfying the selection criteria through the quality of a portfolio of work.

Minimum entry requirements

  • Passes in 1 GCE A Levels or a twelve Unit AVCE
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above.

You can demonstrate this educational level by:

  • Having the qualifications named above
  • Having equivalent qualifications
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for your visa, enrol and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 5.0 with a minimum of 4.0 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the UAL English Language requirements page
 
Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements.

You must take the IELTS Academic Test for UKVI,  no other test can be accepted.

Maths and English GCSEs

If you are a UK or EU student who has been accepted onto the CSM 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

The GCSE study programme classes will be closely tied to your CSM Foundation Diploma course, so you’ll be studying things that are relevant and interesting to you.

Here are a few key things to note:

  • We will keep a record of your attendance in accordance with the FE 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 your Foundation Diploma.
  • It is highly likely that a degree-level course at UAL or any other institution will require you to have a C grade or higher in English and Maths.

International applicants

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please contact us by email: international@csm.arts.ac.uk

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

What we look for

Our admissions tutors will grade your portfolio against the five criteria listed here:

1. Visualisation skills

Include evidence in the form of drawings you've made from observation of the world around you such as landscapes, cityscapes, interiors, people and objects. (Don't rely on drawings from photographs.) Do include experimental drawings, developmental designs, storyboards, technical design drawings and sketchbooks.

2. Research and investigative skills

Include evidence of your interest in culture and society and show how your interest informs your art and design work. This could take many forms such as an interest in politics, the media, history, religion, philosophy, music, theatre, cinema, literature or new technologies. Be sure to demonstrate the way you've used your research to inform and contextualise your work.

3. Creative thinking and problem solving abilities

Include evidence of how you've identified problems and what actions you've taken to solve them. Organise your work so that all stages of the development and decision making processes are evident, including your reflections and evaluations.

4. Use of a range of materials and processes

Include evidence that demonstrates an exploratory or experimental use of a range of different media, materials and processes.

5. Interest in art, design or related subjects

Include evidence that demonstrates your commitment to, and enthusiasm for, art and design as well as your potential to achieve the Foundation Diploma. Evidence may be in the form of ideas, notes, research, photographs or sketches, including work you've made outside of your course work.

Application advice

The application form asks you to state which curriculum area you're applying to. Use your personal statement to describe aspects of your work that support this choice. You may want to refer to your problem solving skills, for example, or to the ideas and interests that underpin the work you're showing us. Please read our curriculum area descriptions in order to make your choice.

How to prepare your portfolio

Please read this advice - it's designed to help you achieve your ambitions!

Make sure you allow enough time to prepare your portfolio properly. A well-presented portfolio takes a lot of time to organise, so don't disadvantage yourself by leaving it to the last minute. Your portfolio should be organised chronologically and thematically, with sketchbooks linked to final outcomes

Mount work on plain white cartridge paper. Avoid using black paper for mounting and don't use card as it's heavy and expensive. This may mean remounting schoolwork

Labelling of work should be unobtrusive. No large labels, please

Put your most recent work at the front of the portfolio (chronological)

Arrange your work so that the admissions tutor can easily follow the way you've developed an idea from initial research to finished piece (thematic)

Large, heavy and/or three-dimensional work must be presented in photographic form. Photographs should be mounted on white paper with the media, dimensions and title written neatly underneath

Time restraints mean we can't view films, videos or DVDs. Please present this work in the form of storyboards and stills

Make sure you've removed everything from the portfolio that isn't intended for review

Bear in mind that the quality of the work is more important that the quantity

Include your sketchbooks and reflective journals. Please ensure sketchbooks are securely labelled on the front with your name

If you've studied design and technology, don't forget to include this work too

Having prepared your portfolio, check it against these recommendations. Please remember that a poorly prepared portfolio makes it difficult for the admissions tutors to judge your suitability for the course.

How to apply

On application you may choose either the Diagnostic route or ONE of the Specialist routes. Please note, in some cases we may offer you a place on the course, but in a different area to that which you requested. 

Home / EU applicants

Applications for September 2016 entry are now closed.

The deadline for equal consideration for the full-time course was Noon on Friday, 29 January 2016.

Personal Statement

Upon completing the application form, you will receive an email asking you to submit a personal statement and select your preferred study route (diagnostic route or one of the four specialist routes). This statement should be a maximum of 500 words and indicate why you have chosen this course, the type of work you are interested in producing on the course, and how this will help with your future plans. You should also use your personal statement to describe aspects of your work that support your choice of study route. Please read our descriptions of the study route in the ‘Content and Structure’ section in order to make your choice. In some cases we may offer you a place on the course, but in a different area to the one you requested. 

Reference

We only require ONE reference, although the application will ask for two. Your referee should be someone who can comment on your ability to succeed on the course. Your referee will be automatically emailed when you submit your online application, and will be asked to address a set of criteria about you. Please let you them know that you have named them as a referee, and also ensure you provide us with the correct email address. It is worth checking your referee has received your reference request as sometimes school firewalls will block emails. You are responsible for ensuring your referee submits your reference on time, so please keep this in mind when selecting your referee. 

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your personal statement and your references. Use your personal statement to tell us about your interests in art and design and your career ambitions.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements (or expecting to meet them) you may then be invited to submit your portfolio for review. If you can't bring the portfolio yourself you can arrange for a parent, guardian or friend to bring it for you. Following review of portfolios, your application may be successful or you may be declined.

Home/EU postal portfolios

If you don't live in the UK or you can't, for exceptional reasons, attend a portfolio review you can email a flickr link documenting your work, or you can also send your work on a USB Memory stick, or on a CD following the guidelines below.

Please note that we only accept Flickr links, no other digital platform links will be accepted. We also don’t accept PDF or JPEG files being emailed through directly.

  • Your portfolio should consist of a series of good quality images of your work
  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Please supply title, media and dimensions of each piece, bottom left of the image
  • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

Flickr links should be emailed to: foundation@csm.arts.ac.uk

If presenting your work as an A4 portfolio please ensure the sheets are attached in order to preserve the sequence. Do not send original artwork.

If presenting your work on CD/flash drive:

  • please ensure it's Mac and PC-formatted
  • all portfolio images should be arranged in a single Powerpoint or PDF file
  • individual images imported into Powerpoint or PDF files should be no larger than 1024 x 768 pixels

Postal portfolios or CDs should be sent to: Central Saint Martins, Admissions, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA.  Please ensure you retain proof of postage and a copy of your portfolio. You should also be aware that these are not returned.

Electronic/postal portfolios must be received by 21 February 2016. Please note that late submissions will not be considered. 

Outcome of portfolio review for all Home/EU applicants

You'll be notified of the outcome of the portfolio review by 27 March 2016.

 


 

International (non-EU) applicants

Curriculum Areas

On your application form you will be asked to specify for which Curriculum Area you would like to be considered.  You should be aware you will not necessarily be offered the one you apply for.

If you are finishing secondary/high school/A Levels (A2) this year, any offer for study at CSM would be conditional upon your successful completion of this qualification. 

For Tier 4 visa purposes, you will be required to show an additional English test certificate (IELTS) and studying A Levels in the UK does not exempt you from this. If you don’t currently have the required English test score, you can still apply to the course and show your portfolio, but you will need to meet the English requirement as part of meeting your offer conditions.

How to apply

There are two modes for international students to apply to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD) at Central Saint Martins. You can choose the mode you prefer, and there is no advantage of one over the other:

  • Either direct to CSM via online application, or
  • Through one of the UAL official representatives in your country. If applying via a UAL representative or the UAL Asia Branch Office, please do not use the online applications link to apply.  Please speak to your representative to find out how to submit your application.

Please note, we do not accept emailed applications.

To apply direct to CSM via online applications:

You will be required to complete an online application and upload your personal statement immediately after the application itself. Please note, you are not required to upload your portfolio or education qualifications at this stage. Your application will then be processed by the International Admissions team at Central Saint Martins, and we will contact you by email shortly afterwards to let you know the next steps and how to submit your portfolio, based on where you currently live.

Applying (online) direct to CSM and you live in the UK:  we will invite you to CSM to attend a portfolio review where you will bring your portfolio for assessment. You should also bring copies (not originals) of the following items with you:

  • copies of your passport photo page, and any current or past UK study visas
  • copies of certificates of your current English language level (we recommend IELTS test)
  • copies of your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma – if completed)
  • one academic reference (although the form says two, one is enough)
  • completed Immigration History Form (we will send this)

Applying (online) direct to CSM and you live overseas: we will email you to request you send your portfolio, and the list of documents below. We will request your portfolio as a link to your personal website or to UPLOAD your portfolio via Flickr, or save your portfolio onto a CD/USB/PowerPoint/PDF presentation documenting your work (non-returnable), to us by email, or as a physical portfolio by post (maximum size A4). Please do not send original work as it cannot be returned.

By email or post, you should send us copies (not originals) of the following items:

  • copies of your passport photo page, and any current or past UK study visas
  • copies of certificates of your current English language level (we recommend IELTS test)
  • copies of your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma – if completed)
  • one academic reference (although the form says two, one is enough)
  • completed Immigration History Form (we will send this)

Portfolio Guidelines (either digital as CD/USB/PowerPoint/PDF/Flickr link or as physical A4) – we prefer a digital

  • your portfolio should consist of a series of images of your work
  • the quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • where possible, scan rather than photograph work. Large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and not sent by post
  • please organise your work ‘by project’, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes, and showing development of ideas
  • please supply title, media and dimensions of each piece, bottom left of the image
  • make sure you label your portfolio clearly with your name

If presenting your work digitally on CD/USB:

  • Please ensure it is Mac- and PC-formatted
  • All portfolio images should be arranged into one, single PowerPoint or PDF file, not as separate files/folders
  • Individual images imported into PowerPoint or PDF files should be no larger than 1024 x 768 pixels
  • Please provide up to 30 images

If presenting your work as an A4 portfolio, please do not send original work, as we cannot return it to you. Please do not send your original sketchbook, for the same reason – please photograph and digitise your sketchbook.

Notes on preparing your portfolio:

We are just as interested in seeing your research and development work as we are in seeing your final outcomes. Please ensure your portfolio contains evidence of primary and secondary research, ideas development, and experimentation with media. We want to see your sketchbook pages or notebook pages, worksheets, working drawings and notes.

Personal Statement

You should aim to write roughly 4-500 words (no more than one A4 sheet) covering the following topics:

  • why you want to study on the CSM FAD course, and your plans for the future
  • your artistic influences, and any relevant work experience you have
  • a particularly enjoyable art project you have worked on

Reference

We only require ONE reference although the application will ask for two. Your referee should be someone who can comment on your ability to succeed on the course. Your referee will be automatically emailed when you submit your online application.  Do please let your referee know that you have named them as a referee and also ensure you provide us with the correct email address.

Deadline

We do not have a deadline for international (non-EU) applicants, however we recommend you apply by the end of March 2016.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

We will let you know by email the outcome of your application following either portfolio review (if you are in the UK) or after review of your complete application plus portfolio (if you are overseas) within six weeks. Next steps on how to accept an offer and begin the process for obtaining a CAS number from us will be included.

If you have any queries about the application process for CSM FAD please use our course enquiry form or, visit the Foundation application page for further help for international students on the application process for all UAL Foundation courses.

CSM International Office

Postal portfolios should be sent to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA, United Kingdom.

Ensure you label any item sent to us with your Student ID number that you will receive once you apply online.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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