Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Andy Valencia, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Camberwell College of Arts. Photographer: Alys Tomlinson

Foundation Diplomas in Art and Design are a route into practice-based undergraduate study at University of the Arts London (UAL).

To be considered for a practice-based undergraduate course at UAL, you usually need to have a strong portfolio. Our preparatory courses are one way for you to develop the skills, experience and body of work needed for further study.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is a year-long course giving you the opportunity to explore various art and design disciplines, experiment with a range of materials, methods and approaches, and build a portfolio of work.

Modes of study

You can choose to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in either ‘diagnostic’ or ‘specialist’ mode.

Diagnostic mode

Most students study in diagnostic mode, benefitting from the opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines to help decide their future direction. This mode introduces you to a broad range of creative areas such as painting, sculpture, photography, film, graphics, illustration, architecture, 3D design, fashion and textiles.

Specialist mode

If you are confident in your future direction, you can follow a particular pathway from the beginning of the course and specialise further later in the year.

Our courses

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design based at Camberwell College of Arts 

Specialist mode pathways:

  • 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.

Read the full course description for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design based at Camberwell College of Arts.

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design based at Central Saint Martins 

Specialist mode pathways:

  • 3D Design and Architecture
  • Fine Art
  • Fashion and Textiles
  • Graphic Communication Design.

Read the full course description for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design based at Central Saint Martins.

How to apply

You’ll only be able to apply for one Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at UAL, so be sure to do your research before making your choice.

Full details on how to apply can be found on each of the course web pages. You’ll make your application direct to the College where your chosen course is based.

The deadline to make your application for 2016/17 entry is 12 noon on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

If you’re also considering applying for an undergraduate course at the same time, perhaps because you’re unsure which level of study will be right for you, you can do this through UCAS.   

Fees and funding

If you’re a UK or EU applicant under the age of 19 years on the 31 August of the year you join the course you’ll not have to pay any tuition fees.

If you’ll be over the age of 19 or are an international student than fees will apply to you. Take a look at our Further Education tuition fees page for details.

There are a number of Further Education scholarships, bursaries and awards available for eligible applicants, including the possibility of a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan for applicants over the age of 24 years of age meeting eligibility criteria.

Portfolio advice

Following receipt of your application, you’ll be invited to a portfolio review event. Your portfolio will be considered against your ability to demonstrate the following:

  • Visualisation skills
  • Art and design related research and investigative skills
  • Creative thinking and problem solving abilities
  • Use of a range of materials and processes
  • An interest in art, design or related subjects

Watch our short video and discover some answers to some frequently asked questions on our Portfolio preparation page. 

Achieving GCSE English and Maths

If you’re a UK or EU student who is accepted onto one of our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design courses but who did not achieve a grade C or above in GCSE English or Maths, you’ll be given the opportunity to retake the exams as part of your course.

When you enrol, you’ll need to provide evidence of your qualifications. We will automatically enrol you onto a compulsory GCSE study programme if you have not achieved a minimum of a grade C in English or Maths.

The GCSE study programme classes will be closely linked to your Foundation Diploma in Art and Design 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 grade C or higher will not affect your achievements on your Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
  • It is highly likely that a degree-level course at UAL or any other institution will require you to have a grade C or higher in English and Maths.