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Tate Donaldson working in the Letterpress Studio

Pre-degree and foundation courses help you develop the skills, experience and portfolio needed for further study.

What are pre-degree and foundation courses?

These preparatory courses help bridge the gap between secondary school and degree-level study. They give you the chance to:

  • expand your knowledge and skills
  • develop a strong portfolio of work
  • explore lots of subjects to help you decide what you'd like to specialise in.

Who are they designed for?

If you plan to study a practical undergraduate degree in areas such as fashion, art or design, we recommend completing a pre-degree or foundation course first.

We offer a range of options depending on your needs and background:

  • UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design for UK and International students.
  • Certificate of Higher Education: Preparation for Design, Media and Screen for UK and International students.
  • Pre-degree courses for International students.

Learn more about our students’ pre-degree experience in their own words

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

The year-long Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course is designed to prepare students for specialist undergraduate degrees in art and design subjects.

It’s a year of exciting projects, new faces and experiences that will inform your future study, career and creative life. You'll try different disciplines from across art and design while being supported to fulfil your creative potential and ambitions.

All students who successfully complete the Foundation Diploma course will be guaranteed an offer of a place on an undergraduate course at UAL. This means that as long as you pass, you’ll have the opportunity to continue your studies at one of our 6 Colleges or our Creative Computing Institute the following year.

More pre-degree courses at UAL

Our pre-degree courses for International students are designed to help you adjust to living and studying in a new country. As well as workshop and studio-based learning, each course provides English language support and academic writing guidance.

Our  Certificate of Higher Education: Preparation for Design, Media and Screen at London College of Communication is open to both UK and international students.  It gives you the chance to develop your creative, academic and professional potential in design, media and screen.

  • Illustration of a tropical garden scene.
    Illustration by Paola Ascanio, Pre-degree Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts, 2020 © Oaika Ascanio

    Pre-degree: Online

    Taught entirely online, this 6 month pre-degree course will prepare you for an undergraduate degree in Art, Design or Communication.

  • Fashion photography work by Rob Phillips

    International Preparation for Fashion (Certificate in Higher Education)

    Develop the skills, knowledge and portfolio needed to progress to a specialist undergraduate degree in fashion.

Preparing a portfolio for foundation study

Student stories

Foundation year is really about finding out what specialty within art and design is for you. You get to work on projects in textiles, painting, sculpture, 3D design, theatre, everything! Then you choose which specialty you want to pursue and spend the rest of the year building a portfolio in that area.

Sister Emerson, USA, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Fabric embellishment
Charlie working in a studio.
Charlie Waterhouse, Camberwell College of Arts, 2018 © Alys Tomlinson
My Foundation Diploma has influenced me enormously and it has been extremely positive. It’s a great way to grow both your practice and as a person. It’s being quite fundamental to my development as an artist.

Charlie Waterhouse, UK, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • Student on laptop sat in front of large windows

    Chat to a student

    Got questions about studying with us? Our student ambassadors are here to help.

  • Short courses  

    Build your portfolio and confidence ahead of your pre-degree or foundation course.

  • Ceramic cell by Leonora Richardson

    International students

    Find guidance on the application process, immigration and visas, and everything else you need to get your creative journey started.

  • Common room at The Costume Store
    Common room at The Costume Store


    Find information and advice on living in halls of residence or in a privately-rented property.