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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:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD) courses 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 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD) is offered at Camberwell College of Arts and Central Saint Martins. This year-long course is designed for both UK and International students.

With 2 different pathways to choose from, you can tailor your studies to suit your interests. You can specialise in one subject area, such as Fashion or Fine Art, or you can take a broader approach and explore lots of different subjects.

All Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students who successfully complete the year will be guaranteed a place on an undergraduate course at UAL. This means that as long as you pass, you will have the opportunity to continue your studies at one of the 6 Colleges the following year. The offer(s) that you receive will depend on your portfolio. We cannot guarantee that you will be made an offer for each course you apply to, and, in some instances, you may be made an offer to an alternative course that you did not apply to.

Pre-degree courses for International students

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.

  • 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
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    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.

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    Common room at The Costume Store


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