There are two modes of study: Diagnostic or Specialist.
With over 100 undergraduate options available within UAL alone it can be hard for students to know which is best for them. The Diagnostic mode is here to help you fully understand where your abilities and interests fit within art and design. It is best suited to you if you want to consider a wide range of disciplines before committing to a specialism.
Our aim as a course is to direct students towards the specialist pathway that will give them the best chance to develop a distinct, individual, body of work.
The Specialist mode is for students who are confident of their future direction. This mode allows you to apply directly to one of the four curriculum areas. Each curriculum area is sub-divided into specialist pathways and during the first eight weeks of study, you undertake workshops across those pathways. These workshops guide students to explore a wide range of creative approaches within one overarching discipline.
Whichever mode you choose, over the first initial stage of the course you will be asked to experiment with a range of materials and processes that support ideas development within art and design. You will then be guided, through tutorials and assessment, to the pathway that best suits your interests and abilities.
The course is divided into four curriculum areas each with their own specialist pathways:
Curriculum Area: 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture
We will encourage the exploration of materials and the development of making skills. You will learn how to use tools and machinery, developing ideas through drawing and model making.
Architecture and Spatial Design
This pathway explores the built environment and the spaces inside and around them. Spatial and architectural investigations focus on scale, site, atmosphere, light, materials, context, function, human needs, innovative propositions and solutions. Concepts are based on the exploration of cultural, social, political and economic issues.
Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories
This pathway explores designing for the body. Jewellery investigates the decorative, intimate, meaningful or symbolic quality of objects worn on the body. Footwear and Fashion Accessories are rapidly growing sectors of the fashion industry, responding to current trends for the catwalk, the retail industry and contemporary craft practice.
Product Design and Ceramics
This pathway explores three different approaches to product design and ceramics: “design for production”, “conceptual approach” and “focus on making skills and innovative use of materials”. Students explore 3D objects within the context of materiality, function, meaning, location, contemporary living, social and political issues and the environment. You will learn to identify target audiences and analyse consumer behaviour.
Curriculum Area: Fashion and Textiles
We will encourage you to develop your individual strengths and create a personal and creative portfolio. We offer two closely related specialist pathways:
Fashion design combines visual language and structures for the body. We teach fashion design that is specific to its cultural, social or political context. You will be taught to understand the importance of the silhouette and sculptural form related to the body. You will work with print, stitch and knit and explore machine and hand processes.
This pathway combines an exploration of skills, technology and experimentation into colour and surface. Outcomes may be functional, decorative, symbolic, or conceptual, or a combination of all these. Work is made for variety of contexts including the fashion industry, art in a gallery context and designer-maker crafts. There is a focus on drawing, painting, collage, photomontage, and mixed media, for both figurative and abstract imagery.
Curriculum Area: Fine Art
We will support you in finding your own visual language or voice. It will help you place this voice in relation to the work of other artists through a consideration of art history and regular critique and discussion. We offer three specialist pathways:
You will explore the use of colour, image and representation. You will learn fundamentals related to water and oil-based paints, including the correct preparation of surfaces. In addition, there is a thorough investigation of the language of the image and other modes of representation. Some students may choose to explore painting with the use of digital media, photography and video.
You will investigate the physical nature of the world: material, form, objects and their relation to space and site. You will explore how time and action alter things such as process, doing and performance.
This pathway focuses on the interplay between artistic experiment, media and technology, and explores the use of time-based media, lens-based production, durational performance and digital media. Projects and debates will develop your skills to critique and engage with pressing cultural and social issues.
Curriculum Area: Graphic Communication Design
We place an emphasis on the development and communication of ideas and creative thinking. Work is often in the public domain where the role of the communication designer to persuade, provoke, inform and entertain their audience.
We offer four specialist pathways:
Graphic designers communicate a message, convey an idea as well as engage with a more speculative practice investigating forms of visual, aural and written language. Projects explore all forms of visual communication, and may include books and narratives, typography and letterforms, advertising and branding, print media, moving image and digital interaction.
Photography and Moving Image
This pathway is for students interested time-based media to frame, record, question and communicate ideas about the world around them. Outcomes can be poetic, dramatic, humorous or playful and projects explore photography, sound, found images, film, animation, image and text, book forms, performance and installation.
Illustration and Printmaking
Illustration is the process of using your imagination and visual language to interpret given content to enrich and communicate it. We encourage you to develop an original visual language, which you can apply to a brief and which communicates how you see the world. Projects explore drawing, information design, lettering, print, publishing and animation.
Fashion Communication is for students with an interest in art direction, fashion styling, fashion photography, fashion journalism or fashion illustration. You will engage with current designers, public contexts and a range of approaches to create and communicate the context of fashion. You will learn to create dynamic images and construct probing narratives that provoke, contextualise and promote the fashion industry and the cultures associated with it.
The course follows the same structure across all curriculum areas.
Part 1: Diagnostic Investigation into Creative Practice
Art and design methods and practices are explored and debated through a range of practical workshops. On the Diagnostic mode you will experience all twelve pathway options, while Specialist mode you will identify a pathway within your specialist area. At the end of this, you will focus on a single specialist pathway for the rest of your course.
Part 2: Developing Specialist Practice
Now that you are working within a specialist pathway you begin studies to fully understand the subject discipline, the range of associated careers and the progression opportunities within UAL and beyond. During this stage you will be supported to make a UCAS application and develop a portfolio for undergraduate admissions interviews.
Part 3: Consolidating Practice
You will undertake a final self-directed project. This project is your opportunity to focus on your future specialist creative subject area and prepare to progress to undergraduate study. You decide the subject of your own project and write a proposal. This project is assessed at the end of the course and provides you with your final qualification grade.
Mode of study
The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design runs for 32 weeks full-time over one year. The course is full-time; however, the hours of delivery vary from each stage to the next. You may be expected to work on project work over five days, some of that in person and at times you will be expected to work alone (independent study). Typically, taught sessions are in person from 10.30am – 4.30pm. There may be, in addition to this, some online delivery.
Credit and award requirements
Each part is made up of 40 credits: Part One consists of 40 Level three credits and Parts Two and Three consist of 40 Level four credits each. To progress to Part Two you are expected to complete the units of Part One successfully.
To progress to Part Three you are expected to complete all previous parts successfully. To be awarded a Foundation Diploma you must accumulate 120 credits in total. This means you will need to complete all parts of the course to gain the Foundation Diploma.