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We can’t wait to welcome our new and returning students from 19 October 2020. Your safety is our first priority.

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Foundation Diploma in Art and Design | Curriculum Area: 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture

Start date
September 2020
Course length
1 year - full time

This course is now closed for applications for September 2020.

In the 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture curriculum area we encourage the exploration of materials and the development of making skills.

Students learn how to use tools and machinery. Creative ideas are developed through drawing and through experimental model making. We offer three specialist pathways: Architecture & Spatial Design, Product Design and Ceramics and Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories.

Starting in 2017/18, all Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students who successfully complete the year will be guaranteed a place on an undergraduate course at UAL. View the 'Guaranteed undergraduate offer' section for more details.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • You can apply directly to any of the four curriculum areas; Fashion and Textiles; Fine Art; Graphic Communication Design; Three Dimensional Design and Architecture
  • If you want to explore your options, there’s a diagnostic pathway option where you can explore all four curriculum areas before diagnosis into specialist curriculum areas
  • Most of our students go on to study at degree level at Central Saint Martins or other UAL colleges
  • 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.

Open days

Virtual Open Days:
At Central Saint Martins, the safety of staff, students and visitors is our priority. Following government guidance on social distancing due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we’re currently unable to run physical open days at the College.

Instead we will offer virtual open days at the end of November 2020. You’ll be able to find out more about the foundation diploma in art and design courses that interests you, as well as the support we offer to prospective and current students.

How to book:
To register your place on the foundation virtual open days, select the relevant virtual open day listing (registration opens on Monday, 26 October 2020)

Virtual Tours:
You might also be interested in checking out the College’s outstanding facilities and technical spaces in the meantime through our virtual tours

Scholarships, awards and funding

Central Saint Martins Foundation Open Day
Central Saint Martins Foundation x The Big Draw

Student work

  • JFFA-Lu-Li.jpg
    Lu Li, JFFA
  • 3-3DDA-Gallery-JFFA-Mika-Yamakoshi-thumb.jpg
    Mika Yamakoshi, JFFA
  • PDC-Silas-Gibbins.jpg
    Silas Gibbins, PDC
  • Foundation-3DDA3-Nicholas-Willis-add-to-gallery.jpg
    Nicholas Willis
  • Foundation-3DDA2-Rowena-Potter-add-to-gallery.jpg
    Rowena Potter
  • Foundation-3DDA4-Beth-Williams.jpg
    Beth Williams

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design stories

  • Foundation 2020: Isolation

    Due to the coronavirus lockdown, many of our Foundation students finished their studies away from the College. Looking across disciplines, here we share some projects which explore the meaning and impact of social isolation.

  • Foundation 2020: Family

    Due to coronavirus lockdown, many Foundation students finished their studies away from the College, living in differing degrees of isolation with their families. Looking across disciplines, here we share a few of the projects that look to home and

  • Foundation 2020: Fine Art

    As our 2020 Foundation students head to the next stage in their creative education, we catch up with them and their tutors to hear about their final projects and look back over a year unlike any other.

  • Foundation 2020: 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture

    As our 2020 Foundation students head to the next stage in their creative education, we catch up with them (and their tutor) to hear about their final projects and look back over a year unlike any other.


Digital Media
students working in a computer room
Foundation at Archway
a person painting a picture on an upright canvas

Course overview

The Diploma in Art and Design - Foundation Studies course at Central Saint Martins is based at the Archway campus, which is where all studio teaching sessions, technical workshop access and additional study support sessions are delivered.

Foundation students have access to and are expected to use the library, learning zones, loan store, student centre, lecture theatres, digital print facilities and the Lethaby Gallery via the King's Cross campus.

This course is part of the Access and Progression to Higher Education Programme.

There are two modes of study:

  • The diagnostic mode allows you to spend time within each of the four 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 four curriculum areas.

The four curriculum areas are:

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 One 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.

3DDA  3-Dimensional Design and Architecture Curriculum Area

The 3DDA Curriculum Area is ideal for those with a passion for making. Students will explore a range of materials in the context of structure, form and surface. They will learn to use tools and machinery and acquire new making skills. The technical knowledge and understanding helps students to solve creative problems.

In 3DDA we explore design, craft and conceptual approaches to creative idea development. The scale we work in ranges from tiny objects worn on the body to hand held products, to furniture, to large architectural structures and proposals for whole cities. Students will be taught rigorous methods of research and visual communication, as well as professional ways of presenting 3-dimensional outcomes to audiences.


Product Design and Ceramics

This Pathway is for students who are inspired to design and make objects to enrich our daily life. We encourage a contemporary and experimental approach to Product Design and Ceramics. This is led by thorough research, design aesthetics, hands-on exploration of a wide range of materials and related hand making & manufacturing techniques. Students explore 3D objects within the context of materiality, function, meaning, location, contemporary living, social and political issues and the environment. They learn to identify target audiences and analyse peoples’ consumer behaviour in order to discover what they need and aspire too. There are three approaches to Product Design and Ceramics: ‘design for production’, ‘conceptual approach’ and ‘focus on making skills & innovative use of materials’.

Those who enjoy designing through making acquire the necessary skills to hand build their designs, making extensive use of the workshop facilities at the college. Ceramic outcomes can be fully functional, fired and completed in the BA workshops. All students use model making in the design process and some then commission components from specialist manufacturing companies e.g. laser cutting, casting, digital printing. We teach the core skills of research, design, experimentation, development, testing and making so that our students are prepared to progress onto a range of undergraduate courses including BA Product Design and BA Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins. Our students’ 3D outcomes range from design products and consumer goods to furniture and objects for the home.

Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories

This pathway is for students who are interested in exploring new and innovative, as well as traditional and contemporary approaches to designing for the body.

Jewellery explores the decorative, intimate, meaningful or symbolic quality of objects worn on the body. Design concepts explore tradition and culture, social and political issues, as well as personal ideas.

Footwear and Fashion Accessories are rapidly growing sectors of the fashion industry, which is responding to current trends for the catwalk, the retail industry and contemporary craft practice. Outcomes can be diverse and may incorporate jewellery, footwear, bags, headpieces and new products. There is an emphasis on exploring a diversity of materials, acquiring a wide range of making skills and considering manufacturing methods in both, industry and the designer/maker context.

You will focus on:

  • perceptions of preciousness and beauty
  • perceptions of value and status
  • skilful and sensitive handling of  materials
  • design, materials, technology and craftsmanship.

Outcomes may evoke questions and debate, be amusing, ironic and enigmatic, be sentimental or superstitious, indicate a personal history, declare a relationship to others and raise issues of identity.

Architecture and Spatial Design

This pathway explores the structures that shape the built environment and the spaces inside and around them. Spatial and architectural investigations will focus on: scale - site - atmosphere - light - materials - context - function - human needs - innovative propositions - solutions - multidisciplinary approaches.

Spatial and architectural concepts are based on the exploration of cultural, social, political and economic issues. Design idea development might touch on anything from narrative to environmentalism or radical strategies for inhabitation. Outcomes may be rooted in architecture, interiors, landscape or urbanism.

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 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're expected to complete the units of Part One successfully.

To progress to Part Three (i.e. Unit Seven) 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 to Thursday 10.30am – 4.30pm, and occasionally on a 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 One - 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 Two - 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 One 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 Three - Project Proposal and Realisation

The focus of Part Three 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.

Guaranteed undergraduate offer

Starting in 2017/18, 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 six colleges, the following year.

Which undergraduate course will I be offered a place on?

The offer will depend on your work and the interests you develop during your foundation year. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will be made an offer for a specific course of your choosing, but if you successfully complete the diploma, you’ll be offered a place on a relevant course at UAL.

How does it work?

To be guaranteed progression onto an undergraduate course, you must:

  • Have made your application through The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
  • Successfully pass the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • Be able to meet any other additional entry criteria for the undergraduate course you’re offered a place on.


Curriculum Leader and Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories: Karla Newell

Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories: Helmert Robbertsen
Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories: Nicola Malkin 
Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories: Tamzin Lillywhite
Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories: Marion Rhoades

Architecture and Spatial Design: Alaistair Steele
Architecture and Spatial Design: David Ogunmuyiwa 
Architecture and Spatial Design: Cristina Monteiro 

Product Design and Ceramics: Kathleen Hills
Product Design and Ceramics: Tom Nelson 
Product Design and Ceramics: Georgia Steele

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • 1 A Level or equivalent
  • Or equivalent Level 3/EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Certificates – two at ‘Higher Level’ and one at ‘Standard Level’ - all Grade 4 or above.

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

*          Related academic or work experience

*          The quality of the personal statement

*          A strong academic or other professional reference

*          OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 5.0 or above, with at least 4.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

Applicants who require a Tier 4 General Student Visa must take IELTS Academic Test for UKVI which is approved by the UK government for your UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. No other test can be accepted.

Achieving English and Maths GCSEs

If you are a UK or EU student who is under 19 and has been accepted onto one of our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design courses, but did not achieve a grade C/4 or above in GCSE English or maths, you will be given the opportunity to retake the exams as part of your course. This is Government Policy (post 16 Study Programme) and UAL are obliged to undertake this and ensure that GCSE teaching is provided and that students attend.

When you enrol, you will 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/4 in English or maths.

If this applies to you, it is important to note that attendance is mandatory and you will have to attend the sessions alongside your FAD course.

In addition those students who are taking the GCSE maths and English retake programme will ultimately be withdrawn from the Foundation Art and Design course as well if their attendance falls below the 85% level required, and this can happen at any point throughout the academic year. A separate attendance record is kept for these classes.

Here are a few key things to note:

We will keep a record of your attendance in accordance with the FE Agreed Absence and 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 re-sit your GCSE English and/or maths exams as part of the study programme, but failure to achieve a grade C/4 or higher will not affect your achievements on your Foundation Diploma in Art and Design unless you fail to attend the retake programme.
  • The exams do fall just out of term-time, but a weekly timetable will be distributed to enable you to plan your time accordingly.
  • It is highly likely that a degree-level or post-graduate course at UAL or any other institution may require you to have a grade C/4 or higher in English and maths, so this is a good incentive to enable you to achieve the relevant grades.
  • You will have the benefit of small, dedicated classes every week during term time with specialists within the field of education.

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to their potential and current ability in the following criteria:

  • Visualisation skills (e.g. drawing, photography, 3D works)
  • Research and investigative skills
  • Creative thinking and problem solving abilities
  • The use of a range of materials and processes
  • An 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 school course work.

Making your application

This course is now closed for applications for September 2020.

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

You may choose either the Diagnostic option or ONE of the Specialist pathways on the online application. Please note, in some cases we may offer you a place on the course but on a different pathway to the one you originally applied for.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

You can only apply to the Central Saint Martins (CSM) Foundation Diploma OR the Camberwell Chelsea Wimbledon (CCW) Foundation Diploma.  Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

Application deadline

The deadline for submitting your application is 13.00 (UK time) on 31st January 2020.

This course is now closed for applications for September 2020.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

The deadline for submitting your application for the Fashion and Textiles pathway is 13.00 (UK time) on 31 January 2020. For all other pathways, we recommend you apply by 31 January 2020 for equal consideration.  However those pathways will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Immigration history check

You will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital mini portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.  You should complete the mini portfolio within 7 days of receiving the instructions on how to upload your digital portfolio.

Mini Portfolio Guidance

Prior to being selected for interview for a place on the Foundation Diploma course we ask that you submit 20 pages of your work for consideration against our entry criteria. Please note that these can include photographs of worksheets or sketchbook pages and that you might lay out multiple works in one page as long as they are clearly visible (for example: presentation boards). Please read the following advice carefully:

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, photographs, details of materials you have used.

Successful applicants demonstrate this through their sketchbook pages, worksheets, drawing, photography, textural or 3D work etc. and there is no prescribed way to submit the evidence.

Research and investigative skills
  • Include evidence of the primary and secondary research sources which have informed the projects in your portfolio.  Your research should be annotated with critical analysis which demonstrates your engagement with the sources you have identified.
  • This can be in the form of scanned pages or photographs from a sketchbook, notebook or blog. It is important for us to see how research informs your practice as an artist or designer.
  • It is also important for us to see where you gather your research from; site visits, gallery visits, books, magazines, websites etc.

Successful applicants demonstrate this in a variety of ways and there is no prescribed way to submit the evidence.

Creative thinking and problem solving abilities
  • Show us that you have considered a wide range of ideas for your projects. This could be shown in sketchbooks where initial ideas are recorded, selected and developed.
  • We are particularly interested in the development of ideas and the process you have gone through, the problem you have identified and solved in order to arrive at a final outcome.
  • Organise your work so that all stages of the development and decision making processes are evident, including your reflections and evaluations.

Successful applicants demonstrate this through sketchbook pages, worksheets, drawing, photography, model making etc. and there is no prescribed way to submit the evidence.

The use of a range of materials and processes
  • Show us that you have explored a range of methods. These could include drawing and collage techniques, model making, photography, printing techniques, fabric manipulation or any others.
  • We do not expect your portfolio to contain all the above items. Your range of materials and method investigation will largely be determined by your current course of study.

Successful applicants demonstrate this through sketchbook pages, worksheets, drawing, photography, textural or 3D work etc. and there is no prescribed way to submit the evidence.

An interest in art, design or related subjects
  • This will largely be covered by your personal statement but also 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.

Successful applicants can demonstrate this through their personal statement, in sketchbook pages and notebooks and there is no prescribed way to submit the evidence.

Following the review of the mini portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to a full portfolio review.

Full portfolio review and interview

If you are successfully selected for interview you should read the portfolio advice carefully.  At interview we will ask you to talk about one project so please be prepared for that.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can submit a full portfolio online and we may interview you by Skype.  Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post.

Portfolio advice

Your portfolio should contain a range of visual material, including sketchbooks, research and photographs of three dimensional pieces or work of scale.

  • 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 can be organised chronologically or thematically, with sketchbooks linked to final outcomes. Arrange your work so that the admissions tutor can easily follow the way you've developed an idea from initial research to the finished piece (thematic).
  • Mount work on plain white cartridge paper. Avoid using black paper for mounting and don't use card as it is heavy and expensive. This may mean remounting schoolwork.
  • Labelling of work should be unobtrusive. You could add small titles or captions to bottom of images if you feel it helps explain your work or is providing dimensions.
  • Take clear photographs of your large, heavy and/or 3D work, include close up images of details, and label with information about scale, materials and technical processes
  • Time restraints mean we can't view films, videos or DVDs. Please present this work in the form of storyboards and/or stills.
  • Make sure you've removed everything from the portfolio that isn't intended for review.
  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
  • Include your sketchbooks and reflective journals. We are particularly interested in seeing work or research that you have carried out in your own time, this could be documented in a small sketchbook or notebook.
  • If you've studied design and technology subjects, 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 we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL Portal by Friday 1 May 2020.

Please note that applications made to this course may be given an alternative pathway offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee


Under 19

Age 19+
2020/21: £5,280 plus registration fee £140.

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.

International fee

2020/21: £18,300 plus registration fee £140.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Equal and lower qualification information (PDF 58KB)

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers support page.