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Orientation to Art and Design

Start date
2021 dates to be announced soon
Course length
7-9 weeks per stage

We are currently offering the Preparation for Foundation (Online Short Course) as a course alternative.

Orientation to art and design is a single 7 or 9 week course carefully created to help students with little or no art and design education to bridge the gap between their current skill level and the experience and visual thinking required to gain access to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (or other equivalent course).

This course combines the studio and workshop practice of broad based art and design projects in line with the general requirements for entry to a foundation study program, giving you the chance to build your portfolio whilst expanding your creativity.

At the beginning of the course you are given a timetable of projects, which enables you to prepare for tasks that lie ahead, and will help you evaluate your completed work. Beginning with basic drawing and observational skills, the coursework will progress through:

  • Increasing knowledge of contemporary art and design practice
  • Using sketchbooks to record research and visual thinking
  • 2D and 3D construction projects
  • Idea based project work
  • Architectural drawing and research study
  • Design for communication projects
  • Life Drawing
  • Photomedia and collage
  • Design for the body
  • Assembling a completed portfolio and personal statement

There will also be projects based around visits to local museums and galleries. All projects must be completed and the final part of the course will involve producing a portfolio of completed work. Progress on the course is regularly evaluated through tutorials that are scheduled as part of the timetable. Students are asked to provide their own materials for drawing, all other specialist materials are provided.

Many students would like to study art and design in Britain but might not have had the opportunity to develop the portfolio of art work needed to apply to study at a UK art college or equivalent course. This course has been design with this need in mind.

View the information leaflet for Orientation to Art and Design [PDF 1.9MB]

Course dates

2021 dates to be announced soon

Course overview

Curriculum / learning and teaching

The objective of this full time programme of study is to enable you to develop the necessary knowledge and practical skills for application to or entry on a foundation level course. This includes:

  • Observation and reflection skills
  • Analytical research skills
  • The control of materials and processes in the realisation of ideas
  • A capacity to evaluate your work and the work of others
  • The ability to establish communication skills with particular reference to the language used to discuss work in the studio

This course is runs for 9 weeks or 7 weeks during the condensed June programme. This means that you will still have the same number of teaching hours, but you will be expected to be in college for longer each day. The reason for this change is to give international students longer to renew their visa between the end of the Orientation to Art and Design course and the start of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Who will teach the course?

Martin Blake (course leader) began teaching at Central Saint Martins as a Group Tutor on Foundation and then moved full-time to Orientation in 2009. Orientation has grown in popularity and provides a perfect opportunity for students to prepare a portfolio for successful application to a Foundation Course.

“What I particularly enjoy about Orientation is the small class size which gives the opportunity for one to one teaching and helps students to discover their strengths.

My own practice lies within Painting which for me began with large scale works which connected with maps and aerial images. More recently I have concentrated on geometric constructions which mirror architectural structures. I am interested in all aspects of the visual world from fashion to film, and am a firm believer in learning as a lifelong process.” – Martin Blake

The course is also taught by visiting tutors and UAL staff.

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

Making your application

To apply for this course please click on the “Apply” button located at the top of this page, you will be redirect to a course application form which you will need to complete.

We will only review completed applications, which must include:

  • A completed application form
  • A short statement (no more the 350 words)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • 15-20 high resolution images of your work

All international students from outside the European Union will need a Short-term Study Visa (STS) in order to attend one of our portfolio courses.  To find out more please visit UAL's Immigration guidance for short course students web page.

After you apply

We will review your application.

Fees and funding

Home fee


(if you are aged 19 or over on 31 August of the year you start your course)


(if you are under the age of 19 on 31 August of the year you start your course)

These fees are correct for 2020/21 entry and are subject to change for 2021/22 entry.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee

£18,300 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students.

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