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Art and Design (Pre BA) Level 3 Foundation Diploma

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design is a pivotal qualification which provides a transition from general education to specialist art and design education. As part of the course, students will be encouraged to become more experimental and risk-taking in their approach and develop their thinking and idea generation strategies.


A key goal of the course is to enable students to make an informed decision about whether they wish to progress to higher education in Art & Design, study a degree in a separate field or prepare them for work/apprenticeships.


If you are under 19 years of age, the course will be free of charge. If you are aged 19+, the below fee applies but you will likely be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan

Exam Board: University of the Arts London (UAL)



UK and EU students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year will normally be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3.


Students who are 19+ years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.


Please note this is a course for adults (18+). Click here for courses for 16-18 year olds.

  • Course details, fees and dates

    Course Code U3FADF/RTA/1

    Start Date September

    How long is the course? 36 weeks

    What time does the course start? 9AM

    What time does the course end? 5PM

    When does the course run? Mon, Tues & Wed

    How much does the course cost? Tuition fee £3,990 Exam fee £0 Certification fee £140 Materials fee £100 = Total fee £4,230

    Is this course eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan? Yes

    Are concessions available? Yes

    Examining Body UAL

    Is an interview required? Yes

  • What will I study and learn?

    The first part of the course is structured so you experience a diverse range of approaches, concepts, media and techniques related to the following pathways before choosing your specialist area:

    • Art Pathway: Fine art, photography, film
    • Communications Pathway: Graphic design, illustration, animation, visual effects
    • Design Pathway: Fashion, fashion styling, textiles, 3D object design, 3D spatial design, including architecture, interior and theatre design, crafts

    When you have chosen your pathway you will start to create personal art and design work in an experimental and investigatory way, using high levels of evaluation, research and contextualisation to underpin the development of your work. You will have access to specialist workshops in printmaking, ceramics and 3D design to enable you to develop your practical skills. During the course, you will also take part in a number of exhibitions and presentation scenarios to prepare you for higher education interviews or employment. Teaching staff will be available for feedback and guidance at all times and you will also be assigned a personal tutor from the teaching team who will oversee your progress.

  • How is the course assessed?

    The course is assessed through project-based activities. Students must pass all the level 3 units 1-6 before going on to the final level 4 unit, an externally-moderated major project. Your overall course grade - Pass, Merit or Distinction - will be the mark you receive for this final major project (FMP).

  • What skills will I need for the course?
    • An active interest in visual communication and culture
    • An inquisitive way of thinking
    • A willingness to experiment, explore materials and processes
    • A desire to take ideas beyond the 'obvious'
  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    Minimum Requirements - an A Level supported by 3 GCSE grades A*-C/9-5 with a reasonable standard of English and Maths must be in evidence


    BTEC National Diploma/Level 3 Extended Diploma or qualification in a creative subject


    a combination of vocational qualifications and A Levels supported by appropriate previous accredited achievement.

    Students will need to present a portfolio at interview which demonstrates their visual experiences.

    Please note that places for mature students are based on an assessment of their creative abilities and not necessarily on academic qualifications. Students from other specialist pathways who wish to re-route themselves can also apply with a limited portfolio; individual support will be given before the student enters the course. All other students will need to present a portfolio at interview which demonstrates their visual experiences.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    The UALAB foundation diploma in art and design is intended for those students wishing to progress to a higher education course in art and design or associated studies. However students who wish to use the qualification as preparation for employment or an apprenticeship, or to extend their outlook and skills prior to studying in another field at higher education level are also encouraged to apply.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    There are no course fees or exam registration fees payable for UK and EU students who are under 19 years of age on 31 August. Students should expect to cover additional costs for study visits and independent research days.

    If you are aged 19+, the below fee applies but you will likely be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.

    During the Foundation Diploma students will produce a personal portfolio of work. To create a diverse and engaging body of work suitable for Higher Education and employment interviews in Art and Design it is expected that you will extend on standard outcomes with specialist media and materials for which a studio fee is charged. The studio fee is a cover charge so that a variety of specialist materials can be purchased at an economical rate through educational suppliers and be available for use where appropriate on developing and presenting a personal portfolio.

    Studio fee - £100 - cover charge for:

    A portfolio, High quality cartridge paper, Acrylic/ oil/ watercolour paints, Oil pastels, Conte chalks, Graphite, Inks, Fabric transfer inks, Batik dyes, Batik wax, Cotton and synthetic fabric, Transfer mediums, Wool for felting, Screen printing, Relief printing, A variety of clay, slip and glazes, Glasswork, Metal Casting, Balsa wood, Plastic work including vacuum forming, Photographic processing and printing, Foam core board, Grey card and Mounting card.

  • How do I apply for the course?

    To apply for this course please click the 'apply' button at the top of the page.

    You will be required to attend an interview, please ensure you bring along a portfolio of your work.

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