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Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

This is a one-year, intensive, full-time course which provides an introduction to a range of Art and Design pathways prior to specialisation and subsequent degree course applications.

UAL Awarding Body Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

A one year, full-time, course of study leading to the award of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, level 4.
Upon successful completion of the course, the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is awarded by the University of the Arts London Awarding Body (UALAB), who give us centre and qualification approval.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is nationally accredited by Ofqual and is quality assured by UAL Awarding Body through a rigorous external moderation process and grades are monitored against agreed national standards.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is intended primarily for those students who, usually having completed their A levels, wish to progress to higher education in Art and Design or associated studies. However, applicants who would like to use the qualification as either re-orientation (mature applicants) or as a preparation for employment are welcomed.

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements which are:

  • A strong portfolio of Art and/or Design work that demonstrates ability, commitment and potential.
  • Five GCSEs at grade A, B or C or the equivalent.
  • Three GCSEs at grade A, B, or C plus one A level or the equivalent.
There may be exceptions to this list and particular circumstances and background records of achievement, qualifications and experience will be evaluated upon receipt of application.

Ideally, all qualifying applicants will be interviewed to assess their suitability to undertake the course. However, it is anticipated that increasing application levels could make this logistically difficult and some preliminary assessment based on digital portfolio submissions may become necessary.

Those for whom English is not their first language should normally hold at least one of the following qualifications:
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test: an overall score of 6.00 or above
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) a score of at least 550
  • The JMB University Entrance Test in ESOL: a pass
  • The Cambridge Certificate in Proficiency in English: a minimum of grade C
  • The Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: a minimum of grade C
  • GCSE and IGCSE English Language: a minimum of grade C
The City and Guilds of London Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, in common with other Foundation courses in this country, is essentially a transitional course between school and a university Art or Design degree course. Foundation Courses are designed to introduce a broader range of subject areas in greater depth than schools can and are therefore able to provide a basis for informed decisions about applications for further study. The completion of a Foundation Course is a normal qualifying requirement for entry into most BA Art and Design programmes in the U.K, some university courses currently requiring at least a merit grade from a Foundation Course as a condition of acceptance.

Many of the students undertaking the Foundation Course come directly from U.K. schools but there are, in addition, normally a significant number of students from a variety of academic and work backgrounds as well as students from across the EEC and beyond wishing to continue their studies in this country. The relative proportions of each group can vary significantly from year to year. Occasionally a student will take up the course and use it as a discrete educational experience in its own right without any intention of continuing their Art and Design education at a higher level. Occasionally a student with a previous academic degree will use the Foundation Course as a supplementary qualification in order to effect an immediate transition into a postgraduate or an MA programme in Art or Design. We normally expect a significant group of our Foundation students to wish to continue their education at City and Guilds in one course or another, the number varying from year to year.  Of those who apply to other institutions we have successfully placed virtually all of our students over the last few years, a very high proportion of these on to their first choice courses.

Although all Foundation students have their own studios and staff, a range of service areas and facilities are available and are used by all students on site. This means that, for example, a Foundation student who takes a special interest in printmaking can use the print facilities as well as the expertise of the specialist print staff whenever they like after specialisation or at any time of the year in evening classes and will consequently find themselves working alongside BA or MA students or even visiting artists. Occasionally another department can become a resource and staff from other areas will take an interest in, and work with, Foundation students who have expressed an interest in those areas.

The school has recently acquired the use of considerable extra space (approximately 600 sq metres) in the adjacent BT telephone exchange building (Vauxhall TE) and this has provided us with an opportunity to dramatically improve working spaces and resources. We have refurbished this space as purpose-built Foundation studios, designed by the Head of Department. This provides a superb integrated and flexible working environment for the Foundation students as well as an additional workshop provision and a lecture theatre/seminar space, plaster room, brush cleaning facility, additional computer resource, sewing-machine area etc. This is an exciting development and provides a whole range of benefits for the course as well as for the school as a whole which has additional space available to further develop resources for all of our students.

The number of students enrolled on the course for the academic year 2014 2015 is 89.
The course is a full-time (Monday to Friday) programme and is generously staffed on a daily basis. The current staff/student ratio averages about 1:15, discounting technical staff (i.e. print staff, computer technicians, woodwork, metalwork, glass technicians, librarian etc.) who are available to all students in the school. Our various Foundation staff, who are all part-time and who all maintain their own professional practices, are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, both Fine Art and Design. Many of them teach, have taught and in some cases have run courses in other institutions as well.

Past Visitors include:
Debra Allman, Helen Barff, Sharon Beavan, Kieira Bennett, Will Broome, Mia Buckton, Matt Clarke, Teresita Dennis, Andrew Eakins, Martin Greenland, James Hart-Dyke, Horacio Herrera-Richmond, Sigrid Holmwood, Philip Hughes, Rannva Kunoy, Kristina Kurkina, Christina Mackie, Annabelle Moreau, Michael Shaw, Yukako Shibata, Margaux Tsakiri-Scanotovits, Alice Wellbeloved.

Also read:

Staff Profiles

Staff profiles

View a short film about the Foundation Department

Foundation Show 2012

External Moderators Report

Foundation Show 2013

Foundation Show 2014