This is a one year, full-time, course of study leading to the award of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, level 4, awarded by the University of the Arts London Awarding Body (UALAB)

The course is primarily intended as a diagnostic and preparatory year to support applications to higher education in art and design or associated studies. It is immersive and introduces a wide range of art and design practices through project work and practical studio based learning as well as self-directed study, alongside a programme of lectures and visits.

This means that it can also be used as an opportunity for re-orientation (for mature applicants) or as preparation for employment in art and design.

The course:

> supports the development of a personal creative practice with access to individual working space on 5 days per week, unlike many of our competitors

> encourages and enables students to access the Art School’s wide range of workshop facilities and support staff, such as wood, metal, glass, print, casting, digital media and life drawing

> supports students through daily teaching which synthesises academic, technical and critical learning

> promotes a deep understanding of materiality through process

> negotiates the role of the artist and designer, both as individual and as part of a shared community

> acknowledges the urgency of responsible and ethical practice in the face of an environmental/global emergency

> welcomes the call to decolonise our institutions and is committed to recognising and incorporating global dialogues around creative subjects

> encourages new modes of representation

> supports the production of an ambitious public exhibition.

You will find the Course Handbook here.

The UALAB Level 4 Foundation Diploma consists of 3 sections: Units 1, 3 and 4 (The level 3 version run by some centres consists of Units 1, 2 and 4).


The year begins with a general introduction to art and design, starting with a variety of approaches to drawing and research and continuing with workshop inductions, introductions to painting, photography, sculpture, design communication, 3D design, printmaking and art and design history and theory. This part of the course sets out to help you to recognise where your strengths lie and supply you with the experiences you need to make informed decisions about your future study options.

As the ‘diagnostic’ phase of the course develops there will be a series of talks/presentations given by artists and design professionals intended to inspire you and provide a picture of the study and employment options available.

At the end of Part 1 you will identify, with support from tutors, the areas of specialist practice that you plan to explore during the remainder of the course.


Once you confirm your specialist subject area you will be allocated a personal working space that will be the base from which you will work throughout the remainder of the course. You will continue to have access to the Art School’s range of technical workshops and facilities to support you to test out and ultimately produce a body of work.

A ‘Towards Professional Practice’ series of workshop sessions focuses on issues such as documenting your work, writing application statements and preparing for interview.

Tutorials and workshops will continue to support you to develop your work and tutors will advise you on your portfolio and any applications you plan to make. You will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for your own learning and to evaluate your own and others work in seminars, studio discussion and critiques.


By this stage of the course you will work more independently, instigating and organising your own work and projects. You will be provided with an opportunity to demonstrate your achievements by independently initiating, researching, completing and evaluating a project proposal and its realisation within your chosen professional context.

Throughout the development of your final project you will continue to benefit from access to the art school’s many workshops and other resources and from tutorial advice as well as group sessions to discuss your work progress and ideas with staff and your peers.

Part 3 will allow you to test out your ambitions by developing and finally presenting your project in the Foundation Show.


The Foundation Show at the end of the course is a high point of the Art School’s year and is a time to celebrate your achievements during the course. Students and staff collaborate on the preparation, curation and hanging of the show and this experience is an important part of the course. The Foundation Show is advertised and open to the general public with a lively private view and prize-giving for your friends and family.


Studio tutorials enable you to review your progress and offer you advice on all matters relating to your plans for the future including: choice of subject and further courses, applications and interviews, preparation of portfolios and writing of personal statements.

In addition to more formal recorded tutorial sessions informal tutorials take place on a regular basis and you will be encouraged to make use of the full range of tutors available in your specialist area.


If the page is not loading correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.