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Art and Design Foundation

Foundation Diploma

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022



Course length

Full time: 1 year


School of Arts

UCAS Tariff Points



This Foundation Art and Design course introduces you to a wide range of creative practices.

You will experience a broad range of projects which are designed to help you prepare for further study or employment. You will develop your independent creative thinking and learn to apply this across a range of disciplines. You will gain a broad understanding of the creative industries and the career paths across the sector.

You will be supported to develop a portfolio of work, ready for applications to undergraduate courses or creative roles. 

This course is based in the School of Arts which is home to a range of specialist facilities including:

  • Printmaking workshops
  • Letter press
  • Video editing
  • Photographic studios and darkrooms.

Introductory workshops across our facilities will provide you with a solid foundation in each medium. You will be taught by tutors and visiting lecturers who are practising artists and designers.

Have a look at our Foundation Art and Design on Instagram

This year (2020-21) this course will start on Thursday 10 September.

Art and Design Foundation

How to apply

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 64

A Level: CC

IB Points: 24


Further offer details

We welcome applications from candidates with equivalent alternative qualifications, and from mature students.

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: GCSE Maths and English grade 4/C

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

Portfolio guidelines

Before preparing your portfolio please read through our e-portfolio guidance and speak to your current teacher about your work.

  1. Work that demonstrates your drawing ability, drawing can take many forms, we will be looking at observational drawings of the world around you, interiors, figures, still lifes, landscapes.
  2. Your folder should contain evidence of work in colour which can take the form of paintings or designs. We also want to see photographic work (which can include digital) produced at school if at all possible.
  3. Works which allow you to experiment with media other than charcoal, pencil or paint (e.g. collages from paper, fabric or similar materials).
  4. Any three-dimensional work you may have produced which reveals your interest in form and structure would be interesting, including wood and/or plaster constructions. Don't worry too much about accuracy or finish. The important thing is the idea. You probably won't be able to bring the actual piece of work due to its size, weight or fragility, so photographic evidence is advisable. (Please note point 6 below.)
  5. Produce any evidence you can of work which is investigative. An example might be to begin with a study of a particular object as it appears under normal conditions then stage by stage dismantle it, recording visually its appearance at each stage.
  6. The standard of the work you bring is extremely important. The same applies to actual presentation and organisation. Find out as much as you can about the visual arts. Visit galleries, particularly those showing contemporary work. Find out as much as you can about design and crafts, and particularly about your favourite artists, designers or photographers.

What we are looking for:

Research and idea development - sketchbooks, research on artists and designers, studies and preparatory work. Show all stages of how you have got from a starting point to a final piece. The journey you have embarked upon to achieve the final outcome is very important therefore present the development stages of your project.

Range of materials, media and approaches – experiment with material using mixed media, making samples, models etc. Include evidence of both 3D and 2D work. All larger pieces and 3D work should be photographed.
Include inspiration, references and research - Are there any galleries, exhibitions or events you have visited that have been influential? How do you stay current and up to date with contemporary art and design? What do you hope to gain from studying a Foundation Diploma course? And what are your aspirations for the future? We also like to know a little bit about what you do outside of art and design, such as hobbies, interests, other influences.

Creativity and problem solving - we will look at the range of media, techniques and processes you have used and that are central to your work. This could include for example, drawing, painting, collage, photography, model-making, textiles or printmaking. We are aware that the range you are able to demonstrate will depend on your current studies but we do like to see diversity in your work so it is best to show more than one approach or use of media.

We are interested to see how you develop your ideas, what informs them? How you identify problems and make decisions in order to solve them. We will typically see this through sketchbook pages, idea/design development work, trials, samples and experiments (2D & 3D). 

Portfolio preparation course

We offer short courses to provide a picture of the foundation course through taster experiences of the kind of work that our foundation students undertake. The courses also provide guidelines for the selection and presentation of a portfolio for interview for a place on Art and Design foundation courses.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Applications are now open for Home/EU and International students for September 2020.

Please apply directly to the University using our online application systemYou cannot apply for this course through UCAS.

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible so we can consider your application.

If you live in the Channel Islands, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, please read this guidance regarding funding.

If you are expected to meet the requirements for the course, you will be invited by email to submit your portfolio for review. Only international and overseas students can submit eportfolios instead of attending portfolio reviews.

Apply for this course

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£5,500 (students under 19 do not have to pay tuition fees - more details below)

International full time

Home (UK) full time
£5,700 (students under 19 do not have to pay tuition fees - more details below)

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£5,500 (students under 19 do not have to pay tuition fees - more details below)

International full time

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£5,700 (students under 19 do not have to pay tuition fees - more details below)

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

UK and EU students that are aged under 19 on the 31 August immediately before this course starts do not have to pay tuition fees.

Financial support and scholarships

Please note there are no tuition or maintenance loans available for this course from the Student Loans Company because it is level 3 and not an undergraduate programme.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Materials Fee

The Materials Fee is £160 and payable when you enrol. This will include basic paper and drawing supplies for the year, specialist materials for workshops in unit one and two of the programme. This cost also includes the cost of two gallery visits during the academic year.

Field Trips

Students also have the opportunity to take two optional trips, a UK based residential usually in September which ranges from £150- £200. A European trip at the start of unit 4 in February which ranges from £350- £500.

Art Materials & Printing Costs

It is recommended that a budget of £5 per week for printing costs and about £5 a week to cover consumable art materials in addition to what is provided in order to extend your projects.

Portfolio Mounting

In order to prepare your portfolio for UCAS interviews you can expect to spend £45-100 on photography and mounting materials.

Final Major Project

Depending on your ideas you can expect to spend between £30 and £200.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

The course is divided into 3 main units:

  1. Diagnostic Investigation (eight weeks) – this is a fast paced unit that introduces you to a wide range of approaches through several one day projects. The way you respond to these projects will help you understand how you work and what you are most interested in pursuing creatively. 
  2. Developing Specialist Practice - this is an opportunity to further explore a specialist practice or practices. During this time you will be supported in making an application to university, creating a portfolio and going through interviews. You will also have opportunities to get involved in collaborative projects with employers. 
  3. Consolidating Practice - in this final unit you will write and develop your own personal project and exhibit it in our end of year exhibition. 
Art and Design Foundation

Learning and teaching

  • Teaching includes studio-based projects, one-to-one tutorials, lectures, seminars, practical field trips, skills workshops and demonstrations.
  • All students will be taught by a range of different staff but will have a dedicated personal tutor that you will meet with for both 1-1 meetings and group tutorials

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve drawing in your sketchbook, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and Moodle, the online virtual learning platform.

Field trips

Field trips also form part of the course. Recent destinations have included the Eden Project in Cornwall, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Berlin and Venice.

The field trips to Eden Project and a European destination are payable by you to cover the costs of accommodation and travel.  In addition you will need to cover the costs of living in Europe and we would recommend a budget of 50 euros per day.  In Cornwall accommodation is likely to be full board.

A trip to London to see museums and galleries will be covered by your studio fee and you will not be asked to cover travel or entrance fees.  However, you will need to either provide your own lunch or buy it whilst there and we would budget for approximately £5.


Assessment methods used on this course

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design award is based on passing all three parts of the course, and on completion of 120 credits. Each part should be passed. Students are formally assessed at the end of each part in order to proceed to the next stage. 

You will participate in reflection, evaluation and assessment  The emphasis is on continual feedback, which ensures a high level of communication between you and your tutors. Contextual work is fully integrated and designed to inform your practical work, this includes theme based lectures, talks from practising artists and designers and field visits to museums. 

Additional learning support
The learning support tutor meets regularly with students who have a learning need such as Dyslexia or Dyspraxia. All students can request tutorials as required. Topics range from reflective writing to personal statements and understanding the principles of research. All students are screened for Dyslexia when they start the course. 

Our Staff

Sarah Britten-Jones

Read more about Sarah

Free language courses

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.