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Art and Design Foundation

Foundation Diploma

School of Arts

This one-year foundation course is an entry route to all BA Art and Design courses in the UK. It enables you to prepare a tailored portfolio with the level of quality required for admission to highly competitive art, design and architecture degrees - including those at Oxford Brookes.

The foundation course is an intensive year of introductory study to many art and design areas. A wide range of subject choices is available.

Check out our 2017 Foundation Art and Design Final Show catalogue

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 80 - to include an art or design related subject

Available start dates

September 2018 / September 2019

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Headington Hill

Course length

  • Full time: 1 year

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Our students progress to very prestigious higher art and design courses in UK and abroad.
  • You will learn in a lively and stimulating environment from tutors and visiting lecturers who are themselves practising artists and designers.
  • Live projects can give you direct experience in specialist fields, and make use of Oxford's rich cultural heritage.
  • You will be part of our inclusive campus environment studying alongside other students from a wide variety of subjects. We have close contact with the Fine Art degree course, excellent technical and IT facilities, and supportive technical staff.

The foundation course is an intensive year of introductory study to many art and design areas, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, film & video for fine art, illustration, graphic design, animation, textiles, fashion, fashion communication, costume, three-dimensional design, theatre set design, character creation and prop-making, architecture and interior architecture.

Our course offers four main pathways

  • Fine Art
  • 3-Dimensional Design
  • Fashion/Textiles
  • Visual Communication.

These subjects break down into many subgroups. For example, Graphic Design students can study general graphics, advertising, packaging, illustration or animation. So a wide range of subject choices is available to all our foundation students.

The first stage of the course

Part One is general and wide-ranging in nature, enabling you to acquire key conceptual and practical skills. It covers drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, video and animation, the use of computers, conceptual art, three-dimensional design, design crafts, graphic design and illustration, textiles, fashion, costume and photography.

You will build on this experience towards the end of the first semester and in the second semester as you work towards the preparation of a portfolio for submission to higher-level courses.

The second stage

In Part Two you will be working within an area of your choice in a small group with a specialist tutor. Expert advice will be available to help you improve your portfolio presentation and interview skills.

Projects of your choice

You will also be given the opportunity to work freely on new projects of your choice, to be submitted with your completed portfolio and theory work for assessment at the end of June.

Theoretical studies

An ongoing theoretical studies programme focuses on issues in 20th- and 21st-century art and design, and occupies one day each week.

Part three - end of year exhibition

You will work on a self-directed project of your own choice working with tutors to support your development. All our students present their work from their final projects in the Richard Hamilton Building, home to the School of Art in an end of year exhibition, which allows for ambitious ideas and a professional curation process.

Please note, as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, available options may vary from those shown above.

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.

Study abroad

To find out whether you can study or work abroad while on this course, please email studyabroad@brookes.ac.uk

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

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.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

This is a full time five-day-a-week course running from 10 am to 4.30 pm. The schedule includes group project briefings, group critiques, lectures, seminars, practical workshops and demonstrations as well as 1:1 tutorials.

Additional costs

Studio Fee

The studio fee is £150 and this covers a 24 hour access card, a London trip to museums, technical workshops, life drawing classes, a contribution to the end of year exhibition, guest speakers and materials available during the year in the studio.

Study Field Trip

Students will take an optional study field trip in Part One and Part Two of the course. The cost for the Eden Project will range from £150-£170 (Full Board) and the European trip will range from £299-£500 (bed and breakfast).

Art Materials & Printing Costs

It is recommended that students budget £7 per week for printing costs and about £8 a week to cover consumable art materials.

UCAS

The UCAS application fee is currently £23 and attending Open Days or UCAS interviews can be expensive depending on your travelling distance, train fares etc. The cost of these will be individual to each student. Travel to Open Days is not compulsory. 

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.

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.

Teaching and learning

You will experience a wide range of teaching and learning methods including group learning, practical workshops, seminars, one-to-one tutorials, and visits to museums, galleries, studios and libraries.

As well as making organised visits to exhibitions we expect you to keep up with current events in art and design in Oxford, London and elsewhere. From time to time you will have access to lectures at the University of Oxford.

Approach to assessment

Assessment and evaluation are conducted with your participation. The emphasis is on continual feedback, which ensures a high level of communication between you and your tutors. 

Some written work is required as part of the Contextual Studies Programme, which includes weekly timetabled lectures, seminars, artists’ talks and visits to galleries and museums.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £5,095

International - full time: 2017/18: £12,890 2018/19: £13,150

UK and EU students that are aged under 19 on the 31st August immediately prior to the course start do not have tuition fees to pay.

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

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 in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

Please note that when filling in the application form you will be required to state how you intend to pay for this course. If you are under 19 you should write 'Local Authority'. If you are over 19, please note there are no loans available for the course from the student loan company because the course is level 3 and not an undergraduate programme; therefore you will have to fund the year yourself.

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 80 - to include an art or design related subject

A-Level: BB, one being an art or design related subject

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

IB Diploma: 27 points

BTEC: MMM

 

Mature applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

Specific entry requirements

A-Level: 2 A-levels, achieved or pending (we will consider applicants with fewer A-levels if they have a strong portfolio)

GCSE: GCSE Maths and English grade C

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

Portfolio guidelines

Make a proper selection for your portfolio. It is quality and not quantity that matters. We want to see a maximum of 20 sheets of work and 3 sketchbooks. The range should be as follows:

  1. Work which shows your ability to observe and record accurately within the conventions of drawing. Interiors, still-lifes, landscapes, figures and plants are all acceptable subjects. Include small drawings or ideas in sketchbooks as well as larger (A1) studies.
  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 (eg 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 7 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 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.
  7. All your work must fit inside your A1 portfolio. Any work hanging out the side of a portfolio or in addition to the portfolio will not be accepted. Any large pieces of work or 3D work must be represented by photographs if it does not fit in your portfolio.
  8. MOST IMPORTANT: please stick identification labels on each piece of work submitted (eg folder, 3-D work, etc). You must put your identification label on the outside of your portfolio as well as all your work.

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.

Portfolio specifications

Due to the high number of applications we receive (in the region of 600 applications for a maximum of 100 places), we are unable to offer individual interviews and applicants will be selected based on a portfolio submission alone.

  • Portfolios can be any size ranging from A4 – A1.
  • International applicants can submit an electronic portfolio (see below) or send actual portfolios by courier. 
  • Only one portfolio is allowed per applicant. Portfolios must be clearly labelled on the outside of the folder with the applicant’s name and address.
  • All work must be presented and contained within the portfolio (ie no extra work can be submitted if it does not fit inside the portfolio).
  • Larger works or 3D work can be submitted as photographs.
  • All work, including sketchbooks, must be labelled clearly on the back with the applicant’s name.
  • As applicants will not be present during the portfolio viewings, it is suggested that a brief description for each piece of work is supplied in the form of a label at the bottom or top left of the piece. Where relevant please state title, media, dimension and explanation for the work. (eg Reflection, acrylic on board, 80cm x 100cm, painting based on the theme of water and reflection).
  • A typed list of all work submitted should be inserted at the front of the portfolio.
  • No GCSE work to be included.
  • Please see the section on portfolio guidelines above for information on what is required in the portfolio and advice on how to present your work.

Please contact the programme administrator, tde-arts-enquiry@brookes.ac.uk or +44 (0) 1865 488322, to arrange courier delivery and return.

E-portfolio guidelines

OVERSEAS CANDIDATES ONLY

Please note UK applicants are expected to attend portfolio review and not send an e-portfolio as a substitute. Your portfolio can also be couriered if you are unable to attend in person.

Make a proper selection.  It is quality and not quantity that matters.  We want to see a maximum of 40 images of work. We suggest you include 10 images of drawing, 20 images demonstrating contextual referencing and how you develop your ideas; these could be sketchbook pages and/ or idea development sheets.  

These images are key to show that you don’t just go with your first idea and that you enjoy experimenting with media and process before creating a final piece. Include 5 images of finished pieces and 5 images of your own choosing. You may include more than one item per slide.  

The range should be as follows:

  1. Work which shows your ability to observe and record accurately within the conventions of drawing. Interiors, still-life, landscapes, figures and plants are all acceptable subjects.  Include small drawings or ideas in sketchbooks as well as larger (A1) studies. Include images of work that show your drawing skills in a variety of media and approaches. 
  2. Evidence of work in colour which can take the form of paintings or designs.  If you have paintings on large canvases we ask you to photograph the work and have smaller images underneath of close-up shots of the paint work and detail.
  3. We also want to see photographic work or any digital work, animations or films.   
  4. Experimentation with media other than charcoal, pencil or paint eg collages from paper, fabric or similar materials, a combination of a variety of media used in one image for example.
  5. 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.  Please photograph all 3D work.  We recommend you photograph the work from many angles including any close-up views so we can see important detail.
  6. 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.  
  7. The standard of work you send 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. 
  8. As applicants will not be present during the portfolio review it suggested that a brief description for each piece of work is supplied.  Where relevant please state title, media, dimension and explanation for the work. e.g. Reflection, acrylic on board, 80cm x 100cm Painting based on the theme of water and reflection.
  9. No GCSE work to be included.

We recommend that you save your images as JPEGs with a resolution of 72 dpi and a file size of no more than 200 KB. Recommended pixel dimensions are 1024 x 768.  

Images can be uploaded to carbonmade.com, flickr.com, Dropbox or similar. Please make sure to make the link publicly viewable.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

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.

How to apply

For September 2018 entry applications are now open for Home/EU and International students. UCAS does not accept applications for this course.

If you would like to apply to Oxford Brookes to study an Art and Design Foundation Diploma you will need to register your interest which will then take you to the online application form.

When you have fully completed the form, send it to fadapplication@brookes.ac.uk

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

It is important to remember to get the application form back to us as soon as possible. For 2018 entry, the closing date for Home and EU applicants is 15th January 2018. The closing date for International applicants is 1st June 2018.

If you are expected to meet the requirements for the course, you will be invited by email to submit your portfolio for review. You should contact the Admissions Officer if you have not received this invitation within two weeks of submitting your application. Only international and overseas students can submit eportfolios instead of attending portfolio reviews.

Portfolio reviews take place in February 2018. We do not interview candidates face to face due to the high numbers of applicants and the resources and time that it would require out of the teaching schedule.

Instead we have a week of reviews.

You drop off your portfolio at a specified time and collect it 3 hours later. During this time you will have a tour of our workshops and studios.

Further information and a schedule will be provided with invitations to portfolio reviews.

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

Oxford Brookes operates 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.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxford is an excellent centre for the study of art with the Ashmolean Museum, Christ Church Picture Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and a rich variety of architecture. Regular exhibitions of student work take place in and around the city. It is also convenient for London's galleries, exhibitions and museums.

You will have opportunities to gain valuable additional experience by participating in workshops at Modern Art Oxford and by assisting in the installation of exhibitions in the city.

Support for students studying Art and Design Foundation

We have a highly experienced team on the foundation course. Our course leader is full-time and will always be there for help and advice. You'll have teaching contact of one lecturer to 25 students. 

All your studies are supported by our fantastic and expert technical staff who all work full-time. You will have a great deal of contact with your tutor both in the studio and online through our Virtual Learning Environment and email.

We also offer dyslexia support, counselling and advice (personal and academic). Our tutors give knowledgeable and supportive guidance for UCAS applications, including portfolio and interview preparation.

When a student receives an offer of a foundation place and they send their reply slips back, they are sent accommodation information at the end of April. Because we start a week earlier than the rest of the university and finish several weeks later, we are allocated Slade Park and Crescent Halls for our students because they are available earlier than the rest of the accommodation halls. Accommodation is arranged through the accommodation bureau.

You will have your own desk space and access to your studio 24 hours a day for the duration of your studies (apart from standard University holiday closures such as Christmas and Easter).

Specialist facilities

Based at the Richard Hamilton Building, you can access our extensive facilities and resources. 

Built in the 1870s as the stables for Headington Hill Hall, the Richard Hamilton Building was reopened as the home for the arts at Oxford Brookes in 1996. Combining fascinating historical spaces with the latest creative facilities, our courses make the most of its equipment and resources, including:

  • 3D Workshop - facilities include equipment for casting with metals, resin and acrylic, plaster, glass and wax. These include the production of vinyl and latex mould making, and a kiln for ceramics and glass work. We also have a fully-equipped woodworking area, sheet metal cutting equipment, welding facilities, a laser cutting system and a heat press.
  • Bookworks and Digital Media Workshop - features a comprehensively equipped bookbinding area, a large format printer and several PCs, each installed with Adobe CC and other image manipulation programs.
  • Printmaking Studio - facilities for etching, monoprinting, lino, woodcut, drypoint, screenprinting and photo polymer etching.
  • Darkroom and Photography Suite - includes professional lighting, photo floods and red heads. We have digital SLR and film SLR cameras and we can process film using our black and white processing suite.
  • Video and Film Unit - features high-definition cameras, specialist microphones and extensive computing facilities with professional animation tools and digital editing software.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Related courses

  • Creative Arts and Design Practice (FdA)
  • Fine Art