Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Course Director

Claire McCormack

Course Location

Foundation Centre, 1 Wilson Road, London SE5 8LU

Study LevelFoundation
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year
Home/EU Fee

For those under 19 years old on the 31 August of the year you join the course - Free.

For 19 years old and over -  £5,420 including registration fee (2016/17). 2017/18 fee to be confirmed.

International Fee

£14,320 plus registration fee (2017/18).

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 4 September - Friday 15 December 2017
Spring Term DatesTuesday 2 January - Friday 23 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 9 April 2018 - Friday 18 May 2018
Application Route

Online application

Application Deadline12.00 midday, 31 January 2017

The Foundation Diploma is taught at its own dedicated site on Wilson Road, Camberwell. Students have a year of creative exploration ahead of them, where they’ll learn which art or design specialism is right for them. 

The Foundation Diploma has full-time students from all over the world, and we offer in-studio support with English language tasks for any of our students who need this. This multicultural environment is an important part of our course, as it brings together opinions and experiences from a variety of different cultures that all Foundation Diploma students can benefit from.


When applying to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students must choose from two modes of study:

Diagnostic mode

This mode is best suited to students who are unsure which pathway they wish to choose and want a broad range of experience to help them decide their future direction.

Students will be introduced to the Art, Communication and Design pathways, before choosing one specialist option. 

Specialist mode

This is for students who are very confident in their future direction. This mode allows you to apply directly to one of the pathways.

The specialist mode pathways to choose from are:

  • Art
  • Communication
  • Design - Design for Theatre, Screen and Performance
  • Design - 3D Spatial Design

Students will be introduced to the specialist options within their chosen pathway. 

  • Art - Drawing and Conceptual Practice, Painting, Photography and Time-Based Media, Sculpture
  • Communication - Animation and Film, Graphic Design, Illustration
  • Design - Design for Theatre, Screen and Performance
  • Design - 3D, Product and Spatial Design

Please note:

The Foundation Diploma at Camberwell does not have a Fashion and Textiles pathway. If you are interested in Fashion and Textiles you should apply to the Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins. 

We may offer you a place on the course, but in a different mode to the one you requested on your application form.

The course is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Learning Skills and Content

An introduction through lectures, seminars, studio projects, gallery and museum visits.

Part 2: Development and Progression

All students then get to decide on one specialist option and are given the tools to help them: 

  • Understand how to work at BA level
  • Work independently and with confidence
  • Understand, adapt and safely use practical methods and skills for creative production
  • Solve complex problems through the application of art and design
  • Take responsibility for their research, planning and time-management
  • Effectively present themselves and their work to different audiences
  • Develop a portfolio for BA application

Part 3: Project Proposal and Realisation

The diploma finishes with a personal project proposal that requires students produce a body of work for their final assessment, which will also become part of the college's end of year exhibitions.


The Foundation Diploma has its' own dedicated workshops. The include 3D, printmaking, digital media and photography. View images of the Camberwell Foundation facilties.

Specialist Options

A short introduction to each specialist option.

Art: Drawing & Conceptual Practice

Drawing is no longer thought of as just a research activity, or preparation for another medium. It is developing it’s own diverse identity within fine art. Artists using drawing as their primary art practice create individual works, books, film, animation, sound, installations and objects. In this specialist option, the idea comes first and then the appropriate means of expressing that idea is found.

What students can expect:

  • A series of open-ended projects that reflect current ideas that artists are engaged with
  • Weekly seminars based on readings, encouraging you to engage with critical theory and contemporary issues surrounding art
  • A program of lectures and exhibition visits. These include participatory workshops with galleries such as The National Gallery and The South London Gallery
  • To collaborate with the sculpture group on an exhibition. This will help you begin to learn how to curate a show, hang work and write a press release

Art: Painting

This specialist option is about exploring the subject through the medium of paint. It also takes into account the expanded field of painting, ensuring the subject is looked at in response to new developments.

What students can expect:

  • Regular presentations, talks, gallery visits and studio crits
  • Materials and methods workshops
  • Projects that are underpinned with historical content and allow you to use mixed media
  • To gain a stronger contextual understanding of your work

Art: Photography & Time Based Media

The photography and time based media specialist option covers a broad range of approaches to making art. These include analogue and digital photography, animation, installation, moving image, performance, projection, sound and video.

What students can expect:

  • Projects that are concept based allowing for individual interpretation and outcome
  • To be encouraged to explore the photographic process
  • To be able to experiment with a range of cameras and projectors
  • To work with old and new technologies
  • A program of lectures and exhibition visits. These include participatory workshops with galleries such as The National Gallery and The South London Gallery
  • To learn new skills and build on existing ones such as - cyanotype, how to process and develop in a darkroom, introduction to video and editing, photo polymer etching, screen-printing and working in a digital darkroom

Art: Sculpture

The sculpture specialist option is practical, theoretical, diverse and conceptual. Artists making sculpture use a wide variety of materials and processes.

Sculptors are involved with object making, installation, interactive art, socially engaged practice, kinetic work, sound, film, performance, exploring site and presentation. 

What students can expect:

  • To be taught processes such as casting, mold-making and wood construction
  • To be able to use the open access 3D workshop
  • Projects that reflect current ideas artists are engaged with
  • Projects that encourage you to think about the big ideas that sculpture deals with - the object, space, site, installation and audience
  • A program of lectures and exhibition visits. These include participatory workshops with galleries such as The National Gallery and The South London Gallery
  • To be encouraged to develop ways of working that allow you to express your ideas as an artist
  • To collaborate with the drawing and conceptual practice group on an exhibition. This will help you begin to learn how to curate a show, hang work and write a press release

Communication: Animation & Film

This specialist option focuses on visual communication through sequential images, animation and moving image. It also engages with narrative and documentary filmmaking.

What students can expect:

  • To look at narrative structures and visual devices to develop the art of storytelling
  • Projects that encourage you to create your own stories as well as unique interpretations of other peoples’ texts
  • To focus on all areas of the preproduction process including - scripts and treatments, character development and casting, storyboarding, environment and set design
  • To learn about - the importance of storyboarding, how to communicate effectively to an audience, the ‘rules of cinema’ and gain an understanding of film language
  • To be introduced to production techniques and methods - the animatic, stop motion and 2D animation, live action, video editing, compositing and sound design
  • To have projects supported by workshops, presentations, tutorials, group discussions, technical demonstrations and contextual references

Communication: Graphic Design

A desire to communicate is central to graphic design. The focus is on generating new ideas and developing innovative and effective ways of visually. 

What students can expect:

  • Projects structured around the fundamental concerns of graphic design - problem solving, use of language, organisation of information, narrative structures and understanding an audience
  • Projects that are designed to encourage exploration, research and discovery
  • An approach to working that reflects the contemporary breadth of practice in the professional design world
  • To engage with a wide variety of approaches such as animation, drawing, film, photography, printmaking, 3D and typography
  • Studio discussions and presentations that aim encourage enquiry and curiosity beyond the world of design

Communication: Illustration

Illustration focuses on the visual communication of ideas through image making and use of text. 

What students can expect:

  • To use drawing on a daily basis to research, develop and record individual ideas
  • A wide range of projects designed to allow you to work in a variety of different media, both 2D and 3D, which reflect the breadth of practice in the professional world
  • Projects that help you look at ways of exploring ideas, storytelling and constructing images

Design: Design for Theatre, Screen & Performance

This specialist option covers a wide range of subjects including - costume design and making, creating immersive theatre and live performance, film production design, make-up and prosthetics, performance art, prop making, puppetry, technical effects for screen and theatre and theatre design

What students can expect:

  • To be introduced to methods of working with narrative, creating characters, exploring spatial, lighting and sound design
  • To work both independently and collaboratively
  • To be able to use our open access 3D workshop and performance spaces across the university
  • To be

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    taught making skills

  • Regular lectures and talks from industry professionals
  • Trips to galleries and theatres

Design: 3D & Spatial Design

3D and spatial design covers architecture, design craft, fashion accessories, footwear, furniture design, industrial design, interior design, jewellery, product and spatial design. In this area we are interested in making as a way of exploring ideas. 

What students can expect:

  • To be able to use our open access 3D workshop
  • To learn new skills and build on existing ones through workshops and open exchange with tutors
  • To be expected to use design sheets and model making to present ideas
  • To take part in discussion groups

Laurence Noga - Pathway Leader

Drawing & Conceptual Practice:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Kate Terry
  • Tutors - Camilla Lyon and Laurence Noga


  • Specialist Option Leader - David Batchelor
  • Tutors - Nick Fox, Laurence Noga, Susie Round and Anne Ryan

Photography & Time-Based Media:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Anna Boggon
  • Tutor - Chrystel Lebas


  • Specialist Option Leader - Kate Terry
  • Tutors - Tim Ellis and Kaori Homma

Communication Pathway Staff

Frank Owusu - Pathway Leader

Film & Animation:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Joseph Child
  • Tutors - Jo Lawrence and Frank Owusu

Graphic Design:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Wendy Carlton Dewhirst
  • Tutors - Charlotte Heal, Jake Hopwood, Jon Martin and Frank Owusu


  • Specialist Option Leader - Noel Bramley
  • Tutors - Jon Bently, Jake Clarke, Jen Frankin and Valerie McBride

Design Pathway Staff

Nicola Fitchett - Pathway Leader (Acting)

Design for Theatre, Screen & Performance:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Nicola Fitchett
  • Tutors - Bob Bailey, Gary Campbell and Mary Tryfonos

3D Product Spatial:

  • Specialist Option Leader - Nikki Ida (Acting)
  • Tutors - Jason Allcorn, Rupert Hartley, Mike Hurley, Vannetta Seecharran and Shane Waltener

Throughout the diploma, students have a Personal Tutor who ensures they receive the appropriate guidance to prepare them for Higher Education. This involves preparing an application and developing a portfolio of subject specific work. 

Foundation Diploma students will be encouraged to progress to undergraduate study within the University of the Arts London. Our foundation and undergraduate academic staff will be on hand to support and guide students through the application process.

Our diploma graduates typically go on to take up their first choice degree at undergraduate level, with a high number continuing their studies within the University. Our students can also progress to courses throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

  • 1 GCE A Level / AVCE / BTEC National Diploma / GNVQ Advanced Diploma supported by 3 GCSEs grade C or above
  • International Baccalaureate; students need to achieve at least 3 certificates - 2 at Higher Level and 1 at Standard Level - with a minimum grade 4 in each certificate
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Portfolio of work
  • Personal statement
  • A reference

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

IELTS Academic Test for UKVI is approved by the UK government for your UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. No other test can be accepted. It is accepted as proof of your English language ability. 

Portfolio advice

  • Show a clear and organised presentation of your work
  • Put your most interesting work first
  • Include self-directed work
  • Your research should be included on separate sheets and next to relevant pieces of work. This is to help us understand the development of your ideas 
  • Notes should be in your sketchbooks. Do not add lots of notes to images
  • Take photos of large work. Maximum size - A4
  • Due to time constraints we can't view films, videos or DVDs. Please present this work in the form of storyboards and stills
  • You do not need to put your work in plastic sleeves
  • Label your portfolio with your name
  • International applicants should add the title, media and dimensions of each piece in the bottom left corner of the image

At portfolio review

We look for:

  • An interest in art, design or related subjects
  • Creative thinking and problem solving abilities
  • Research and investigative skills
  • The use of a range of materials and processes
  • Visualisation skills - drawing, photography, 3D work, etc

Personal statement

Your personal statement should:

  • Be a maximum of 500 words
  • Tell us why you have chosen the course and how it will help with your future plans
  • Describe aspects of your current work that support your mode of study choice
  • Talk about the type of work you want to make whilst on the course


  • One reference is required 
  • Your referee should be able to comment on your ability to succeed on the course 
  • You should contact your referee before making your application
  • Home / EU applicants - You will need a contact email for your referee. Your referee will be contacted when you submit your online application
  • International applicants - Your referee should give you a reference as a PDF file. The college will email you when we need it

Maths and English GCSEs

If you are a UK or EU student who has been accepted onto the Foundation Diploma, but did not achieve a grade C or above in GCSE English or Maths, you will be given the opportunity to retake the exams as part of your Foundation Diploma course.

When you enrol, you’ll need to provide evidence of your qualifications. 

If you have not achieved minimum C grade in English or Maths, we will automatically enrol you onto a compulsory GCSE study programme. This will be closely tied to the Foundation Diploma course, so you’ll be studying things that are relevant and interesting to you.

Please note:

  • We will keep a record of your attendance in accordance with the Further Education Attendance Policy. If you fail to turn up to your GCSE classes regularly and on time, your progress towards your Foundation Diploma could be affected.
  • You must resit your GCSE English and / or Maths exams as part of the study programme, but failure to achieve a C grade or higher will not affect your achievements on the Foundation Diploma
  • It is highly likely that a degree-level course will require you to have a C grade or higher in English and Maths

Home / EU applications are now closed for 2017 entry.

The application deadline was 12.00, Tuesday 31 January 2017.

What happens next?

If you meet the entry requirements you may be invited to attend a portfolio review.

Please note:

If you do not live in the United Kingdom or you can't, for exceptional reasons, attend a portfolio review, you may be able to submit your portfolio using University of the Arts London's online portfolio tool. You may also be able to arrange for a parent, guardian or friend to bring it in for you.


  • 21 February 2017 - You will get an invite to a portfolio review
  • 22 March 2017 - End of portfolio reviews
  • 12 April 2017 - You will have a decision made about your application on or by this date

Apply now for 2017 entry.

There are two ways international students can apply to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: 

Applying through a UAL representative

You should speak to your representative to find out how to submit your application.

Please do not use the online application form if you are applying through a UAL representative or the UAL Asia office. 

Applying by online application

After you have submitted your online application you will receive an email asking for the following:

  • Pathway choice
  • Personal statement
  • Immigration History form
  • Reference

Immigration History form

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form.

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us by email with copies of the following documents:

  • Your passport photo page 
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this)
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma - if completed. Translated into English)

Please note:

If you do not send us your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Interviews and your portfolio

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to interview. 

If you live in the United Kingdom:

You should bring your portfolio with you when invited for an interview at the college.

If you live overseas:

The interview and portfolio review will be done by telephone or Skype. 

Once your online application is complete you will be asked to submit your portfolio using University of the Arts London's online portfolio tool. 

Where to send documents

By email to:

Please note - the email account has a 7MB attachment limit per email. Files should either be compressed or sent in more than one email.

What happens next?

We will email you to let you know the outcome of your application. This will usually be within one week of your interview.

If your application is successful we will send you an offer letter. 

The letter will contain details on how to accept the offer and how to get aConfirmation of Acceptance for Studies ( CAS) number.

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry

Category: Diploma

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