Art, Design and Photography Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma

Prepare for a specialist art and design course in higher education with this intensive one-year course.

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design follows a stepping-stone structure: it helps you to find a pathway that reflects your interests and then gain relevant experience of professional arts practice.

You will be extended beyond your A Level or Level 3 Extended Diploma studies toward higher-level working practices, preparing you for the demands of university or employment. The course will extend your creative potential and build your portfolio to allow you to apply for your chosen university. It is a fast-paced experience that will encourage you to develop confidence in your own ideas and build a substantial portfolio of work.

You will work on live briefs and projects to build a wide variety of skills across the arts and photography programmes. You will explore photography studio practice and develop skills in both dark room and traditional photography as well and digital formats.


You will also undertake life drawing, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, graphic design, and illustration techniques, to produce a wide variety of outcomes in a fast-paced environment.

In stage 2 and 3 of the course, you will have the opportunity to explore and specialise within your chosen pathway. This will enable you to develop your own practice with specialist guidance from the teaching team in preparation for your next stage of your career.

This course is also suitable for mature learners and those returning to education. We will accept applicants based on a portfolio of work in cases where you have not studied a creative subject previously.

The UAL Level 3 and 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design gives you experience of Level 4 work in your specialist area of study and the final project is assessed at Level 4. You will develop a portfolio and improve your knowledge and confidence.

Topics covered include:

  • visual studies
  • 2D and 3D design studies
  • print/textiles
  • graphics
  • fine art
  • illustration
  • lens-based media
  • art history
  • contextual studies

The majority of students progress to higher education and succeed in securing places at universities and art colleges throughout the country. There is a vast range of art and design subjects available in higher education.

You will receive support from your tutors in your applications to further study at university or career opportunities.

Studio activities are supported by a series of lectures and seminars and you will be assigned a personal tutor. You will learn in our excellent facilities and studios, doing practical assignment-based learning, supported by reflection and evaluation. Written works form part of the course assessment.

Working closely with your tutors, you will identify your creative strengths and produce a final project which is part of the exhibition at the end of the course. This exhibition is open to the public and allows an opportunity to showcase your work to a greater audience.

As well as regular visits to museums and galleries, the course may include a national or overseas residential trip. Recent trips have included visits to London, New York, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, and Prague.

UAL Awarding Body believes in transformative education. They design and award creative qualifications that empower and inspire educators to help students reach their potential.

UAL Awarding Body is regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulation and currently offers qualifications in Art and Design, Fashion Business and Retail, Creative Media Production and Technology, Music Performance and Production and Performing and Production Arts. They are also the UK’s leading provider of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Their qualifications have high retention and achievement rates because they are flexible, responsive and relevant to industry needs, and facilitate student progression.

You will need GCSE Maths and English grades 4 and above.

Applicants for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design must be 17 years old or above, have 2 A-levels or equivalent (e.g. an Extended Diploma in one of the arts).
You will need to share a portfolio of work, including sketchbooks and any other creative artwork you have.

Mature students are accepted on basis of a portfolio, interview, and reference.

Why Guildford College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 100+

    Courses available

  • 6000+


  • 79+

    Years of teaching experience

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