Foundation diploma & portfolio preparation

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UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Art, Craft, Design & Media

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Enrich your creative practice and gain the essential qualifications, skills and knowledge you need to apply for art school or university.

The UAL Foundation course at City Lit is a practical year-long course validated by the UAL awarding body. We've designed the course to give you the creative skills and the portfolio you need either to progress to undergraduate degree course at a university, set up as a practitioner, or to prepare you for work in the creative industries.

Building on your prior experience, this course will help you link skills with ideas and context. You will study a range different creative disciplines to help you make an informed decision as to which direction to specialise and channel your creativity.

This course will expand your thinking and knowledge, offering you the practical skills, methodologies and critical independence needed to develop a visual language and individual approach as a creative practitioner.

Please note: you will attend the course on 3 days per week, which will depend on your choice of subject specialism.

Validated by the University of the Arts London Awarding Body (UAL)

The course is validated by the University of the Arts London Awarding Body. It is an internationally recognised qualification with a UCAS tariff that enables you to apply directly into university

Course details

Fee: £5,521.00
Start Date: 12 September 2022
Course Type: Part-time (3 Days/Week)
Class Days: Monday - Friday
Class Times: 10:30 — 16:30
Location: City Lit, Keeley Street
Duration: 1 Year
Awarding Body: UAL Awarding Body

Find your inner artist
Discover how Clare French changed careers after successfully completing an art foundation course at City Lit. This course gave her the opportunity to create a portfolio that helped her gain entry to the City and Guild Art School.

The course is divided into three units

Unit 1: Diagnostic Investigation into Creative Practice

This initial part of the course is very dynamic and experimental. It will allow you to explore and research a broad range of different disciplines and the professional relevance to understand both possibilities and limitations.

You will start to think about what you would like to do after Foundation and what steps you need to take to get there. This includes supporting you in applying for a undergraduate course at your chosen university.

Unit 2: Developing Specialist Practice

In the second term of the academic year you will be ready to choose two specialist subjects in which to refine your skills, and develop a greater understanding of your own work.

This unit will help you reflect on the things you've learned in Unit 1, and how you can use them to achieve your creative goals.

You will also learn to reflect on your progress and position in Art and Design and create a body of work that represents your creative interests and ideas.

Unit 3: Consolidating Practice.

In this unit you will initiate research and complete a Final Major Project within your chosen professional context, working towards a professional exhibition in a public gallery.

Our 3 step application process is simple

1. Complete the application form

To apply for place on the Foundation Diploma course you first need to complete our online application form here. You will be asked to create a City Lit account if don't have one already

2. Provide a portfolio of work

You also need to provide 10 digital images showcasing your current work.

Your digital portfolio can include:

  • Examples of preparatory creative work (for example, images from your sketchbooks).
  • Work you have done on other courses and/or work you have self-initiated outside a course or student environment.
  • Show your range, through work that demonstrates your ability to work with different materials, themes and techniques.
  • Some unfinished work to show us how you research and develop your ideas.
  • Text/labels to guide us through your creative processes, and indicate who and what your influences are.
  • Show your personality, individuality, and passion for your subject.

3. Pass a formal interview

After you submit your portfolio, you'll have an informal interview. This is so we can learn more about you and your goals, and so you can learn more about the course. We'll ask you questions about your work, what inspires you, and what you hope to achieve.

What if I don’t have a portfolio ?

If you don’t have a portfolio of work, don’t worry. We have an intensive Pre-Foundation course specially designed to help you develop a portfolio to apply for the Foundation Diploma. There are no entry requirement for the pre-foundation course so you can just apply online.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application deadline?

There is no formal deadline for this course. However, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible to secure your place on the course.

Do I need to provide a personal statement?

We will ask you to provide a short statement on your application form, about your interests and motivations, your prior relevant experience and your reasons for applying to the course.

You will also be asked to attend an informal interview to talk about your application. This will help us to determine whether the course is appropriate for you.

What days will the classes take place?

This is a part-time course. You will attend the course on 3 days per week, which will depend on your choice of subject specialism.

What is the course about?

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design course gives you the creative skills and the portfolio you need to progress to higher education or to prepare for work in the creative industries. It builds on your prior experience, linking skills with ideas and challenges, expanding your creative thinking, your contextual knowledge, and your critical independence.

What will I learn?

You will learn a wide range of core and practical skills within specialist disciplines. Examples include fine art, sculpture and 3D, printmaking, digital media and filmmaking, visual communications, graphic design and illustration, ceramics and contemporary textiles.

You will develop your ability to analyse and reflect on your progress and position in Art and Design. You'll also produce a body of work that reflects your own artistic aspirations and inspirations.

Is the Foundation course right for me?

The Foundation course is perfect for those who want to pursue a career in the creative arts, apply to higher education, or become a professional artist/maker. It is also great for those who want to explore and develop their creativity to a more advanced level.

What level is the course 

The Foundation Diploma is a Level 3 course. The last unit stepping up to Level 4. This final unit is graded and attracts the following UCAS points: 80/96/112 (Pass/Merit/Distinction).

Do I need any particular skills?

To participate in this program, you will need to have a level 2 English proficiency or be working towards that level. This will enable you to follow written and verbal instructions, participate in group discussions, and complete a written assignment.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught by a team of staff that includes practicing artists, designers, theorists, and experienced teachers. You will learn through demonstrations, expert tuition, discussions, group work, and practical exercises. You will also do studio-based creative assignments and individual research projects.

There is also a range of critical studies lectures, seminars and workshops, and museum and gallery visits. Please note that all students will be expected to dedicate approximately a day a week to independent study. There is individual learning support available for those with specific learning difficulties.

Are there any other costs and is there anything I need to bring?

We aim to provide you with the essential and basic materials you need to develop your art. However, we also recommend bringing your own specialist materials based on the type of work you want to create.

The majority of materials you will need in the studios at City Lit are provided. We ask you to purchase basic materials for your independent study, such as an A4 sketch book. As the course develops you will need an A1-size portfolio case to store and present your portfolio work.

Can I access any financial suport?

Financial support towards travel or materials may be available to you, and there may be opportunities to apply for bursaries during the course. Please contact the Information, Advice and Guidance team at for more information.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Students who successfully complete the course usually go on to study art at university undergraduate degree level or - in some cases - post-graduate level. Other students progress onto our Advanced Visual arts courses within City Lit.

Alternatively, our students often take up work in a field related to art and design. In the past our students have gained employment in galleries, established their own studios, set up small businesses, and participated in artist residencies, exhibitions and events nationally and internationally.

Will I get support with my  university application?

During the programme we offer advice and support with applications and guidance on possible progression routes.

Recently, all our students who apply to Higher Education have been offered places on completion of the Foundation course. We are dedicated to helping you progress with your education. The course guides you through the UCAS process, prepares you and develops your awareness of the many other employment opportunities in the creative industries.

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You can also call us for advice or more information

Get advice over the phone or come and see us before you enrol on the course.

Call: 020 7492 2700 or 020 7492 2703


Foundation diploma in art & design - London

Our art and design foundation diploma is an internationally recognised qualification, validated by University of the Arts London. Over four terms you will be taught a wide range of specialist disciplines including 2D/painting, 3D/sculpture, printmaking, digital moving image and video, visual communication, ceramics, creative textiles and fashion. These areas will be combined with developing core skills in drawing, project work, creative methodology, basic photography, critical studies and colour work. We will also concentrate on developing you as a creative individual, whatever your background or age, we fully encourage you to cultivate your own creative language.

Find your inner artist
Discover how Clare French changed careers after successfully completing an art foundation course at City Lit. This course gave her the opportunity to create a portfolio that helped her gain entry to the City and Guild Art School.

Any questions?

Contact our visual arts team on 020 7492 2700 Monday - Friday between 10am - 5pm.

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  1. City Lit pre-foundation course
    Course start date:  Wed 18 Jan 2023 (and 5 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Simon English, Ute Kreyman, Marcus Richards
    This exciting and intensive course is a chance to develop key creative skills, methods and thinking in art and design, across 2D, 3D, life drawing and critical studies, to prepare you for entry to our UAL-validated, Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.
    Full fee £749.00 Senior fee £599.00 Concession £524.00

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