Access to Higher Education Diploma in Art & Design

Pre-degree - UCA Canterbury - 2019

If you’re returning to education and looking for a part-time art and design course, then the Access to Higher Education Diploma – Art & Design at UCA Canterbury is the perfect springboard to a degree course, a career change or progression in your existing career. 

Open to anyone over 19 years of age, you’ll study with us for two days a week, normally experimenting in five disciplines – Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, 3D Design, Lens-based Media and Visual Communications. 

Specifically tailored to those entering education after a break, our Access Diploma gives you the chance to explore a range of art and design subjects, whilst balancing other work or family commitments. 

On this course you’ll develop or rediscover the skills and confidence needed for the art and design world. You’ll be supported by individual tutorials, educational visits, a range of lectures, and opportunities to partake in live briefs and competitions.

Throughout your studies at our Canterbury campus you’ll have your own dedicated studio space, as well as access to the same facilities as an undergraduate or postgraduate student.

All staff members teaching this course are either active practitioners or involved in research in their specialist fields, offering you a great opportunity to build relationships and learn directly from experts.

Our Access Diploma is fully integrated with the other pre-degree and foundation courses at UCA Canterbury – so you’ll be working within a wider creative community where you can share ideas, techniques and project concepts.

Length of study:

One year part-time


UCA Canterbury

Also available at UCA Epsom, UCA Farnham, UCA Rochester

Start month:


View term dates

Entry year(s):


Entry requirements:

No formal qualifications

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Next event

12 Dec 2018 UCA Visit Morning

Pre-degree & Undergraduate

Course details

  • Stage 1

    The first part of your year will be spent delving into different areas of art and design, identifying your strengths and interests.

    Introductory Stage
    You’ll work on a project that covers a variety of disciplines across five pathways – Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, 3D Design, Lens-based Media and Visual Communication. The aim of this stage is to develop your practical and conceptual skills, as well as introduce you to the broader area of art and design – helping you to identify your areas of strength and interest.
  • Stage 2

    As the year progresses, you'll have more freedom to specialise. This helps you to grow as an artist and determines which creative direction your academic path and future career may lie in.

    Specialist Studies

    Engaging in a single project theme, you’ll specialise in one of the pathways explored in Stage 1, which will further nurture your skills and idea development. You’ll also acquire the verbal and written skills needed to present your ideas effectively and to engage in critical debate.

  • Stage 3
    Final Project

    Your creative and personal development will be realised by undertaking a final major project of your own choosing, culminating in a final exhibition.

  • Fees

    Find out all about the fees for studying with us, as well the financial support you may be entitled to:


There are studio spaces for all pathways of the pre-degree and foundation courses; 3D workshops with machines for working a in range of materials such as wood, plaster, clay and resin with dedicated technical support; digital media suites with both Macs and PCs loaded with design software; and open access print studios.

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On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

  • Further study

    After completing this course, most of our students progress to a degree course at UCA.

    View all of our undergraduate degree courses

  • Diploma 2 Degree scheme

    This course is part of our Diploma 2 Degree scheme which guarantees you a place on one of our undergraduate degrees after you have completed this course.

    The process is simple and stress-free, letting you bypass lengthy application processes and avoid UCAS fees. There’s also no need for you to attend an interview.

    More details about the scheme can be found on the Diploma 2 Degree pages.

  • Careers

    Instead of further study you may also choose to progress directly into employment or do an apprenticeship in the industry.

How to apply - 2019 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

When to apply:

Our equal consideration application deadline is 31 March. We guarantee that we'll consider all applications received by this date. If places are still available after this date, we'll consider late applications.

More information:

Go to our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

No formal qualifications are required. Entry is by interview and evidence of ability and commitment, in the form of a body of work or non-traditional portfolio.

If you don’t have a GCSE in English and/or Maths you may be offered the opportunity to sit these GCSEs here.

International entry requirements

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa. If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Our course is designed to support anyone returning to education after a break. You may not have a traditional portfolio, or any previous formal art and design education, but wish to progress to higher education. At interview, we'll look for evidence of an interest in art and design and drawing skills. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

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