Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice

UCA Farnham - 2021

Length of study:

One year full-time


UCA Farnham

Also available at UCA Rochester, UCA Epsom, UCA Canterbury

Entry requirements:

5 GCSE A*-C and/or grade 9-4 plus 32 UCAS points

click here for full details

Course entry options:

September 2021

View term dates

Course overview

The Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice is the perfect course to take after your A-Levels if you’re looking to progress onto a degree in any creative subject.

This year-long course will help you improve your skills and knowledge across a wide range of art and design subjects, preparing you for your chosen degree or helping you decide which course to study. You’ll build a strong portfolio of work before you start your degree, so you can hit the ground running and realise your full potential.

The first part of your year will be spent investigating different areas of art and design, identifying your strengths and personal interests to help you grow as an artist or designer. As the year progresses, you’ll have more freedom to specialise and direct your route through the course, resulting in an exhibition of your work at the end of the year and a unique and varied portfolio, ready for your undergraduate degree.

You’ll have access to the facilities at UCA Farnham and will be supported by teams of subject specialist lecturers – most lecturers are active within their own fields as professional designers, artists and researchers.

Working in and amongst our undergraduate and postgraduate students as part of our uniquely creative community, you’ll be able to observe first-hand the range of degree options available to you.

As a foundation student at UCA, you’ll be on campus for at least three days a week with your own dedicated studio space. If you’re expected to be studying English and/or Maths as part of your programme, you’ll attend for longer, see the course details for further information.

On successful completion of the Foundation Diploma you’ll have a direct entry route onto the full range of our undergraduate degree programmes at UCA via our Diploma 2 Degree scheme. (You’ll need a Pass for most courses, or a Merit if you wish to progress onto BA (Hons) Architecture.)

We’ll arrange visits to all our campuses and give you the opportunity to undertake workshops in several different areas so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you. We’ll also help you with your application – there’s no need to apply through UCAS and there will be no selection interview for progression onto your chosen degree.

Once you finish this course, you will be awarded the Pearson BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice.

Portfolio Bootcamp

Check out our free online creative course that will help you to create a striking portfolio during lockdown.

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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.

    Learning Skills and Context

    Through a structured programme of drawing and visual studies, you’ll identify your skills, strengths and interests. You’ll also develop practical abilities in 2D and 3D, helping you to make an informed choice for specialist study.

  • Stage 2

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

    Development and Progression

    You'll choose to specialise in one pathway from graphic design, illustration, photography, film, 3D design, fashion, textiles and fine art.

  • Stage 3
    Proposal and Realisation

    You’ll bring together all your newly developed skills, knowledge and understanding in art, craft, design and communications to plan and fulfil a major project, resulting in an exhibition.

  • Additional tuition

    UCA supports weekly 1-2-1 and small group tutorials for 16 to 19 students who are studying English, Maths and other courses where learning has been disrupted, particularly where they have experienced additional disruption to learning because of their specific needs and disabilities. Tuition is focused on ensuring students receive formative and summative assessment and clearly understand assignment briefs, grading criteria and the additional support availability to them. This is for any students who have not achieved grade 5 or above in at least one of those subjects at this level by age 16. Support is prioritised for students who have not achieved a grade 4 in English and/or Maths, however, any young people with a grade 4 that also need catch up support may be considered.

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    Currently, if you are an UK or EU student under 19 years old on the 31 August before your course starts, you don’t have to pay any tuition fees. 

    Additionally, you don't have to pay tuition fees if you are an UK or EU student aged between 19-23 on the 31 August before your course starts, and you are studying for your first full level 3 qualification.

    The fees for 2021 entry are:

    • UK students - TBC
    • International and EU students - £13,340 (standard fee)
    • International and EU students - £12,810 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry. 

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


At UCA Farnham 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 with dedicated technical support; digital media suites with both Macs and PCs loaded with design software; and open access print studios.

Course connections

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 choose to progress directly into employment or do an apprenticeship in the industry.

Apply now

UK applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2021:

International & EU applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

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.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

Our deadline for applications is 31 March - if you can apply by this date then we guarantee to consider you. But, if we still have places available after this date, we'll consider late applications, too.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

ONE of the following:

- One A-Level (or two AS-Levels) with a minimum of 32 UCAS tariff points preferably including an art, design, media, photography, design technology or a related creative subject.
- 32 UCAS tariff points from BTEC/UAL Extended Diplomas, Extended Certificates, Subsidiary Diplomas
- 32 UCAS tariff points from a combination of BTEC/UAL Subsidiary/ Extended Certificate and A Levels
- IB (International Baccalaureate) with a score of 24 or above


Five GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 9-4, including English language/literature and a minimum of grade 3/D in mathematics.

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

International and EU entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Include creative work in a variety of media that shows your interest in art and design - this could include paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics or design work. You can include film or video work but make sure it's no more than three minutes in duration. We also like to see examples of written work, such as an essay, case study, evaluation or exhibition review. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

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