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Foundation Diploma

Edexcel Level 3 BTEC
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
1 year (full-time)

Please note that the information on this page relates to the Foundation Diploma course starting in September 2019. This course is under review for 2020 entry and updated information will be published soon.

Described as one of the strongest and most distinctive foundation programmes in the country, this course will enable you to develop the necessary skills and portfolio to apply to a range of art and design degree courses.

The various creative projects you will undertake will allow you to experience a range of ideas, materials, processes and technologies.

Individual diagnostic projects and tutorials will help you to distil and identify your main areas of interest and make an informed application to a degree course with the support of an experienced staff team.

At the end of the course, direct progression onto Manchester School of Art's degree programmes is available to those who meet the required academic standard.

Special Features

  • Recognised as one of the best courses of its kind in the UK and has been awarded an Ofsted grade 1 report in the most recent report.
  • Gives you the skills and knowledge for most degree programmes in art and design at this university as well as similar programmes at other universities.
  • As a student of this course you are eligible for direct entry onto all of the Manchester Met art & design courses (except Architecture) providing you have achieved the required academic standard.
  • Gives broad experience of creative techniques, disciplines and media, to develop your abilities and skills and help identify your preferred area of study at degree level.
  • It provides you the chance to take part in faculty events, lecture programmes, artist residencies and exhibitions.

Course Content

In Term 1 you will be introduced to a wide range of creative activities to develop your practical and conceptual skills, helping to make choices for your future area of study. Individual guidance is given from an experienced range of staff on the options best suited to your work and future ambitions. The typical programme of study may include:

  • Studio Practice
  • Material Manipulation
  • Visual Language: Drawing
  • Artists' Research - Library Skills
  • Group Construction and Performance/Catwalk Project
  • One Day Projects
  • Workshop Inductions
  • Presentation Skills/Documentation
  • Induction Projects (Product Design and Craft, Fine Art, Graphics, Textiles/Fashion)
  • Research Skills and Methodology
  • Folio Preparation

In Term 2 you will confirm the specialisation that you wish to follow at degree level, and progress your application for your chosen degree place. You will also develop your own personal methodology, enabling you to work with a high level of creativity and independence. The typical programme of study may include:

  • Studio Practice
  • Interview Preparation
  • Workshop Inductions
  • Contextual Studies Project
  • Personal Projects
  • Progression and Pathway Confirmation

In Term 3 you will produce an exhibition of your final major project alongside the BA Degree Show and complete preparation for BA course entry.

Assessment Methods

Continuous assessment, advice and feedback. Assessed final major project.

You can find further details about the curriculum for the current academic year in the Programme Specification Document

Student Work

Our Degree Show web sites display a selection of work exhibited by our Foundation Diploma students at the end of year show.



Foundation graduates go on to study a wide range of BA (Hons) courses at Manchester School of Art and other institutions across the UK. Following completion of a degree programme our graduates then go to establish themselves within a wide range of professions in the art and design world. These include careers as creative consultants, artists, curators, gallery owners, textile designers, fashion designers, product and furniture designers, illustrators, retail buyers, theatre and set designers, graphic designers, art critics and journalists, photographers, film-makers, animators, stylists, interior designers and architects.

Our Alumni include:
Sarah Burton: Fashion Designer & Creative Director at Alexander McQueen, Dean Hughes: Artist & Head of Undergraduate Study at Edinburgh College of Art, Andy Soup: Film-maker, Animator & Music Video Production, Nick Sharratt: Children's Book Illustrator, David Hoyland: Director of Seventeen Gallery, Amy Thomas: Artist, Nabil El Nayal: Fashion Designer, Oliver East: Illustrator & Artist's Book publications, Bruce Bell: Construction Designer & Architect, Genevieve Bennett: Interior Textiles Designer & Colour Consultant, Mike Mercer-Brown: Graphic Designer, Paul Harfleet: Artist & Garden Designer, Zoe Hitchens: Art Director & Fashion Film Director, Charlie Lightening: Documentary Film Director, Chantelle King: Tablet Designer at Vanity Fair Magazine, Nicolas Byrne: Painter, David Longshaw: Fashion Designer.

Making an Application

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

48 from A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National at Level 3 or Advanced Diploma).

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate24 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 5.5 with no less than 5.0 in any section is required.

If you are based outside the UK and are unable to attend an interview, you will be asked to provide a digital portfolio.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

International students are also required to complete the entry project as part of their application.

How to Apply

Applications are through the University application form and not through UCAS. The form can be downloaded via the link below.

After completing the application form, please e-mail to

Home/EU candidates who are applying for September 2019 entry should return their applications by 14 December 2018 to ensure an interview.

Download Foundation Diploma Application Form


If you are invited for an interview we will ask you to complete an entry project which you will need to bring along with a portfolio of your work. Further details.

Tuition Fees

2019 Entry

Home, EU, and Channel Islands students

Students under 19 at 31st August: No tuition fee.

Students aged 19+: to be confirmed

Non-EU international students:

£14,500 per year

Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

2018 Entry

Home, EU, and Channel Islands students:
Students under 19 at 31st August: No tuition fee.
Students aged 19+: £5,420

Non-EU international students:
£13,500 per year

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

£60*  plus optional £600* £60 Materials Fee is a compulsory cost, to cover basic studio materials and paper throughout the year. Estimated additional costs - there are costs associated with producing a portfolio such as print out costs and the cost of an A1 folio case. Some students wish to also have their own laptop and books. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £600.

* All amounts shown are estimates.