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Foundation Diploma

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

The UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design builds on the reputation of the previous provision which has been described as one of the strongest and most distinctive foundation programmes in the country. Its remit is to enable students to develop the necessary skills and portfolio to apply to a range of art and design degree courses.

As a student the broad range of 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

The UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design builds on the reputation of the previous programme which was awarded an Ofsted grade 1 report in the most recent report. The programme:

  • Gives you the skills and knowledge relevant for most degree programmes in art and design at this university as well as similar programmes at other universities.
  • Enables you to apply for direct entry onto all of the Manchester Metropolitan 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.
  • Provides you the chance to take part in School of Art events, lecture programmes, artist residencies and exhibitions.

Course Content

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

  • Level 3 60% lectures, seminars or similar; 40% independent study
  • Level 4 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Level 3 100% coursework
  • Level 4 100% coursework

Student Work

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


University staff and students have written and illustrated 'The Invisible King'

The Dynamic Draping workshop took place at McQueen's Bond Street Store

Fascinating industry-focused events in lead up to SODA opening in 2021


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 and Creative Director at Alexander McQueen, Dean Hughes: Artist and Head of Undergraduate Study at Edinburgh College of Art, Andy Soup: Film-maker, Animator and 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 and Artist's Book publications, Bruce Bell: Construction Designer and Architect, Genevieve Bennett: Interior Textiles Designer and Colour Consultant, Mike Mercer-Brown: Graphic Designer, Paul Harfleet: Artist and Garden Designer, Zoe Hitchens: Art Director and 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 UCAS Tariff points from A Level or equivalent 

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma – PPP

Access to HE Diploma - Pass 

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project.

Other AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course. 

Specific GCSE Requirements

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

International Baccalaureate24 Points

International Students

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

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

How to Apply

Apply directly to the University.

You will also need provide a digital portfolio including your response to an entry project with your application.

More details

Tuition Fees 2021 Entry

Home students

Students under 19 at 31st August who qualify for ESFA funding: No tuition fee.

Students aged 19+: £5,420*

*Students aged 19-24 with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) may also be eligible for nil fees if they qualify for ESFA funding

Channel Islands/Isle of Man students

£5,420 per year

EU and Non-EU international students

£15,500 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).

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.