UPDATE 15.30pm 01/07/2022: Online Applications Update
We are currently experiencing an intermittent availability issue with online applications for full-time courses, apprenticeships and part-time courses. If you are trying to make an application or if you are having trouble logging in, we kindly ask that you try again a few hours later

*This issue does not affect applications for University Centre Colchester Degree level courses

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Level 3

The Art and Design Foundation UAL Diploma offers a transition from general education to specialist art and design education, enabling you to make an informed decision when applying to art and design higher education. You will be introduced to a range of art and design disciplines, contexts and processes and supported to build a strong specialist portfolio for application to degree level study.

The foundation year was an excellent way to determine what subject specialism I wanted to study further. The tutors were always supportive of my ideas and decisions, enabling me in my creative approach.


***Applications for full-time courses and joint apprenticeship applications will close at midnight on Sunday 3rd July 2022.

If you have not yet made an application then we encourage you to do so before this date, as we are unable to process any applications received after this time.

Course Info
Do I have to pay a fee?
How to make an Application
Other courses in this area
About The Course

Projects are characterised by experiential, experimental and multidisciplinary learning and challenge you to broaden both your technical and conceptual understanding. We introduce the programme by exploring the core skills of drawing, media experimentation, research and critical reflection. You will be supported to identify personal strengths and affinities and to develop specialist skills and knowledge in a particular discipline such as fine art, textiles, fashion design, 3D design, craft or lens media. During stage one and two a series of talks, visits and workshops provide learners with detailed information about progression opportunities in higher education and beyond. Through organised presentation and critique activities the programme enables you to develop strong communication skills so that you feel fully prepared for Higher Education interviews.

Stage three takes the form of a self-initiated project. It is the culmination of the knowledge, technical and creative skills that you will have developed during the programme, and results in a final End of year Exhibition – a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work to fellow students, industry professionals, and the general public.

What Will I Learn?

This course is delivered through a combination of studio and workshop practice, guided assignments, tutorials, seminars and lectures. A considerable amount of personal study and research will be required. By taking responsibility for independent learning and managing time effectively, this course will provide an excellent springboard to future study and progress towards careers objectives or further study.

The course begins with a visit to a museum/art gallery that provides artwork for the first two units. There is also an educational visit abroad that provides students with the inspiration to enhance their portfolio material.

Course Content

The Art and Design Foundation Diploma UAL Level 3 – Course Content

  • Ideas Development
  • Materials and Methods
  • Evaluation and Reflection
  • Preparation for Progression in Art and Design
  • Project Proposal and Realisation in Art and Design

In addition to this course and depending on your current qualifications, you will also engage in GEM and GAP activities to develop your English, maths and employability skills.

Entry Requirements
  • 1 A Level, (A* – C), in an Art and Design subject or satisfactory results (Merit/Distinction) in a relevant Level 3 qualification
  • 5 GCSEs (9-4) including English and Maths
  • An interview with a portfolio of artwork.

All equivalent international qualifications are welcome, as are applications from mature students with alternative qualifications and/or work experience.

All applicants will be invited to attend an interview and asked to present a portfolio of their art and design work which should demonstrate their aptitude and enthusiasm for the subject.

What Our Graduates Do

After completing the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in 2006, James Allen and Elliott Hammer went on to study Typography at degree level at the London College of Communication. Since graduating they have set up their own London-based design studio Birch, working with clients such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Black Box Press. They both share their experience with current Foundation students as visiting lecturers.

Career Opportunities

On successful completion of the Art and Design Foundation Diploma you will have the opportunity to progress on to various art and design related fields at junior or technician level.

If you decide to pursue a degree course, you will have the opportunity to enter employment in fields such as; graphic design, fashion/textiles, fine art practices, photography/moving image, digital design, film, interior design, furniture design, product design or teaching.

Course Progression

On successful completion of this course you will have the opportunity to progress onto a wide range of art and design related degree courses, some of which are taught at University Centre Colchester.

All students aged 16-18 on the first day of their course will have their course fully-funded by the government.

Costs of studying

If you are/will be aged 16, 17 or 18 on the 31st August in the calendar year when you begin a programme of study, you DO NOT pay tuition fees, College registration fees or examination/board registration fees. However, there are some courses which have additional costs which could include:

  • equipment costs – such as uniforms, kits, boots, etc.
  • trips and enrichment activities
  • DBS checks (formerly CRB checks)

For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available. Bursary awards can help with your course related costs such as travel, books and equipment and much more.

19+ - Do I have to pay a fee?

The information in this section applies solely to this course and the criteria for a fee waiver is not transferable to any other course offered by the College.

You will not pay tuition fees if you are:
under 19 at the 31st August 2022
aged 19-24 at the 31st August 2022 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan

Learners aged 19 and over at the start of this course can either self-fund and pay for the course themselves or apply for an advanced learner loan to cover all or part of the tuition fees for this course. The minimum loan you can get is £300, but the maximum will depend on how much the fees are and the type of course you take.

What if I am on a low income or unemployed?

Discounted fees or fee waivers for those on low income or who are unemployed are not available for this course.

For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available through the College’s discretionary bursary fund. Although the funds cannot be used to pay for course fees they can be used to contribute towards other course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.

Advanced Learner Loans

Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?

To qualify for an advanced learner loan to cover the fees for this course you must be:

  • 19 years old or over on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
  • A UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there are no restrictions on how long you can stay)
  • Living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this

Most learners that fall into this bracket will be eligible, it doesn’t depend on your household income and there’s no credit check!

If your nationality or residency status is different to the above, then please contact the national Advanced Learner Loan helpline on 0300 100 0619 or check the Advanced Learner Loan website where you will be able to find further information on eligibility.

How do I apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?

Once you have applied and been offered a place on the course, the college will provide you with a ‘learning and funding information letter’. These are normally sent out in early July.

You need this to complete the loan application and you cannot apply for a loan until you have received this.

Once you have applied for a loan and it has been approved you will receive an official letter from Student Finance England.

Am I eligible for a bursary?

Applicants thinking of enrolling on this course can apply for funding to help with the costs associated with attending college.  Bursary funds are targeted at students where there is an identified low household income.

The bursary fund cannot provide help with costs unrelated to your course, such as general living expenses, nor can it be used as an attendance incentive.

Applications to the fund are not normally considered if the household income exceeds £25,000 but may be considered in some instances if the household is experiencing severe financial hardship.

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is aimed at helping:
Students who are aged 16, 17 or 18 on the 31st August 2022
Students aged 19 who started a two-year programme before their 19th birthday
Students aged 19 or over on 31st August 2022 who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If you turned 19 on or before 31st August 2022, and do not fall into the above categories, you can apply for financial assistance via the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary Fund.

Awards from the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary Fund can only be made to students who have received an Advanced Learner Loan. If you do not intend to apply for an advanced learner loan or if your application has been unsuccessful you will not be eligible for an award from this particular fund.

Regardless of income or employment status, students self-funding (including where an employer is covering course fees), are not eligible for financial assistance through any discretionary bursary funds.

When can I apply?

16-19 and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund applications for courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year will be open from June 1st 2022.

For courses starting in September 2022, applications should be made by 1st November 2022. If you find yourself in financial hardship after this date it is important that you still contact Student Services. Applications received after 1st November will be considered on a pro-rata basis subject to need and the availability of funds.

Payment Options

Can I pay in instalments?

Where total course fees exceed £200 you (or your employer, if they are paying your course fees) can choose to pay your fees in instalments through a monthly payment plan.

40% of the fee or £500 (whichever is lower) will be payable at enrolment.

The balance must be paid within 6 months or by the end date if the course is less than 6 months in duration.

Payment in full in advance

Payment should be made in full at the time of enrolment. Acceptable payment methods include Debit Card and Credit Card (excluding American Express). Please note that we are no longer able to accept cash or cheque payments.

How to make an Application – Watch our video guide!

***Applications for full-time courses and joint apprenticeship applications will close at midnight on Sunday 3rd July 2022.

If you have not yet made an application then we encourage you to do so before this date, as we are unable to process any applications received after this time.

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Level 3
Qualification: UAL Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design - Foundation Studies
LevelLevel 3
DurationOne year
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 1st October 2021
Fee(s)16-18 year olds: Free
19+: £5,421


All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change due to factors outside of our control. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

Courses fees are generally not confirmed for September until June / July due to the above factors.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.