An art foundation diploma course is a BTEC level 3 and 4 vocational course that lasts for one year. Historically, it was the traditional route to study art at undergraduate level.
An art foundation diploma course has three outcomes. It is a stand-alone qualification. Or it could suit school leavers who wish to test the water and see if they like might like to continue on to study fine art at university. Alternatively, this course is for those who are certain that they want to complete a BA in fine art and can be the first step towards a full fine art degree. All students who apply for a fine art degree must have completed an art foundation diploma first.
Art foundation diploma course – where can you take one?
Thirty-seven universities in the UK offer 41 different visual arts courses as foundation courses.
How to apply
To apply, students need five GCSEs, one in English language with a grade C or above. Also required are an A Level or AS in art design or a BTEC National Diploma in fine art, plus a portfolio to show off their work.
Assessment or examinations are held internally by the course provider. Each unit needs to be passed to qualify for the final diploma which will be graded pass, merit or distinction.
This course runs for a full year, just like an academic year, starting in September.
How much does it cost.
For British school leaver under 19 years, tuition is free. Over 19 years, the fee is around £1,300.
Art foundation diploma course - gap year option
Many young artists use their gap year as the time to complete an art foundation diploma. Some then go onto study visual arts at university; others change course and see the art foundation as having been a valuable experience and an interesting qualification.