Foundation in Art & Design (UAL Level 3 and 4)

What is the Course About?

Faculty: Creative and Leisure Industries

Department: Art, Design, Media and Music

These are pivotal courses which provide a transition from general education to specialist art and design education, enabling you to make an informed decision when applying to higher education or seeking employment within a related industry.

The programme builds on your prior experience, linking skills already acquired with ideas and challenges which will expand your critical independence and enable you to demonstrate a full understanding of the relevant standards necessary to progress to higher education or to a career of your choice.

A coherent and integrated sequence of learning activities will enable you to identify and capitalise on your strengths and affinities. The qualification is characterised by academic rigour and a student-centred learning culture, encompassing analytical principles, exploratory and investigate practices, contextual research, material experiences and risk-taking.

Later in the first term, you will be given the opportunity to take a week-long educational trip to London. The trip gives you the chance to visit/explore galleries, museums, media studios, and current major exhibitions. There will also be an opportunity to research university options in and around the London area and to visit the UCAS Fair.

University of the Arts London (UAL) Awarding Body is currently the UK’s largest provider of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design qualification. The qualification is generally delivered over one year but can also be studied as a part-time option over two years.

What will I study?

The content of this course was developed in discussions with representatives from the industry, other universities and further education colleges to ensure it provides you with the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding needed for progression.

Stage 1 – September to November

You will undertake a diagnostic investigation into visual language and creative practices. This exploratory investigation will allow you to become familiar with and experiment within a wide range of art, design, media and other creative disciplines, as part of your journey to, or reinforcement of, an area specialism.

Stage 2 – November to February

Reflecting on the knowledge, skills and practices developed in the Stage 1, you should define your creative ambitions by encouraging a holistic approach to a range of activities, which will support, contextualise and position creative endeavours within your chosen specialist practice.

Stage 3 – February to July

This is the final part of the course. It aims to provide you with an opportunity to take control of your own learning and demonstrate your achievement by independently initiating, researching, completing and evaluating a project proposal in your chosen professional context.

Will I need a DBS check for this course?


How can I find out more about the course?

If you apply for this course, you will be invited to an Information Sharing Appointment (ISA) when you will be given more detailed information about the course and when you’ll be able to ask any questions you may have.

Will I need any specialist uniform and/or kit?

Starter pack information

It is important that you have the basic Art & Design equipment and materials at the beginning of your course to make an immediate start to your work. Suggestion is to clearly mark/label your own equipment with sharpies or nail polish so you don’t lose your kit.

Listed below are the essential requirements for the course in Art & Design. All the items are available in a variety of shops in Douglas or you can buy them on-line.

Suggested local stores are:

WH Smiths (Strand Street), Creative Shop (Strand Street), The Artist (Nelson Street),

Dealz (Strand Street), Bridge Bookshop (Ramsey and Port Erin), Joan’s Wool & Crafts (Onchan), The Stationery Shop (Ramsey).

Online suppliers:

The specialist photography equipment supplier we suggest is ‘Morrison Photos’ located in 3 Tynwald Street, Douglas.

Electronic supplies: Isle of Gadgets (Douglas), Gadget Man (Douglas), PC World.

Basic Art and Design equipment

Essential Equipment

2 Pritt Sticks

1 Pencil sharpener

1 Rubber

2 Masking tapes 25mm

1 packet of Blue Tack

1 Set of pencils HB-6B

2 Black fineliner pens

2 permanent black markers (Sharpie)

1 30cm Ruler

1 large pair of scissors - marked or labelled with your name

1 A4 logbook /sketchbook (available from College reception)

1 mixed pack of different size bristle brushes

1 tube of ‘uhu’ glue

1 box of good quality watercolours

4 Ilford HP5 135-24 Film

1 Pack of mapping pins

1 Ilford 5” x 7” Multigrade Pearl or Glossy Photographic Paper -100 sheets- DO NOT OPEN IN DAYLIGHT!

1USB flash drive – 64gb

OPTIONAL - 1 External Drive of at least 500mb

OPTIONAL - 1 quality USB card reader (Sandisk imagemate all-in-one)

You will also need to bring with you a small box to store your equipment in – preferably with a lock. A small digital camera or camera phone is also very useful for recording.

Wear casual clothes, an old shirt or overalls for messy activities.

When will I get a timetable?

Please see below an example of a previous years’ timetable. All students will be given their timetables on the first day of the new academic year.

Art Foundation


9.10-10.40am (break 10.40-11)


1-2.30pm (break 2.30-3)




Photography/Visual Studies


Fine Art Printmaking

Fashion /Animation


Fashion/Fine Art

Tutorial 1-3pm


Contextual Studies

3D Design/Illustration


Digital Graphics

Fine Art Textiles

Useful links

A quick guide to course fees

Student Awards (Grants)

Free School Meals


International Applications

Student Emergency Fund

What happens once I have applied?

We will send you an email to let you know we have received your application. If you are new to the course area you have applied for, you will be invited to an Information Sharing Appointment ISA along with all other applicants to the course.

Please note: applicants are invited to ISAs depending on the date the application was received (there is limited capacity for each ISA so you may not be invited to the same one as other applicants who have applied for the same course). You will receive your invitation via email, to the email address you used when setting up your UCM Learner Portal.

Popular Courses

Sometimes we get a high volume of applications for particular courses. If your first choice course is popular, we’ll let you know and ask if you would like us to process your second choice course as well. This doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for your first choice it just provides you with a back-up plan.

International/UK Applicants

If you are an international/UK applicant someone from UCM will contact you remotely. It is essential that you have uploaded copies of your results/ certificates and relevant translations of grades/ certificates. Please note, if you are an international applicant and your application is received later than the end of May (i.e. three months before the start of the academic year) we will not be able to process it as the immigration processes would exceed the timescale required to start in September.

What do I need to know about Information Sharing Appointments (ISAs)?

Do I have to attend an ISA?

If you are invited to an ISA, you must attend!

What happens if I can’t attend the ISA I’m invited to?

Please let us know and we will make sure you are invited to an ISA on a different date.

What happens is I don’t attend an ISA?

If you fail to attend two ISAs without letting us know why, we will assume you don’t want us to continue with your application.

How long will the ISA take?

The ISA will start at 4:30 p.m.

(If parents/carers bring you to the ISA, they can wait in the College’s refectory; there are vending machines available.)

What can I expect at the ISA?

You will be invited in from 4.30pm till approximately 7pm along with 4 other applicants for your course.

The course tutor will speak to you first and tell you more about the course.

There will be opportunity for a one to one discussion in which we will review your portfolio of work. Please bring in your design technology, textiles, graphic communication or art and design work. In addition we would love to see any of your own personal creative work. The work you bring in could be in the form of 2D physical work, photographs of work you are not able to bring in, digital work downloaded.

We will also be asking you to complete some creative tasks so we can gage your interest, knowledge and skills.

You will have lots of opportunity to ask us questions about the course and your suitability for it.

What should I wear?


What will I need to bring?

Prior to your ISA (Information Sharing Appointment) please upload to the learner portal 6 images of completed work (drawing, painting, 3D, textiles, fashion, design or photography) and 6 images from your preparatory work (sketchbooks pages or worksheets). If you have digital work please attach a link to where we can view and ensure you change the settings to public. Please note each upload must be under 10MB in size or they will not upload. In addition to this please bring your portfolio and any sketchbooks to your appointment.

Who do I contact if I have mobility or additional educational needs that I would like to discuss before the ISA?

Please email

What happens once I’ve attended an ISA?

We will contact you within 5 working days of the ISA to either:

• make you an unconditional offer (i.e. a definite place on the course);

• make you a conditional offer (i.e. a place on the course IF you get the results required in the summer exams);

• suggest you apply for another course because the one you have applied for is not suitable for you (if this is the case it is likely we will have discussed this with you during the ISA).

What happens if I get an unconditional offer?

You will be invited in to enrol, which is when you are given your student card. This may happen in the summer, if not you will be enrolled at the start of your course.

What happens if I get a conditional offer?

If you have applied for an FE course, you will need to upload your results to your UCM Learner Portal, once you get them (e.g. GCSE, BTEC). We will then check to see you have got what is needed for the course and, if you have, we will convert your offer to unconditional, which means you definitely have a place on the course. You will be enrolled at the start of your course (that’s when you get your student card).

If you are unlucky and don’t get what you need for the course you applied for, you will be invited in to find out what else is available to you at UCM.

What are my progression and career options?

The qualification will allow you to develop a portfolio of work, enabling you to progress to higher education or employment. Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3) has been UCAS tariff rated and provides UCAS points: pass 80, merit 96 and distinction 112. UCAS does not recognise qualifications at Level 4, so unlike its Level 3 counterpart, the UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 4) does not result in tariff points, but it is still recognised and accepted by universities across the UK. Many universities that deliver this qualification offer the Level 4 version.

The qualification will prepare you for employment or self-employment, as well as a wide range of undergraduate courses in Art, Design and Media, and other related subjects depending on the chosen specialism, including:

• fine art

• mixed-media: sculpture, ceramics, installation, printmaking

• moving image: video, film, animation

• photography

• performance art

• interactive arts: interactive media including web, app, and game design

• graphic communication: advertising, packaging design, design for print, illustration, communication graphics, branding

• multimedia: motion graphics, design for film and television

• fashion/textile design: fashion design, fashion textiles, costume design, digital textiles, printed and or dyed fabrics and materials, domestic textiles, wallpaper, interior design, constructed textiles, art textiles, and installed textiles

• 3D design: ceramics, sculpture, exhibition design, design for theatre, television and film, interior design, product design, environmental design, architectural design, jewellery/body ornament, and 3D digital design

• photography/lens-based media: portraiture, landscape photography, still life photography, documentary photography, photojournalism, fashion photography, experimental imagery, multimedia, photographic installation, and moving image

• media: television, radio, print, video, digital media, computer games, photography, advertising, and publishing

• curation and exhibition management: history and conversation, collections (private, public, digital) galleries and visual culture.

How will I be assessed?

Close tutorial guidance is given throughout the course and you will be assessed at regular intervals, approximately every six weeks. In the Spring Term, you will prepare a portfolio of work for application to higher education. The course culminates in a final major project, towards which, you work independently based on an assignment that you have written.

These qualifications are assessed by way of two internally assessed and verified units (Unit 1 and 2, or Unit 1 and 3), which are subject to UAL quality assurance. The overall qualification grade is based on Unit 4 and is graded fail, pass, merit or distinction.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification, however:

• It is ideal if you have completed your A-Levels, Diploma or Extended Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3), or related subjects.

• It is recommended that you have a minimum of five GCSEs, grade 4 or grade C and above including Maths and English and one A-Level or equivalent Level 3 qualification, preferably in a creative subject.

• You should provide suitable evidence of your learning and achievement in the form of a portfolio of work, during your interview.

There are no age restrictions for this qualification. However, most of the students taking this qualification are expected to be 18+ years old, as it is most suitable for adult learners.