Art & Design Foundation Diploma Level 3/4





Awarding Body




About the course

The Art Foundation Diploma is a 1-year full time or 2-year part time programme designed for learners aged 18+ to further study art & design at level 3/4 and aims to help you to progress into higher education or university. The programme concludes with a Level 4 (University Level) Final Major Project. The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (QCF) is intended primarily for those students wishing to progress to higher education in art and design or associated studies. However, it is also a valid route for students wish to use the qualification as preparation for employment within the Creative industries.

This course is part of a wider study programme, which includes a tutorial and personal development element, work experience opportunities through outside set projects and design challenges, development of English and Maths Skills through embedded activities.

Entry Requirements

A portfolio of work is required for entry onto the foundation course, which demonstrates evidence of having achieved a standard, which will enable the applicant to benefit from the fast paced curriculum.  Applicants who indicate suitability for the programme at interview, but whose portfolio is limited with be given an interview project.

Students who enter with, at least one of the following qualifications, are likely to benefit more from the programme: 

  • One A-Level supported by three GCSE grades A* to C or equivalent
  • A Level 3 Vocational Qualification ideally in Art and Design
  • We can accept students onto the prpgramme without the above qualifications, but this will be based on experience and strength of visual work that is presented through a portfolio.

Ideally we would like all learners to have GCSE’s in English and Maths, as many universities will have these as part of their entry criteria, however, we can offer classes in either GSCE for students who do not have a C grade.

What will I do on this course?

The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (QCF) aims to:

  • develop students' intellectual curiosity through critical understanding and advanced learning using appropriate methods.
  • develop students' critical awareness of the contemporary visual world and related contexts.
  • develop students' ability in methods of creative production by maintaining an open mind towards the exploration of new ideas.
  • enhance students' capacity to learn and develop those faculties and skills which lead to self-reliant learning.
  • provide a context in which students are able to identify and interpret their strengths and direction through independent study.
  • develop students' understanding and awareness of the opportunities and demands of study in art & design.
  • connect to the workplace and employers by encouraging participation in 'live projects' wherever relevant.

Although the course does not include any formal English and Maths qualifications, you will work with vocationally relevant projects to help develop an understanding of the contextual language and numeracy involved within the subject at industry level. You will also develop your personal presentation, communication and organisational skills. Work experience opportunities are available. Units undertaken on this year are:

  • Researching, Recording and Responding in Art and Design
  • Media Experimentation in Art and Design
  • Preparation and Progression in Art and Design
  • Information and Interpretation in Art and Design
  • Personal Experimental Studies in Art and Design
  • Extended Media Development in Art and Design
  • Final Major Project in Art and Design

Some examples of work can be found on our Facebook page, Arts & Media at City of Bristol College

Who is it for?

Are you an adult with a passion and desire to explore the broad subject of Art & Design? Are you an 18 year old, who is has completed a level 3 qualification, but is looking to undertake a new challenge to develop or strengthen a portfolio of work for Higher Education? Are you looking for an opportunity to expand your understanding and develop further skills with new techniques and processes to add to your portfolio?

If so then this course is for you. The Art Foundation Diploma is a 1-year full time or 2-year part time programme designed for learners aged 19+ to further study art & design at level 3 and aims to help you to progress into higher education or the industry.

How to apply

Please click on the 'Apply' button below or complete an application form.

You will be invited to an interview where you will meet staff and see our facilities. If you have a examples of work, please bring it with you to showcase any creative work.

Please bring with you a report from your school if you have one available. At your interview, you will be given an opportunity to discuss your personal progression route and given impartial advice and guidance on how to achieve your goals.

If you cannot attend your interview, you can contact the college to re-arrange. If getting to the college for an interview is not possible, we can arrange a Skype interview.

Call: 0117 312 5000



How Is this course assessed?

Your work will be assessed through written and practical means. You will present the work in sketchbooks, digital blogs and in different practical formats. You will be assessed on your research, development and experimentation and final outcomes. You will have access to a full record of feedback and marks for you to monitor your progress, self assess and reflect on your own practice.

What could I do next?

Progression from the Art Foundation will primarily be into Higher Education. As the course is the equivalent to 3 A-levels, it will generate the same UCAS Points total.

Students can apply for any Foundation Degree or BA Hons at any University, or may wish to internally progress onto one of our specialist foundation Degrees, which include: Graphic Design, Interactive Multimedia and Photography.

Some students may choose to find employment or an set themselves up as freelancing or commissioned practitioners within the Art & Design industry.

As part of your tutorial aspect on the course, your tutors will work with you to help you in your desired progression route, regardless of what this is.

Additional cost

The course is free to anyone of aged 18 at the start of the programme. If you are 19-23, there may be funding available if you have not completed a Level 3 qualification.

Anyone who is not eligible for funding or is over 24, can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan, which will pay for tuition and will be wiped if you enter Higher Education the year after completing your course. More information can be found on our page

There is no formal kit list for consumables, but financial support is available through the learner support fund. Applications can be made through the college's Learner Services team.


The course will require an interview, which will aim to assess your abilities and judge if the level of learning is right for you. We aim to offer all applicants a place where applicable, and can look at enrolment onto a less demanding qualification.



How old will you be when the course starts?

16-18 19+
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