BTEC Foundation Diploma Art and Design

Course level: 
3 and 4
Qualification type: 
Subject area: 
Awarding body: 

A Foundation Diploma is a 1-year practical and creative vocational course.

What is the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design?

A Foundation Diploma is a 1-year practical and creative vocational course. The course is diagnostic in approach, enabling students to explore a wide range of specialist areas before deciding on a future direction within the subject. Students find this course exciting challenging and rewarding.   If you are interested in a creative and commercial career and are interested in the art and design world this could be the course for you.

View our video of student work below: 

Student work (QUICKTIME) from alton college on Vimeo.

Course topics

The year is structured into 3 stages:

Stage 1 Exploratory stage
A broad introduction providing you with new processes and techniques, through projects that build on A level experience. Intensive 1 and 2 week projects are designed to challenge your preconceptions of Art and Design, encouraging experimentation and ambition.

This stage allows you to try out many different specialisms whilst helping you to focus your attention on choosing future degree courses. Tutor provides extensive support to prepare for interviews and the presentation of your portfolio.

Stage 2 Specialist Pathways
This stage allows you to develop a portfolio of work through extended specialist projects within the following areas.
Fine Art (painting sculpture, printmaking, multimedia)
Lense based media (photography, film, animation)
Graphic design, Illustration, Fashion and Textiles, 3DD (interior design / architecture, product design, jewellery, craft, furniture, theatre design etc)

Stage 3 Confirmatory (Final Major Project)
This stage is an opportunity to produce self-motivated and more independent work within your chosen specialist pathway.
An exhibition of the work open to the public and fashion show forms the culmination of the course.

Teaching and learning

You will have good access to facilities and be taught in Michael Gray Art and Music Centre by enthusiastic and experienced team of specialist teaching staff who you will see on a daily basis.

Throughout the course students will take part in group discussions and analysis of their own work and others. Investigate into historical and contemporary artists and designers are integrated into practical project work. Students make regular trips to visit exhibitions and fashion events there is an opportunity for students to go on a foreign visit New York, San Francisco, Beijing, and Saint Petersburg have been previous destinations.

Assessment details

The Foundation Diploma is 100% coursework assessed. Projects are submitted for marking on a regular basis throughout the course. Work is graded and written feedback provided enabling students to gauge how well they are doing on the course. Feedback helps students to see the strengths of their work, as well as reflecting on areas, which can be developed, further.
Students must pass each stage of the course before they can go onto the next. Final grades are awarded on the work produced during the summer term and presented in the exhibition.


The Foundation Diploma is recognised as the best route to a degree in art and design after completing A levels. This course is primarily a springboard to universities throughout the country, preparing students to make the most of higher education. Advising them on the most appropriate specialist course. Alton’s Foundation diploma course has an excellent record of students gaining places in the most competitive degree courses.  

NB The majority of Art and design degree courses specify that students should complete a Foundation diploma as an entry requirement.

Carries a maximum of 112 UCAS points.


This course is free for under 19's (conditions apply)

Extra costs

There will be additional costs associated with this course, these will vary depending upon which area of specialisation is undertaken. All art supplies, such as sketchbooks, are available to buy from the College at cost price. Students are also asked to contribute £15 towards the cost of materials for the end of course exhibition in the summer term.


1. Application submitted by the end of October beginning of November (Continuing to accept applications until June/July if place are available. 
2. Portfolios should normally be submitted the week following February half term holidays. (Late applicants will be asked to submit a portfolio as soon as possible.) 
3. Following portfolio inspection students will receive an offer by the end of February.
4. Some students may also be invited to an interview
5. Students should return offer slips to student services as soon as possible.

You may also wish to consider applying for the ADFAS scholarship.

Your future

  • Students from the Foundation course receive offers from competitive Art and Design course around the country.
  • Excellent exam results with 49% in 2011 receiving Distinction grades 
  • Recent graduates who have studied on our vocational arts courses have been receiving first class honours and employment in the design world

Guidance for writing a personal statement for Art Foundation

This leaflet is available in other formats on request



Syndicate content