Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Why choose this course?

This accredited course prepares you for the study of art and design at degree level. You'll gain an understanding of visual communication, three-dimensional design, fashion and fine art. You'll explore a range of art forms and techniques, and begin to develop your own creative style. 

You'll be taught by a broad range of tutors who all work within the creative industry. These will engage you in a critical investigation of your work, progression aims and ambitions. You'll take part in regular research and drawing trips; studio, gallery and museum visits to London also form part of the course.

Please download our guidance for applying for the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (PDF) to assist with your application.

Application deadlines

Please note that applications for September 2020 entry are now closed. The next entry for the course will begin in September 2021 and we will begin accepting online applications from the end of October 2020.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • You'll use the excellent resources at Kingston School of Art and work on joint projects with degree students whenever possible.
  • Research and drawing trips and studio, gallery and museum visits to London are part of the course.
  • You'll work in a small group of 30 students, with regular one-to-one guidance from a range of tutors.
  • In our last OFSTED inspection, we were awarded outstanding in all areas.

What you will study

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design course focuses on four main areas: 

  • Visual communication - graphic design, advertising, packaging, bookbinding, art direction, social design, film, illustration, animation, model making, curation
  • Three-dimensional design - architecture, landscape architecture, interior, product, furniture, prop and set design
  • Fashion and fabrication - menswear, womenswear, costume, fashion journalism, fashion photography and constructed textiles
  • Fine art - painting, mixed media, printmaking, installation, sculpture, performance and photography

Please note

Places are limited and the number of applicants is extremely high. We expect applicants to have attended one of our open days. You'll hear more about the course, meet staff, visit the ground-breaking workshops and studio spaces at our Knights Park campus, where many art and design courses are based, and receive guidelines about how to apply and what to include in your portfolio.

Course content

The course runs from September to June and is divided into three parts.

Part 1

Introduces the principles, techniques and demands of the art and design industry. A six-week rotation of workshops examines each of the four areas. This helps you understand them and make an informed choice on what you want to study.

Part 2

Marks the start of your specialism. You'll explore your subject choice in detail and broaden your technical and conceptual skills. You'll also prepare your portfolio for degree-level application.

Part 3

You will complete an eight-week project using the knowledge, skills and confidence you have acquired. The project culminates with a public exhibition.

This Edexcel Foundation Diploma in Art & Design runs seven Units throughout the three parts of the course. All students will be provided with the Foundation Student Handbook and full details of each Unit will be provided in Unit guidelines.

Core units

Researching, Recording & Responding

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

You'll be given an introductory brief and a Learning Resource Centre (LRC) induction (Part 1)

Media Experimentation

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

Includes 5 day workshops in specialisms, 3D inductions and area talks (Part 1)

Preparation and Progression

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

Includes a Drawing Trip show and the beginning of your specialism (Part 2)

Information and Interpretation

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

This Unit covers personal statement writing, a work in progress show and an old students event, as well as an assessment of the Units so far (Part 2)

Personal Experimental Studies

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

You'll continue with your specialism, work towards your UCAS and portfolio deadlines, prepare for and attend degree course interviews (Part 2)

Extended Media Development

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

Assessment of Units (Personal Experimental Studies and Extended Media Development), and submission of statement of intent (Part 2)

Final Major Project

0 credits

Non-credit bearing unit

You'll submit your final major project, complete and present your portfolio, and exhibit your work in the final Foundation Show, which is open to the public (Part 3)

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and programme details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through programme specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and programme details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

What our students say

"I absolutely loved my time at Kingston – it was so exciting to be in a place where everyone enjoyed the same thing. I was shocked at how much my work changed in just a year; the tutors were the main reason for this. I found them to be passionate and always there to give advice, which I feel you just don't get at other places."

Serena is continuing her studies here at Kingston on the Graphic Design BA (Hons) course.

Serena Wise, Student of the Year

"Well what can I say about my foundation year at Kingston? It has been a hundred times better than I could ever have imagined. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and consequently my work has improved dramatically. I have made great friends and been inspired by talented tutors as well as other students. Coming into university every day has been a great social experience, alongside working harder than I have ever done before. I have loved every minute of my course and will not be forgetting it any time soon."

Rebecca went on to study Specialist Make-up Design: Fashion and Editorial Image at the University of the Arts, London.

Rebecca Grey, Student of the Year

"My year on the Kingston foundation has been amazing. Being surrounded by people with the same interests and aspirations creates a fun and exciting atmosphere. The first term's rotation allowed experimentation in a variety of different subject areas, working with tutors who are practicing professionals giving amazing insight into their industries. The tutors are always around to give help and advice.

The foundation course encourages you to be the best that you can be by trying and testing ideas and outcomes, while learning time management skills and how to talk about your work. I'm going to really miss Kingston and I would definitely recommend it."

Ellen went on to study textiles with business studies at the University of Brighton.

Ellen Fearnley, Student of the Year

"Deciding to come to Kingston for the foundation course was the best decision of my life. I have always known art was the world for me but the first term (where you try everything from fashion to animation) really broadened my horizons and helped me to become certain about the particular art path I want to follow. The Kingston foundation experience is all about trying out new ideas and learning to carry projects through.

Added to that it's a lovely place – it's always good for artists to have a river nearby. But most of all the people are great. The tutors are inspiring and always have time for you and we students encourage and help each other. I have enjoyed every minute of this course If you want to create art, work hard and have a great time, Kingston is THE place for you!"

John continued his studies here at Kingston on the Fine Art BA (Hons) course.

John Gumley-Mason, Student of the Year

"Kingston foundation has helped me gain the confidence I needed in my work and my own ability. From the way the course is run, the briefs which are set and the amazing support given by the tutors I am happy in knowing I am on the right path. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and as a result my work has improved considerably. The amount of effort that has been put in from my personal tutors has made me naturally want to give back more; they have been what has made the course. Their delicate touches in directions have pushed my ideas further and further."

Helena continued her studies at Kingston on the Illustration Animation BA (Hons) course.

Helena Bradbury, runner-up Student of the Year

"When I came to England to study art I was a quite nervous because everything was new – language, place and friends – but now I can say that coming here was the best advice that I have ever received. The foundation course was really good because I could learn about what my skills and interests are thanks to excellent tutors.

I lived in halls of residence and I can say that it is an experience that everyone should try! Living with people that you don't know very well, and who sometimes have different habits or culture, is not always easy but it's a foundation of growth because you learn a lot."

Eleonora is continuing her studies at Kingston on the Product and Furniture Design BA (Hons) course.

Eleonora Canal

"Since starting this foundation course I have been encouraged, inspired and have dramatically improved thanks to an incredible team of staff and their support.

I have found the foundation to be a fantastic opportunity to expand my abilities and experience. Throughout this short year I have made unforgettable friends and have had a lot of fun. Kingston has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of illustration, which I am excited to pursue into a degree course in September."

Stacey is continuing her studies at Anglia Ruskin University majoring in illustration.

Stacey Freeman, Drawing Prize

"I have enjoyed my year at Kingston very much, thanks to the great surroundings and inspirational tutors. I loved coming in every day, using the workshop and making some really good friends. The tutors give really fun and interesting projects, and you should take advantage of the library as a resource. I gained a lot of confidence from this course and loved it so much that I will be staying at Kingston for my degree!"

Andrew is continuing his studies at Kingston on the Product and Furniture Design BA (Hons).

Andrew Lu

"The atmosphere of Kingston University is very sociable, plus the University has extensive facilities and a solid curriculum. I benefited from this during my foundation course, which contributed to my success in achieving a place at Goldsmiths College to study fine art. My tutors and friends always gave me good advice and helped me choose my next university.In particular, my tutors taught me mixing media, which developed my art works into more abstract, powerful and metaphorical pieces. This development led me to fine art. In addition, the libraries and English course also supported the advancement in my studies."

Hideto is continuing his studies at Goldsmiths College, London majoring in fine art and critical studies.


Hideto Shinkawa

Entry requirements

Typical offer 2020

A-level or AS Level or BTEC Diploma in an art and design subject. International Baccalaureate Diploma/Certificate at a minimum grade of 24. Five GCSEs at a minimum of grade C or 4, including English Language and Mathematics.

Entry requirements 2021

A-level (or equivalent) in an art and design subject. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview and need to submit a portfolio of work.

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course does require a digital portfolio and interview as part of the application process. A short list of selected applicants are invited for an interview. UK-based applicants will be required to attend an in-person group interview with their physical portfolio. Further details about the interview will be sent with emailed interview invitations. Applicants based outside of the UK selected for interview may be scheduled for a phone/skype interview or a decision may be made based on the application and digital portfolio.


All international students requiring a visa must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is a UKVI IELTS 5.0 overall, with no element below 4.5

Teaching and assessment

Teaching includes studio-based projects, one-to-one tutorials, lectures, seminars, practical field trips, skills workshops and demonstrations. You will work in small groups of approximately 25 students, led by subject-specific tutors.

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design award is based on passing all three parts of the course, and on completion of 120 credits.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

As a rough indication, in Part 1 you'll receive 4 days a week of scheduled teaching; in Part 2 you'll receive 3 days a week of scheduled teaching and in Part 3, you'll receive 2 - 3 days a week of scheduled teaching.  The week would be divided into contact hours (ie time spent with academic staff) and independent learning hours (eg time spent in the studio, library, or workshop with or without technical support).

At Kingston University there is a strong focus on the making process through experimentation with materials, processes and ideas. This enables our students to challenge norms, push boundaries and achieve excellence. It is therefore likely that much of your time will be spent working in this way.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 720 hours / 60%
  • Guided independent study: 480 hours / 40%


How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios and dissertation). 

Assessment for this Foundation Diploma is 100% coursework.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 6pm. For undergraduate students, Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

30 students are in each Rotation group during Part 1 of the course. There is no limitation on group sizes when students are choosing Specialism.

Gallery of student work

Who teaches this course?

All members of staff are practising artists and designers, which means their teaching includes up-to-date professional experience, they can tell you what life in industry is really like and they'll give you guidance on how to balance creating inspiring, challenging work with meeting the needs of your client.

Many of our tutors are award winning artists and designers. For example, staff members have won national illustration and D&AD design awards.


Fees and funding

2021/22 fees for this course

Home students

Students aged under 19 on 31 August of the year of entry will not be charged a tuition fee.

Students aged 19 or over on 31 August of the year of entry will have to pay a tuition fee for the year. The fee for 2021/22 is £5,000. You must make sure you are able to support yourself through the academic year and be able to pay tuition fees of £5,000 per annum.

Home applicants should note that this course is a further education course so student loans (for tuition and living costs) are not available for this course.

International and Channel Islands students

You will normally be charged the appropriate international fee which for 2021/22 is £13,500 for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

2020/21 fees for this course

Home/EU students

Students under 19 on 31 August of the year of entry will not be charged a tuition fee.

Students aged 19 or over on 31 August of the year of entry will have to pay a tuition fee for the year. The fee for 2020/21 is £5,000. You must make sure you are able to support yourself through the academic year and be able to pay tuition fees of £5,000 per annum.

Home/EU applicants should note that this course is a further education course so student loans (for tuition and living costs) are not available for this course.

International and Channel Islands students

You will normally be charged the appropriate international fee which for 2020/21 is £13,100 for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.


Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.


In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.


Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.


Upon acceptance of an offer, a materials fee of approximately £275 is required to secure a place and pay for materials whilst you are on the course.

In addition to these course-specific additional costs, it is likely that you may incur extra costs as a student at Kingston University. It is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

The Government has recently announced that new students from the European Union and Swiss Nationals starting their course after August 2021 will no longer be eligible for a student loan in England for Undergraduate or Postgraduate studies for 2021/22 academic year. This decision only applies to new EU students starting in 2021/22. If you are an existing/continuing EU student, you will continue to be funded until you graduate or withdraw from your course.

Need to know more?

Our fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.


You'll use our dedicated Foundation studio spaces and facilities to experiment and explore new ways to push the boundaries of projects and open discourse across disciplines.

Collaborative and multi-disciplinary teamwork is actively encouraged between students.

Throughout the course, you'll be encouraged to explore different materials, processes and ideas through experimentation.

Although you'll be taught at Penrhyn Road, you'll also have access to the state of the art workshop facilities at Knights Park, where many of our art and design degree courses are taught.

Portfolio advice


The Architecture BA(Hons) course is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

After you graduate

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design will help you choose the degree course that best suits you. Students progress to study architecture, fine art, graphic design, illustration animation, fashion, product and furniture design and interior design.

Gallery of student work