Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice

Why choose this course?

This Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media Practice is accredited by Pearson and prepares you for the study of art and design at degree level. You'll gain an understanding of visual communication, 3D design, fashion & fabrication and fine art. You'll explore a wide range of applied creative practices, developing your creative voice and helping you to identify the area of further study that best suits you. 

You'll be taught by a broad range of tutors who are all creative practitioners. The tutors 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.

Central to the course is a vibrant studio culture, which fosters individual creative identities as well as championing the value of collaborative practice.

Please view our portfolio guidance to assist with your application.

Application deadlines

Please note that applications for September 2024 entry are now closed. We will begin accepting online applications from November 2024 for the next course entry which will begin in September 2025.

Attendance Year of entry
1 year full time 2025

Please note: Teaching on this course may take place on more than one KU campus.

Please note: This qualification is awarded by Pearson, not by Kingston University.

Main location Kingston School of Art at Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • You'll use the excellent resources at Kingston School of Art's Knights Park campus, working on joint projects with degree students and live briefs whenever possible.
  • You'll work in small groups of students, with regular one-to-one guidance from tutors and industry professionals.
  • You'll have multiple opportunities to visit studios, galleries and museums in London, and participate in research and drawing trips as part of the course.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines, enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

What you will study

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

  • Visual communication - graphic design, illustration, animation, film photography, advertising, bookbinding, art direction, social design, fashion communication.
  • 3D design - product design, furniture design, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, prop and set design.
  • Fashion and fabrication - menswear, womenswear, costume 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 - Core skills + rotation

The course begins by introducing fundamental principles, techniques & skills important to all specialism pathways. This is followed by a 4-week rotation which gives you the opportunity to experience each of the four specialism areas helping you to make an informed choice about the area you will choose.

Part 2 - Specialism

During 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, with support from your specialism tutors.

Part 3 - Final Major Project

In the final term you will complete an extended self-directed project using the knowledge, skills and confidence you have acquired. The project culminates with a public exhibition and end of course celebration.

This Pearson BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice is split into the Exploratory Phase (Rotation and Specialism) and Confirmatory Phase (Final Major Project), which share the same assessment criteria. All students will be provided with the Foundation Student Dictionary, which contains clear details of the course structure and its assessment criteria.

Core stages

Exploratory stage

Practical experimentation and skills development


Broadening your creative skillset through a mixture of independent and collaborative workshops, briefs, lectures and presentations.

Understanding creative processes


Supporting you to identify your aims, ambitions and strengths in order to make informed decisions about your creative practice and future.

Exploring specialist pathways


Gaining industry specific knowledge and confidence in the creative field you wish to study.

University application and portfolio development


Building an exciting portfolio for University applications that showcases your best work and personality. Tutors share their expertise to help you make progression choices that are right for you.

Content areas: investigation, experimentation, evaluation and review, realisation, communication, self-directed practice


You will have two formative assessments during the Exploratory stage to discuss your work with your tutors, identify strengths and areas of development.

Confirmatory stage

Final Major Project


In the final term you will complete an extended self-directed project using the knowledge, skills and confidence you have acquired.



Your Final Major Project culminates with a public exhibition and end of course celebration.

Summative assessment


Summative assessment takes place at the end of the Confirmatory stage.

Future Skills

Knowledge to give you the edge

Embedded within every course curriculum and throughout the whole Kingston experience, Future Skills will play a role in shaping you to become a future-proof graduate, providing you with the skills most valued by employers such as problem-solving, digital competency, and adaptability.

As you progress through your degree, you'll learn to navigate, explore and apply these graduate skills, learning to demonstrate and articulate to employers how future skills give you the edge.

At Kingston University, we're not just keeping up with change, we're creating it.

A female engineering student, in the engineering lab.

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 practising 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 2025

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.

Typical offer 2024

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.

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course will require submission of a digital portfolio as part of the application process. 

See portfolio guidance below for more information about how to prepare your portfolio.


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

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

International applications are administered as a gathered field. Decisions will start from Monday 2nd May.

Find your country:

Portfolio guidance

Please make sure you download and carefully read our guidance for applying for the Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice document (PDF).

You will need to follow the instructions in that document to first create your Dropbox account before completing and submitting your online application as you will need to copy and paste your Dropbox account URL weblink into the online application.

This will allow you to create your Dropbox; fully complete your online application with your Dropbox URL link and upload important supporting documents (i.e. personal statement, reference and completed academic and English language qualifications) to your online application form and submit your application as soon as possible and in plenty of time prior to the application deadline.

Once you submit your online application, you will then be able to upload your portfolio images to your existing Dropbox account by the application deadline.

All applications and Dropbox portfolios will then be reviewed by the admissions tutors after the application deadline.

Application deadline

  • Home applicants: 1 February 2024 (6pm GMT)
  • EU/International applicants: 1 April 2024 (6pm GMT)

Typical offer and UCAS points explained

Like most universities, we use the UCAS Tariff point system for our course entry requirements.

Find out more about UCAS Tariff points and see how A-level, AS level, BTEC Diploma and T-level qualifications translate to the points system.

Teaching and assessment

Scheduled learning and teaching on this course includes timetabled activities including lectures, seminars and small group tutorials.
It may also include critiques, project work, studio practice and performance, digital labs, workshops, and placements.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

Outside the scheduled learning and teaching hours, you will learn independently through self-study which will involve reading articles and books, working on projects, undertaking research, preparing for and completing your work for assessments. Some independent study work may need to be completed on-campus, as you may need to access campus-based facilities such as studios and labs.

Academic support

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

Dedicated personal tutor

Your personal tutor will be a member of the Foundation team who will provide academic guidance and support throughout your time at Kingston and show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Foundation is made up of two distinct stages. The Exploratory Stage is where you will be introduced to a wide range of creative skills both practical and conceptual that will help you to identify the creative area you want to pursue. This stage also includes University applications and portfolio building. By the end of the Exploratory Stage you will be confident in your creative voice and technical ability. Two Formative Assessments during this stage will help you to identify strengths and areas of development guided by Foundation tutors.

The Confirmatory Stage is where you'll write and complete your most ambitious and extensive assignment in the form of the Final Major Project. The Confirmatory Stage ends with a Summative Assessment after which you will receive you final foundation grade.

The exact balance between scheduled learning and teaching and guided independent study will be informed by the modules you take.

Your course will primarily be delivered in person. It may include delivery of some activities online, either in real time or recorded.

How you will be assessed

Types of assessment

  • Formative assessment: provides detailed feedback to guide your ongoing development, through discussion and written feedback.
  • Summative assessment: the assessment that will contribute to your overall qualification grade.

Feedback summary

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

Your timetable

Your detailed and individualised timetable is provided at the beginning of each term.

Class sizes

35–45 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 highly successful, award-winning artists and designers. For example, staff members have won national illustration and D&AD design awards.


Fees and funding

2025/26 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. (Please note: this fee waiver does not apply to students from the Channel Islands, who will have to pay the fee below).

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 2025/26 is £7,200. You must make sure you are able to support yourself through the academic year and be able to pay tuition fees of £7,200 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 students

You will normally be charged the appropriate international fee which for 2025/26 is £16,500 for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

2024/25 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. (Please note: this fee waiver does not apply to students from the Channel Islands, who will have to pay the fee below).

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 2024/25 is £6,900. You must make sure you are able to support yourself through the academic year and be able to pay tuition fees of £6,900 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 students

You will normally be charged the appropriate international fee which for 2024/25 is £15,900 for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

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 from the 2021/22 academic year. This decision only applies to new EU students starting after 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 undergraduate fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that 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, access to shared 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 buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

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. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.


Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.


Upon acceptance of an offer, a materials fee of £280 is required to secure a place and pay for materials whilst you are on the course.


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

Frequently-asked questions

We've collated the most-commonly asked questions regarding our Foundation Diploma at Kingston School of Art. We hope the answers help you make an informed decision.

Where do you stand in the league tables?

Our Foundation Diploma received an Outstanding across all four areas of our Ofsted inspection (effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for learners).

How do I apply?

You do not apply for any Foundation courses via UCAS. Applicants should apply online. We ask you to upload images of your work via a Dropbox link.

What is the student to staff ratio?

30 students to each member of staff.

Who will teach you and how often?

A passionate team of 22 permanent members of staff, plus over 30 visiting lecturers.

What areas are covered on the Foundation Diploma?

We have a wide and varied programme, which includes:

  • Animation
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration (Visual Communications)
  • Fashion Design
  • Costume
  • Textiles (Fashion and Fabrication)
  • Architecture
  • Product
  • Furniture
  • Set Design
  • Interior Design (3D)
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Installation
  • Performance
  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Film (Fine Art)


Is there a tutorial system?

Yes. We run regular tutorials during each project, both one-to-one and in groups with peers. Our small course means we have time to really get to know every student. In addition, all students are allocated a personal tutor to support their progression through UCAS onto degrees.

What is the relationship with the degree courses at Kingston School of Art?

Approximately 50% of our students progress to degree courses at KSA.

Throughout the year, we run joint projects, visit crits, hold workshops, and course leaders come to talk about their degrees at KSA.

How successful is your course in placing students onto degree courses?

100% of our students wanting to study at higher education gained places at the highest-quality institutions throughout the UK and abroad. Our strength is in placing the right student at the right institution for themselves as individuals. Therefore, we also support applications for alternative routes of study.

Do you have your own studios at Kingston School of Art?

Foundation is based in the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the Tower Block at Penrhyn Road, with large open-plan studios for the exclusive use of our students. We also use libraries, 3D workshops, photography, animation, hackspace, computer and printmaking facilities at Knights Park, where students will work alongside degree students, which is extremely beneficial.

How many students do you accept onto the course?

We take 150 Home and 30 EU/International students each year. Last year, we had 1,605 applications, so it is competitive. We urge you to apply to additional courses as, sadly, we are unable to accommodate all students that apply to us.

Is there accommodation available?

Yes. Foundation students are eligible for University halls of residence. Applications are sent out by the University in early June. Students are encouraged to reply early to avoid disappointment.

Middle Mill Halls is located closest to the Foundation building. Seething Wells and Clayhill also seem popular with our students, and free University buses run to the campus.

Are there tuition fees?

Upon acceptance of an offer, a Materials Fee of £280 is required to secure a place and pay for materials while you are on the course.

Home students that are under 19 years old on the 31 August of the year of entry will not be charged a tuition fee.

Students aged 19 or over will have to pay a tuition fee for the year.

International/EU/Channel Islands students will be charged an International Fee.

As this course is a Further Education course, it is not eligible for student loans.

Read more about tuition fees >

Is there an external examiner?

Yes. Our external examiner had the following to say about our course and the final exhibition:

"A model of good practice that has deservedly gained national recognition. In my entire career, I've never seen a more innovative, inspiring and stimulating exhibition of work that reflects the joint ambition and commitment of both students and staff."

After you graduate

Students progress to study courses such as architecture, fine art, graphic design, illustration animation, fashion, costume, filmmaking, photography, product and furniture design and interior design, often choosing to stay at Kingston University.

Please find below lists of our recent students' degree courses and destinations. What is paramount to our Foundation is to make sure our students get onto the course best suited to them.

Degree destinations

  • Architectural Association
    BA Architecture
  • Bartlett School of Architecture
    BA Architecture
  • Bath Spa
    BA Contemporary Arts Practice
    BA Graphic Communication
    BA Fine Art Painting
  • Arts Bournemouth
    BA Visual Communication
  • Bournemouth
    BA Animation
    BA Illustration
  • Brighton
    BA Fashion & Business Studies
    BA Design & Craft
    BA Graphic Design
    BA Illustration
    BA Painting
    BA Printmaking
  • Bristol
    BA Fashion Design
  • Camberwell
    BA Fine Art Photography
    BA Fine Art Sculpture
    BA Graphic Design
  • Chelsea
    BA Textile Design
    BA Fine Art
  • Courtauld
    BA History of Art
  • CSM
    BA Graphic Comms Design
    BA Fashion Womenswear
    BA Fashion Menswear
    BA Fashion Design Marketing
    BA Textiles
    BA Jewellery Design
  • Edinburgh
    BA Fashion Design
    BA Textiles
    BA Performance Costume
  • Eindhoven, Netherlands
    Design Academy
  • Falmouth
    BA Games Design
    BA Graphic Design
    BA Illustration
    BA Fine Art
  • Gerrit Rietveld Academie
    BA Graphic Design
  • Glasgow School of Art
    BA Fine Art
    BA Communication Design
    BA Fashion
  • Goldsmiths
    BA Fine Art
    BA Design
  • Kingston University
    BA Architecture
    BA Fashion Design
    BA Fine Art
    BA Product & Furniture Design
    BA Graphic Design
    BA Illustration Animation
    BA Interior Design
  • Konstfack, Stockholm
    Graphic Design & Illustration
  • Lancaster
    BA Fine Art
  • London College of Communication
    BA Illustration & Visual Media
    BA Film and Television
  • London College of Fashion
    BA Fashion Design
    BA Menswear
  • Lincoln
    BA Design for Education & Museum
  • Loughborough
    BA Graphic Design
  • Manchester
    BA Illustration
    BA Fashion
  • Newcastle
    BA Fine Art
    BA Architecture
  • Northumbria
    BA Fashion Design & Marketing
  • Norwich
    BA Illustration
  • Nottingham
    BA History of Art
  • Nottingham Trent
    BA Fashion
    BA Graphic Design
  • Ruskin
    BA Fine Art
  • Slade (UCL)
    BA Fine Art
  • UAL Wimbledon
    BA Fine Art
    BA Theatre Design
  • Westminster
    BA Fashion Design
    BA Architecture
    BA Film

Gallery of student work

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.