Art and Design Foundation Diploma

Develop a wide range of art and design skills through nine different workshops exploring traditional and contemporary techniques, enabling you to progress to a variety of specialist art and design degrees.

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Block teaching designed around you

You deserve a positive teaching and learning experience, where you feel part of a supportive and nurturing community. That’s why most students will enjoy an innovative approach to learning using block teaching, where you will study one module at a time. You’ll benefit from regular assessments - rather than lots of exams at the end of the year - and a simple timetable that allows you to engage with your subject and enjoy other aspects of university life such as sports, societies, meeting friends and discovering your new city. By studying with the same peers and tutor for each block, you’ll build friendships and a sense of belonging.

Read more about block teaching


Find out why you should study the Art and Design Foundation Diploma at DMU.

This is a year-long course that will help you improve your skills and knowledge across a wide range of art and design subjects, preparing you for your chosen degree or helping you decide which course to study.  

Build a strong portfolio of work before you start your degree, so you can hit the ground running and realise your full potential. You will be inducted into at least nine different workshops, exploring both traditional and contemporary disciplines and techniques.  

You will also benefit from dedicated studio spaces and award-winning facilities featuring specialist craft and design workshops, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital art, graphic design, illustration, textiles, fashion, darkroom photography, 3D design and game art.  

This course gives you the opportunity to specialise in pathways such as fine art, visual communication, 3D design, fashion and textiles and lens-based and digital media. Painting, sculpture, print, installation, multimedia, graphic design, computer graphics, game art, illustration, surface decoration, textiles, fashion, contour, footwear, furniture, product, theatre design, spatial design, contextual studies and photography are among the many different topics you can explore.

Key features:

  • Workshop inductions provide a full introduction to woodwork, metalwork, plaster, ceramics, laser cutting and 3D printing, fabric manipulation, wet photography (darkroom techniques), printmaking, textiles print, digital art, video and animation. 

  • Digital arts techniques classes are offered weekly and you will work with professional models in the life drawing classes in a purpose-built studio. 

  • Take part in organised study visits to cities such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford and Cambridge.

  • You’ll study in our award-winning Vijay Patel Building, giving you the space and the equipment to nurture your creative thinking. From ceramics, glass making, fine art printmaking, metalworking and sculpture facilities, our facilities will help inspire you to create thought-provoking and dynamic work.

  • Once you have successfully completed the course, you will be eligible for direct entry onto all of our art and design degrees (subject to entry requirements). These range from Art and Architecture to Design Crafts to Fashion and Textiles.

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DMU undergraduate Art and Design degree courses

  • UK
  • EU/International

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time. 

Fees and funding: 

For 2024/25 tuition fees for UK students will be:

Under 19 on 31 August in the year of entry: FREE

19 and over on 31 August in the year of entry: £5,421 (full-time) £2,710 (part-time) per year

Please note that this course is not eligible for national funding, such as Student Finance England.

Find out more about available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.


Duration: One year full-time 

Fees and funding: For 2024/25 tuition fees for EU and international students will be £15,750 per year.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

A good portfolio of work, or evidence of recent experience in art and design and normally

  • One A Level or equivalent, in an art and design subject at a grade C or above, and
  • Five GCSEs grades 9-4 including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above, OR a BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above
  • International Baccalaureate: 24+ Points
  • We also accept the BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English Language or Literature at grade 4 or above

Applicants who are 18 or under must also hold a GCSE Maths and English, grade A*–C (9-4)

All equivalent qualifications are welcome as are mature students with alternative experience

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Interview and portfolio

Interview required: No

Portfolio required: Yes

Please see our portfolio advice page for full details.

Structure and assessment


Course units

Teaching and assessments

 European Social Fund


The level 3 version of the qualification is made up of three mandatory units:

Unit 1: Diagnostic Investigation into Creative Practice

In this unit, students will undertake a diagnostic investigation into visual language and creative practices. This exploratory investigation allows students to become familiar with and experiment within a wide range of (art, design, craft and media) creative disciplines as part of their journey to, or reinforcement of, specialism in Unit 2 or Unit 3.

Unit 2: Developing Specialist Practice

This unit will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the knowledge, skills and practices they have developed in Unit 1 of the qualification, and to define their creative ambitions by encouraging a holistic approach to a range of activities, which will support, contextualise and position their creative endeavour within their chosen specialist practice.

Unit 4: Consolidating Practice

This unit aims to provide students with an opportunity to take control of their own learning and demonstrate their achievement by independently initiating, researching, completing and evaluating a project proposal and realisation within their chosen professional context. 


You will study in three stages:

Stage one introduces and enables you to explore basic art and design skills. This includes working in 2D and 3D with a range of basic material, media and methods. You will learn about drawing in its broadest sense, develop visual language skills and learn how to develop ideas.

Stage two is a programme of specialist studio activities with pathways in fine art, graphic design, 2D and 3D multi-disciplinary design, providing an opportunity to identify your chosen specialist subject. This also prepares you for making applications to degree courses.

Stage three provides an opportunity to confirm your direction in art and design and maximise your potential. You will develop an individual portfolio of work along with an understanding of the contemporary context in which artists and designers work.

Contact hours

On the Art and Design Foundation you will normally attend over 20 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 10 hours of independent study each week.

De Montfort University is an approved Centre for UAL Awarding Body UAL Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design.


EU funding


The Foundation Programme is part-funded by the EU through the European Social Fund for our Adult learners (aged 19+) 

Facilities and features

Art and Design facilities

You will have your own studio space and there are additional rooms for classes such as life drawing. You will also have access to all the fine art and design degree facilities such as 3D workshops and printmaking areas. 

An art materials shop is conveniently located on campus where you can buy a wide variety of art materials to help you with your studies.

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.


Campus Centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

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Within the first six months of attending the course you will have the opportunity to take part in our progression event, where you can learn more about the courses on offer at DMU. This event will give you the opportunity to tailor your progression plans and interests according to your art and design specialism. 

You will gain automatic progression* onto your choice of more than 30 of DMU’s art and design degrees. These range from Art and Architecture to Fashion and Textiles. 

*subject to passing the foundation diploma and meeting the degree entry requirements. 


DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world. Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.


Graduate careers

Most graduates go on to study an art and design degree course, either at DMU or at other universities and colleges across the UK. We will provide the necessary support and guidance, whichever route you choose. 

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