• Overview
  • Course Structure
  • Start Dates
  • Entry Requirements
  • Why Study
  • Fees and Discounts
  • Certification and Accreditation
  • Student Discounts and Offers
  • Tutors
  • Course Duration


fd overview

Begin your journey towards a career in art and design or improve your artistic skills on the Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media. With unlimited one-to-one tuition from our expert tutors, this practical, project-based course will help you to develop a strong, individual portfolio of creative work and help you to decide your future career path.

The varied projects and activities are designed to develop your understanding of the creative process.

The Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media also provides you with an ideal preparation for degree level study in an art or design subject. Successful completion of the Foundation Course leads to UCAS Tariff points, which are recognised by colleges and Universities throughout the UK. The Confirmatory Stage is graded and leads to UCAS Tariff points: Pass 165, Merit 225, and Distinction 285. The course also guarantees entry to the BA (Hons) degree programmes in graphic design, illustration, interior architecture and design, fine art, and photography that we deliver online in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.

The Foundation Diploma involves a minimum commitment of twenty hours per week, at times that suit you. You do not need to log in at specific times, so you can fit your studies around work or family commitments.

Download the Programme Specification for more detailed information about the main features of the course.

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Course Structure

fd levels and modules

The Foundation Diploma (Art, Design and Media) consists of eight units delivered over three key stages.

1. The Exploratory Stage

During the Exploratory Stage, you will explore a wide variety of subject areas and experiment with a range of media and techniques. This stage is designed to help you to build on your existing skills and enable you to broaden your approach to art, design and media.

Throughout this stage, you will combine theory and practice, as well as develop critical thinking and practical skills. The Exploratory Stage encourages you to engage in analytical discussion with your peers to allow for a reflective and evaluative experience, on which you can build in the future stages of the course.

Units covered in the Exploratory Stage are:

  • Information and Research
  • Recording and Responding
  • Experimentation with Materials and Processes
fd levels and modules

2. The Pathways Stage

During the Pathways Stage, you will complete creative briefs in two specialisms of your choice, in addition to a unit centred on preparation and progression.

Throughout the Pathways Stage, you will choose to work in two of the following specialist subject areas:

  • Drawing and Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Sculpture
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Interior Design
  • Fashion and Textiles

The briefs are designed to be challenging in order to develop your practical skills in the selected disciplines, whilst fostering your creativity. This stage gives you the opportunity to further your understanding of the theoretical and practical applications of the selected pathways.

The opportunity for you to identify your future aims and possible progression routes is a significant component of the Preparation and Progression unit. In this unit, you will analyse your interests and ambitions, evaluate your skills, and investigate directions to pursue in preparation for progression into further education or employment. You will use this analysis to confirm your progression options and to produce a portfolio, personal statement and CV that reflect and support your ambitions.

The units covered in the Pathways Stage are:

  • Personal Preparation and Progression
  • Information and Interpretation
  • Combined Experimental Studies
  • Media Development
fd levels and modules

3. The Confirmatory Stage

In the Confirmatory Stage, you will have the opportunity to complete a Final Major Project in a single chosen specialism.

You will produce a ‘Statement of Intent’ in which you will define the anticipated direction and breadth of your work, and record the evolution of your project. This stage is subject to external assessment and the overall grade for the qualification is solely based on the grade achieved for this unit.

The unit covered in this Confirmatory Stage is:

  • Personal Confirmatory Study
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Start Dates

Most of our applicants are keen to start their studies as soon as possible, so we have intakes in February, June and October. Depending on the course you choose, you may be able to start in any intake, but there could be some restrictions. You can apply directly on our website at any time for any future intake and your Admissions Advisor will be able to confirm when the next start date for your chosen course will be.

Even if you are unsure about when you would like to start, or which course is best for you, contact us and a member of our Student Recruitment Team will be able to advise you.

start dates

Entry Requirements

All Applicants

We would like to see evidence of previous study within art and design, or visual evidence of art and design experience. For advice about the different kinds of creative work that you can include in a portfolio, click here. If you need further information, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Admissions Advisors.

UK Applicants

For UK applicants, we normally require three GCSE passes at grade C or above and at least one GCE A2 Level at grade E or above.

International Applicants

International applicants will normally have to have completed twelve years of school education and have a Certificate of Secondary Education, or equivalent, from a vocational school or college.

English Language

For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 5.5 or equivalent is required. Contact us for further details.

Reading and Materials Requirements

During your studies with IDI you will need access to specific pieces of equipment, which will enable you to complete your coursework. Sourcing these will be your responsibility and any costs incurred are not included in your fees. For further information about the equipment requirements, please refer to the programme Reading and Materials List.

The requirement is to have access to the materials, not necessarily to own them. For example, they may be accessed in an open access studio, media resource centre, library, or Community Centre. Equipment and materials can be acquired as you work through the course materials, they do not necessarily have to be purchased at the start of your course and what you require may vary in quantity and range depending on the work you carry out.

If you have any problems gaining access to the equipment required, you can contact our Admissions Advisors who will be able to give you more information and answer any queries.

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Why Study for a Foundation Diploma?

If your dream is to study for a degree in fine art, graphic design, illustration, photography, or interior architecture and design, the Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media provides you with the ideal preparation.

As well as gaining a respected, accredited qualification, here are some of the other benefits of studying for a Foundation Diploma online with IDI:

  • You can study online for a recognised diploma in art, design and media, at times that suit you, enabling you to fit your studies around work or family commitments
  • You will have your own secure online studio, where qualified tutors will support you at every step of the way, giving you individual feedback, advice, and encouragement
  • You will develop your creative skills by exploring a wide range of subject matter and undertaking a variety of carefully structured practical creative projects and activities
  • You will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of media and approaches
  • You will learn about the history of art and design, and research artists and designers who interest you and whose creative work inspires you
  • You will learn how to evaluate your work, gain confidence, and become more self-directed in your learning
  • You will develop critical thinking skills and learn how to apply them to theory and practice
  • You will become part of a global community, comparing notes and sharing ideas with other students from around the world within lively online forums

Perhaps most importantly, you will create an individual portfolio of creative work, make an informed decision about your future, and be well prepared for progressing to further education or employment in the creative industries.

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Fees and Discounts


One full payment of £3,200
  • Our standard Foundation course fees are £3,200



From £1,079.33 per instalment
  • Three instalments of £1,079.33
    Total payment of £3,237.99*



From £273.33 per instalment
  • 12 instalments of £273.33
    Total payment of £3,279.96*


*Please note these figures include a small administration fee.

Employers and self-employed student discounts

We offer a discount to employers who are supporting their employees to study with IDI. Students who are self-employed can also benefit from this discount.

We can also arrange a group price for employers who want to support a number of employees.

For details of payment options and to find out how this could benefit you and your business please contact Danielle Gray on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Should our fees be subject to an increase at any time during your studies, your fees will be fixed at the level you paid at the start of your course, as long as you follow your original pattern of study.

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Certification and Accreditation


The Foundation Diploma is approved on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and leads to the award of the Level 3 Foundation Diploma (Art, Design and Media) from ABC Awards, one of the largest vocational awarding bodies in the UK.


Accredited Art Foundation courses are recognised by art colleges and universities throughout the UK. This award is the equivalent qualification to a BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design.

Student Discounts and Offers

Through partnerships and initiatives, we are able to offer our students institutional discounts on various products and services to help you gain access to quality materials at an affordable fee.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As an IDI student, you would be eligible for a discount of up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud* on production of an approved 'Proof of Student Status' letter.

*Adobe Creative Cloud is only available in selected countries. Find out if you can gain access from where you live by clicking here.

Graphics Direct

IDI students can also receive additional discounts. Enter ‘IDI’ at the Graphics Direct checkout and you will receive an extra 10% off, even on discounted and sale items.


All of our tutors are professionals with first class educational experience. We guarantee our students a consistently high standard of tuition, guidance and support across all of the online art and design courses that we deliver.

Click on the images below to find out more about their practice and experience:

  • Lorna Davidson

Course Duration

There is one mode of study available for the Level 3 Foundation Diploma (Art, Design and Media)

The Foundation Diploma is an intensive course that requires a minimum commitment of twenty hours per week. You can fit these hours around work, family or other commitments, as there are no set lectures or tutorials; it's very flexible. However, please be aware that the course involves fixed assessment deadlines.

You also need to consider time for independent thinking, completing activities, posting messages to your tutors, interacting with your fellow students in the forums and uploading your work. You should be aware that when starting the course you are likely to spend longer on activities until you establish a routine.

The course takes three semesters (one year) to complete.

Semester Durations

Each semester is sixteen weeks in duration, consisting of twelve weeks of learning, followed by four weeks for assessment and moderation. No teaching takes place during these four weeks.