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The level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media is a practical, project based art Foundation course which will help you to develop a strong, individual portfolio of creative work and decide your future pathway. Start a career in Art and Design or improve your artistic skills with unlimited one-to-one tuition from our expert tutors.

The Foundation course will prepare you for degree level study in a range of the University of Hertfordshire BA (Hons) courses, delivered online through IDI Study, including Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Architecture and Design, Fine Art and Photography.

What can I expect from the course?

  • The Foundation Diploma culminates in a Final Major Project in the subject area of your choice
  • The course takes one year (split into three semesters) to complete
  • Successful completion of the course leads to guaranteed entry to any of IDI's distance learning BA (Hons) degree level courses in Art and Design subjects
  • The Confirmatory Stage is graded and leads to UCAS Tariff points: Pass 165, Merit 225, and Distinction 285

Contact one of our friendly Foundation course experts for further details.

How much time will I need to spend on my coursework?

The course involves a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week, at times that suit you. There are no 'real time' lectures or tutorials so you can fit your studies around work or family commitments.

What does the course involve?

The varied projects and activities on the Foundation course are designed to develop your understanding of the creative process – that’s one of the reasons why Art and Design Foundation courses are widely recognised by art colleges and universities throughout the UK - students who have completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design are well prepared and ready to hit the ground running.

During your studies with IDI you will need access to specific pieces of equipment which will enable you to complete your coursework. You will also need to ensure you have access to the necessary reading materials. Sourcing these will be your own responsibility and any costs incurred are not included in your course fees. For further information about the equipment and reading requirements, please refer to the course Materials List and Reading List. If you require any further advice, please contact our Admissions Advisors who will be happy to help.

How is the course structured?

The Foundation Diploma course consists of eight units over three stages:


1.   The Exploratory Stage

During the Exploratory Stage you will explore a wide variety of subject matter 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 and Design.


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


The units covered in the Exploratory Stage are:

  • Information and Research in Art, Design and Media
  • Recording and Responding in Art, Design and Media
  • Experimentation with Materials and Processes in Art, Design and Media


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 around 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
  • Fashion
  • Textiles
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Interior Design


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


Additionally, the Preparation and Progression unit gives you the opportunity to research college and university options, prepare a successful personal statement, and complete your UCAS application with the guidance of your tutors.


The units covered in the Pathway Stage are:

  • Personal Preparation and Progression in Art, Design and Media
  • Information and Interpretation in Art, Design and Media
  • Combined Experimental Studies in Art, Design and Media
  • Media Development in Art, Design and Media


3.   The Confirmatory Stage

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


You will produce a Statement of Intent which 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 in Art, Design and Media


This programme specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the course and the intended learning outcomes that you might be expected to achieve.

Why not take a look at some Foundation student portfolios to see the standard of creative work our foundation students produce?

Why should I study with IDI?

If your dream is to study for a degree in Art, Design or Architecture, IDI’s distance learning Art and Design Foundation course provides you with the ideal preparation.


The Level 3 Diploma in Foundation Studies is approved on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The course leads to the award of the Level 3 Diploma in Foundation Studies (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.

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

  • You can study for a recognised Diploma in Art and Design full time or part time by distance learning, fitting your studies around work or family commitments.
  • You’ll have your own secure online studio, where fully qualified tutors will support you every step of the way, giving you individual feedback, advice and encouragement.
  • You’ll develop your creative skills by exploring a wide range of subject matter.
  • You’ll undertake a variety of carefully structured practical creative projects and activities.
  • You’ll be encouraged to experiment with a variety of media and approaches.
  • You’ll learn about the history of art and design and research artists and designers who interest you and whose creative work inspires you.
  • You’ll learn how to evaluate your work, gain in confidence and become more self-directed in your learning.
  • You’ll develop critical thinking skills and their application to theory and practice.
  • You'll become part of a global community of students, comparing notes and sharing ideas with other Foundation students from around the world within lively online forums.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to engage in critical reflection with students across all levels in the subject common room.

Perhaps most importantly, you'll create an individual portfolio of creative work, make an informed decision about your future, and be well prepared for progressing to further education.

Find out more about the duration of the Foundation course.

@KarsGB @SuzanneHeintz @KathDC Thanks for sharing this, great blog!

Contact us

Interactive Design Institute

Stuart House



East Lothian

EH21 7PB

Freephone: 0800 917 1118

International: +44(0) 131 777 9321

London: 0203 056 1098

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