The Level 3 Diploma in Foundation Studies 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, 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.

How is the course structured?

The Foundation Diploma consists of 8 units over three stages - the Exploratory, Pathway and Confirmatory stages.

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:

  • 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.
  • In the Pathways Stage, you’ll complete two short ‘taster’ projects chosen from a list of specialist areas. Subjects include Graphic Design, Illustration, Fashion, Textiles, Sculpture and Drawing and Painting.
  • In the Confirmatory Stage you'll have the opportunity to complete a Final Major Project in the subject area of your choice.

Before the Confirmatory Stage you will undertake a ‘Preparation for Progression’ unit. During this time you will have the opportunity to research your college and university choices, prepare a winning personal statement, and  complete your UCAS application with the guidance of your tutors.

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 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.

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.

Read about @idesigni student Michal Dzikowski's extreme photography adventure to the deep Amazon - - @Rab_outdoorgear

Contact us

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INTERNATIONAL: +44(0) 1875 320 597

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