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Foundation Diploma (Art, Design and Media)


What does the course involve?

Begin your journey towards a career in art and design with 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 develop a strong, individual portfolio of creative work and help you to decide your future career path.

The Foundation Diploma also provides you with an ideal preparation for degree level study in an art or design subject. When you complete the course, you’ll be guaranteed entry to level four of the online BA (Hons) degree programmes in graphic design, illustration and interior architecture and design that we deliver in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.

Course duration

You’ll complete the course in one year, over three semesters. Each semester consists of twelve weeks of study followed by four weeks of assessment processes, during which there is no teaching.

While studying, you’ll be expected to set aside a minimum of 15-20 hours per week for your directed activities. You should also consider the additional time needed for independent thinking, uploading your work to the site, and for discussion with your tutors and peers in the forums.

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.

The course is recognised by art colleges and universities throughout the UK, and the award is the equivalent qualification to a BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design.

For more detailed information about the course, you can download the Programme Specification here.

Next Start Dates: 16th October and 19th February

Course Structure

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

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

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

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.

*The content, mode of delivery and assessment methods for this programme are subject to change.

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.

All applicants from non-majority English speaking countries need to provide proof of English language proficiency. One of the following qualifications (or equivalent) is required.

You can find more detailed information on our entry requirements page.

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.

Fees and Discounts

Payment in Full Payment Plans
Total payment




per month

  • 3 instalments of £1,079.33
    (Total payment of £3,237.99*)
  • 12 instalments of £273.33
    (Total payment of £3,279.96*)

*Please note these figures include a small administration fee. If you choose to pay with a payment plan you need to pay your first instalment to secure your place. Your next payment is due approximately one month after your start date.

Employers and self-employed 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 us on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail:

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.

Student Stories

Degree Show - February 2017


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:

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