Art & Design Foundation Studies (Pre-Degree)

If you aspire to establish a successful career in the creative arts or you want to develop your abilities and establish your own artistic practice, then studying art and design at a higher level will help you to achieve your ambition.



This course is for committed students who have already completed an A Level programme, or who wish to build up a portfolio of work in preparation for a specialist Degree or Higher National Diploma in Art and Design.

The main aim of the course is to provide a stimulating environment where you can discover and develop your creative potential towards an appropriate area of study.


Length of study

You will study this course over one year.


Course content

The course is delivered in three stages.

Exploratory Stage
You will explore the potential and limitations of a wide variety of media and materials. There is a strong emphasis on developing skills in observing and recording what you see, hear, think and feel. In particular you will learn to recognise the importance and functions of drawing. Regular life-drawing sessions are an important part of your portfolio development at this stage.

Pathway Stage
You will bring together skills in working with media and techniques, your ability to select research methods and processes, and you will apply your understanding of the creative process to a number of set assignments. You will be encouraged to develop your own critical understanding of contemporary, historical and related contexts.

Confirmatory Stage
This stage takes the form of a final major project and end of year show. You will be guided as you specialise in one of the main areas of study, including fine art, ceramics, graphic design, textiles, printmaking, sculpture and lens based media.


Enrichment opportunities

You will have access to an open studio space and specialist workshops. You will have the opportunity to join an overseas study trip, possibly to New York or a European city, and other UK visits will be organised for example to London, Bristol and Oxford. Costs for trips are additional to course fees.

At the end of the course you will exhibit your work at our End of Year Arts Show, which is open to the public.

Follow the Foundation course blog at:



Formal assessment is carried out at regular intervals. At the end of the course you will mount an exhibition of work.



Programme Manager:
Duncan Cameron MA, BA (Hons)


Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have gained an A Level in an Art and Design related subject at grade C or higher and a further five GCSE passes at Grade A* - C, including Maths and English Language. You will need to provide evidence of quality sketchbooks or project files at your interview.

If you are a mature student, you will be considered on the basis of experience and your portfolio of work to demonstrate that you have reached a level of skill and commitment necessary to benefit from the course.

Please apply directly to Strode College. See How to Apply.



This course has been designed to help you make an informed decision about your future in Art and Design. You will be encouraged to continue your studies at degree level and many students go on to study for degrees in Fine Art, Graphics, Animation and Theatre Design. Former students have gained places at specialist art schools and universities including: Slade School of Art; Central St Martins, University of the Arts London; and the universities of Falmouth, Bristol, Nottingham Trent, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Previous students have gone on to secure jobs in Pinewood Studios, the Saatchi Art Gallery and top ad agencies in London.


Tuition fees*

  • Free if eligible
  • Subsidised fee £2,209
  • Full fee £5,421 (If you are aged 24 and above you may be eligible to receive a 24+ Loan to support the full fee; the maximum loan amount is £5,421. See the Financial Support page for more information)

*The fees shown are for 2015 entry; 2016 entry fees are subject to confirmation.

Trips and visits are not mandatory; additional costs will apply.


Frances EyreStudent Profile: Frances Eyre

“I chose to study at Strode because it has a more adult environment than school sixth form and I was impressed by the course. I love how friendly the teachers are and the atmosphere is very inviting. Teachers are inspiring and they go out of their way to help improve your education. On the Art Foundation there is no shortage of inspiration and it’s a fabulous chance to experiment. You get the chance to try out all the classes available: print, photography, ceramics, sculpture, etc. The open workspaces give us the freedom to interact with other students.”

Former school: The Blue School
Frances studied Art Foundation Studies after completing A level Art and Design, Photography and Geology. She also played hockey and sang in the College Choir. Frances is now studying Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University.


Dan JuniperStudent Profile: Dan Juniper

“I have always had a passion for art and being creative and this course has allowed me to delve into the wide range of arts that are available. Without the Foundation Studies Diploma I would probably have been doing the wrong course at university. The teaching at Strode is excellent and teachers are always friendly.”

Dan, a former pupil of Sexey’s School, studied a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. He is now studying Fine Art at Falmouth University.


Useful Links

Visit the Foundation Art and Design blog


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