Where will this course lead?

A diploma in art and design foundation studies is a practical, hands-on course that aims to develop your technical, creative and conceptual skills in a studio environment. By completing this course, you can progress onto a Higher Education programme, such as an HNC/D, Foundation Degree or Degree. Alternatively, you may choose an apprenticeship or employment in the creative industries.

What will I study?

The course is delivered in three stages over three terms, in one academic year. Stage 1 - Learning Skills and Context will see you explore a range of media, materials and approaches in relation to our Fashion, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography and 3D pathways. For Stage 2 - Development and Presentation, you will select your chosen specialist pathway and produce an Art & Design portfolio for an area of Higher Education, apprenticeship or employment that is related to your career aspirations. The diploma in art and design foundation studies will culminate with Stage 3 - Proposal & Realisation, for which you will undertake a self-negotiated Final Major Project. This will see you produce a body of work that showcases your creative identity and skills, and will be displayed at an end-of-year exhibition. Stages 1 and 2 will be supported by specialist workshops and demonstrations, and all three Stages will encourage students to develop their critical thinking and independence.

How will this course be delivered?

You will study up to a maximum of 20 hours per week over a maximum of four days per week. Timetables will be given to all students during enrolment and induction week. There are seven units across the year of study, which are all internally assessed. Six units are delivered through projects and workshops in Stages 1 and 2, and the final unit is delivered through a Final Major Project in Stage 3. Lessons, workshops and critiques will be delivered by lecturers who are experienced educators and practitioners, and hold qualifications in the areas in which they teach.

What qualifications will I get?

You will achieve a UAL Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design Foundation Studies.

How will I be assessed?

The first two stages of a diploma in art and design foundation studies will be marked at Level 3 with Pass or Fail being awarded. Stage 3 will be marked at Level 4 and will result in a final grade of Pass, Merit or Distinction being awarded.

How do I get a place on the course?

You will attend an interview at Stratford-upon-Avon College with a member of the course team. You will need to bring a portfolio of recent art work and a reference from your current or most recent school or college. You will then be invited to a Workshop Day to meet the course team and other students who will be attending the course in September.

What are the entry requirements?

You must be 18 years old or over and will normally possess five GCSEs (Grade 4 or above), and either a minimum of one A Level or a Level 3 Extended Diploma in a creative subject such as Art & Design to take a diploma in art and design foundation studies. However, applications from mature students without these qualifications are welcomed.

What else do I need to know?

You will be expected to attend College equipped with a range of Art & Design materials. Many general items can be purchased at the College, though you may also need to purchase equipment that is specific to your chosen specialist pathway. You will be advised by members of the course team on the most appropriate art materials and tools to purchase. The West Midlands are blessed with a large number of museums and art galleries. You are strongly encouraged to visit these in independent study time in order to develop your knowledge of contemporary and historical art and design practice. In addition, college educational trips will be arranged at a reasonable cost to students.

*Free of charge if you are aged 18 at the start of the course. If not, a fee of £4,200 will apply.

What can I do after this course?

Most diploma in art and design foundation studies students progress onto an Art & Design course at Higher Education, as well as apprenticeships and employment. This could lead to careers in fashion and textiles, fine art, graphic design, illustration, 3D design, photography, museums and galleries, and education.


Stratford-upon-Avon College

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Course Fee


Course Code


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Full Time

CAD Technician/Draughtsperson

CAD Technicians or Draughtspersons prepare technical drawings, plans, maps, charts and similar items.

What’s Involved?

A CAD Technician examines design specification to determine general requirements. They consider the suitability of different materials with regard to the dimensions and weight and calculate the likely fatigue, stresses, tolerances, bonds and threads. They prepare design drawings, plans or sketches and checks feasibility of construction and compliance with safety regulations. They prepare detailed drawings, plans, charts or maps that include natural features, desired surface finish, elevations, electrical circuitry and other details as required. They arrange for completed drawings to be reproduced for use as working drawings.


Jobholders in this unit group investigate and write up stories and features for broadcasting and for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals, evaluate and manage their style and content and oversee the editorial direction of these types of output and publication.

What’s Involved?

Journalists determine subject matter and undertake research by interviewing, attending public events, seeking out records, reviewing written work, attending film and stage performances etc. They write articles and features and submit draft manuscripts to newspaper, magazine, periodical or programme editor. They select material for broadcast or publication, check style, grammar, accuracy and legality of content and arrange for any necessary revisions. They also liaise with production staff in checking final proof copies immediately prior to printing.

Web Designer

Jobholders in this unit group design, develop and maintain websites to meet a client's specified requirements.

What’s Involved?

Web Designers liaise with internal/external client in order to define the requirements for the website. They present design options to the client. They design web pages including graphics, animation and functionality to maximise visual effectiveness and facilitate appropriate access. They also develop the website and applications. They design and develop web interfaces for relational database systems. They establish methods to ensure appropriate website security and recovery. They write and publish content for the website. They also test website interaction and performance prior to going 'live', and monitor and maintain functionality of the website. They activate the 'live' website.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers use illustrative, sound, visual and multimedia techniques to convey a message for information, entertainment, advertising, promotion or publicity purposes, and create special visual effects and animations for computer games, film, interactive and other media.

What’s Involved?

Graphic Designers liaise with clients to clarify aims of project brief, discuss media, software and technology to be used, establish timetable for project and define budgetary constraints; They undertake research into project, consider previous related projects and compare costs of using different processes; They prepare sketches, scale drawings, models, colour schemes and other mock-ups to show clients and discuss any required alterations; They also prepare specifications and instructions for realisation of the project; They liaise with other parts of the production team to ensure graphic design fits with other elements, processes and timescales; They produce or oversee creation of the final product.

Product/Clothing Designer

Product, clothing and related designers plan, direct and undertake the creation of designs for new industrial and commercial products, clothing and related fashion accessories, costumes and wigs, and for building interiors and stage sets.

What’s Involved?

Product/Clothing Designers liaise with clients to determine the purpose, cost, technical specification and potential uses/users of product. They undertake research to determine market trends, production requirements, availability of resources and formulate design concepts. They prepare sketches, designs, patterns or prototypes for textiles, clothing, footwear, jewellery, fashion accessories, set props, wigs, ceramics, plastics, motor vehicles, domestic appliances and engineering products. They also prepare sketches, designs, mock-ups and storyboards for consideration by theatre/film director or client. They submit design to management, sales department or client for approval, communicate design rationale and make any necessary alterations. They also specify materials, production methods and finish for aesthetic or functional effect, and oversee production of sample and/or finished product. They observe and manage intellectual property issues.


You could work in press photography, advertising photography, editorial photography, corporate photography, or go freelance!

What’s Involved?

Photographers select subjects and conceive composition of picture or discuss composition with colleagues. They arrange subject, lighting and camera equipment. They insert lenses and adjust aperture and speed settings as necessary. They also operate scanning equipment to transfer image to computer and manipulate image to achieve the desired effect. They photograph subject or follow action by moving camera. They also take, record and manipulate digital images and digital video footage.

Art Valuer

Estimators, valuers and assessors plan and undertake the calculation of probable costs of civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic and other projects, estimate the value of property and chattels, and investigate insurance claims to assess their validity and to assign liability.

What’s Involved?

Art Valuers examine plans, drawings, specifications, parts lists, etc. and specify the materials and components required. They assess condition, location, desirability and amenities of art to be valued. They assess costs of materials, labour and other factors such as required profit margins, transport costs, tariffs and fare structures, possible hazards, etc. They also prepare comprehensive estimates of time and costs and presents these in report or tender form. They examine insurance documents to assess extent of liability and gathers information about incident from police, medical records, ship's log, etc. and investigates potential fraudulent claims.

Secondary School Teacher

Secondary education teaching professionals plan, organise and provide instruction in one or more subjects within a prescribed curriculum in a secondary school.

What’s Involved?

Secondary School Teachers prepare and deliver courses and lessons in accordance with curriculum requirements and teach a range of subjects. They prepare, assign and correct exercises and examinations to record and evaluate students' progress. They prepare students for external examinations and administer and invigilate these examinations. They also maintain records of students' progress and development. They supervise students and maintain classroom discipline. They undertake pastoral duties. They supervise teaching assistants and trainees. They also discuss progress with students, parents and/or other education professionals. They assist with or plan and develop curriculum.

HE Lecturer

Higher education teaching professionals deliver lectures and teach students to at least first degree level, undertake research and write journal articles and books in their chosen field of study.

What’s Involved?

HE Lecturers prepare, deliver and direct lectures, seminars and tutorials. They prepare, administer and mark examinations, essays and other assignments. They advise students on academic matters and encourage independent research. They also provide pastoral care or guidance to students. They participate in decision making processes regarding curriculum, budgetary, departmental and other matters. They direct the work of postgraduate students. They also undertake research, write articles and books and attend conferences and other meetings.

Further Education Teacher

Further education teaching professionals supervise and teach trade, technical, commercial, adult education, secondary and post-secondary courses to students beyond minimum school leaving age.

What’s Involved?

Further Education Teachers prepare, deliver and direct lectures, seminars and tutorials. They prepare, administer and mark examinations, essays and other assignments. They advise students on academic matters and encourage independent research. They also provide pastoral care or guidance to students. They participate in decision making processes regarding curriculum, budgetary, departmental and other matters. They direct the work of postgraduate students. They also undertake research, write articles and books and attend conferences and other meetings.


Artists create artistic works using appropriate techniques, materials and media; design artwork and illustrations; and restore damaged pieces of art.

What’s Involved?

Independant Artists conceive and develop ideas and ways of working for artistic composition. They select appropriate materials, medium and method. They prepare sketches, scale drawings or colour schemes. They also build up compositions into finished work by carving, sculpting, etching, painting, engraving, drawing, etc. They approach managers of galleries and exhibitions in order to get finished work displayed. They use artistic skills to restore damaged artworks. They liaise with writers and publishers to produce book illustrations. They also market and sell finished work directly to customers. They produce work on commission basis for clients.

Arts Director

Arts officers, producers and directors assume creative, financial and organisational responsibilities in the production and direction of television and radio programmes, films, stage presentations, content for other media, and the promotion and exhibition of other creative activities.

What’s Involved?

Art Officers/Producers/Directors choose writers, scripts, technical staff and performers, and assume overall responsibility for completion of project on time and within budget. They direct actors, designers, camera teams, sound crews and other production and technical staff to achieve desired effects. They break scripts into scenes and formulate a shooting schedule that will be most economical in terms of time, location and sets. They also prepare rehearsals and production schedules for main events, design of sets and costumes, technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals. They ensure necessary equipment, props, performers and technical staff are on set when required. They also manage health and safety issues. They select, contract, market and arrange for the presentation and/or distribution of performance, visual and heritage arts.

Visual Merchandiser

Merchandisers and window dressers replenish stocks of goods in stores, advise retailers on the optimum display of merchandise and create displays of merchandise in shop windows.

What’s Involved?

Visual Merchandisers monitor stock movements, consider customer requirements and assist customers in completing orders. They supply information about the product to the retailer and sales staff and deal with customer enquiries. They consult with advertising and sales staff and advise retailers on the optimal display of a product and of any promotions. They also implement plans from display designers or display managers or develop ideas and plan for merchandise display or window dressing. They prepare area for new display, construct or assemble displays from a variety of materials, and dismantle existing displays and return merchandise to relevant departments. They provide feedback about displays to senior managers.


Architects plan and design the construction and development of buildings and land areas with regard to functional and aesthetic requirements.

What’s Involved?

An Architect liaises with client and other professionals to establish building type, style, cost limitations and landscaping requirements. They study conditions and characteristics of site, taking into account drainage, topsoil, trees, rock formations, etc. They analyse site survey and advise clients on development and construction details and ensure that proposed design blends in with the surrounding area. They prepare detailed scale drawings and specifications for design and construction and submits these for planning approval. They also monitor construction work in progress to ensure compliance with specifications.

Predicted Employment

How much can I earn?


Employment by Region

The career paths provided are to give you an idea of the careers that you could progress onto in the future. However, for some, you may need to complete higher level qualifications and gain experience before your dream job becomes a reality. The information provided is to support further research and to generate some initial career ideas when choosing a course. Please check entry requirements to degree courses, apprenticeships, and jobs as this may vary from year to year and across providers. For further advice and guidance, please contact: careers@solihull.ac.uk.