Art and Design Foundation BTEC

Art and Design (Foundation Studies) BTEC Diploma

The Art and Design Foundation course prepares you for progression to a huge variety of specialist art and design degree courses.


Reasons to study Foundation Studies in Art and Design at DMU:

  • Dedicated individual space
    is provided to all Foundation Studies students
  • Excellent facilities
    with inductions at the start of the course into at a number of craft and design specialist workshops
  • National study visits
    to places such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford and Cambridge
  • International study visits
    include optional trips to places such as New York, Berlin, Barcelona and Venice supported by #DMUglobal
  • Digital arts techniques
    classes are offered weekly as well as regular life drawing sessions
  • Interview and portfolio preparation
    is supported by expert DMU staff who can advise you with digital portfolio preparation and UCAS application
  • DMU’s Festival of Creativity
    gives you the opportunity to exhibit your work at an end of year Art and Design Foundation Show 
  • The new Vijay Patel building
    has been designed to provide the space and facilities where ideas can develop and flourish for all of our art and design courses - find out more

You will have the opportunity to specialise in pathways like Fine Art, Visual Communication, 3D Design, Fashion and Textiles and Lens-based and Digital Media which will explore: painting, sculpture, print, installation, multimedia, graphic design, computer graphics, game art, illustration, surface decoration, textiles, fashion, contour, footwear, furniture, product, theatre design, jewellery, spatial design, contextual studies and photography.

Workshop inductions provide a full introduction to woodwork, metalwork, jewellery, plaster, ceramics, glass, garment making, wet photography (darkroom techniques), printmaking, textiles print, digital art, video and animation


Art and Design Foundation student gallery

More courses like this:

DMU undergraduate Art and Design degree courses

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time .

Fees and funding: 

Under 19 on 31 August in the year of entry: FREE

19 and over on 31 August in the year of entry: £2,200 (full-time) £1,100 (part-time) per year

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.


You can apply via our online applications portal

Alternatively you can download a University Application Form (PDF) and return this along with any supporting documents to or by post to: 

Arts, Design and Humanities Admissions
De Montfort University 
The Gateway

H653 Notes for Guidance (PDF)


Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Fees and funding international: For 2019/20 tuition fees will be £7,700 per year

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.


International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.


Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should normally have:

  • A portfolio of work, or evidence of recent experience in art and design
  • One A Level or equivalent, in an art and design subject
  • Five GCSEs grades A*- C (9-4) including English Language or Literature at grade C/4 or above.
  • International Baccalaureate: 24+ Points

We also accept the BTEC First Diploma plus two GCSEs including English at grade C/4 or above (if required as part of our standard requirement).

Applicants who are 18 or under must also hold a GCSE Maths and English, grade A*–C (9-4)

All equivalent qualifications are welcome as are mature students with alternative experience

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band, or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Interview and Portfolio

UK applicants with relevant qualifications will be invited to bring their portfolio of work to an open day and interview. Overseas applicants will be invited to send samples of their work. Please see our Art and Design (Foundation Studies) BTEC Diploma portfolio advice for full details.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments

 European Social Fund



Researching, Recording and Responding
You will develop research journals, sketchbooks and a portfolio of art, design and media work that reflects your personal strengths. You will manage your time and develop strategies to support your progressional aims. You will also practise presentation skills through mock interviews and scenarios. Presentation techniques can subsequently be applied in formal interviews. You will be able to apply the understanding and skills you develop in this unit to support your progression to further study and to your art and design practice

Media Experimentation
A world of new possibilities, avenues for explorations and alternative approaches can become available to you. When working with different media, you will gain knowledge of how to use specialist workshops and should learn about relevant health and safety procedures. You will also learn about technical information on media, techniques and processes

Preparation and Progression
The aim of this unit is to enable you to consider the progression opportunities available from specialist pathway through research, applied critical judgement and the identification of personal goals. The understanding gained will help inform your preparation for progression

Information and Interpretation
This unit will enable you to develop an understanding of the key concepts which influence the creative intentions and practices of contemporary artists and designers. It will also encourage an awareness of environmental, global, social and political references which have impact upon and can affect developments in areas of art, design and communication

Personal Experimental Studies
You will instigate experimentation that challenges preconceptions and personal sensibilities in visual and material awareness, in two and three dimensions and in time-based media. You will undertake continuous analysis and critical reflection to enhance and enrich this practice. The understanding gained will be used to intuitively reflect on the potential in using alternative and unfamiliar combinations of media and processes, and their relationship to observing and recording sources and subject matter

Extended Media Development
The various qualities of different media, applications and techniques have influences on the development of the form, content and purpose of images and objects created. You will proactively reflect on and critically evaluate the effectiveness of media within the context of your studio practice and the development of your own ideas

Final Major Project
In this unit you will draw upon the summation of knowledge and skills acquired during your foundation experience. You will have the opportunity to foster and promote innovative ideas and practical work whilst extending your potential contextual and technical abilities in preparation for your progression to higher education. You will be encouraged to adapt and extend personal ambition whilst understanding the professional.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current


You will study in three stages:

Stage one introduces and enables you to explore basic art and design skills. This includes working in 2D and 3D with a range of basic material, media and methods. You will learn about drawing in its broadest sense, develop visual language skills and learn how to develop ideas.

Stage two is a programme of specialist studio activities with pathways in fine art, graphic design, 2D and 3D multi-disciplinary design, providing an opportunity to identify your chosen specialist subject. This also prepares you for making applications to degree courses.

Stage three provides an opportunity to confirm your direction in art and design and maximise your potential. You will develop an individual portfolio of work along with an understanding of the contemporary context in which artists and designers work

Contact hours

On the Art and Design Foundation you will normally attend around 22.5 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 10 hours of independent study each week.


EU funding


The Foundation Programme is part-funded by the EU through the European Social Fund for our Adult learners (aged 19+) 

Facilities and features

Art and Design facilities

You will have your own studio space and there are additional rooms for classes such as life drawing. You will also have access to all the fine art and design degree facilities such as 3D workshops and printmaking areas. 

An art materials shop is conveniently located on campus where you can buy a wide variety of art materials to help you with your studies.


We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus. These give access to more than half a million publications, an extensive range of DVDs, e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. 

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year (other than in exceptional circumstances).

Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks. We offer a range of workshops, drop-in and one-to-one sessions, and our Just Ask service provides email and telephone support.


Learning zones

Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.

Originally set up in our main Kimberlin Library, the learning zones proved so popular that more were created in the Eric Wood Building and Greenhouse. These flexible spaces are ideal whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.

They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with interactive whiteboards and DVD players. Eduroam wi-fi is available across all campus locations.


Opportunities and careers



Within the first six months of attending the course you will have the opportunity to take part in our progression event, where you can learn more about the courses on offer at DMU, this event will give you the opportunity to tailor your progression plans and interests according to your art and design specialism.

Many of our students have gone onto further study here at DMU. Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to directly apply onto many of our art and design degrees (subject to entry requirements) 



This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world. Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.



Graduate careers

Most graduates go on to study an art and design degree course, either at DMU or at other universities and colleges across the UK. We will provide the necessary support and guidance, whichever route you choose. 

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More about your DMU

Festival of Creativity
Vijay Patel Building

Art and Design Foundation Show

The Art and Design Foundation Show is a celebration and exhibition of outstanding student work produced on the Art and Design (Foundation Studies) BTEC Diploma.

New Art and Design facilities in the Vijay Patel building

Vijay Patel Building

The new Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where ideas can develop and flourish for all of our art and design courses.



Find out why our students are proud to say #IchoseDMU. Find out more.



With the Art and Design Foundation course dates running slightly earlier than standard courses Art and Design Foundation students are allocated to New Wharf, which has a 38 week and six day contract available starting at the end of August. Find out more about accommodation for Art and Design Foundation BTEC students.

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