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University Pathways
Art Foundation

Key information

Start dates:
10 September 2018; 7 January* 2019
Course length:
3 terms (9 months): September–June or January–July.
4–6 terms if doing Extended Art Foundation
Class size range:
Average of 21 hours per week plus homework and private study

Entry requirements

Completion of 11–12 of schooling with documented proof of grades
IELTS 5.0 or equivalent
If you need additional English, you can study English Plus Art & Design or English for Academic Study prior to starting on your course.
Minimum age:

*Please note that a January start is not advised for students aiming for high ranked universities, due to more restricted choice of subjects.

Sample pathways for the Art Foundation at Kings

Art Foundation pathway

The course

This course is for students who have an artistic and creative ability and want the fastest, most direct path to an Art and Design-related degree course at a UK university.

All students, including UK nationals, must complete an Art Foundation course before starting an Art and Design degree.

Usually, international students must also study a general Foundation before they are accepted on to an Art Foundation.

The Kings Art Foundation includes Communication Studies Skills (CSS) so that international students with creative ability can fulfil the University entrance language criteria in just one year.

Learning outcomes

  • Raise academic qualifications to UK university entrance level
  • Raise English to university level 
  • Develop learning and self study skills for degree level

Extended Art Foundation

Students who need to develop their language level or art portfolio prior to the main Art Foundation can take the extended option, which includes 1–3 terms of the Art and Design Preparation Programme.

Expert teaching

Teaching is based on the Edexcel Diploma of Art Foundation. You will benefit from small tutorial groups and close individual attention.

Helping you build your portfolio

You will need to submit a portfolio as part of your application to university or art college. We will give you comprehensive advice and support to help you build a portfolio which will show off your skills and abilities in the best possible way.

Accreditation and quality assurance

The Art Foundation is overseen by an independent Advisory Board of Higher Education, and moderated by an art specialist.


There is a huge range of possible degree subjects, and combinations of subjects, in Art and Design at UK universities.

At Kings, we guide you to the best Pathway subject choices according to your interests and abilities, and to enable you to make the best possible choice of University course for each individual.

The Degree Course Outcomes table above shows typical degree progression, depending on the choice of Art Foundation elective modules.

Applying for the Art Foundation

Submitting a portfolio

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio containing a minimum of 10 pages and maximum of twenty pages in a PDF document.

Observation drawing.
We’d like drawings, from quick idea sketches to finished drawings, including direct observation drawing too.

Students should show ideas for developmental work — not just finished pieces — showing how they explore an idea, and how they experiment with ideas visually.

Experimentation. Diversity.
We want to see work in a variety of media, using different methods. This could include work based on the human figure, still life, landscape and environment, buildings, animals, machinery — whatever interests them.

Students need to show us that they can come up with a good idea and develop it into a final concept. They should include photographs of any three-dimensional work.

Students should include a short written paragraph (maximum 200 words), telling us about their experience in art, craft and/or design, why they are interested in learning art, and what degree course subjects they are considering.

Academic enrichment

Art Foundation students benefit from a range of enrichment opportunities, from clubs such as life drawing, fashion club and textiles club, to visits including:

  • Ashmolean Museum 
  • Tate Modern
  • Tate Britain
  • Hayward
  • Serpentine and commercial galleries such as White Cube and Hauser and Wirth
  • Victoria and Albert Museum 
  • Design Museum
  • National Portrait Gallery


Assessment is continuous, formative and externally moderated.
There are 7 grading themes:

  • Context
  • Research
  • Problem solving
  • Planning and Production 
  • Practical skills
  • Evaluation and Reflection 
  • Presentation

Each art project is assessed through a presentation and is marked on scale of 100%- 0%. The final Art Foundation mark is formed of the average of each project mark and will include:

  • Communication and Study Skills
  • Provision of general academic skills necessary for success in UK higher education
  • General English language development
  • Reading and writing for academic purposes
  • Research skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Listening, note-taking and summarising

Students can choose one of the following specialist subject areas:

  • Fine art
  • 3D Design, including: architecture, spacial design, product design, jewellery/body ornament, Set design, sculpture
  • Graphic communication, including illustration, advertising packaging design communication and computer graphics multimedia web design
  • Textile design, including printed and dyed materials, constructed textiles, historical and contemporary studies
  • Fashion design, including life drawing (clothed/nude model), fashion drawing and illustration, fabrics and haberdashery, sewing skills, garment construction, pattern cutting
  • Interior design, including drawing interiors and contents, plan and elevation, mood boards, design boards, samples and 3D models, lighting materials, domestic and public interiors

Art Foundation exhibitions

At the end of every project students formally present their work to an audience which will include their tutor and fellow Art Foundation students. This allows student to develop presentation skills, to discuss and to evaluate their work. As part of Unit 7 students will publicly exhibit their Final Major Project.


From Kings Life

Portrait of Julia Dekimpe, and Julia taking photos in woodland on an Art Residential trip.

We met up with Art Foundation student Julia Dekimpe from Switzerland to find out about her experience at Kings and her plans for the future.

Read the full blog post

Course structure

The Art Foundation course consists of modules in Art & Design (80%) and English Language and Study Skills (CSS) (20%). Both modules support and prepare Kings students for success at University.

Part 1: Learning Skills and Context

Term 1
All projects set within Part 1 encompass the following units:

Unit 1: Art and Design Research Methods
Unit aim: To enable students to develop a research method which demonstrates contextual awareness, ability to interpret and evaluate information and that can be applied effectively.

Unit 2: Ideas Development
Unit aim: To enable students to develop ideas within the context of art and design using a broad range of approaches appropriately and effectively.

Unit 3: Materials and Methods
Unit aim: To enable students to develop the application of materials and methods to explore and solve creative solutions, safely and effectively

Unit 4: Evaluation and Reflection
Unit aim: To enable students to develop planning, recording, analytical, reflective and to evaluate skills which support their own learning.

CSS: IELTS and presentation input, interviews and how to present work.

During this time students will be introduced to a wide variety of processes and techniques through a series of collaborative and independent style projects to equip students with a tool kit of skills with which to make an informed choice about their pathway specialism. In the latter part of this period of study students will begin work which will reflect their specialist area. Students will record all their work and processes in preparation for their Art Portfolio as they apply for university in the UK.

Part 2: Development and Progression

Term 2
All projects set within Part 2 will encompass the following units:

Unit 5: Integrated Art and Design Research Ideas and Methods
Aim: To enable students to fully integrate research, ideas and methods within the context of a chosen art or design subject effectively.

Unit 6: Preparation for Progression in Art and Design
Aim: To enable students to develop skills with which they can make best use of appropriate progression opportunities.

CSS: IELTS and assignment input.

During this period of study students will prepare their Art Portfolios; both an e-portfolio and hard copy portfolio.

Part 3: Proposal and Realisation

Term 3
This part is the Final Major Project and culminates in a public exhibition which is externally moderated.

Unit 7: Proposal and Realisation
Aim: To enable students to take responsibility for their own learning by demonstrating their achievement in proposing and realising a project which integrates contextual perspective, research, problem solving, planning and organisation, evaluation and reflection, and practical, technical and presentation skills. Working to briefs, students will produce both two-dimensional and three-dimensional work part of which will reflect their specialist subject area.

CSS: IELTS + Listening and note-taking skills and Reading and Vocabulary.

Course content

Term 1

Units 1/2 — Core skills
All students are introduced to the core skills vital to the successful pursuit of any specialist pathway. The approach, techniques and skills introduced at the start of the course enable students to make informed choices about what to focus on both for the rest of the course, and potentially for their intended degree. These units cover:

  • Different ways of recording and developing ideas to improve critical thinking and research skills.
  • Introduction to 2D skills to develop a variety of drawing approaches, print making, collage, photography, painting, Photoshop, In Design.
  • Introduction to 3D skills, casting, mixed media structures, and an experimental approach to different materials.
  • The design process.
  • Working to a brief, managing their time.
  • Regular presentations to reflect on work as it develops and a joint formal presentation with CSS which is focused on analytical and evaluative skills.

Once a specialism (elective pathway) is chosen students receive UCAS support from an art specialist to research and prepare personal statements for university courses in their chosen area.

Units 3/4 — Working in elective pathway
Students focus on one of the following chosen specialisms (elective pathways):

  • Fine art
  • Fashion design
  • Architecture
  • Textile design
  • Interior design
  • Animation
  • Games design
  • Product design

Term 2

Units 5/6 — Projects in the student's elective pathway and portfolio work
All students continue to develop their projects in their elective pathway refining skills and work for e-portfolios and hard copy portfolios ahead of UCAS applications.

Term 3

Unit 7 — Final Major Project
All students design their own final major project in their elective pathway, which culminates in a public exhibition of their work. This work is moderated externally.