Formerly City College Brighton and Hove and Northbrook College

Art and Design | UAL Post-A-Level Foundation Diploma in Art and Design | Level 3/4

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Course Code: FE0029-1C Course Type: 16+ college (full-time), Open to international students Campus: Central Brighton Campus Qualification: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Level 3 Awarding Body: UAL

Why this course?

This highly regarded Foundation Diploma has a track record for progression to prestigious universities and gives you the opportunity to explore the breadth and diversity of the subject.

The course will encourage you to explore a range of working methods, introducing you to different areas of art and design, such as fashion and textiles, 3D design, graphic communication, fine art and illustration - eventually leading you to focus on a chosen pathway and specialism.

You will study a mixture of individual project assignments and workshops, building a portfolio with ongoing help and critique from tutors who will help you on your path to university or employment.

You will undertake a self-initiated final major project, which culminates in an exhibition at the end of the course. Selected students will have their work shown at the UAL Origins exhibition in London.

Brighton is renowned for its creativity and our creative industry facilities live up to that reputation. Our extensive range of specialist art studios and workshops are spacious and well-equipped. Our digital arts facilities are top-of-the-range and include a graphic design suite, 3D multimedia suite with motion capture, video studio and equipment, plus traditional dark rooms for photography. We also have Brighton’s cheapest art shop right here on campus.

To guarantee an invite to the first round of portfolio reviews, please apply before Thursday 19th December

Start dates

September 2020 Apply

Open events

Come along to one our open events to find out more about studying at the MET. You will be able to tour our facilities, meet our tutors, watch demonstrations and speak to current students.

These events take place in October and November from 5-7pm.

Find out more and register

Course costs

All 16+ (full-time) courses are free to EU residents who are under 19 years old on the 31 August of the year of entry. If you are 19+ and interested in studying this course, you can find out more about costs and financial support in the link below.

19+ fees

How to apply

We accept applications throughout the year, allowing you to apply up until the course starts.

You can also apply for as many colleges and courses as you wish - so keep your options open!

Find out more

Entry requirements

You can join this course if you have at least one A-Level at grade C in a related creative subject and a portfolio of your work.

Entry to the course includes a portfolio review with the course leader. 

Entry requirements

What we are looking for?

  • Evidence of good drawing skills and a sound understanding of the formal elements; line, tone, colour, texture, pattern composition
  • Ability to handle different media, techniques and processes
  • Inventiveness and experimentation
  • Ability to generate ideas and develop ideas from concept through to realisation
  • Evidence of work that has involved students in design decisions and problem solving e.g. fashion, jewellery, textiles, costume, stage sets, prints, 3D design
  • Sketchbooks and notebooks demonstrating a students ability to research, experiment and explore ideas through both visual and written approaches
  • An interest in historical and contemporary aspects of art, design and general cultural issues
  • Energy, self motivation, commitment and a genuine enthusiasm for the subject
  • Students that are accepted onto the foundation course are sent a project brief over the summer holiday period to undertake prior to the start of the course in September

Pre-entry preparation

You should familiarise yourself with a range of contemporary and historical aspects of art and design.

Below are some of the commonly read texts which should be available in your local library. These are useful starting points, you are not expected to have read them all:

The Story of Modern Art Norbert Lynton

Ways of Seeing John Berger

The Shock of the New Robert Hughes

Blimey and It Hurts Matthew Collings

Design Thomas Hauffe

Design in Context Penny Sparke

Objects of Desire Adrian Forty

Design for the Real World Victor Papenek

The Elements of Colour Johannes Itten

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Betty Edwards

Experimental Drawing Robert Kaupelis

You also should familiarise yourself with and read magazines such as Freize, ArtForum, Crafts, Blueprint, Domus, Creative review, IconEye, International Textiles and Vogue to explore future career directions.

Course units

This course is based around project assignments exploring various disciplines and a final major project. You will undertake independent work, study historical and contextual theory and develop your portfolio.

Exploratory stage: Learning skills and context 

This stage includes short project assignments and workshops. At the end of this stage all your work will be assessed by your tutor to decide which specialist pathway best suits you. The five pathways of study are:

  • Fine art
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Fashion and textiles
  • 3D design

Pathway stage: Development and progression

Having selected a specialist art and design pathway you will begin to develop your skills and understanding of your chosen specialist pathway in greater depth. You will build a portfolio that will enable you to both fulfil your pathway units and apply for university. An increasing level of independence and maturity of approach is expected at this stage of the course.

Final Major Project (FMP): Proposal and realisation

You will consolidate the experiences of the previous two stages. You will undertake a self-initiated final major project which culminates in an exhibition at the end of the course. At this stage the work is externally assessed.


The course is divided into three stages of which you are required to pass each stage before progressing to the next.

The final stage, stage three, is graded at pass, merit or distinction.

Project work for assessment will take the form of sketchbooks, design sheets and planners and should include your reflections and final outcomes.


  • Brighton MET's Visual Arts department is extensive and has excellent art and design facilities
  • Your own studio space, Mac computing suite and facilities for 3D crafts, printmaking, fashion, laser cutting
  • A big arts community at the College from Level 1 through to Foundation Degree level
  • Access to the MET’s student services, including career advice and additional learning support
  • Cafés and coffee bars with a wide range of reasonably priced meals, snacks and drinks

Why the MET?

You will have the opportunity to work on real live projects commissioned by internal and external clients, and participate in contemporary fine art competitions and exhibitions, including the highly regarded annual UAL Origins Exhibition.

The department has a wide range of full-time and sessional staff who are all practising artists and designers involved in Brighton’s buzzing art and design scene.

Whether you’re a school leaver or mature student, if you want to work in the creative industries but need guidance in finding your direction, there are staff here who will help you to focus and realise your potential.

Without a doubt, one of the reasons we know you will love studying at Brighton MET is the location of our Central Campus.

Right in the heart of Brighton’s world-famous North Laine, the College is within walking distance of all the city’s main amenities – the award-winning city library, the independent shops and eateries and the beach.

Work experience

The completion of a work placement or work-based experience, can take a variety of forms, whether this be in the form of work experience with an external company, work related experience with live projects such as commissioned work from an internal or external client. Our Level 2 students have worked with Brighton Fringe on their children’s art competition. Students curated a show displaying primary school children’s work and ran a drawing workshop with them and their parents.

Work experience will be planned in blocks or days during the year. You will be informed when your block is scheduled during Welcome days and another reminder will be given at Induction.

During these work experience blocks, you will be required to attend English and/or maths slots for Functional Skills or GCSE. Your tutors will help and support you to find work experience, however you may wish to use your own contacts to secure a placement. Placements will need to be approved by the College in advance.

Work experience or work related experience enables you to develop links with employers, and put all of your skills, knowledge and experience into practice. It provides excellent portfolio content, allowing you to demonstrate how you have taken your learning and applied it in a real life setting, with real work for real clients. This will ensure you have a professional portfolio for employment applications, which is definitely the extra engagement employers and universities want to see.

Alongside contextualising skills and techniques, we a-line you with the sectors way of thinking, through work based experience and activities. You will hone your employability skills, by meeting and greeting clients, understanding what the client is looking for in terms of commissioned work outcomes, idea suggestions, taking feedback, delivering presentations, turning up on time, wearing the right clothing, delivering deadlines, going on site, understanding health and safety and possibly producing risk assessments.

Lastly, we encourage all of our students to take part in volunteering – this is great for your CV and to talk about at interviews. This demonstrates that you are generous in giving up your time to help and support others, and it shows your willingness to give back something to your community.

What's next?

This course is the preferred progression route to higher education art and design specialised study and the majority of students use this course as a stepping stone into higher education. 

We have an excellent track record of placing students at prestigious universities and art colleges throughout the UK. 

Employment in the art and design industry normally requires applicants to have studied at FdA or degree level. 

Future careers include:  

  • Fashion 
  • Textiles
  • Graphic design 
  • Illustration
  • Industrial design
  • Product design
  • Interior design
  • Art education
  • Furniture design
  • Glass making
  • Architecture
  • Museum curatorship
  • Jewellery design
  • Printmaking
  • Transport design
  • Theatre design
  • Prop making
  • Freelance work

Additional Costs

UK and EU students do not have to pay fees if they are under 19 on 31 August in the year they are studying. More information about fees for college courses and financial support for 16-19 year olds can be found here.

Additional Costs:

You will be required to purchase drawing materials. A portable hard drive (500GB minimum) will also be beneficial to support your learning.

There may be some trips planned in the year which may incur incidental costs.

You may wish to purchase resources appropriate to the presentation of your work especially for the final major project and final show such as presentation materials, structures or props.

Additional Costs
  • alumni Views Zuzanna Weiss UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “Joining the Brighton Foundation was one of the turning points in life for me.”

  • alumni Views Alice Gale-Feeny UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “The Brighton MET Foundation course was a pivotal year for me. At the time, I remember thinking ‘this is the best year of my life so far!”

  • alumni Views Adam Meyrick UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “The first stage of the year was beneficial because it broadened my understanding of other areas of art and design and it reaffirmed my decision to progress onto the 3D pathway.”

  • alumni Views Milan Tarascas UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “My foundation has been the easily been the best year in education of my life.”

  • alumni Views Sepideh Zolfaghari UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “On the Foundation Art & Design course, tutors really push your ideas and thoughts into a reality, helping to make you an open minded person and discover new skills you didn't realise you had.”

  • alumni Views Gresham Blake UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “The Foundation Art and Design course really did turn my life around and I’m very thankful for my time here.”

  • alumni Views Owen Davey UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “Foundation was the first time where ideas became the main focus of my work.”

  • alumni Views Rae Durgerian UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “After my A levels I was 99% sure I didn't want to go to university, I thought doing a Foundation would give me another year to carry on doing art and exploring my possibilities. This foundation year changed my mind and made me realise how much I love the subject I have chosen”

  • alumni Views Lois Capel UAL Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies

    “By choosing 3D I was able to study with a very varied group of individuals which in turn helped influence my creative thinking.”

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