This course is still open to applications for 2020 entry. Click here to apply or register for our online open day.

This two-year course* is an attractive alternative to A-levels, and provides a transformative bridge between school and university. It offers students who have an interest in the visual arts the chance to explore and develop their creative practice within a specialist, stimulating and supportive environment.

The Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication gives students an in-depth introduction to the creative industries, along with a broad foundation of related knowledge, skills and attributes associated to the creative process.

The course has been designed to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to help you to discover your talents and strengths in a wide range of visual disciplines, you will specialise in one of four pathways: Fashion & Textiles, Fine Art, Graphic Communication and 3D Design.

*Our previous Extended Diploma in Art & Design course was revised to be more coursework based with a focus on preparation for progression into the creative sector. We have therefore renamed the course to Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication to encompass the new modules.


This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries. 

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course details

Open Days

We understand that leaving school and going to University is a big step. We aim to give you all the information you need to make the right decision.

Click here to find out more about our open days. 

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll be introduced to the underpinning principles of art and design theory and practice to inform the development of your creative practical skills. You’ll explore different approaches and experiment with a range of media, techniques and processes to discover your individual strengths and interests which will help you decide which specialism to choose.

You’ll finish the year by undertaking a final major project in your chosen specialism; either Fashion & Textiles, Graphic Communication, 3D Design or Fine Art.

Year Two — You’ll deepen your knowledge and experience of the specialist discipline you’ve chosen to work in and prepare for degree-level study by becoming increasingly independent. You’ll develop your portfolio for higher education applications and interviews. You’ll finish the year by undertaking a final major project which will be exhibited in the end of year show.

Throughout, you’ll learn about the historical and cultural contexts of art and design, and study the work of other artists, designers and crafts people. You will have opportunities for trips to relevant exhibitions, and chances to take part in live or simulated live briefs, as well as entering regional and national competitions.

Course Specification & Units

Year One

Stage One - Unit 01: The Creative Process
In this unit, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the creative process as a creative tool used and adapted by professionals across a full spectrum of creative practices. Students will explore the stages of the creative process though a practical learning journey where they will apply their knowledge of the creative process to generate ideas for creative pursuit. 

Stage Two - Unit 02: Developing Creative Practice
This unit requires students to gain knowledge of a range of 2D, 3D and 4D creative practices and explore and use materials, methods, techniques and processes in a safe and professional manner. Students will then apply this learning to their own developing creative practice and enable them to refine their vocational ambitions.

Stage Three - Unit 03: Responding to a set Brief
This synoptic unit requires students to draw on learning acquired during Units 1 and 2 in the resolution of a creative problem outlined by a set brief. Students will learn how to manage and fulfil the expectations of an exciting and industry relevant project brief. They will be required to propose, plan, experiment, explore, develop, produce and present an original solution in response to the brief.

Year One Exit Award - UAL Level 3 Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication


Year Two

Stage One - Unit 04: Researching a Specialist Industry Practice
In this unit students are required to dive into the creative industries, identifying the sectors and specific roles that ignite their vocational ambitions. Students are required to explore how the creative process is adapted and used by existing practitioners within their chosen field, cementing their learning through the application of specialist practice theory to practical activities. This unit offers students the chance to clarify and define their creative career intentions and focus their future development and progression routes.

Stage Two - Unit 05: Specialist Technical Skills Development
This unit allows students the opportunity to fully interrogate the materials, processes, safety measures and technical skills associated with a specialist practice. Students are expected to use these skills to investigate and identify creative solutions to problems and produce specialist outcomes that reference personal and contextual influences. Students will also gain a developed understanding of ethical design principles – principles essential for progression into their chosen specialist industry. 

Stage Three - Unit 06: Specialist Creative Outcome
This synoptic unit requires students to draw on learning from across the entire qualification to propose, plan and fully realise a self-directed, individualised, specialist practice project. Students will be required to identify and propose a thematic enquiry, evidencing a clear grounding in a selected specialist practice and knowledge of a specified audience or consumer. Students will apply the materials, methods, techniques and processes associated to their specialist practice and develop industry relevant outcomes that support progression towards a career in the creative industries. 

Year Two Exit Award - UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication

Specialist Resources

You’ll be based at our Vernon Street site, in Leeds City centre, with access where relevant to your studies, to excellent facilities according to curriculum needs.

Entry Requirements

We look for at least four GCSEs at grade 4/grade C or above, which must include both English and Maths, alongside a portfolio of art and design work.

For full entry requirements please visit

Information for Parents

Keeping informed

Each year parents/guardians will be invited to an information evening to provide updates about the course and how they may support students’ progress. In the first year, there will be an introduction to the course structure, progression activities, assessment process and an opportunity to view some work. In the second year, there will be an update on second year course structure, progression opportunities and how students will be supported through this process.

Throughout the year parents/guardians can contact course staff to discuss any concerns they may have. It should be noted that if students are aged over 18, we will need to seek their permission to talk to parents/guardians.


Regular attendance is key to any student’s success and we require them to be at every scheduled session, unless they are ill or have another genuine reason.

If there are concerns about the attendance or academic progress of a student and they are under the age of 18, you will be kept informed through our intervention process.

Student Support

Leeds Arts University is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our students.

We are fully committed to providing equal opportunities to all and we strive to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that students individual learning needs are met in the best way. You can disclose on your application form or alternatively contact student welfare on and one of our team will contact you discuss your individual needs.

Our Student Welfare Team have offices at the city centre site and are available to provide information, guidance and/or advice on: applying for our courses, funding and finance, accommodation, counselling and welfare, disability support, sexual health and any other student related issue.

Study Skills and Mentor Tutors are allocated to support any students with an identified additional support need.

Careers Advice and Guidance

Our careers advice programme aims to give students a clear idea of the progression routes, and the necessary skills and attributes required to be successful in the creative sector. The sessions are intended to provide positive role models and empower students with the confidence to carve out a successful career in the creative sector.

The programme consists of:

  • Advice and guidance about the range of progression opportunities available
  • Support from an external careers advice service ‘Aspire’ through a series of workshops, one-to-one advice and guidance and access to a bespoke ‘ask the advisor’ email service
  • Support from a designated personal tutor
  • Enrichment sessions that develop students’ wider employability skills
  • Support in making applications and development of interview skills
  • Specialist portfolio development
  • Opportunities to engage with the creative industries through visiting professionals, competitions and live/simulated projects

A comprehensive summary of all our careers advice and guidance is available to students 24/7 through our online eStudio.

Portfolio Guide

In light of the Covid-19 situation, as part of the updated application process we are asking students to submit an e-portfolio to Admissions via our portal. You will receive an email with information on how to upload your e-portfolio. You may submit a series of images, a work document or a presentation (saved as either PDF, JPEGs, Word or PowerPoint) and not exceed 30MB in total.

You will need to submit 8–10 images of work that demonstrates your creativity and art and design skills. Please read the guidance below which outlines what we are looking for. You do not need to separate each criteria into an image as one image may show us multiple skills. Where possible, you should ensure that you photograph your work carefully and in good light to show it to its best advantage.

IMPORTANT: We strongly advise that you check your junk mail to ensure that you don’t miss communications from our Admissions team.

Selection Criteria

What we are looking for

Personal statement that demonstrates your interests and knowledge of art, design and culture (on application form)

We want to find out what excites and inspires you about studying art and design.

  • Which artists or designers have influenced you and your work?
  • Are there any galleries, exhibitions or events you have visited that have been influential?
  • How do you stay current and up to date with contemporary art and design?
  • What do you hope to gain from studying an Extended Diploma course?
  • And what are your aspirations for the future?

We also like to know a little bit about what you do outside of art and design, such as hobbies, interests, other influences.

E-portfolio: Drawing/Visualising

We like to see drawing in all its forms; experimental, technical, but particularly drawing that demonstrates your ability to record the three-dimensional world around you (ideally not from photographs).


We will be looking at the visual quality of your work noting your use of things like, composition, form, space, line, tone and/or colour.

E-portfolio: Making use of a range of media, materials and approaches

We are aware that the range you are able to demonstrate will depend on your current studies and work availability. We will look at the range of media, techniques and processes you have used.


We’d like to see diversity in your work so where possible show us more than one approach or use of media. This could include for example, drawing, painting, collage, photography, model-making, textiles or printmaking.

E-portfolio: Creativity, research and problem solving

We are interested to see how you develop your ideas, what informs them? How you approached a brief and how you have made decisions to solve it. What has inspired you, where do you look for inspiration (your research skills)? We will typically see this through images of sketchbook pages, idea/design development work, trials, samples, experiments (2D & 3D).

International applicants
International applicants will be invited to submit their portfolio by email. We accept a range of formats including PDF, PowerPoint and url links to online portfolios. Please click here for more information or contact the International Office if you have any questions about the application process.

Where next?

The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication are qualifications for post-16 students looking to pursue a specialist career in the creative industries. The majority of our students progress onto higher education.

Our students’ breadth of experience and portfolios leads them to secure places on specialist degree courses across the country, including those at Leeds Arts University, and then pursue careers in areas that have included: animation, illustration, graphic design, film, advertising, fashion design, fashion branding, surface pattern design, photography, architecture, product design, sculpture, concept art and fine art.

Others choose to access appropriate entry level roles, training programmes or apprenticeships.

UCAS point when available: P /M/ D

Apply Now (UK/EU Applicants)

Please apply direct to the University for our Extended Diploma in Creative Practice via the application form on our portal.

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at

Apply Now (International Applicants)

International applicants (from outside the UK/EU) please click here for further information. 

2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Term Starts
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Validated By
University of the Arts, London


Extended Diploma in Creative Practice

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“We help you to discover new skills and provide an exciting and varied art and design education."
Katie Stanworth, Course Leader
Extended Diploma in Art & Design