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 creativity within a specialist, stimulating and supportive environment.

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.

A number of different disciplines are considered within each pathway, for example: in Fashion & Textiles you could focus on fashion or costume design, fashion branding or textile design. Fine Art can include painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation. Graphic Communication can include graphic design, comic and concept art, illustration, animation, creative advertising, photography and filmmaking. 3D Design can include product design, interior design, theatre design, design crafts and architecture.

You will also develop important employability and communication skills, and be guided as to the career opportunities within the creative industries. Students benefit from an enrichment program of visiting professionals, competitions and live/simulated briefs. Upon successful completion of all units, the overall grade for the qualification will be achieved through the assessment of a final unit of course work and is the equivalent of three A-levels.

*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.


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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.

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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 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 to to take part in live or simulated live briefs, as well as entering regional and national competitions.

You’ll be based at the University’s Vernon Street site.

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.

You will be required to send three examples of your work which shows your interest and ability in art, design and/or technology.

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.


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.

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 (72 UCAS points)
  • M (120 UCAS points)
  • D (168 UCAS points)

How to Apply

When completing your application you are required to set up an account on our Applicant Portal.

What to include in your personal statement?

Tell us little bit about yourself. What do you like making creatively? What are your hobbies? Tell us about your favourite artists/designers and how they influence you? What are your future aspirations? Why have you applied to Leeds Arts University?

What next?

Once you have set up your account and submitted your application, we will request three examples of your work that show your interest and ability in art, design and/or technology.

What images should I include with my application?

We are interested in seeing a few examples of your best work. These should represent what you have been working on at school, college or in your personal time. We love to see drawings and your ideas, but we are most interested in what you want to show us which may be photography, art, textiles, graphic design, or fashion. Each image you submit may contain multiple images of your work, if you wish.

Our decision

The University will review your application and inform you of our decision as soon as possible through the Applicant Portal. Please regularly check the Portal and email account for any updates from us.

Offers are usually conditional based on your GCSE results, please see our entry requirements for more information.

If you have any questions about the course or application process, please contact our Admissions team at

Whilst we hope to get a decision to you within four weeks of receiving your application, please note that the current pandemic may affect our ability to meet that timeline.

Click here to view and download our handy guide to preparing your application.

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