Originally developed at the University in the 1950s, the Foundation Diploma is a well-respected and nationally recognised qualification. This intensive one-year course challenges your preconceptions and stretches your art and design practices through problem-solving, idea generation, and critical thinking.

This course will push you outside your usual comfort zone and ask you to take creative risks. You will learn through playful experimentation and develop lateral-thinking strategies to approach problems from new perspectives. The course gradually moves from wide-ranging staff-led projects to a position of independence, culminating in a significant individual project in the final stage.

The ability to draw is one of an artist and designer’s most valuable tools— that is why drawing, in its many forms, underpins all course elements. Within this intensively creative environment, you’ll be helped to become more inventive and experimental. You will develop your understanding of the work of contemporary artists and designers, and the work developed by your peers.

You will be based at the University’s Vernon Street site and taught by experienced staff, including practising artists and designers, who have experience across a breadth of art and design disciplines. They will support you through the UCAS application process and help you find the most appropriate degree course. Our students’ diverse experience and innovative portfolios lead to a range of prestigious, highly competitive degree courses, including those at Leeds Arts University.

@laufoundationfineart Fine Art Pathway

@laufoundationft Fashion & Textiles Pathway

@laugraphiccomms Graphic Communication Pathway

How to Apply

Please apply direct to the University for our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design using the links below.

Home applicants

Click here to apply

International applicants

Click here to apply

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at admissions@leeds-art.ac.uk.

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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

Stage One – Based at the University’s Vernon Street site, the course begins with a range of short projects. These develop your understanding of art and design ‘languages’ through a wide range of media. You will also develop your technical knowledge across a range of processes.

Stage Two – Your work begins to follow a specialist path: Graphic Communication (which may include graphic design, comic and concept art, illustration, animation, creative advertising, photography, and filmmaking), Fine Art (which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and performance), Fashion & Textiles (which may include fashion or costume design, fashion branding, or textile design) or 3D Design (which may include product design, interior design, theatre design, design crafts, and architecture). You are encouraged to use a range of media and engage in one-to-one tutorials and group critiques.

Stage Three – You will undertake a ten-week project that you propose and time manage. The project forms the bulk of work you will exhibit at the End of Year Show. A programme of lectures, seminars, research, and reading will introduce you to the broad scope of art and design. You will develop an understanding of contemporary practice within your specialist pathway and compile a critical journal, preparing you for effective degree-course interviews.

Specialist Resources

You’ll be based at the University’s Vernon Street site, with access to excellent facilities according to curriculum needs.

Entry Requirements

We will consider all applicants with the minimum entry requirements who apply by 25 January 2023. We look at your GCSE results and projected A level grades. You will be required to submit a maximum of six examples of work which show your interest and ability in art, design and/or technology.

For full entry requirements please visit www.leeds-art.ac.uk/FEentry

Please be advised that these include achievement of English and Maths GCSEs at grade 4/grade C or above.

Finance & Accommodation

Funding for the Foundation Diploma course

The Foundation Diploma course at Leeds Arts University is classed as further education and because of this students are not eligible to apply for the maintenance loan through Student Finance England. Those aged 19 and over, are eligible to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan to help pay for their tuition. For further information, see our Tuition Fees page here.

Accommodation for Foundation Diploma students

There is accommodation available for those attending the Foundation Diploma course at Leeds Arts University. If you are successful in your application and have accepted your offer, we will then send the accommodation information to you via email, which will contain an online form for completion. Upon the form's return the accommodation provider will be notified and at this point they will send out information regarding deposit payment and a contract for completion.

Where Next?

Our students go on to study creative courses at degree level and then on to careers across a wide range of disciplines. The nature of the course means that many make lifelong friends who become important members of their creative network. The course has a ‘family’ ethos and former students come back and visit to share their knowledge and experience with current students.

Past Students

Prominent former students have included Danny Sangra, Sam Arthur, Georgina Starr, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Marcus Harvey, Georgia Shaw, Jill Shaddock, Phil Proctor, Laura Carlin, Alex Farrar, Nicholas Wheatley, Lucy Clout and Si Scott. 

Key Information

Application Information

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 a maximum of six examples of 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 piece of work you submit may contain multiple images of your work, if you wish.

Our decision

In order to guarantee that your application will be considered, it must reach the Admissions department by 25 January 2023. Applications received after 25 January 2023 will be considered according to availability.

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.

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.

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


Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

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"We don’t know what the art and design of tomorrow will look like, but we know that it won’t look like the art and design of today.”
Andy Grayston, Course Leader
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design