This intensive one year course is long established and nationally respected: the qualification was originally developed at the University in the 1950s.

Our Foundation Diploma foregrounds problem-solving, idea generation and critical thinking; you’ll be asked to reject your preconceptions and take risks outside your comfort zone. You will learn through playful experimentation and will develop lateral thinking strategies in order 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 elements of the course. Within this intensively creative and demanding environment you’ll be challenged to become more inventive and experimental. You will develop your analytical and critical faculties in relation to the work of contemporary artists and designers, and the work developed by your peers.

You will be taught by experienced staff, including practising artists and designers, who have extensive experience across a wide 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’ breadth of experience and innovative portfolios leads them to progress onto 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

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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 — You will be set a range of short projects that will develop your understanding of art and design ‘languages’ in a wide range of media. You will also develop your technical understanding across a range of workshops.

Stage Two — Your work will begin to follow a specialist path focussing around the following areas: Graphic Communication (which may include graphic design, comic and concept art, illustration, animation, creative advertising, photography and filmmaking) Fine Art (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 will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of media and engage in a series of one-to-one tutorials and group critiques.

Stage Three — This stage is a nine week project that is proposed, time managed and undertaken by you. The project forms the bulk of the work that you will exhibit in the End of Year Show. A programme of lectures, seminars, research and reading will introduce you to the breadth of art and design. You will develop an understanding of contemporary practice within your specialist pathway and will compile a critical journal; this will prepare you for 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.

Past Students

Past students have included Danny Sangra, Sam Arthur, Georgina Starr, Damien Hirst, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore,  Marcus Harvey, Georgia Shaw, Jill Shaddock, Phil Proctor, Laura Carlin, Alex Farrar, Nicholas Wheatley, Lucy Clout and Si Scott.

Entry Requirements

We will consider all applicants with the minimum entry requirements who apply by January 15th. We look at your GCSE results and projected A level grades. During selection we will carry out a portfolio review and will gauge your understanding of contemporary art and design and culture.

For full entry requirements please visit

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

Application Process

We’re really pleased that you’re thinking about studying with us. We know that getting your place can be a nerve-racking experience and we want to provide you with as much information as possible to support you through the process.

Applicant selection is based upon the quality of your e-portfolio and the personal statement within your application. If successful, an offer will be made on the condition of meeting the entry requirements and attendance at one of our Applicant Days. Find out more about our Applicant Days in the ‘Your offer’ section below.

What happens when you apply

We think it is very important that we assess your creative potential and ‘fit’ for the course.

You will be required to write a personal statement within your application form which should demonstrate your interest and knowledge of art, design and culture. Once we receive your application form our Admissions department checks your grades or predicted grades. If you will be able to meet our entry requirements we will send an email and letter inviting you to submit three images within 14 days of notification.

Selection process

Your images and personal statement will be reviewed by our course team and all candidates will be notified of the result of their application after the week beginning 25 February.

Your offer

Successful applicants will be made a conditional offer subject to achieving the entry requirements and attendance at one of our Applicant Days.

Applicant Days are a very important part of the process and provide us with the opportunity to meet you in person and for you to meet the staff, ask questions and gain further insight into the course and life at the University. Our Applicant Days will be detailed on the offer letter and in accepting the offer you will also select the day you will be attending.

Where Next?

Our students go on to study art and design 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.

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

There is accommodation available for those attending the Foundation Diploma course at Leeds Arts University. Priority is given to those who have received and accepted an offer and who normally reside outside Yorkshire or who are international applicants.

The accommodation information will be sent in the form of an email containing 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.

Key Information

How to Apply

As part of the application you are asked to tell us a little bit about yourself in a personal statement and submit three images of your work.

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? And what are your future aspirations are? Why you’ve applied to Leeds Arts university?

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 drawing 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.

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

Apply Now (UK Applicants)

Please apply direct to the University for our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design 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) please click here for further information. 

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


Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

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"We will expect you to surprise us, and we establish a situation that will enable this to happen.”
Andy Grayston, Course Leader
Foundation Diploma in Art & Design