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International Foundation Diploma (IFD)

After successful completion of this course, students will be awarded the ual diploma in art and design foundation studies.

This is a fast-track preparatory course in Art, Design and Media, which includes an integrated programme of preparation for academic study alongside the creative aspects of the course.

The course help students to develop their creative skills, identify their specialist practice and produce a professional portfolio of work. Ready to progress to one of our degree courses within just 24 weeks.

Course information

You’ll study full-time for five days a week

Your week will include three days of studio practice, one day of skills-based workshops and one day of preparation for academic study. Preparation for academic study is an integrated module that will help you to understand critical practice, how to structure and write academic essays and present and evaluate work as well as English language tuition where appropriate.

Course Info

This course is ideal for students who are unable to commence a one-year Foundation course in September, or those who would like to expand and tailor their portfolio for HE progression whilst gaining valuable academic study skills and improving their English communication and language skills.

2021 Dates:

Tuesday 5 January – Friday 18 June 2021

Tuition Fee and Discounts

Students who need a visa to enter the UK can take advantage of the Short-Term Study visa; this visa allows you to study for up to six months and covers the length of the International Foundation Diploma. The cost of the visa is £97.00. To check if you need to apply for this visa in advance or request entry clearance as a student on arrival, please use this calculator.

Full-fee for paying in instalments – £13,250

Early payment discount 1 December 2020 (10% discount) – £11,925

Early payment and progression discount (10% + 10% discount) – £10,732

  • Overseas (Non-EU) students who successfully complete this course will obtain a 10% fee reduction each year they are enrolled in one of our BA courses.

The courses aims to develop your ability to learn independently, as this is an essential skill for further study.You’ll also work collaboratively with your peers on a number of projects. All students are encouraged to experiment, take risks and be ambitious in their thinking and production.

The course is divided into three stages. The first stage covers Diagnostic Investigation into Creative Practice to help you identify your areas of interest, strengths and weaknesses. Tutors will help you with this diagnosis as well as help support you in refining you decisions and choice of specialism for stage two, Developing Specialist Practice. The course culminates in Stage three, Consolidating Practice, your final project and an exhibition on campus.

Course highlights include:

  • Specialist technical workshops across disciplines
  • Life Drawing
  • Small group tuition
  • Preparation for Academic Study
  • An intensive and compact course spanning 24 weeks
  • A guaranteed place on an undergraduate degree at AUB under our Undergraduate Progression scheme
  • A chance to curate and exhibit in two exhibitions – Stage two: AUB tank cases. Stage three: TheGallery, AUB.
  • During the course, you’ll meet course leaders from BA (Hons) degree courses at AUB to help develop your understanding of Higher Education study and progression opportunities.

View the full specification from awarding body UAL.

Diagnostic investigation into creative practice (7 weeks)

This includes orientation and inductions – introducing students to a range of approaches, principles and processes.

You’ll attend specialist workshops, one day per week, to learn analogue and digital techniques:

  • Life Drawing
  • Experimental Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • 3D Workshops
  • Digital Photography
  • Video Production
  • Fashion/Textiles Workshops
  • Sketchbook processes
  • Understanding the Creative Process

You will also learn about the work of other artists and designers through lectures and educational trips. Each week you will be introduced to a different project and approach:

  • Drawing
  • The Creative Process
  • Art
  • Media
  • Design
  • Moving Image.

At the end of Stage One, you’ll be assessed and receive a detailed review of your work to date, to help you decide which specialism you’d like to focus on.

During stage one you’ll start developing your portfolio and will attend workshop and tutorial sessions to help with this.

At the end of Stage one, there is a reading week from Monday 24 February-Friday 28 February.

Developing specialist practice (8 weeks)

In stage two you’ll confirm your specialist area of practice, carrying out two projects. One project will be a collaborative project with your peers in conjunction with MoDiP (Museum of Design in Plastics), the only accredited museum in the UK with a focus on plastic. This stage culminates in an exhibition of your work.

You will also complete your direct application to AUB or UCAS application within this Stage and continue to develop your Portfolio.

The specialist areas are:

  • Fine Art
  • Graphics and Communication
  • Illustration
  • Fashion, Costume and Textiles
  • 3D
  • Lens Based Media

At the end of Stage 2, there is a 4-day educational trip to London during the week of 27 April 2020.

Consolidating practice/final project (6 weeks)

For Stage Three you’ll focus on a longer project within the specialist area of your choice. You’ll work in a more independent way, developing your individual interests and working on portfolio material for your progression into Higher Education. Stage Three will culminate in your final assessment which is graded, Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Subjects covered:

  • Research practices
  • Project development methods
  • Specialist workshops
  • Ideas development
  • Evaluation/Reflection strategies
  • Presentation strategies
  • Portfolio building

All students will attend 11 days of Preparation for Academic Study across Stage 1 and 2.

This integrated module will give you the opportunity to practise and build your confidence in a range of academic skills required to succeed in your studies at AUB (e.g. working with academic sources, writing effective essays and evaluations, listening and note-taking, presenting and evaluating your work), while also improving your ability to express yourself in an academic way.

All content is tailored to studying at an arts institution and will involve interactive, student-centred learning. Tutorials will also be available for students who would like more focussed academic support.

The three stages of the course contain regular assessments that test the skills and language studied during the course. Successful completion of both the Preparation for Academic Study and the Foundation part of the course will ensure progression onto your chosen BA pathway.

Completing the course

You’ll receive a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3) certificate on completion of your Foundation course.

Successfully completing the Foundation course guarantees you a place on one of our BA Honours degree courses at AUB.* You’ll agree the course that you’d like to study for with your tutor.


‘My favourite thing about the course was exploring the materials and resources that the university has. I was unsure what I wanted to study, but I was able to explore my options and could have chosen to go down the 2D or 3D or graphic design route. In the end, I’ve chosen to study BA (Hons) Modelmaking at AUB.’

Nikhil Shrestha, Nepalese

*Except BA (Hons) Acting and (BA Hons) Dance as these are audition-based.

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Staff on this course

Our lecturers and technicians are experts in their fields. You can find out more about the teaching staff on this course by exploring their profiles below.

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Rachel Williams

Course Leader - International Foundation Diploma (IFD) – Preparation for HE...

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Emma Lay

Lecturer - English for Academic Purposes – Student Services...

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Trevor Herndon

Lecturer - English for Academic Purposes – Student Services...

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Caroline Johnson

Visiting Lecturer...

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Denise Poote

Visiting Tutor...

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