Accessibility links

Art and Design BTEC (Extended Diploma) at Alton College

Course description

The BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design is an exciting and highly practical 2 year course ideal for students aiming to progress towards Higher Education and careers in art and design. For the strong student the course effectively fast tracks you to degree level study, avoiding the need for an additional Art Foundation year.

You will be taught by a range of experienced tutors, developing your skills in drawing, computer aided design and art/design theory alongside sustained project work. During the first year of the course projects will address a diverse range of Art and Design pathways such as Graphic Design, Fine Art, Fashion, Textile and Surface Design, 3D Design and Photography; in year 2 you will have the opportunity to specialise in one of these disciplines.

As the course progresses your tutors will help you compile a portfolio for application to specialist degrees in Art and Design. The course concludes with a final major project in which you will have the freedom to explore your own creative interests in depth.

Throughout the course there are opportunities to enhance your understanding by visiting London galleries. In the second year you will have the chance to visit a major cultural venue abroad, destinations in recent years have included Florence, Venice, San Francisco, New York and Beijing.

A BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design is equivalent to 3 full A Levels, and is a well established qualification respected by universities and colleges of art. Although most students choose to focus exclusively on their Art and Design, if your GCSE results are well in excess of the entry requirements you may choose to add an additional AS or A Level subject alongside the course. This can be discussed at interview.

To succeed on this course you will need a genuine interest and commitment to Art and Design along with enthusiasm and an open mind.

Course content

You will be taught in the Michael Gray Art and Music Centre by a team of enthusiastic and experienced tutors, many of whom are practising artists or designers.

Your week will consist of a mixture of project-based study (where staff offer 1:1 guidance), workshop sessions (where new techniques/approaches will be taught), and lectures/discussions where we will analyse our own work and the work of established artists and designers.

You will be encouraged to keep abreast of current developments in art and design. The department’s regular visits to art galleries and exhibitions will help you to achieve this.

You will be expected to extend your learning by completing at least 15 hours a week of independent study/homework.

Entry requirements

Students studying a BTEC Extended Diploma programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 4.5 or above and at least a Grade C in Maths and/or English. Alternatively, students who have studied a Level 2 Diploma/Certificate or a BTEC First Diploma should have achieved at least Merit grades.

In addition you will need to have achieved a grade B in a creative GCSE (e.g. Art, Textiles) or a Merit in a creative Level 2 BTEC Diploma (formerly the BTEC First Diploma).



You will study a total of 18 units during the two years of the course. All of the units are assessed by coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination.

For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.
We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).

Essential: £40 for a box of art materials (this is a comprehensive set of materials which is available through the College at a substantially discounted rate). £50 for replenishing materials.

Optional: Additional money for trips and specialist materials.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

Typically the majority of BTEC Extended Diploma Art students go on to higher education in a diverse range of areas of art and design such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, illustration, photography, fashion design, textile/surface design, ceramics, interior design, jewellery, furniture design, industrial design, animation and film/video. Over the past few years our students have successfully obtained places on some of the most prestigious art courses in the country. Alternatively you may choose to go directly into employment.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 09 August 2016

Key information