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Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media (pre-university course) at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

This is a one year course especially for students aged 18 and over who have completed A Levels and are aiming to study Art & Design-related courses at university or take the skills into employment. The qualification is highly respected by universities and employers alike and many institutions stipulate it as a requirement for Art-based degrees.

The Foundation Diploma helps you nurture your creative and artistic techniques in a supportive yet independent environment in Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s purpose built School of Art & Design. Guided by our expert teachers, the type of work that you undertake and the style in which you complete it help you develop the knowledge, confidence and self-sufficiency that are essential for the transition to your next step in the creative industries.

Course content

The three components of the course:

  • Drawing, painting, textiles, fashion, graphics, 3D Design and sculpture – you’ll have an introduction to all of these areas but specialise in what interests you. This first part of the course enables students to examine the extent of their own skills and aptitudes, and explore different problem solving methods.
  • Students negotiate a personal programme of study, specialising in their chosen discipline, with a view to developing an impressive, subject-specific portfolio of work and making a successful application for university.
  • You’ll produce a final project and your course grade will be determined by the quality of this final work. You’ll be able to draw inspiration from a range of contextual studies and local and national galleries.

Some students choose to present their final work in special exhibitions at the College, while others have exhibited their projects in prestigious galleries in Liverpool and beyond.

Written communication is a crucial component of this course. Students are expected to produce annotated sketchbooks and critical studies essays. You’ll also be responsible for your own learning, so you need to be ready to meet deadlines and organise your schedule and your work.

Entry requirements

The course is open to all post-A Level students across the region, irrespective of whether you’ve previously studied at the College.

Prospective students need:

  • To be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • A minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or a 4/3 or above (which need to include English Language and Art)
  • A minimum of two A Levels or BTECs (Art qualifications are preferable but not essential)

You’ll need to present a portfolio of art/design work at your interview and you should be ready to discuss your initial ideas with respect to a career in Art & Design.


There are three formal assessment points during the course, in addition to frequent individual and group tutorials. The course is comprised of units of learning, which includes taught time, independent study and access to resources and assessment. There are specified learning outcomes and assessment criteria that will be shared with you as the course progresses. You will also have a personal tutor who will provide a comprehensive programme of guidance to ensure your success in applying for Higher Education.

Financial information

For students who are 18 on 1st September, the course is FREE. External applicants who are 19 or over on 1st September will be charged the full course fees of £4000. All students will be expected to pay for or provide the course materials and equipment for this course.

Future opportunities

A highly successful pre-university course

Further information

Check our website for the most up-to-date course details.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 20 November 2017
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