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Art and Design - A Level at City of Oxford College

Course description

Explore art and design skills and techniques, develop your own creativity and research the work of artists past and present in A-level Art and Design. Working to given themes in set projects, you develop your skills in observational and experimental tasks in drawing, painting and making creative artwork in two and three dimensions.

You produce a significant body of work that reflects your individual creativity, skills, interests and approach. If you wish to pursue further study in art and design, you will be given support while you compile a personal portfolio of creative art work that may be taken to interview for an art foundation diploma course, or for direct entry to higher education.

Course content

Explore a wide range of photographic skills including non-lens based media and techniques, developing and printing black and white film as well as studio techniques and location photography. 

Learn the importance of formal elements of design in composition, and the role of photography in visual communication, in both historical and contemporary context. Produce work with both SLR and digital cameras.

Entry requirements

Along with the standard college A-level entry requirements, a GCSE pass at C grade or above in art (or an art-related subject) and English is usually required. You will be required to attend an interview and should be able to show examples of some previous art and design work to demonstrate your interest and potential. You will be given a summer project designed to be used at the start of the academic programme. Tutors will advise that you will require a range of basic art equipment and materials. Further advice about equipment and materials will be provided during the course.


We follow the Edexcel A-level Art and Design specification. You may choose to study for one year to AS-level (50% of the full A-level) or for two years to A2-level (100% of the full A-level). 

Year 1 (AS-level):

Unit 1: Coursework (60% of AS-level; 30% of full A-level) Skills building in experimental approaches to drawing, painting and mixed media tasks followed by an internally-set art project.

Unit 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of AS-level; 20% of full A-level) Externally-set project with theme provided by Edexcel. Timed final outcome under exam conditions. 

Second year (A2)

Unit 3: Coursework – Personal Study (60% of AS-level; 30% of full A level) You select a topic/theme to investigate. Extensive research, together with a written essay of between 1000 and 3000 words is required, plus a significant body of practical art work as a creative response to the theme. 

Unit 4: Externally Set Assignment (40% of AS level; 20% of full A level) Externally-set project with theme provided by Edexcel. Timed final outcome under exam conditions.

In timetabled sessions activities include practical work, research, presentations and critiques. Work may be undertaken independently and in small groups. Homework is usually set once a week, and may include research and preparation for classes as well as starting and continuing practical work. 

Classes take place over four days a week between 9am and 5pm. We expect our students to be fully committed to their studies and attend all timetabled sessions. In addition, you have the opportunity to attend trips and visits according to the needs of your individual subject. There are many enrichment opportunities, which will enable you to extend your learning beyond the bounds of your chosen subjects.

Coursework units are assessed internally by subject tutors, and sampled for moderation by EdExcel. Projects and assignments for coursework are set by subject tutors. Externally set assignments are overseen by EdExcel and students are required to produce their finished work within a specified time limit. The work is then internally assessed by subject tutors and sampled for moderation by the EdExcel external examiner.

Future opportunities

On successful completion of this course along with other A-levels, you may progress directly into higher education or to an Art Foundation Diploma. See also the Foundation Degree in Creative Arts: Design and Practice at Banbury and Bicester College, and Reading College.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact City of Oxford College directly.

Last updated date: 28 January 2016
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      • From Ring Road: use EITHER Banbury Road or Woodstock Road to city centre. At traffic lights, end of St. Giles (Map 1), turn right into Beaumont Street and follow signs to the rail station. At the second set of traffic lights, i.e. at the bottom of Park End Street, turn left into Oxpens Road (ice rink). The College is ¼ mile on the left.
      • From South (Newbury) A34: Turn off A34 to Southern bypass and make for Cowley. At next roundabout, turn left to city centre (park and ride on left). Follow Abingdon Road to end, form left towards ice rink and parks. The College is opposite the ice rink.
      • From A423 (Henley/Reading): Join ring road at (Sainsburys) and turn left to next roundabout and right to city centre and ice rink.
      • From East (London): M40/A40 At end of A40 turn left at roundabout signed Cowley. Continue on the ring road, (4 roundabouts) to Abingdon Road, city centre and ice rink.
      • From the train station: the campus is 10 minutes walk from the station.