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Foundation Art and Design

Course length
Start date
Tuition fees
Full-time: GBP 5,300 / year

About the course 

One of the most exciting things about the art and design of tomorrow is that we don’t know what it will look like. However, we can be fairly certain that it won’t look like the art and design of today. So, if there is a job description which is common to all artists and designers it is that they have to be able to create things that people have never seen before; new images, new objects, new environments and new situations. In order to do this, students need to be able to move beyond their preconceptions. To surprise other people students first need to be able to surprise themselves. The Foundation programme at BHSAD establishes the conditions in which this can happen.

The emphasis early in the course is on arriving at ideas rather than beginning with ideas. Arriving at intention through exploring formal and material possibilities. Various constraints are employed which serve to deliberately limit the students possibilities in order to focus their inventive potential.


The course develops the student’s understanding of the world of art and design. Students examine where their strengths and interests lie through an engagement with practical projects, problem solving and critical thinking. The course is studied in three stages. It gradually moves from being predominately staff led during Stage 1, to a situation where students are able to develop projects wholly independently by Stage 3. This emphasis on developing independence is a vitally important preparation for degree level study.

The course is taught in English. English language tuition is an important part of the programme with a particular emphasis on the use of a specialist art and design vocabulary. Students attend twice-weekly English classes.

Stage 1
Introduces students to a series of strategies and attitudes through which they begin to engage with a broad range of ideas, media and workshops. Students are asked to suspend their judgement and to challenge their preconceptions through a series of intensive challenging projects.

These projects require students to work outside their comfort zone, encouraging them to arrive at ideas through mindful play and experimentation. Students attend relevant practical workshops, developing key skills such as drawing, idea generation, research and problem solving. Structured projects allow students to experience a broad range of creative activities in order that they make an informed decision of which specialist pathway to enter.

Stage 2
In Stage 2 students study within a specialist pathway. The specialist pathways are: Fine Art; Fashion and Textiles; Communication Design and Three Dimensional and Spatial Design. An understanding of contemporary practice is emphasised so that students can make informed decisions regarding their future careers and their progression to the range of the School’s art and design BA courses.

Through a series of creative projects students develop a greater understanding of their chosen field and its related disciplines. As Stage 2 progresses the projects become increasingly focussed towards specific degree applications. Within the Communication Design Pathway this would mean students identifying as Illustration or Graphic Design specialists; within the Fashion and Textiles pathway students identify as Fashion or Textile specialists and within the Three Dimensional and Spatial Design Pathway students identify as Product Design, Jewellery or Interior Architecture Design specialists.

Stage 3
In Stage 3, every student proposes and executes an independent project culminating in a body of work for a public exhibition in a professional context. Students receive intensive critical feedback during this period, thus allowing them to refine and realise their ideas to a high standard. Stage 3 is delivered and examined at the same level as the first year as a BA (Hons) programme.

By the end of the stage and the course, students have developed a sophisticated understanding of their chosen subject, refined their research, problem solving, planning, organisation, analytical and practical skills to degree level. They are perfectly placed to successfully progress onto the BA degree programme of their choice.

Period of study

Full-time — 1 year

Tuition fees

Full-time: GBP 5,300 / year*

Students as a rule pay their tuition fees once a semester, that is, twice a year, but at their request can choose to pay on a monthly basis.

* This proposal does not constitute an offer, the prices are subject to change. Cost of services and conditions of their provision will be specified in the contract.

Required documents

- Online application form
- Copy of previous education certificates and academic qualifications.The following documents can be submitted: high school diploma, college degree diploma, higher education or BA diploma
- 2 photos 3х4 cm
- Copy of your passport
- Personal statement
Entry examinations

Students applying for Foundation Art and Design (FAD) and Year 1 of British higher education (BA (Hons) programmes) need to complete the following admission tests: 

- English exam (in the absence of an IELTS certificate)
- Portfolio review
- Interview

Foundation Art and Design does not require an IELTS certificate; there is an assumed knowledge of English at Intermediate or Pre-Intermediate level that will be tested during our examination. Alternatively these applicants may submit their IELTS document (or its equivalent) with a score of 5.0 or above.

A prospective student applying for a BA (Hons) programme does not need to sit an English exam if he has an IELTS (academic) certificate with a score of 6.0 or above. All BA (Hons) programme applicants must file with the School their original IELTS document (minimal grade 6.0) by the beginning of an academic year.

You can learn more about the IELTS test here

During the interview, the student will be asked a number of questions about their education and professional experience to inform the ultimate decision about their admission to the programme. Be ready to tell us about yourself, about your engagement with art and design and the projects you are presenting.

The student should present their portfolio which should feature samples of work from the past several years. Try to show us your best and latest works, which fully showcase your creative abilities. There are higher expectations as regards conceptual and technical abilities of students applying for Year 1, compared to Foundation applicants.

Required level of English
The minimum entry requirement for prospective students during the preliminary examination is pre-intermediate to intermediate English. As part of Foundation Art & Design course the students undergo intensive training in groups of respective levels (from Pre-Intermediate to Advanced). After the training the students take the IELTS test which is a prerequisite for moving to the Year 1 of BA degree.

The test is carried out in several stages or modules:

Listening (listening to recording played once) – 10 questions, 15 minutes. Examples: audio, task, answers;

Grammar test – 55 questions, 40 minutes, based on Murphy English grammar in use Intermediate;

Reading apprehension – 2 parts, 20 questions, 30 minutes, no electronic version, usually printed and adapted;

Essay writing – 45 minutes, 200-250 words on a topic proposed; e.g. Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in?

The total test duration is 2 hours. A 10-break is given before the essay writing.
Required portfolio
A1 portfolio

* 15 – 20 pieces of design / art work
** Sketchbooks any size (no more than 3)

*The range of design / art work in your portfolio should cover a broad spectrum of media, materials and approaches. When building your portfolio include a range of drawing, painting and photography, also other forms of art and design work you have created, such as 3D design, sculpture, collage, decorative art, design, web-design, film or animation. 

**Sketchbooks are an important part of the interview, tutors would like to understand your experience of art and design project work, how you generate and develop your ideas, your use of research and your visual language. 

Present examples of the best and most recent projects, reflective of your creative abilities. Include original artwork such as drawings and paintings as well as large format digital prints of digital design and photographs. Animation and video work should be presented on a portable hard drive, files should be compatible with Apple operating systems.

Please ensure you clearly label your A1 portfolio and sketchbooks with your full name, in Latin text. Digital files should also be organized into a separate folder on your portable hard drive, be clearly labeled with your name and the title of any specific project.

Video guide: portfolio preparation
Interview procedure
Prospective students will be asked questions regarding their educational and professional backgrounds in order to make final decision about admission onto the course. 

You should be prepared at the interview to tell us about yourself and to discuss your engagement with art and design and the projects that you are presenting.

Application deadline
Please choose a convenient round of entrance tests.

The date and time of the interview within the selected round are appointed individually, no later than a week before the start of the round.

1 round (21.05.2018 - 01.06.2018)
2 round  (11.06.2018 - 04.07.2018)
3 round  (16.07.2018 - 22.07.2018)
4 round  (13.08.2018 - 19.08.2018)

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