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Pre-degree courses:

Our Colleges provide a wide range of full-time pre-degree courses. Explore various art, design, screen, communication, fashion, media and performing arts disciplines. These courses aim to help you discover your strengths and build a portfolio of work.

  • Picture of hand using pen to write on collage sketchbook
    Sketchbook by Cynthia Porta Fernandez, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Camberwell College of Arts © Alys Tomlinson
  • Shi Rhi Yang, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Central Saint Martins © Alys Tomlinson
  • Danielle Tartaro, International Preparation for Fashion, London College of Fashion © Alys Tomlinson

If you apply to an undergraduate degree course at UAL, it’s common for us to ask you to submit a comprehensive portfolio and to show considerable knowledge of your subject. We recognise that many applicants may not have this experience. Particularly those who have recently completed A-Levels or an equal level of study.

Our pre-degree courses help you build upon existing knowledge and define a particular area of interest. You will develop the skills, experience and body of work needed to apply for an undergraduate course.

Our Colleges offer several types of pre-degree courses, including courses designed only for international students.

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

UAL’s Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD) courses were the first in the UK to be awarded the new ‘Outstanding’ grade by Ofsted in 2017. It is a common route into practice-based undergraduate study at UAL and is open to applications from UK, EU and international students. The year-long courses allow you to explore various art and design disciplines, experiment with a range of materials, methods and approaches and build a portfolio.

Successful completion of one of our FAD courses will guarantee you a place on one of our undergraduate courses. The undergraduate course offer will be linked to the specialist pathway you choose to take during the FAD. There are also some additional requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to receive an undergraduate course offer. Full details can be found on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design page of our website.

Pre-degree courses for international students

UAL offers a range of pre-degree courses designed specifically for international students, each of which provides English language support and academic writing guidance throughout. Click on the links below to find out more about each of our courses.

Preparatory courses for international students

Several of UAL’s Colleges also offer a selection of short courses designed to help international students develop the skills, experience and knowledge required for entry to more advanced courses.

  • Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts offer six-week Preparation Courses to international students applying to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, undergraduate degree course or postgraduate degree course at UAL.
  • Central Saint Martins offers a nine-week Orientation to Art and Design course to help international students gain the skills, experience and knowledge required for entry to a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course. This course runs throughout the academic year. Please check the website for a list of start dates.

Student spotlight:


"For the first time in my life, my course has allowed me to be completely sure of what I want to study and do as a future career."

Marianne grew up in Lima, Peru, before coming to the UK to study at UAL. From a young age, she knew she wanted to study within the arts. She considered literature, art direction, photography and many other areas, but when she discovered the UAL Foundation Diploma in Art and Design she realised she didn’t have to narrow her options. The course has given her the chance to explore different areas before deciding on the path she wants to pursue for her undergraduate degree.

“My experience on the Foundation course has taught me that you don’t have to be the absolute best in everything you do, but you should always give everything a chance. I try to approach this as a challenge and accept that my work will always be a learning experience if I do it to the best of my own abilities!

After finishing the first part of the Foundation programme I decided to specialise in the Film pathway. I was given the opportunity to write my own scripts for short films and animations – something I’d wanted to try for a long time. I’ve never been the greatest illustrator, but one of my tasks has been to draw storyboards to accompany my scripts. This has helped me realise how much I can learn by stepping out of my comfort zone.

We’re normally given primers and briefs before starting our work and then have the freedom to start developing our projects. One of the best parts of studying at UAL is the wonderful facilities and materials, which we can use to develop all of our projects.

For the first time in my life, my course has allowed me to be completely sure of what I want to study and do as a future career. I’ve even had the opportunity to act in short films, which has helped me understand the environment on both sides of the camera.

My advice to new students would be to take risks and always be open to exploring new things – this will help you to create great work and truly find your voice!”

Marianne Majluf
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Camberwell College of Arts

Images © Alys Tomlinson