Diploma Foundation Studies in Art, Design and Media

  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: September 2022
Looking to extend your knowledge and skills to develop your practice towards a future as an artist or a career in the arts and creative industries? Discover the freedom to define your artistic methods and research methodologies as you find the best way to express your creative vision. 
We encourage you to use a broad range of techniques, becoming more analytical and inquisitive in art, design and media. 


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Open Days

We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.

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Application guide

For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.   

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Students’ Union

At BNU, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why we’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities through our SU – all to enrich your university experience.

Why study this subject?

If you live and breathe art, this course may be for you. Turn your passion into a future career, inspire others with your ideas and creations and help mould the future art as a practice. Get hands-on with a range of mediums and discover where your skills lie.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

With a history of delivering expert craft, art and design education for more than 130 years, Buckinghamshire New University is the perfect place to start your creative career.

Led by our dedicated and supportive course team, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of art as a multidisciplinary subject. During your time with us you’ll get direct access to guest lectures and can benefit from live project briefs, master classes, and plenty of networking opportunities.

As well as this, you’ll have access to a range of our state-of-the-art facilities where we have our specialist workshops and equipment, from wood and mental work to 3D printing and screen printing, there are many ways for you to express your creativity.

With London only a short journey away, you can take the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best exhibitions, galleries and museums for inspiration.

What facilities can I use?

Not only will you be able to benefit from our Red Shed which homes some of our textiles and fashion, screen printing and letterpress equipment, but you’ll also have access to our remarkable, fully-equipped photographic studio. You yourself will have your own personal working space in our Foundation Studies in Art, Design and Media studio space. Here you can create whatever your heart and mind desires.

As well as these specialist facilities, we also have a range of mac suites with the latest Adobe Creative software for you to use.

In our workshops, you’ll receive one-to-one teaching, working closely with lecturers, specialist technicians and alongside fellow students.

What will I study?

During the year, you will work on practical studio-based projects, which will be developed with critiques, lectures, workshop activities, and a gallery visit. You will be able to identify your particular creative strengths and produce increasingly personal, informed and sophisticated outcomes within your chosen discipline.

The course is divided into three main sections: the Exploratory, Pathway and Confirmatory Stages.

The Exploratory stage considers the inquisitive, open-minded and experimental use of media and materials, and explores different approaches to researching and gathering information. During this stage you are ‘inducted’ into many of the workshops available at the University.

The Pathway stage explores a series of more focused projects across five options – Fine Art, Lens Based & Digital Media, Visual Communications, 3D Design, and Fashion &Textiles. During this stage you can begin to build a specialised, well-presented and thoughtful portfolio of work.

During the Confirmatory Stage you would work within one of the specialist option areas, working on a long project. The final project will highlight your creative abilities, harnessing your interests and give you experience of working on a large project.

How will I be taught and assessed?

We make sure our students get good contact time with our staff, creating a more intimate and friendly work environment. We have a wide range of well-equipped workshops where you can use a variety of 3D fabrication processes using wood, metals, plastics, as well as a diverse range of printmaking techniques to support studio activity. You’ll also be able to study in our computer suites, photography studios and library.

Foundation Course staff are also practicing artists and designers. They know all about contemporary creative practice and are always keen to provide the best and most current advice to students. As our undergraduate staff work alongside our foundation staff, we give you the chance to join in with guest lectures, giving you an insight into university learning.

So you make the most of your studies, we give you one-to-one teaching. We organise the course into close-knit groups so you always work alongside the same people, making friendships that continue long after you graduate. At BNU, even after you leave you’re still part of our community. Our graduates form a network throughout the creative industry in London and beyond.

Useful Information

Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art Design and Media Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

One A-level and three GCSEs at Grade A-C or equivalent. A portfolio of work and interview will also be necessary.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio is a collection of work that represents your creative potential and demonstrates your ability and interest in your chosen subject. The requirement to produce a portfolio of work is the linking factor between all art and design courses. The quality of your portfolio is an important factor in the offer of a place on a course.

Useful advice

When preparing your portfolio, think of your audience, your strengths, and what you are trying to express to the interviewer. Bear in mind that when you come in for an interview and a portfolio review, the interviewer will be new to you and your work so ensure that everything is clear and easy to view. Show your work off in the best possible way and avoid any means that complicates or obscures it.

What should be included?

Your portfolio should include the strongest examples of your creative work; follow your instincts but also seek advice from your teachers. Portfolios can vary from student to student but typically a portfolio should contain work from a variety of media. Quality is better than quantity so only include 20 or 30 pieces that you consider best shows off your diversity. If you have created 3D pieces of work, photographs of these can also be included. Try also drawing the same subject matter in a variety of ways, such as by changing scale, composition and media.

How should your portfolio be presented?

Try to make your portfolio as clear and as organised as possible. If the work does not explain itself, include a label which details the title of the piece. It could also be useful to include a date when the work was completed. It is advisable to present the work in related groups, rather than in chronological order, as this will show how your idea developed. Supporting material and sketchbooks, you should bring along your sketchpads and notebooks. These will allow the interviewer to get a glimpse into how you think creatively and discover how you have developed your ideas. We don't expect these to be neat, tidy or organised. We also don't expect these to contain finished ideas. It is advantageous to support your portfolio with any written work, such as relevant essays. We also like to see documentation of journeys, visits and activities outside your main studies, which may have inspired you.

The portfolio review

It is likely that the interviewer will look at your portfolio with you so be sure that you are able to discuss each piece of work: why you chose that topic, what you were trying to achieve, and the process you went through to achieve the final product. We are happy to view a digital portfolio, but please notify us in advance.

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

Unit 01: Information and Research in Art, Design and Media

Unit 02: Recording and Responding in Art, Design and Media

Unit 03: Experimentation with Materials and Processes in Art, Design and Media

Unit 04: Personal Preparation and Progression in Art, Design and Media

Unit 05: Information and Interpretation in Art, Design and Media

Unit 06: Combined Experimental Studies in Art, Design and Media

Unit 07: Media Development in Art, Design and Media

Unit 08: Personal Confirmatory Study in Art, Design and Media

How much does it cost

Home and EU

Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022

£5,500 per year


International, Academic Year 2021-2022

£12,375 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:

0330 123 2023

What are my career prospects? 

If you choose to undertake this course, you can equip yourself with skills and knowledge to make informed choices about specialist courses and institutions appropriate to help you reach your career-ambitions.

After you complete this course you could go on to study one of our highly-regarded Art & Design courses.

Course leader

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Nathan Ward
  • Senior Lecturer
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Dr Elisavet Kalpaxi
  • Lecturer
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