Diploma Foundation Studies in Art, Design and Media

  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: September 2022
Are you passionate about art and design? Do you want to develop and define your practice?
With this course you can extend your knowledge and skills to develop your practice towards a future as an artist or for a career with 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 experiment and 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. You’ll learn how to turn your passion into a future career. Discover how to inspire others with your ideas and creations and help mould the future of art. Get hands-on with a range of mediums and discover where your skills and interests lie.

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An aerial shot of the Red Shed building with students working on their projects

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.

We are immensely proud of our resources. 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 metal work to 3D printing, dye labs, 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?

You will have a dedicated studio spaces to work in, where you will set up a ‘home away from home’, a critical and developmental space for you to make your work and grow your practice. You will also have access to Art & Design resources.

You’ll be able to benefit from our Fashion and Textile workshops, which homes our textiles and fashion, screen printing and letterpress equipment. As well as this you’ll also have access to 3D design workshops where you can experiment with mixed media, ceramics, metalwork and woodwork.

You'll also be supported to develop your photographic as well as moving image techniques in our industry-standard Photography studios and wet darkroom, and edit any video work with the latest Adobe Creative software either in our dedicated Mac/digital media suites in the Gateway building, or access software remotely through our BucksAnywhere platform. You will also have the opportunity to test your creative practice using new technologies.

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

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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.

To help 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, a BNU grad can be found at every turn.

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 provides a guide 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

What are the tuition fees


Home, Academic Year 2022 - 2023

£5,600 per year


Overseas/International, Academic Year 2022 - 2023

£14,250 per year

The University is unable to accept any new applications from students who require sponsorship for a student visa to start in September 2022. This is due to the overwhelming popularity of our courses and visa processing timeframes.  Applications are still being taken from students who are already in the UK and hold the right to study.

From September 2022, those students living in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and EU nationals with settled status in the UK, will be considered Home students.

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.

You’ll leave the course equipped to apply for jobs that demand well-developed creative skills across the arts and creative industries, or become self-employed/freelance and undertake work across a range of specialisms including:

  • Visual artist
  • Interdisciplinary arts practitioner
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Digital artist
  • Animator
  • Printmaker
  • Designer
  • Artworker
  • Image researcher
  • Visual Consultant
  • Technician
  • Curation
  • Exhibition designer

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


Course leader

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Nathan Ward
  • Senior Lecturer
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Nick Wiltshire
  • Technician Demonstrator
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Dr Elisavet Kalpaxi
  • Senior Lecturer
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