This course is accredited

L3 Foundation in Art and Design

This course is full. Applicants for 2020-21 can apply from January.

Develop your own practice or prepare a portfolio for BA or MA. BTEC Level 3 Certificate.
This course can be paid in instalments and is eligible for a student loan.

To see a sample of student work from this year click here

Information Leaflet
Download Application Form
Advanced Learner Loan Information Leaflet

Who is this course for

This accredited course (BTEC Level 3 National 540 Diploma) is aimed at those who are considering Further or Higher Education studies in art and design, those who are considering a career in the visual arts or those wishing to advance their art and design practice in a structured environment with professional guidance. You should have some experience of art and design already, and entry to the course is dependent on a short informal interview in which you will be expected to present a portfolio of work.

What does this course cover

In the each term there will be 12 weeks of dedicated weekly Foundation class (Thursdays 5.30pm - 9.30pm) with the lead tutor, in which you will cover the key aspects of the course, and begin exploring 2D visual skills to explore and identify your interests.

In addition, you will be required to choose five classes from those offered and available in the Art and Design section of our prospectus (it is important that students gain experience in a broad range of specialist areas, including contextural studies, so you will be given guidance by your tutor before making your choices).
There will also be a requirement for students to attend for the weekend of the final show - to gain experience of curating and hanging exhibitions (as well as organising refreshments for the private view and dismantling the show.

Students will be supported throughout the course by individual tutorials with the Foundation tutor, twice per term and additional support from the tutors leading the extra courses.

What students should be able to do by the end of the course.

I. Enter Further or Higher Education courses in Art & Design subjects, where applicable
II. Complete their own visual research
III. Develop their own visual language and creative practice
IV. Express an understanding of their position within the context of contemporary art and design
V. Reflect on their own progress and creative practice
VI. Create, manage and complete and individually chosen project

What will it be like

This is an accredited course and good attendance is a requirement.Your progress will be monitored by the tutor according to the Assessment Criteria of the qualification. Each unit has its own assessment criteria, which will be covered by projects set for all Foundation students. These projects will be completed in a combination of Foundation class time, in your options classes and during independent study time.

A variety of teaching and learning methods are used, including practical workshops, seminars, individual and group tutorials. Please also refer to individual course descriptions of the classes you have chosen - this will describe the learning and teaching methods used in different fields.

Assessment is carried out by the course leader at the end of each term, and you will be required to submit your work for assessment at various points throughout the course. At the beginning of term 2 you will receive an additional project brief which gives an opportunity to research a relevant topic and culminates in a timed element (where you will produce an art work in class time). At the end of the third term, Foundation students are supported to mount an exhibition of their final projects, which takes place in the centre in July. This is a required part of the course, and will form part of the final assessment.

To ensure that assessment is fair a selection of the completed and graded portfolios will be inspected by the college internal moderator and the standards verifier assigned by BTEC.

What else do you need to buy or do

This will depend on the specific courses chosen by individual students - please refer to the course descriptions of the additional courses you choose as options.

You should expect to buy at least one A1 portfolio/folder and a selection of A5, A4 or A3 sketchbooks. You will also need a set of basic art materials - acrylic paints, brushes, colour pencils, pens, soft pastels etc which will vary according to your personal interests and development over the course.

This is a part time course, but it demands a significant time commitment outside of dedicated class time. Learners should expect to do a minimum of 6 hours of independent study per week, to include working on personal projects, sketchbook work, visual and academic research, visiting museums and galleries and teamwork in collaboration with other Foundation students.

What this course could lead to

The course will involve an exploration of options for further progression, with students guided individually according to their interests and skills as to their future possibilities. Students will be fully supported through the university application system where relevant. Students completing this course can expect to take the next step in their art & design career, with the following options being the most likely progression routes:
1. Progress to BA, MA or HND in art or design subjects
2. Self employment as an arts or design practitioner
3. Continue professional development with other specialised courses, for example Advanced Creative Practice at the MWC
4. Apply for arts related employment

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;


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This course is accredited

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Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference.   We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’