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Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Image Making - Graphics, Photography & Illustration (Advanced) - Level 3


The Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design is structured in two distinct pathways – Image Making and Commercial Design - both are designed for progressing onto higher level study courses at university, and working directly in the creative industries.   
The course is a full-time programme split into two stages: 
Year 1 - Foundation Diploma (equivalent to 1.5 A Levels on completion of one year)
Year 2 - Extended Diploma (equivalent to 3 A Levels on completion of the two years)
Following successful completion of the National Diploma in year 1 you may then progress to a second year of study on the Extended Diploma.  
The Image Making Pathway is designed to allow students to develop an extensive skill set specialising in different types of image making techniques ranging from traditional to digital methods. On the image making pathway you will combine traditional artistic techniques including printmaking, which will inform the digital image making process. This pathway includes photography, which involves working in the studio with flash lighting as well as learning how to use a DSLR camera to respond to artistic influences and client briefs.
You will also have the opportunity to build on your skills and the fundamental principles needed within the graphic design industry. Focusing on and developing skills in visual communication, problem solving, traditional and digital forms of illustration, image manipulation, printmaking, branding and typography, allowing you to create highly effective and well considered design solutions. 
  • Graphics – Logo design, branding, traditional printing methods and typography using  Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Photography – Exploring a range of traditional and digital methods including using DSLR cameras, graphics tablets, Adobe Photoshop and studio lighting.
  • Illustration – printmaking, traditional and mixed media art and design practice, visual recording.

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Entry requirements

For the diploma you will need:

  • Four GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English or maths (or an appropriate equivalent).


  • A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English at grade 4/C (or an appropriate equivalent).
  • An art portfolio.

For the extended diploma you will need:

  • Five GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English or maths (or an appropriate equivalent).


  •  A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English at grade 4/C or above.
  • An art portfolio.

You may need to supply at least one written reference from a teacher or employer (in some cases two) and/or your current school or college report.

Mature students (those aged 19 or over) who do not have the qualifications required for entry may still be eligible subject to relevant experience, your portfolio of work and career goals.

Start dates and fees

Start DateDurationCodeAnnual Fee (Age)Actions
16-18over 19
Sep 20211 yr(s)2302A1591FREEFREE* to £2882.00Apply

* If you are aged 19-23 and studying your first Level 3 course then that course may be free. Please contact us for more details. If you are aged 19 or over and either studying a second Level 3 course or qualifying Level 4, 5 or 6 course you may be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the costs.

How long is the course?

The foundation diploma is a one-year full-time course. 

After successful completion of this programme, and following advice and guidance, you may continue your study for a further year in order to achieve a full extended diploma.



How will I be assessed?

Assessment takes place through controlled assignments set by tutors and the examining board which are externally verified.

You will take part in projects and practical workshops based on realistic workplace situations. 

What does the course lead to?

The diploma and extended diploma are nationally recognised qualifications. The extended diploma at Level 3 is equivalent to three A Levels and will support an application to Higher Education as well as developing many of the wider skills required for progression to employment.

What will I study?

You will study a wide range of art disciplines including:

  • Photography
    Painting and drawing
    Visual recording 
    Fine art.

Study programmes

It is an entry requirement for some courses to have gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths (see entry requirements). If the entry requirements to a course do not require A*-C in these subjects, and you haven’t already gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths before joining us, you will continue to study English and maths as part of your programme and take appropriate qualifications in these subjects with the aim of achieving A* to C grade. In addition, to help you gain essential skills for employment, every student aged under 19 and studying a full-time course at college will take part in our study programmes alongside their main subject qualification. Find out more.

What can I go on to study?

HND, degree or higher level apprenticeship in an art or design related area, other related university-level courses or employment.

How do I apply?

Apply online


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Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2020.

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction.**Learner Exit Survey 2019/20

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