International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media - 3 Semesters

International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media - 3 Semesters

3 semesters (9 months)

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This programme is ideal if your qualifications and English language skills fall below the entry requirements for your chosen undergraduate programme in an Art, Design or Media subject. The course lasts for 3 semesters and offers you the opportunity to develop your English language and study skills, combined with the study of subject-specific modules.

There is an initial semester of English (the English Foundation Course) which will prepare students for the two semesters of International Foundation Programme that follow.  The first semester of the IFP then focuses on the key skills across all areas of Art, Design and Media whilst the second semester is when you specialise in your target area e.g. fashion, fine art, textiles, animation or design. In addition to the specialism modules, the programme provides a solid foundation in the core knowledge and skills that the University recognises and will help you to succeed in your future studies.

The programme is multidisciplinary and upon successful completion you will be guaranteed a place on one of our undergraduate degrees in an Art, Design or Media subject area.

Key facts

  • Progress on to an undergraduate degree in Art, Design or Multimedia
  • Ideal for students who do not meet the entry requirements for their undergraduate degree of choice
  • Upon successfully completing this course, we will offer you guaranteed progression on to an undergraduate degree at Northumbria University
  • Complete a portfolio on a subject of your choice. Guided by your experience on the course, this is your chance to show your skills and abilities and take a big step toward your chosen undergraduate degree
  • Develop your awareness of academic culture in the UK as you integrate into student life within a UK university
  • Other pathways are available for progression on to undergraduate degrees in Business; Engineering; and Computing, English Language, Law, Media Production, Psychology and Sport subjects
About this course

What will I study?

This course will introduce you to life studying in the UK and will develop the core academic and English language skills you will need to progress on to an undergraduate degree with Northumbria University.

Four of the modules you will study on this course will be focused on preparing you for undergraduate study in the UK. You will focus on study techniques, reading academic texts, report writing and improving your communication skills, all of which will help you in your undergraduate studies.  In addition, weekly topics of global studies are used across two modules to develop a broad understanding of core issues and how they can affect ADM.

You will also undertake 2 modules that are unique to the International Foundation Programme in Art, Design and Media. These will give you a platform from which to go on and study one of our many degrees in these disciplines. The first of these modules will introduce you to art, design and media and focuses on the core skills that are fundamental to all key areas of Art and Design.

In the second semester you will be preparing a portfolio of work, specialising in your target area, be it fashion, fine art, textiles, animation or design, drawing on all the experiences you have gained on the course until that point.

The programme specifically develops your awareness of academic culture in the UK as well as intercultural issues to enable you to integrate well into student life within a UK university. You will be encouraged to participate fully in lectures, seminars and project work as you develop your independence. The intercultural skills that you learn will also be an important employment tool that will be useful for you in the future.

Teaching and assessment

The programme is designed to provide a solid foundation to studying in a British university and you will benefit from staff who are used to supporting international students through this important transition.

Teaching and learning is carried out through seminars, lectures, tutorials and workshops, totalling 15-18 hours per week, plus an additional 1-2 hours for academic tutorials. In addition, you will be expected to spend 15-20 hours a week on independent study through self-directed learning. Teaching and self-directed learning also makes use of the University’s electronic learning portal (Blackboard) where you will have access to a range of learning materials and you will be encouraged to use the technology in preparation for your future studies.

During your studies you will be invited to events within the University and the opportunity to see work by a range of other students at different stages of their studies. You will also be able to visit some of the region’s key galleries to learn from real exhibitions.

Assessments take place through a mix of group presentations, oral examinations, written assignments, portfolios and exams.

Reflection is a large part of your development and you will produce a learning journal to track your progress as you encounter many new ideas, techniques and practices.

You will be taught by module tutors to support your academic needs. In addition to this, you will be allocated a guidance tutor at the start of the programme. Your guidance tutor is your first point of contact for anything outside of the classroom that affects your learning. You will meet your guidance tutor at the start of each semester for a formal meeting. In-between this you can arrange to meet them at any point and they may also contact you if they need to meet you. All conversations with the guidance tutor are confidential and they will always be the first point of contact should you need them.

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Upon successful completion and subject to specific entry requirements, you can go on to study a range of Art, Design and Media undergraduate degrees at Northumbria University.

To progress and be eligible for entry on to our undergraduate degree programmes you must achieve at least 50%* and grades BBBB in English in your foundation programme. Use the table below to compare pass rates with UCAS tariff points. For example, if you achieve a 50% pass mark then you can go on to study programmes that require 112-120 UCAS tariff points.

% achieved on IFP Equivalent UCAS tariff point for undergraduate study
50-59% 112 and 120
60-69% 128 and 136
70%+ 144 and above

Please note that our undergraduate degrees are currently being reviewed, however, we have previously offered the opportunity for students to progress on to the following courses:

Your target course International Foundation Programme pass mark required
3D Design BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Animation BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Architecture BA (Hons) 65% + Portfolio and 60% in English
Design for Industry BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Fashion BA (Hons) 60% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Fashion Communication BA (Hons) 60% and grades BBBB in English
Fashion Design and Marketing BA (Hons) 60% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Film and Television Production BA (Hons) 50% and grades BBBB in English
Fine Art BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Graphic Design BA (Hons) 60% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Interactive Media Design BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English
Interior Architecture BA (Hons) 65% + Portfolio and 60% English
Interior Design BA (Hons) 50% + Portfolio and grades BBBB in English

Alternative progression options

If you would like to progress on to a degree in Business; Engineering; or Computing, English Language, Law, Media Production, Psychology and Sport subjects, please see our alternative pathway programmes:

Upon successfully passing your programme you will receive a Foundation Diploma in International English for Academic Communication which some other universities may also accept as an entry qualification.

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Applicants should have the following:

Academic requirements

  • GCSE/iGCSE – 5 passes at A-C
  • Portfolio

We welcome applications from students who have obtained good grades in their upper secondary education.

We also now accept the following:

  • China – Successful completion of Senior Middle School 2 with a minimum average of 70% or higher, or successful completion of Senior Middle School 3 with a minimum average of 60% or higher
  • India – Standard 11 with 55%, Standard 12 with 50%.
  • Malaysia – SPM Malaysia School Certificate, Forecast results accepted – UEC pass grades also accepted.
  • Senegal – Baccalaureate/Baccalaureat Technique 10/20

Depending on your chosen degree course, specific subject requirements may apply. Our team will be able to help confirm the details for you.

For other country specific entry requirements, please check our Entry Requirements. Alternatively, please contact our team who will be able to help you.

Portfolio requirements

Applications for the International Foundation programme in Art, Design and Media should include a 15 page PDF portfolio of Art/Design work (with a maximum file size of 10MB).

This should comprise of evidence of a range of drawing styles that include:

  • Line drawing
  • Observational drawing
  • Imaginary drawing
  • Technical drawing
  • Perspective drawing

Other work should include evidence of:

  • Model-making/3D work
  • Some computer work
  • Colour exploration
  • A collation of Visual Imagery
  • Multimedia/Texture exploration
  • Cultural inspiration

You can also find hints and tips about what to include in your portfolio here.

Following completion of your International Foundation Programme, entry on to your chosen undergraduate degree will be subject to meeting the Academic and English language requirements and a submission of an enhanced satisfactory portfolio.

English language requirements

Students require IELTS 4.5 with no single element below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre

If you do not meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be eligible to join our English for University Studies before starting this programme.

Age requirements

You must be over 16 years old

If you are under 18 at the start of the International Foundation Programme, you will need to include with your application a signed consent form by your parent or legal guardian. You can find a copy of this on our How to Apply page.

All modules are core.

This module will develop the student’s reading skills to enable to them to understand a range of academic texts and how to both read and interpret them. The module will equip students with the ability to read texts covered in Reading and Critical Analysis and to develop critical responses – a core skill for undergraduate study. It will also enable students to develop their range of vocabulary and understand aspects of word formation.

This module will provide the opportunity to develop listening skills utilising the university digital labs. Students will be able to analyse spoken texts and practise a range of listening skills. The module will also include speaking and communication skills with some focus on pronunciation and fluency. This will prepare students for presentations and seminar discussions that are used across many university modules.

This module will help students to develop an understanding of the requirements of academic writing. It will directly prepare students for the Essay and Report writing module. Students will learn through practical exercises how to form sentence structures and paragraphing for a piece of writing to address a task. The focus will be on accuracy and developing an understanding of academic writing.

This module will cover a range of communication skills including the development of more effective oral communication to a wide range of situations. The aim is to increase confidence in using English to enable students to engage more with the academic and wider community.

This module has a lecture and seminar component and helps to prepare students for this type of module approach used by the university in their target degree programmes. Each week the topic will alternate between grammar and global studies. The global studies topics will also be explored over two weeks of the Reading and Critical analysis module. A key focus is to understand key points of a lecture, ask relevant questions and then analyse further in the weekly seminars.

This module provides weekly reading texts covering Global Studies that provide students with exposure to and the experience of the types of academic texts they will be expected to read during their course.

A key focus of the module will be to develop critical and analytical skills to enable students to select appropriate ideas to support argument and to paraphrase these ideas effectively in speaking and writing.

This module aims to develop reflective, intellectual, analytical and oral skills. Its focus will be to raise students’ awareness of themselves as carriers of culture, to investigate concepts of otherness and to reflect on how they and others are represented within society.
The module will develop oral skills, as students will be involved in discussions, debates, presentations and role-play, with the aim of developing communicative competency and confidence.

This module introduces students to academic writing and focuses in particular on allowing the students to acquire skills in essay and report writing, basic research, and academic conventions. The main focus is on planning, outlining and constructing coherent discursive and persuasive essays and research reports.

This module provides the platform to cover a range of core skills in art, design and media. Students begin the programme with a diverse range of levels & experiences and this module aims to ensure students have a clear understanding of the basic skills required to progress forward onto their undergraduate studies.

This is achieved through building on existing knowledge and introducing new techniques & practices to students. The module is organised and delivered in weekly topics/themes over the whole semester, with a focus on experimentation.

In this module, students begin to focus on their chosen specialist area with the aim of producing a portfolio for interview. Work is set through project design briefs – these range in duration and allow students to develop work over an extended period. Project work ensures students understand how an idea becomes a finished piece of work – an essential skill for undergraduate studies.

Teaching sessions also include group discussions about work to allow students to develop how they present their work.

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Tuition fee 2019/20

International students: £18,250

Please note that your tuition fees do not include the cost of course books that you may choose to purchase, stationery, printing and photocopying, accommodation, living expenses, travel or any other extracurricular activities. As a Northumbria University Pathway student, you will have full access to our online digital library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

The modules you will study do not require you to purchase additional textbooks although you should be prepared to buy some materials for the art, design and media modules.

Scholarships and bursaries for international students

Depending on the country you are from, you may be eligible for a country bursary and/or scholarship when studying this programme.

All of our scholarships and bursaries are automatically applied when we process your application and one of our team will be able to confirm your eligibility.

Scholarships and bursaries

Payment plans

If you need support to spread the cost of your tuition, you may be eligible for our payment plan.

Payment plans

How to find out more

Enquire now to find out more information about the International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media, studying with us, the application process, and to have any other questions you have.

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How to apply

When you are ready, you can apply for the International Foundation Programme. When you are applying you will need to choose the undergraduate degree course that you intend to progress on to after your International Foundation Programme and you must state this on the application form.

If you are accepted you will receive one offer letter for the International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media followed by the appropriate degree programme. Once you have successfully completed the International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media and achieved the required grades, you can gain direct admission onto your chosen degree at Northumbria.

We strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to allow you to complete all of the preparations needed to study your programme. After receiving your offer it can take time to arrange your finances and apply for your visa (if required) and it is important that you arrive in good time to enrol on to your course. Please refer to the Dates and Fees page.

If you are unable to apply online, then you can download a PDF application form and email it to

Download an application form

Supporting documents

For us to assess your application in a timely manner, it is important that you provide us with the following documents:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Personal email address must be included on the application form
  • Transcripts and/or certificates (including a certified translation if not in English)
  • Passport – copy of personal details page
  • Proof of financial sponsorship if applicable
  • Reference
  • Confirmation of immigration history including copies of previous and current visas if applicable

You can check more information on how to apply here, including guidelines for the application forms.

Course information

Level of study:
Foundation - NQF Level 3
£18,250 (International)
Leads to:
Portfolio-based programmes: art, design, interactive multimedia (computer-based) programmes such an animation and graphic design
Entry requirements:
5 GCSE/IGCSE passes at A-C, or equivalent
IELTS requirements:
IELTS 4.5 with no single element below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre (this varies depending on chosen route of study)
3 semesters (9 months)
Class hours per week:
15 - 18 hours
Average class size:
10-12 (16-18 for English)
Assessment methods:
A mix of group presentations, oral examinations, written assignments, portfolios and exams
Scholarship or bursaries:
Payment plan:
Next application deadline:
26 August 2019
testimonial image
testimonial image

“I chose to study the International Foundation Programme to enable me to progress on to an undergraduate degree in Law. The International Foundation Programme helps me escape my comfort zone, allowing me to develop my social skills, specifically my ability to interact with people on a daily basis.”

Abdulaziz J Y M Alyaqoub
International Foundation Programme



Download our International Student Guide to help you prepare for life at Northumbria University and studying in Newcastle.



We run start dates throughout the year depending on your chosen course. Check our application deadlines, tuition fees and payment plans we offer here.

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