International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media

International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media

12, 9 or 6 months

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This programme is ideal if you need to boost your English language and study skills to join your chosen undergraduate degree in an Art, Design, or Media subject.

The first semester will focus on key skills across all areas of Art, Design, and Media, and in the second semester you will then specialise in your target area of Fashion, Fine Art, Textiles, Animation, or Design.

Upon successful completion, you will be guaranteed a place on one of our undergraduate degrees in an Art, Design, or Media subject area at Northumbria University.

Key facts

  • Progress on to an undergraduate degree in Art, Design, or Multimedia at Northumbria University
  • Develop an understanding of theory and concepts by demonstrating through practical work
  • Gain an 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 the academic culture within the UK and focus on developing the core academic and English language skills you will need to progress onto your chosen undergraduate degree with Northumbria University.

The modules on this programme will help you to meet the requirements of your target course, where you will develop your reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills alongside learning study techniques, how to read academic texts, and report writing.

The Pathway specific modules include specific skills and content related to Art, Design, and Media and will enable you to explore theory, concepts, and practical skills including digital design, drawing, and creating work using different materials. You will learn how to create different pieces of work to demonstrate your skills and produce a portfolio of your work demonstrating this development.

Study plan

IELTS Oct-Dec Jan-Mar Mar-Jun July-Aug Sept
4.5 International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media
(12 month)
Start your undergraduate degree at Northumbria University

5.0 International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media
(9 month)
Summer break
5.0   International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media
(9 month)
5.5     International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media
(6 month)

How will I be taught and assessed?

Contact hours

  • 16 – 18 hours per week in seminars, lectures, workshops, labs and tutorials

Self-study hours

  • 20 – 22 hours per week – a total of 40 hours per week overall study time with lectures and seminars

Guidance tutor

  • Your first point of contact for anything outside the classroom that affects your learning
  • Meet at the start of each term
  • You can arrange to meet them at any point and they may contact you if necessary


You will be assessed continually through each module and will submit a portfolio for assessment at the end of the second semester.

This strategy allows you to gradually assimilate to the learning and teaching style, helping you to develop your skills over two semesters and receive feedback from your tutor. In addition, you will also complete formative assessments to check your progression and provide supportive feedback prior to the summative assessments.

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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 40% in your International Foundation Programme.

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 progression course
Architecture BA (Hons)
Fashion BA (Hons)
Fashion Communication BA (Hons)
Fashion Design and Marketing BA (Hons)
Film BA (Hons)
Fine Art BA (Hons)
Furniture and Product Design BA (Hons)
Graphic Design BA (Hons)
Interior Architecture BA (Hons)
Interior Design BA (Hons)
Product Design BA (Hons)

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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Academic requirements

  • GCSE/iGCSE – 5 passes at A-C

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.

English language requirements

There are multiple entry levels to the International Foundation Programme depending on your IELTS level:

  • 4.5 with no single sub score below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 12-month programme
  • 5.0 with no single sub score below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 9-month programme
  • 5.5 with no single sub score below 5.5, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre will study the 6-month programme

Please note that if your qualifications are not in English, we might need certified translations in order to proceed with your application.

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.

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All modules are core and worth 20 credits unless specified.

12 and 9 month IFP students only

This module provides you with the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the skills needed to study in a UK university. You will learn about UK Higher Education culture, and acquaint yourself with the many university support mechanisms to develop your skills and thrive at university.

This will be learnt through a number of ways including onsite communicative and task-based learning. This will engage you in the active use of the English language and encourage you to study at university more proactively and independently.

In addition, you will also be introduced to your subject specialisms and the International Foundation Programme as a whole. At the end of the module, your language capabilities will be assessed to determine the English module you will study on the International Foundation Programme.

Students on the 12-month International Foundation Programme will study 2-terms of this module.

All students will study the following modules:

The aim of this module is to equip you with some of the skills that are necessary for preparing you for studying at university and starting your journey into employment. The module comprises several skill areas. This module also creates a friendly, interactive, and inclusive learning environment.

Personal skills will support the identification of your skills and abilities through targeted activities whilst looking at ways to maximise your presence within both a university context and the wider workplace. Project management skills include working with others, delegation, participation, and reflecting on approaches taken.

Managing projects that produce a final outcome/artefact is an everyday part of working and academic life. Learning the skills of how to organise your time, find resources, and use your personal strengths is essential for your future career. This module is designed to support you to carry out a project in your subject-specific area and will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to complete your project successfully.

You will gain an understanding of the essential steps in the project life cycle and have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on your (and your fellow students’) progress throughout the project work, to the project completion stage.

This module will also introduce you to academic research skills and develop your ability to critically appraise and organise material. This module takes a holistic and reflective approach to your learning, with you developing a portfolio of your improved project planning, research and evaluation skills, and production of an artefact.

In this module, you will develop your proficiency in English grammar and vocabulary, and improve your ability to apply these skills in the context of your undergraduate degree. You will practice a range of functions in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English, and develop your communicative abilities in these four skills.

The module examines the meaning, form and uses of a range of structures such as tenses, clauses and linking devices, as well as lexis such as collocations, word families and synonyms. The development of these core skills will widen your vocabulary and improve your grammatical knowledge, in order to make you more fluent and accurate in your use of English.

The Academic Practice module has a series of practical sessions that link with your other pathway modules to prepare you for your undergraduate degree. These sessions feature a broad range of essential study skills such as research, working with sources, use of digital tools, writing and presentation skills, and reflection and action planning.

Developing and improving study skills is a gradual process. It is also an individual process. If you are new to higher education or have not studied for some time, you may feel worried about tackling your first assignment; taking an exam; or juggling study with other commitments. Here, this module is designed to help you to acquire the academic literacy and language skills you need to succeed at university.

Introduction to Theory and Practices in Art, Design and Media offers you the opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of media, process and techniques. Working in a variety of environments and approaches, this module aims to challenge your existing skills and knowledge whilst developing your critical and contextual understanding of what Art, Design and Media is and can be.

Class field trips to exhibitions to the North East will form a vital aspect of your development and provide a contemporary viewpoint of what is currently happening in the world of Art, Design and Media.

This module provides a platform from which you will investigate and push your own creative boundaries. Presenting work for critical evaluation to peers and tutors offers you the opportunity to reflect on progress and develop how you communicate visual ideas to an audience.

The construction and delivery of a uniquely personal portfolio of creative work is a fundamental aspect of your career as an innovative and original practitioner. This module will support you on that journey, focussing on identifying, exploring and documenting themes and issues relevant to your selected area of specialism. This offers you the opportunity to develop and showcase your strengths and abilities in your chosen subject.

Portfolio Development also emphasises the importance of being able to develop and sustain a piece of work over a set length of time, working to set project briefs that allows you to see the realisation of work, from the research stage through to the final outcome.

The continued and ever-changing digital landscape requires you to be open, flexible, and adaptable to meet the needs of a rich digital environment. This module is designed to prepare you with the fundamentals of a range of industry-standard software to practically navigate your way in this ever-expanding digital world.

Embracing new technology and concepts to communicate your message enables you to reach potential clients, businesses, and organisations regardless of where they may be located. The digital skills developed in this module offer the opportunity for you to increase your capacity for creative, innovative, and original thought.

This hands-on module aims to broaden your digital literacy and uncover your digital potential, ensuring you are ready, not only for further study but for the wider digital economy.

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The course information displayed on this page is correct for the academic year 2023/24. We aim to run the course as advertised however, changes may be necessary due to updates to the curriculum (due to academic or industry developments), student demand or UK compliance reasons.

Tuition fee 2024/25

  • IELTS 4.5 will study the 12-month programme: £20,750
  • IELTS 5.0 will study the 9-month programme: £16,750
  • IELTS 5.5 will study the 6-month programme: £11,250

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.

Some students may need to purchase some equipment for their modules such as appropriate clothing for wet work and materials for Art, Design and Media modules. It is wise to allow for a budget of up to £300 a year to cover these costs

You do not need to purchase learning materials, as these will be available to you via the Virtual Learning Environment or from the library.

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, 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 online to study the International Foundation Programme – Art, Design and Media. Applying online allows you to upload all of your supporting documents and you will automatically receive your student application number.

October 2024
12 month Apply for October
9 month Apply for October
6 month Not Available

Information for disabled applicants

At Northumbria, we welcome applications from disabled students and are committed to ensuring an equal and accessible application journey. Your application will be considered on an equal basis to all other applications. Please contact us if you require any assistance. This website is continually optimised to adhere to accessibility best practice guidelines; tools to assist users with specific accessibility requirements have also been provided. More information is available in our accessibility statement.

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.

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
International Fee:
£20,750 (12 months) £16,750 (9 months) £11,250 (6 months)
Leads to:
Undergraduate degrees in Art, Design and Media
Entry requirements:
5 GCSE/iGCSE passes at grade A-C, or equivalent
IELTS requirements:
From IELTS 4.5 with no single element below 4.0, or equivalent, from a UKVI Approved centre
12, 9 or 6 months
Class hours per week:
16 - 18
Average class size:
Assessment methods:
Portfolio tasks, coursework, group presentations, self and peer reflections, learning journals and examinations.
Scholarship or bursaries:
Payment plan:
Not available
January, March, October

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