International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media

International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media

12, 9 or 6 months

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Response to Covid-19: Our focus is on providing a safe and welcoming learning environment for our students. Our priority is on ensuring continued access to learning.

As a result of Covid-19 and social distancing requirements, we are intending to teach this course using a mix of on-campus and online learning activities. More information about our response to Covid-19 and FAQs are available here.

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. Courses starting in 2022 are offered as a mix of face to face and online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


This programme is ideal if you need to boost your English and academic qualifications to join your chosen undergraduate degree programme in an Art, Design or Media subject. The course lasts for 12, 9 or 6 months, depending on your IELTS, and offers you the opportunity to develop your English language and study skills, combined with the study of subject-specific modules.

The International Foundation Programme focuses on the key skills across all areas of Art, Design and Media whilst allowing you to 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
  • Develop an understanding of theory and concepts by demonstrating through practical work
  • Upon successfully completing this course, we will offer you guaranteed progression on to an undergraduate degree at Northumbria University
  • Benefit from gradual assessment via portfolios that allows you to assimilate to UK academic life and develop your skills over the course of the programme
  • 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. This includes a Project Module where you will specialise in a particular aspect from within your broad subject area. You will create an artefact as well as engage in the pre-planning, project management and post-project reflection. These skills will enable you to plan and manage key parts of your undergraduate studies.

The subject-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, and tutorials

Self-study hours

  • 20-22 hours – a total of a max of 40 hours on independent study – making use of the University’s electronic learning portal Blackboard

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


  • Portfolios – including coursework, presentations, reflective essays and in-class tests
  • Assessed continually through each module and submit a portfolio at the end
  • This allows you to gradually assimilate to the learning and teaching style
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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:

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 5.0, 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.

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

All students will study the following modules:

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 lexeis 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 the broad range of essential study skills such as research and working with sources, use of digital tools, writing and presentation skills, and reflection 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, processes 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 are and can be.

Class field trips to exhibitions to the North East will form a vital aspect of your development and provide a contemporary view 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 allow 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 on 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.

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. The aim of the module is to create 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 are 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.

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The course information displayed on this page is correct for the academic year 2022/23. 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 2022/23

  • IELTS 4.5 will study the 12-month programme: £20,000
  • IELTS 5.0 will study the 9-month programme: £16,000
  • IELTS 5.5 will study the 6-month programme: £10,500

Tuition fee 2023/24

  • IELTS 4.5 will study the 12-month programme: £20,500
  • IELTS 5.0 will study the 9-month programme: £16,500
  • IELTS 5.5 will study the 6-month programme: £11,000

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.

Enquire now

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.

March October January March
12 month Not available Apply for October 2023
9 month Not available Apply for October 2023 Apply for January 2024
6 month Apply for March 2023 Apply for March 2024

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.

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:
£20,000 (12 months) £16,000 (9 months) £10,500 (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:
Average class size:
Assessment methods:
Coursework - portfolios, presentations, essays and in-class tests
Scholarship or bursaries:
Payment plan:
January, March, October
testimonial image
testimonial image

“The International Foundation Programme has helped me to develop my English language skills and my ability to communicate and work in groups. I have really enjoyed meeting people from a wide range of cultures throughout the programme.”

Aziza Zahran Saleh Al Ismaili
International Foundation Programme - Art, Design and Media

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