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Foundation Year in Visual Arts

Designed to help you transition to your BA degree, this specialist course will build your confidence and give you the opportunity to explore different visual arts pathways
See How to apply tab
September 2024
1 year full-time
+ 3 years full-time
£9,250 (UK) *
£16,600 (INT) *
Course leader
Beverley Speight

This specially designed course enables you to make an informed choice about which visual arts subject you wish to study at degree level, giving successful students the opportunity for guaranteed progression onto a named BA programme at Middlesex University

Why choose Foundation Year in Visual Arts at Middlesex?

Passionate about art and design but not sure which path to follow? This specially designed flexible course, taught by industry-based academics, will help you choose a visual arts pathway, paving the way to a BA degree at Middlesex. You will have the opportunity to experience different career directions from Animation, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. After successfully completing the course, you are guaranteed entry on to one of our visual art BA courses.

What you will gain

With the support of teachers who are experts in their fields, by the end of this course you will have had the chance to explore and develop your visual arts skills, create an extensive portfolio, before exhibiting your work at the end of year show.

After successfully completing the course, you'll be ready to progress on to a full-time bachelor's degree such as BA Animation, BA Fine Art, BA Graphic Design, BA Illustration or BA Photography.

3 great reasons to pick this course

  • Expert guidance
    Join our specialist observational and life-drawing team for weekly creative sessions designed to develop your traditional, experimental and technical approaches to drawing
  • Portfolio enhancement
    Build an exciting, creative and varied portfolio of work developing your own independent thinking and aesthetic style showcased at the final exhibition
  • World-class facilities
    Access to our world-class facilities including photography studios, 3D, print and ceramics workshops all supported by expert technical staff guiding you through your projects.

What you will learn

The Foundation Year in Visual Arts is a creative and inspiring multidisciplinary course designed to encourage you to explore different aspects of art and design.

It will build your confidence and help you identify your strengths and develops skills and techniques. The course explores different creative pathways and clarifies industry specialisms to help you choose a career path in the creative industries.

In the first part of the course, you'll experiment and explore techniques and develop skills within 3D Design, tackle specialist projects, then specialise and work towards your final portfolio of creative work and exhibition. Alongside this, you'll have the opportunity to explore London as an inspirational creative centre of design and visual arts through galleries and museums visits, and reflect on your experiences.

By joining us on this course, you'll have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from an experienced and supportive team of tutors and technicians who also work in the creative industries
  • Receive support from a specialist observational and life-drawing team offering traditional, experimental and technical approaches to drawing
  • Get guidance from a contextual studies team with diverse knowledge covering different art, design and cultural areas
  • Build an exciting and varied portfolio of design works
  • Exhibit your work at the end of the year
  • Receive regular one-to-one feedback all projects and written assessments on modules.

How to apply

If you are interested in studying the Foundation Year in Visual Arts you must apply to one of our four-year degree courses. Please have a look at the How to apply tab for further information. Successful completion of the foundation year guarantees entry onto your chosen visual arts degree.

We offer the following courses:

Course Title UCAS Code
BA 3D for Games and Film with Foundation Year W616
BA Animation with Foundation Year WF16
BA Fine Art with Foundation Year WF10
BA Graphic Design with Foundation Year WF25
BA Illustration with Foundation Year WF2Y
BA Photography with Foundation Year WF64

Keep informed

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Our communications are designed to support you in deciding your future and keep you up to date about student finance, employment opportunities and student activities available at Middlesex University.

The foundation year is an intensive experience which will enhance your creative skills and introduce you to the broad and diverse world of visual arts and creative industries.

Your learning will focus on learning specialist techniques, developing a creative portfolio, and developing your knowledge and skills in research and writing.

We'll encourage you to trial your own processes and make your own decisions, to enable you to practice your craft and develop your own independent thinking and aesthetic style. You'll also interpret briefs with individual research study, allowing you to develop your creative identity for your portfolio.

At the end of your foundation year, you will have developed a strong portfolio and exhibition that will showcase your work and reflect your future professional direction.


  • Studio modules

    • Stage 1: Exploration and Diagnostics (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to encourage you to explore and experiment with new techniques and media through practical workshop inductions. You will develop and expand your research skills and realise it’s importance and how it informs and enriches your visual arts practice by making full use of the resource facilities available to you at Middlesex. You will acquire a breadth of practical and research skills and abilities in the development of ideas.

    • Stage 2: Creative Specialism (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module will develop experimentation and encourage exploration to widen and inspire your creative practice and conceptual thinking. You will gain valuable knowledge from master class sessions and gain an insight into the creative industries, to clarify and develop a greater understanding of the different visual art specialisms and begin to identify future career opportunities and directions after study. This module aims to build your subject knowledge through experimentation and increasing awareness to a level to be able to make a visual art subject choice.

    • Stage 3: Major Project Portfolio and Exhibition (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to offer you the opportunity to develop a major project and to build a substantial portfolio of work in a specific design subject area. You will gain confidence in independent working. The module will include formative assessment as a key part of the learning process in the critical evaluation of your own work and that of your peers. You will develop self-reflection, research and study skills and promote self-learning to build confidence that enables you to communicate and professionally present your ideas. You will also learn how to present artwork in the best ways by making, selecting and displaying work successfully for exhibition.

  • Contextual modules

    • Creative London (30 credits) - Compulsory

      An introduction to a broad and exciting selection of London’s finest art galleries and museums covering all the specialist areas. The contextual studies team will share their expert knowledge. These experiences will provide basic knowledge of contexts and issues that will inform and inspire your developing practice. There is a focus on developing confidence in using academic English language skills in the specific context of the creative industries. You will be asked to produce a reflective visual diary including 1500 words. This module runs parallel with the above modules finishing in Week 19.

To find out more about the is course, please download the Foundation Year in Visual Arts specification (PDF)

  1. Teaching and independent learning
  2. Coursework and assessment

The facilities, studios and workshops at our £80 million purpose-built Art and Design School on campus in North London are recognised as among the best in country. With a wide range of specialist workshops, digital media, equipment, software and library facilities on-site you'll benefit from unique levels of access to both the latest forms of technology and traditional tools with expert support to help you develop your work.

Student support

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health, and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability and Dyslexia team.


Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

We'll help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above.

Financial support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide to student life on a budget.

Our careers and employability service, MDXworks will launch you into the world of work from the beginning of your course, with placements, projects and networking opportunities through our 1000+ links with industry and big-name employers in London and globally.

Our dedicated lifetime career support, like our business start-up support programme and funding for entrepreneurs, has been recognized with the following awards:

  • The top 20 UK universities for business leaders and entrepreneurs – Business Money, 2023
  • A top 10 university for producing CEOs – Novuana, 2023.

Global network

You’ll study with students from 122 countries who’ll hopefully become part of your global network. And after you graduate, we'll still support you through our alumni network to help you progress in your chosen career.

  1. UK entry
  2. International entry
  3. Interview and portfolio
  4. How to apply

The fees below are for the 2024/25 academic year:

UK students1

Full-time: £9,250

Part-time: £77 per taught credit

International students2

Full-time students: £16,600

Part-time students: £138 per taught credit

Additional costs

The following study tools are included in your fees:

  • Free access to resources, learning materials and software you need to succeed on your course
  • Free laptop loans for up to 24 hours
  • Free specialist software for your course
  • Free printing for academic paperwork
  • Free online training with LinkedIn Learning.

Scholarships and bursaries

To help make uni affordable, we do everything we can to support you including our:

  • MDX Excellence Scholarship offers grants of up to £2,000 per year for UK students
  • Regional or International Merit Awards which reward International students with up to £2,000 towards course fees
  • Our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

Find out more about undergraduate funding and all of our scholarships and bursaries.

Fees disclaimers

1. UK fees: The university reserves the right to increase undergraduate tuition fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions. The tuition fees for part-time UK study are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

2. International fees. Tuition fees are subject to annual review and we reserve the right to increase the fees each academic year by no more than the level of inflation.

Any annual increase in tuition fees as provided for above will be notified to students at the earliest opportunity in advance of the academic year to which any applicable inflationary rise may apply.

  • Lucy Mills

    Visual Arts Foundation Year BA

    I’m definitely glad I’ve done it - it was the right choice for me. I loved trying new equipment, learning printing techniques and using all the resources
    here. They were what drew me here in the first place. I liked going on all the trips and seeing new things and it was good to have more than one teacher, with different specialisms and opinions. It helps you improve, view things differently and analyse art in new ways.

    Lucy completed the foundation year and is now studying BA Graphic Design at Middlesex.

  • Evaldas Banevicius

    Visual Arts Foundation Year BA

    I didn’t like writing, but doing the creative diary has opened my mind and helped me think outside of the box. Forcing myself to plan ahead has helped
    me understand how to approach things. I’m really happy I’ve done this course as I started a new education in the UK, working in a foreign language. I’ve learned how to do different things, especially how you can fuse fine art and graphic art. The foundation course is a good start, a place to build your portfolio, experiment and explore.

    Evaldas completed the foundation year and is now studying BA Graphic Design at Middlesex.

  • Flavia Cabral

    Visual Arts Foundation Year BA

    I loved meeting new friends from different parts of the world. I also loved having the opportunity to experiment in different workshops, especially ones I’d never been to before, like the metal workshop. Going into the unknown has given me confidence in myself. I’m so glad I chose this course on all levels. It was my first time in London, the UK even and so I was really nervous about communication and language. It really prepares you for the first year though and now I’m all ready to study animation. I’ve seen and worked in the animation space I’ll be in next year and even tried ‘stop motion’.

    Flavia completed the foundation year and is now studying BA Animation at Middlesex.

  • Anya Shire-Plumb

    Visual Arts Foundation Year BA

    I wish I had more time. My biggest regret about going back to America is leaving all these amazing facilities behind. I’d advise future students to make
    the most of it, even if you think you’ve only got another three years. I’m a completely different person since doing this course and after being in London. In terms of development, I’ve developed hugely in working independently and thinking creatively. Before, when I tried to do something, I’d be stuck for inspiration and give up, reaching a standstill. In this artistic environment though, I’ve learned how self-exploration using techniques such as mind-mapping helps me explore more and open my mind to new ideas independently. I look at the world differently now. I have a new way of seeing. It’s cool working with students from other disciplines, seeing things from a new perspective, but also then helping other students to see things from my perspective.

    Anya completed the foundation year and is continuing her studies in Florence, Italy.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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