Ravensbourne University London

International Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

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This course is now open for January 2019 entry. 

The international foundation is a 6 month intensive pre-degree course that will prepare you for bachelor degree study in a range of fashion or design courses. 

A combination of practical studio projects, workshops and traditional academic learning will encourage you to experiment with a range of disciplines and explore your interests whilst studying in the heart of London.


Course details

Further Education


January 2019 - June 2019


Validating body
University of the Arts Awarding Body

Selection Criteria

Who should consider this course?

This course is suitable for:

  • School leavers who are seeking a hands-on, specialist design course that will lead directly to degree
  • A-Level, IB, BTEC or Foundation course leavers who are undecided about what to study, or want further exposure to a range of creative disciplines and portfolio support prior to applying to a degree program
  • Those who have had little or no exposure to art and design courses in school or college but are interested in pursuing a creative degree and career

What are we looking for?

The application process includes the submission of a portfolio or showreel of work or ideas. Below you can find some useful tips on what we are looking for.


A portfolio is a collection of sketches, art works, photographs or ideas put together either physically (in a sketchpad for example) or digitally (via a webpage or an online gallery). 

For entry to the foundation course we like to see:

  • Evidence you like to draw or express yourself, no matter what form these drawings take  
  • That you can experiment with different media and methods 
  • That you have ideas and can talk about the development of your ideas 
  • What your interests are (be it graphic design, fashion, games, photography etc) and particular artists/work that you admire and are inspired by


A showreel is a collection of clips or a montage of clips that demonstrates visual work like short films or motion graphics.

A showreel should:

  • Showcase your best work 
  • Show a range of your skills and interests across multiple genres
  • Labels on each item to show genre, skill and date

Your showreel can be on file or online.


Personal statement

A personal statement is a piece of writing that piece of writing that allows you to tell the university why they should offer you a place on the course.

When universities read your personal statement they are interested in you. Your exam grades are only a small part of who you are, and at Ravensbourne we are much more interested in what interests you personally, what drives you and makes you stand out from other people who are applying.

In order to be successful you will need to convey your passion and enthusiasm for your subject as well as demonstrate your suitablity for the course. 


Entry requirements


  • five GCSEs, grade C or above, including English and Maths (or international equivalent)
  • a portfolio/showreel of work or ideas 

Any additional art or design qualifications (such as A-Levels, diploma, BTEC or equivalent) are an advantage but not mandatory for entry.

English Language

International students will need to provide evidence of English language, this includes: 

  • IELTS of 4.5 or above (overall and in each band), or
  • GCSE English grade C or above (or international equivalent)

Other relevant and equivalent qualifications are considered on an individual basis.

Other requirements

  • Applicants must be aged 17 or above by the start of the course in January 2019

What your course will look like

Stage 1 - Exploratory

Your first stage features a series of introductory projects focusing on the core disciplines of:

  • Conceptual thinking and application
  • Drawing
  • Introduction to Adobe Creative Suite
  • Observation skills and media manipulation
  • Life and site-specific drawing
  • Research, recording and responding

You will then explore a range of different subject areas, including:

  • Fashion and textiles design and Fashion promotion
  • Graphics
  • Lens-based media (animation; photography; film and video; broadcasting)
  • 3D design (architecture; interior; product; interactive design)

You will also undertake a contextual studies lecture series and written assignment.

Stage 2 - Pathway

You will deepen and develop specialist knowledge within your chosen subject area. We will encourage you to look and work beyond narrow definitions, and to collaborate with staff and students from other disciplines. You will be able to fully integrate research, ideas and methods to negotiate successful practical outcomes underpinned by theoretical understanding. This will enable you to build a competitive portfolio when applying for higher education and employment.

Stage 3 - Confirmatory

During the final stage, you will undertake and complete a major project, reflecting on your chosen specialist area and your planned progression path, culminating in a public exhibition of your work.



On successful completion of this course, most students go on to apply to study degree level at Ravensbourne. If you decide to stay at Ravensbourne you will receive support and guidance to find the degree course that is right for you. See our full list of degree courses here.

Progression Fee Discount

If you progress to a Ravensbourne Degree course you will receive your foundation course fees back in full, in the form of a tuition fee discount each year of your degree course. We will be happy to give you more information on this during your interview.

How to apply

Application process

You can apply for this course on the online application portal

  • Step 1: Create a profile on the online application portal and complete the application form
  • Step 2: Upload the required documents: academic certificates and transcripts, personal statement, portfolio/showreel, academic references 
  • Step 3: Submit your application for review

If your application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview either in person (if you are in the UK) or via Skype, if you are overseas. If your interview is successful you will receive an offer to study at Ravensbourne.

For help with your application please fill out this form


Once you have your offer letter from Ravensbourne you should make plans to travel to the UK.

If you are not a UK/EEU national, in order to travel and enter the UK for your studies you will need to obtain a Short Term Study Visa.

Please see the information below to ensure that you meet the UK eligibility requirements for a short-term study visa, as well as useful links and information on how to apply. Please read this information carefully and get in touch if you have any questions.


Please note that this is an intensive course and you should not make any travel plans for between January and July without first discussing it with your course tutor. As the International Foundation course is six months in duration, students who require a visa to study in the UK can apply for  a Short Term Study Visa. Please click here for more information about this visa. You can apply for this visa if:

  • You plan on doing a short course of study in the UK
  • You are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • You meet these other eligibility criteria 

Visa restrictions

The following immigration restrictions apply to students using the Short Term Study Visa are:

  • You will not be able to work: paid or unpaid
  • You will not be able to undertake a paid or unpaid work placement
  • You must leave the UK by the date stated on your visa/passport stamp
  • You cannot extend your visa or change immigration status from within the UK (if you will be progressing on to another course and meet the requirements for Tier 4, you will need to return home and make an application for a Tier 4 (General) student visa from your home country)
  • You cannot access the National Health Service (you will need to obtain private health insurance)
  • Your family will not be able to come to the UK as your dependents

Ways to apply

How you apply for a short-term study visa depends on if you are a visa or non-visa national (please check the visa national list at the link).

If you are a non-visa national (countries such as the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong), you can either apply:

  • online for a short-term study visa before you arrive OR
  • when you arrive at the port of entry to the UK

If you are a visa national, you must apply online for a short-term study visa before you arrive in the UK.

You must also apply in advance, irrespective of your nationality, if you have a criminal record or if you have previously been refused entry into the UK.

Documents required for your application

Your application must include:

  • Your unconditional Ravensbourne offer letter
  • Qualification certificates and transcripts if your offer at Ravensbourne was based on another course (such as GCSEs, A-Levels, BTEC)
  • Your English language qualification certificate
  • A current passport with a page that is blank on both sides, or other valid travel identification
  • Information about where you will stay and your travel plans (do not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa)
  • Any links to your home country such as family contacts, employment (include a letter from your employer stating that they consent to you visiting the UK for your study period and the date you are expected back to work), and property or other assets (include property ownership deeds or other paperwork which shows proof of ownership)

Check the Home Office guide for a full list of visa application documents.

You need to provide the original documents and an official translation of any documents that are not in English.

If you’re under 18 you must also provide evidence of:

  • The arrangements that have been made for your travel and stay in the UK
  • Permission from your parent or guardian to study in the UK
  • Your UK guardian contact details

Proof of funds

Depending on your situation, you can use:

  • Original bank statements
  • An official financial sponsorship letter
  • Your parents’ bank statement and a letter from them which states that they will cover your living and/or accommodation costs for the duration of your stay
  • Confirmation that your home institution is covering some or all of your fees and living expenses (if applicable)
  • Evidence if you are staying with friends or family in the UK (as this reduces the funds you need to prove). Include written confirmation from them for what they will be responsible for (e.g. accommodation) and their relationship to you

How to apply online

If you are applying for a short-term study visa before you arrive in the UK, you must apply online on the UKVI website.

You can apply up to three months before you travel to the UK. Check visa processing times.

Check how much it costs to apply for a short-term study visa.

On the application form, fill in the following options:

  • reason for visit: Study
  • visa type: Study (non-points based system)
  • visa sub type: Study - short-term student six months

Please note that you must have all your visa application documents with you when you enter the UK.

How to apply on arrival

If you are a non-visa national, you can apply to enter the UK for free as a short-term student when you arrive at a UK port of entry.

When you arrive, you must show the following documents to the Border Force Officer:

  • your unconditional Ravensbourne offer letter
  • any qualification certificates that your offer at Ravensbourne was based on (e.g. a previous course)
  • evidence of your finances

(More information on the above is provided on the 'Documents required for your application tab).

Tell the Border Force Officer that you want to be admitted as a short-term student (and not as a standard visitor), and that the stamp you get in your passport shows you are here as a short-term student.

You cannot apply for a short-term study leave to enter on arrival if you enter via the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey (countries in the Common Travel Area). This is because there is no immigration control at the UK port of entry. If you want to come to the UK as a short-term student and enter the UK via one of these countries, then apply online for a short-term study visa before you travel.

How your finances are assessed

Entry Clearance Officers look at your regular outgoings (such as mortgage, rent payments and financial support for any dependants) when they assess you.

If applicable, give evidence of where your income comes from e.g. payslips or a letter from a third party (such as a parent) which confirms that they pay money into your bank account.

Entry Clearance Officers may:

  • make further checks if funds have not been in your account for a long time
  • want to know where your money has come from. If any large sums of money have been paid into your account recently (from a house sale for example), mention this in your application.

Travelling in Europe

Please note that this is an intensive course and you should not make any travel plans for between January and July without first discussing it with your course tutor.

However, if you do travel to another European country while you are studying in the UK, check if you need a visa to visit that country before you arrive in the UK.

  • If you are a visa national and need to apply for your short-term study visa online, you probably need to apply for a Schengen visa if you want to visit European countries in the Schengen areaIf so, you should apply for a Schengen visa in your home country.
  • If you are a non-visa national, you might not need a Schengen visa but you should check with the embassy of the country you want to visit.

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