Duration: 10 short courses taken over 2 years, part time

Applications open

This extended course is designed to prepare students with an existing A-level or National Diploma to apply for entry onto an Art and Design related degree programme. You will create a rich and varied portfolio of work, ensure your portfolio reflects your talents and areas of interest and focus on your future career aspirations. If you have a first degree in any subject completing the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FDAD) will enable you to study on the Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts at West Dean College.

You can expect to:
• Receive guidance from highly qualified tutors who are practicing professionals
• Learn and develop skills in your chosen areas of art and design
• Attend an introductory course establishing the diploma ethos and programme of drawing and exploration, in January, May/June or September
• Complete a further nine short courses, including at least three from drawing, painting or printmaking
• Submit a final 2000 word essay
• Explore and refine your future career aspirations, completing the diploma with a plan for your next steps

Learning environment:
• High tutor: student ratio
• Bright and airy art studios with overhead natural light
• Fully-equipped workshops, including a pottery, forge, fine metals workshop, sculpture courtyard and stone carving workshop
• Immersive environment with connections to Surrealism and key figures in art history
• Residential accommodation is available while you complete each short course

View the FDAD Drawing Day Courses

"The flexible structure of the FDAD course means that I have been able to adjust the direction of my learning experiences as my areas of interest have become clearer."

Billy Cave, FDAD Student

Entry requirements

The following qualifications will be considered for entry on to the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design:

  • An A level, National Diploma or City & Guilds qualification in any visual art or craft subject
  • Regular attendance of art/craft courses over a period of time (can be historical)
  • Portfolio presentation: work produced through attending Adult Education classes, Short Courses and self-directed/taught. This could include sketchbooks, exploratory work and finished art/craft work


Once accepted onto the Diploma, students pay a one-off £400 Diploma Fee This fee covers the introductory weekend course and the two tutorial days.

The average cost of completing the FDAD over two years (excluding materials and/or model charges) is £2697 (seven weekend courses and 2 five day courses). Accommodation for a weekend, including dinner and breakfast, is available from £113.


Thanks to the support of an individual donor a FDAD bursary is available. Please apply if you are aged 18-30 and would like to complete the FDAD, but can't afford the full fee.

For application enquiries email: FDADadmin@westdean.org.uk

Sign up to the arts education e-newsletter

Be the first to know with ArtsMail our quarterly e-newsletter. Exhibitions, student work and creative arts news delivered straight to your inbox.


Alison Baxter

Alison Baxter - Programme Co-ordinator

Alison Baxter gained a BA in jewellery at Middlesex University in jewellery and an MA in textiles at UCA Farnham. She is Programme tutor for the FDAD and Head of School of Arts at West Dean College.


Freya Pocklington

Freya trained at Edinburgh College of Art and UAL and teach at GOSH, V&A and as a lecturer. My drawings have been shown in the RSA, Mall Galleries, Art Below for Frieze, James Freeman Gallery and others. My work is held in the V&A, British Museum, RSA and NOA collections.

Dale Devereux Barker

Dale Devereux Barker studied printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Art. His colourful work is exhibited internationally and he has undertaken large scale public art commissions for both public and private clients. Best known as a printmaker using lino, he has pushed the boundaries of this medium into sculpture, vitreous enamel, ceramic and the artists book.

Open Day

Foundation Degree, Diploma and Masters - Saturday 3 February 2018

Register your place online

Learn more about Open Day