Fine Art

Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design

College Award
Applications open
School: Arts
Location: Online
Duration: One year, part-time

This flexible foundation programme in art and design is taught online through a mix of self-directed study, live study days and a student community hub.

Designed to fit around your day-to-day commitments, the programme will help you to establish momentum and resilience in your creativity. Supported by an online community of students and tutors you will improve competence and confidence in the core skills in art and design.

You can expect to:

  • Develop practical and creative skills in a broad range of mediums and subjects, including drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.
  • Find direction in your creative practice and future goals.
  • Complete a portfolio of work suitable to make applications to higher level study, or to show to galleries and other artist opportunities.

Course structure

Programme content includes self-paced online workshops, slide presentations and PDFs with clear guidance given on the tasks and dates. Each self-paced course subject is then followed by a day of live teaching on Zoom with an expert tutor and fellow students. You will also be able to share discussion and work with other students throughout the course in the student community hub, Padlet. Tutors will refer to this work during live study days to inform feedback and discussion.

Modules are released throughout the year, after each release date students have three weeks to complete the self-study tasks before the two live study days, one for each course topic. These are an extension of what you have been learning, students are encouraged to attend as many study days as possible, it is not a requirement to attend all live study days to complete the programme. The teaching takes place during the day on Zoom, it is not recorded.

Skills development

Learn skills in a broad range of subjects and mediums through seven skills development modules, each will take an estimated four days to complete, we recommend you allow additional time to apply what you learn in your sketchbooks:

Module 1 – Sketchbooks & Learning Journals / Introduction to drawing
Module 2 – Portrait drawing  /  Expressive figure drawing
Module 3 – Painting watercolour / Painting oils
Module 4 – Mark-making / Mixed-media landscape painting
Module 5 – Relief printmaking /  Hybrid Printmaking
Module 6 – Colour / Abstraction
Module 7 – Introduction to sculpture  /  Sculpture from the land using found materials
Module 8 – Personal project

Contextual and critical studies

You will develop reflective practice skills by making use of a learning journal, reviewing artwork that is interesting and relevant to you, from a broad range of sources. This will expand your knowledge and understanding of art frameworks that underpin development of your own work. Students can also join the Foundation Art Discussion Forum, each month artworks and themes are introduced to initiate discussion with students from across the foundation art programmes.

Module 8 - Personal project
Working to a set brief, you will develop visual and contextual research skills to identify a personal response to a subject. This module provides a structured approach to achieve this through drawing, mapping, use primary and secondary sources, experimentation, reflective practice, and review to make final artwork. You will be given guidance on how to present the work and complete a written summary statement. This one module includes two group tutorials and one individual tutorial*.


In addition to the tutorials in Module 8, each student will receive two individual tutorials. The first tutorial after Module 2 and second tutorial after Module 5. Tutorials last 30 minutes and provide opportunity for you to discuss you work, progress and aims with a course tutor. You are required to prepare your coursework, sketchbooks, and key points from your learning journal in advance for discussion.

Tutorial dates cannot be changed, times will be confirmed at the start of the programme.

Course dates



September 2024 - OFCAD11

Module 1


6 September

Live study days

28-29 September

Module 2


11 October

Live study days

2-3 November

Module 3


29 November

Live study days

4-5 January

Module 4


17 January

Live study days

8-9 February

Module 5


21 February

Live study days

15-16 March

Module 6


11 April

Live study days

10-11 May

Module 7


23 May

Live study days

14-15 June

Module 8*


27 June

Group tutorials

11 July
18 July

Individual tutorial

25 July


15 November
28 March

Assessment deadline

5pm, 5 September 2025

Live Study Days

Three weeks after the self-study module you are invited to attend two live study days, one for each course topic. These are an extension of what you have been learning, students are encouraged to attend as many study days as possible, it is not a requirement to attend all live study days to complete the programme. The teaching takes place during the day on Zoom, it is not recorded.

*The structure of Module 8 is different and includes tutorials not study days. Appointment times for the individual tutorials will be confirmed at the start of the course.


All work is submitted and assessed online. You will submit an online portfolio that includes coursework, personal work, developmental sketchbook work, and a summary statement of 500 words.

To pass the foundation course you will be required to demonstrate:

  • An increased level of skill and competence in core skills evidenced in the portfolio work
  • Enquiring and experimental processes towards developing your ideas as evidenced in the sketchbook research and development
  • An ability to focus your skills and ideas as evidenced in the final personal project.


At the end of the programme you will have:

  • A portfolio of both sketchbook development studies and final artwork, that could be used for entry into higher education.
  • Experimented with core skills in a range of mediums and subjects.
  • Found resilience and momentum to establish your creativity in your day-to-day life.
  • Begun to develop a focus for your arts practice.

While not nationally validated, the learning outcomes are aligned to Level 3 study, and provide you with the necessary preparation and portfolio to make a strong application for study at Level 4, or degree level in Art and Design.

Online exhibition

A selection of work completed by students on each intake of the Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design is available to view in a new online exhibition. The exhibition celebrates each individual student's work and their experience on the programme.

Image: 'Restraint' by Sarah Evans, OFCAD 1.


Visit the exhibition
School of Art Credit Thom Atkinson.jpg

School of Arts

Explore and expand your work in a uniquely immersive environment with its own connections to art history. Our School of Arts students enjoy specialist studio spaces dedicated to painting and drawing, sculpture and tapestry and textile-based work as well as exceptional exhibition space.

School of Arts


OFCAD 11 - September 2024

Fees are £1,802 paid in advance or three instalments of £655 each paid after Module 2 and Module 5. If you would like to pay the advanced price of £1,802, please call the Bookings Office on( 01243) 818 300. 

Payment is required on booking either in full, or the first instalment and submitting the application form, the second instalment will be due after Module 2 and third instalment will be due after Module 5. See dates.

Fees include all tuition and tutorials, materials are not included.

We may routinely increase our course fees from year to year for one-year courses and may review and change such course fees without notice.

Entry requirements

  • A commitment to learning practical and creative skills
  • Space and time to complete coursework and attend live study days
  • A webcam and reliable Wi-Fi (see FAQs)

How to apply

Spaces on this course are limited. To book a place, you will need to:

1- Complete the application form and send it to [email protected] 
2- Pay the first fee installment, via our online booking system below.

If you wish to take advantage of our reduced advanced price, please contact the Bookings team on (01243) 818 300 to make your payment.

Any questions?
Email [email protected]; call us on: (01243) 818 300 and select option 1, or read more about our Admissions processes.


What format does the course take?
The course is completely online and is a mix of self-paced videos and live sessions. You will also have access to a student hub to share discussion and images.

How do I access the course?
Once you have submitted an application form and made the first fee payment you will receive a link and password to access the course by email before the course start date. The first module will be available from 9am on the first day. The first live session with a tutor will be four weeks later.

Read more FAQs

What technologies are used to deliver the course?
The self-paced videos and student hub are accessed through CANVAS, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This is a system for delivering learning materials via the Internet. It offers you flexible access to all the course content, which is available to you for the duration of the course. The live sessions and tutorials are delivered over Zoom. The study hub is Padlet.

What computer set up do I need?
The self-paced courses can be watched on all computers and devices – Mac, PC, Mobile and Tablet – with an Internet connection and a modern internet browser (see "What Web Browser do you recommend" below). You will need an email account and an up-to-date web browser.

For the live sessions on Zoom you will need a computer or laptop – Mac/PC – with Internet connection, a webcam, microphone and speakers (usually in-built). You need high speed Wi-Fi with full bars signal that doesn’t drop out and a modern internet browser (see "What Web Browser do you recommend" below). Technical support is available if you experience difficulties accessing the course.

What web browser do you recommend?
PC users – Chrome 58+, Firefox 54+, Edge 14+, Unfortunately, Internet Explorer 11 (or older) are not supported on CANVAS.
Mac users – Safari and Firefox are recommended.

We do not recommend using any Internet service provider's proprietary browser, as certain functions may be restricted. We regularly upgrade CANVAS to add features and improve the quality of your experience. Please be sure to keep your browser updated. If you need to upgrade your browser, go to your browser manufacturer's website and download the most recent version.

Phones and tablets – CANVAS is a responsive platform, allowing for access on most smartphones and tablets. To join the live sessions on Zoom download the Zoom mobile app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android).

What do I do if I experience technical issues?
Support setting up Zoom, including helpful videos can be accessed on their website here and support centre here. We recommend setting up and testing Zoom a few days in advance to ensure you do not have problems on the day.

If you have checked the technical requirements above and are using a suitable browser but the problem persists, email [email protected] with the details of your problem (including a screenshot if useful) for advice.

I’ve lost my login details, what do I do?
If you have deleted your login information please contact [email protected]

Can I use a College gift voucher towards the course?
Yes, simply enter the gift voucher code at the online checkout.


Tiffany Robinson - tutor at West Dean College

Tiffany Robinson

Programme Coordinator - Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Tiffany Robinson studied interactive media for her MA (2005) making art films and immersive sci-art installations on perception and nanoscale. She is currently a tutor, mentor (The Art of Enquiry) and walking artist making intuitive drawings using natural and digital media. Her work deals with a post-modern estrangement from nature towards a being more than human through alignment with nature.

Melanie Rose

Subject Tutor - BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft
Subject Tutor - Online Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Short Course Tutor

Dr Melanie Rose explores landscape and place through painting. Working with traditional materials, sympathetic to the environment, her current focus is the landscape set within the bounds of the South Downs National Park, which forms the heart of her PhD research.