• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 1 year
  • School: Art & Design
  • Study Abroad: No
  • Study Mode: Full Time

This one-year entry course will provide you with a broad understanding of art and design, nurture and develop your artistic skills and help you to decide which subject specialism you wish to pursue for the following three years.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee has a world renowned reputation for high-class teaching and research. Our one-year Art and Design General Foundation course helps students to develop their skills and prepare for entry into one of our specialist courses:

Digital Interaction Design BSc (Hons)Interior & Environmental Design BDes (Hons) and Product Design BSc (Hons) are four-year degree courses with their own Year 1 separate to the Art & Design General Foundation course.

The Art & Design General Foundation course will give you a broad experience and awareness of a range of disciplines. It will also improve your skill level. This will help you to decide on your choice of Honours degree specialism for the following three years. You will submit a portfolio of work after completing the one year course. We will asses this for progression onto the specialism of your choice.  

Our students come from a range of countries, age groups and backgrounds. We welcome intelligent, creative, motivated people who are interested in moving into an art and design vocation.

 General Foundation in Art & Design at Dundee

Art & Design General Foundation

The University of Dundee is the only university in Scotland to offer an Art & Design General Foundation entry course to nurture and develop your artistic skills.

Art Design General

Studio culture

The studio culture encourages sharing of ideas and understanding. It nurtures a supportive work and social environment. You will spend the majority of your time on studio based activities, learning fundamental practical and critical skills. This will create transition between work that you have carried out at school or on a previous course and potential future study in a specialist art and design subject.    

Skills development

The focus of the Art & Design General Foundation course is the development of your ability, skill and critical faculties. This process includes consideration of creativity, aesthetics, visual awareness, and analytical and critical thinking. We cultivate knowledge and a sense and understanding of the history, theory and practice of art and design. This will enable you to understand how art and design practice has developed. It will also allow you understand  how it is positioned within today’s society, culture and creative economy. This process will enable you to place yourself, your work and aspirations in context. 

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • use an array of artistic techniques
  • identify which discipline you want to pursue
  • understand the historical trends and turning points in art and design

Introduction to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design's General Foundation course at the University of Dundee.

Enrich your cultural experience

Art & Design General foundation students also have a full day study visit to exhibitions in Scottish centres such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is also a study visit to London giving you the opportunity to broaden and enrich your cultural experience. 

Learn more about Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

For further examples of student work, staff profiles, and news visit the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design website.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

All applicants must submit a comprehensive portfolio of Art & Design work. See Portfolio Guidance for further information.

If you do not have a portfolio, you will need to do a portfolio preparation course, HNC, HND or Foundation qualification to be considered. 

Applicants from outwith the UK should submit their portfolio work on a disc, preferably as a (reasonable quality) small file, in JPEG format (see Portfolio Guidance Notes, as above).

To ensure that all applicants are given the maximum amount of time to develop and prepare their portfolio, we will invite you to submit your portfolio at or around the time of the Easter Holidays. We will require you to make your portfolio available for at least two clear weeks in order to enable the Selectors to invest an appropriate amount of time in reviewing the range of work you have submitted.

Courses starting 2017
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher BBCC (minimum) - BBBB (typical) at Higher including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
GCE A-Level CCC (minimum) - BCC (typical) at A-Level including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) BBBB at Higher Level including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject.
A combination of IB Certificate plus other qualifications, such as A-Levels, Advanced Placement Tests or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), will also be considered.
Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
Graduate Entry
BTEC A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC with B in the Graded Unit Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with CC at Advanced Higher Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma Grade C with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at BC Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at BC Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in an Art & Design subject and 7 in a literate subject Direct entry to Level 2 is to one of the art and design specialisms. Please refer to the relevant specialism webpage for entry requirements.
Other Qualifications
Notes All applicants must also submit a comprehensive portfolio of art/design/creative work and will be invited to attend a portfolio submission event. In some cases an interview may also be required. All qualifications should include a relevant art & design subject & a literate subject, and will be considered on an individual basis.

 EU and International qualifications



English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers

 

English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

A purpose-built studio environment

You will be tutored by highly motivated, research-active staff and will be based in a purpose-built studio environment within Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design which is fully accessible and integrated within the city campus of the University of Dundee. You will benefit from a challenging and coherent programme of instruction, guidance and exploration, providing you with a positive sense of direction towards a future in art and design.

Art Design General

How you will be taught

The majority of the teaching and learning on the General Foundation course takes the form of studio practice, which includes:

  • informal lectures
  • demonstration
  • and individual and group tutoring

Staff members have a friendly approach and welcome requests for help and advice.

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed through the studio course work including supporting work such as digital outputs, blogs, reflective journals and also through demonstrating your understanding of contextual studies. There is continuous formative feedback through the studio tutorials and at the end of each module. A formal assessment occurs at the end of semester 1 and again at the end of semester 2.

What you will study

The core values and philosophical ethos of the course are encapsulated in the teaching of both the fundamental elements of art and design practice, namely drawing skills (including life drawing), making and digital imaging as well as generic skills (writing, research methodologies etc.) to support you in whatever career path you decide to take in the future.

These core values will enrich and expand your personal visual language and contribute in a diagnostic context towards helping you make an informed choice of specialist study. Having enjoyed the enriching experience of working within a vibrant community of emerging artists and designers in the General Foundation, progression to Level 2 – the specialist courses – requires demonstration of appropriate knowledge and skill and the potential to successfully pursue independent study.

Level 1

  • Fundamental creative skills (drawing, painting, making, demonstrations)
  • Technical skills (practical workshops and digital imaging)
  • Key generic skills (analytical and critical skills, research skills, confidence and motivation, presentation and communication skills)
  • Contextual studies introducing historical and contemporary debates and practice
  • Foundation skills in the various art and design specialisms
  • Elective choice (including philosophy)
  • An optional cultural study visit (major Scottish cities and London) enhances the learning experience

This Art & Design General Foundation will encourage experimentation, allowing you to take risks in trying new things. It also aims to cultivate your understanding of the range of art and design disciplines that you may progress to in the future and the associated career opportunities.

The Art & Design General Foundation course will prepare for your chosen specialist subject. Graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design have gone on to have successful careers in the following fields (to name just a few!)

Scottish sculptor and installation artist, David Mach talks about the Art & Design General Foundation course

  • artists (exhibiting and making work nationally and internationally)
  • web design
  • game design
  • visual effects
  • packaging design
  • branding
  • television & motion graphics
  • advertising
  • textile design
  • fashion
  • art therapy
  • museum and gallery curation
  • journalism
  • interaction design
  • account management
  • film direction
  • film editing
  • gallery management
  • teaching
  • illustration
  • interior/architectural design
  • lighting
  • tv & film set design
  • animation
  • jewellery manufacturers and designers
  • consumer electronics
  • medical products

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2017/18

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2016 entry). Fees for September 2017 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2017.
Rest of UK students £9,250 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Portfolio Guidelines

What should I include in my portfolio?

This is a difficult question to answer as we are looking for originality, creativity, curiosity, talent and enthusiasm. We are reluctant to provide a prescriptive formula as individuals have different ways of expressing their creativity.

From your portfolio, the Selection Team expect the following:

  • the individual’s enthusiasm, creative ability, intellectual and practical skills in the visual arts,
  • a sense of who the individual is,
  • visual awareness and understanding,
  • potential for further development.

Portfolio Content

We are interested in your most recent work but you may include earlier work if you feel it is particularly relevant. Earlier work should be dated. You should include representative examples of work undertaken as part of a programme of study.

As a guideline you should show examples of: 

  • drawing/visual studies, including photography, mark-making, observed and intuitive drawing,
  • drawings from primary source material,
  • evidence of research skills; analysis of investigation and development,leading to the final submission,
  • if available, making skills such as models, sewing etc.,
  • self-motivated work,
  • sketchbooks.

Candidates are advised that the Selection Team regard a portfolio as providing evidence of the applicant’s own judgement, however we strongly recommend that you seek the advice of your principal art & design teacher/tutor or other appropriate professionals in the completion and presentation of your portfolio.

Analytical Drawing

You should be able to demonstrate direct observation and recording of your subject. We want to be able to see how you interact with your subject and your ability to observe and draw directly from source. While all artists and designers will refer to other sources for additional reference, the Selection Team can distinguish the difference between genuine observed studies from life and those developed from photographs.

 The skills which should be demonstrated here include, your ability to:

  • Analyse
  • Be expressive
  • Be inquisitive
  • Be methodical
  • Interpret
  • Observe      

Demonstration of Independent Thinking

Your portfolio is your showcase, and sketchbooks are a demonstration of how you explore and develop your ideas into final pieces. The sketchbook can also allow you to demonstrate personal work other than what may be required for school or college curriculum. It’s also acceptable to develop this work on sheets of paper rather than a sketchbook if you prefer.

 The skills which should be demonstrated here include, your ability to:

  • Analyse
  • Experiment
  • Explore
  • Progress
  • Self-direct
  • Self-motivate

Expression of Visual Ideas

Although you may want to specialise in a particular area you should be aware of various media or combinations of media and their appropriate use in relation to scale and effect, for example traditional artist’s materials (pencil, charcoal etc.) with other techniques (photography, digital printing etc.).

We don’t expect you to include every media or technique but you should be able to show a range of different techniques.

The skills which should be demonstrated here include, your ability to:

  • Be inventive with media
  • Experiment
  • Explore
  • Use various techniques 

Quality of Presentation and Editing

It is advisable to be selective about what you include in your portfolios and edit your portfolio to show your strongest work. We would advise you seek the advice of your principal art & design teacher/tutor or other appropriate professional, in the compiling and presenting of your portfolio.

The Selection Team is impressed by a portfolio that is presented in a clear and straightforward manner and you should consider the following points when presenting your portfolio:

  • Your work should be well presented without being over elaborately mounted or unnecessarily difficult to access.
  • Individual pieces of work should be mounted simply on to white or neutral paper.
  • Larger pieces should be mounted singly or if they are fully A1 sized un-mounted.
  • Smaller pieces can be grouped together on to a sheet.
  • 3-dimensional works should be well photographed and presented clearly, detailing the scale and media used.
  • There is no virtue in quantity alone and applicants should not include multiple colour variations of prints, for example.
  • Any photographs included should concentrate on images that convey your interests and ideas (between 6 and 10 images).
  • Video works should be presented on a DVD, playable on a Mac computer.
  • Avoid cutting around drawings and making over elaborate mounts.
  • Whilst some applicants present their work in a folio with plastic sleeves, this is not a necessity. 

Engagement with the Subject

This refers to your ability to reference and research the work of others within the field of art and design and perhaps also elsewhere.

You should have some knowledge of a range of artists and designers' work and demonstrate where this has perhaps influenced your thinking, development of ideas or exploration of techniques.

However, you should be cautious about unnecessary ‘padding’ in your portfolio i.e. multiple sheets of magazine cuttings as a form of research that does not add value to your own work.

An applicant who can communicate their ideas, interests, passions and enthusiasms in an individual and genuinely engaged way will always be of interest to the selectors. A broader cultural and contextual awareness, evidence of having visited galleries, museums, exhibitions and other events should also be included.

 The skills which should be demonstrated here include your ability to:

  • Demonstrate your passion/ enthusiasm
  • Develop ideas
  • Engage
  • Explore

Sketchbooks

The Selection Team will pay particular attention to candidates’ sketchbooks or other development

work with regard to the extent to which they reflect the range of the individual’s interests and
experience. Sketchbooks are regarded as being of great value in recording images, exploring ideas
and developing concepts. You should:

  • include examples of sketchbook work showing your visual thought process and information gathering ability,
  • show an awareness and use of various media or combinations of media – this could be
  • evident in either/or your drawing and sketchbook images,
  • show awareness of colour, composition and imagery – this can be shown through finished pieces or sketchbooks,
  • submit all sketchbooks within your portfolio.

There is no virtue in quantity alone and candidates should not include multiple colour variations of prints, for example.

Other Media

A portfolio of photographs and/or moving image works is also acceptable. For photographs, concentrate on images that convey your interests and ideas; try to include a series of thematic images (between 6 and 10 images) as well as individual photographs. Video works should be presented on a DVD, playable on Mac computer. A selection of work can be presented with a maximum total length of 5 minutes.

Portfolio Submission

Remember to check the UCAS application deadline date for Art & Design courses at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee. Any applications submitted after the date stated will not be considered. Although you are required to submit your application by the deadline your portfolio will not be required for viewing until Easter. We do not require a ‘mini’ portfolio submission on application.

The UCAS course code for the Art & Design General Foundation course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design is WW12.

Applicants must apply to the Art & Design General Foundation course WW12 and not directly to the specialist course.

Please note: strict portfolio submission instructions apply in respect of size and weight. Your portfolio should be no larger than 950 x 735 mm and not heavier than 10kg.

Only one single portfolio (including sketchbooks) per applicant will be accepted. There is no requirement to present your work in plastic sleeves. Full instructions for submission will be provided in the invitation to submit correspondence.

Digital Portfolio Guidelines

Your digital portfolio should ideally contain no less than 15 pieces of creative work, preferably as small files in JPEG format.  Please include a short description of each piece of work submitted, indicating size, media, date produced and any other information you feel is relevant to the work.

A portfolio of photographs and/or moving image work is also acceptable.  For photographs please concentrate on images that convey your interests and ideas; try to include a series of thematic images (between 6 and 10 pieces) as well as individual photographs.

One of our most frequently asked questions is:  “what should I include in my portfolio”?

This is a difficult question to answer as we are looking for originality, creativity, curiosity, talent and enthusiasm; therefore we are reluctant to provide a prescriptive formula as individuals obviously have different ways of expressing their creativity. However, to give you an understanding of what we expect to see within the portfolio, here are a few pieces of advice:

From your portfolio, the Selection Team expect the following:

  • to view enthusiasm, creative ability, intellectual and practical skills in the visual arts
  • to obtain a sense of who the individual is
  • visual awareness and understanding
  • potential for further development

Digital Portfolio Content

The Selection Team regard a portfolio as providing evidence of an applicant’s own judgement, however we strongly recommend that you seek the advice of your principal art & design teacher/tutor or other appropriate professional, in the compiling and presenting of your portfolio.

We are interested in your most recent work but you may include earlier work if you feel it is particularly relevant, earlier work should be dated.  Please include representative examples of work undertaken as part of a programme of study

As a guideline you should show examples of:

  • drawing/visual studies, including photography, mark-making, observed and intuitive drawing
  • drawings from primary source material
  • evidence of research skills; analysis of investigation and development, leading to the final submission
  • self-motivated work

Sketchbooks

The Selection Team have a particular interest in sketchbooks in respect of the extent to which they reflect the range of the individual’s interests and experience.  Sketchbooks are regarded as being of great value in recording images, exploring ideas and developing concepts.

Sketchbook pages can be photographed and submitted digitally in JPEG format.

Within your sketchbook samples you may wish to:

  • include examples of sketchbook work showing your visual thought process and information gathering ability
  • demonstrate an awareness and use of various media or combinations of media – this could be evident in either/or your drawing and sketchbook images
  • demonstrate awareness of colour, composition and imagery – this can be shown through finished pieces or sketchbooks

There is no virtue in quantity alone and candidates should not include multiple colour variations of prints, for example.

Digital Folio Submission Format

jpg, jpeg, gif, tiff, tif, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, png and bmp file types are allowed and each file size limit of 5Mb.

Movie files can be submitted providing links to YouTube/Vimeo or QuickTime movies.

Application/Portfolio Consideration Process

The Selection Team comprises academic staff representation across all art & design subjects within DJCAD. 

Portfolios (digital and original) are viewed/assessed in the following applicant categories: Schools, FE Colleges, Individual Applicants.  This ensures portfolios are considered fairly and in relevant context.  Portfolios will be viewed and ‘graded’ by members of the Selection Team, decisions being made on this basis.

Digital Folio Submission

You will be prompted by our Admissions Team to submit your digital portfolio (and answer a few questions in respect of your interest in studying art & design at DJCAD), via the University of Dundee Applicant Portal, thereafter, if required, we may contact you to arrange an interview in person or via Skype.

If you require further information on any aspect of the application consideration process or the undergraduate programme in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DJCADGeneralFoundation@dundee.ac.uk



  Degree UCAS Code
Apply NowArt & Design (General Foundation) BA / BDesWW12