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About the course

Got a passion for creative design? Not quite ready to undertake a full honours degree? Solent University’s Design Foundation Programme is perfectly suited to students who may not be from an art- design- or fashion-related background or whose qualifications do not meet the admissions requirements of their chosen course. 

To help get you up to speed, this one-year foundation course provides all the creative, technical and study skills needed for entry onto a degree-level art, design or fashion course. Upon completion, you will be able to progress onto a range of art-, design- and fashion- related courses here at Solent.

The course begins with a five-week group project. This enables students to mix with like-minded peers and helps them to settle in quickly. This project also helps students to decide which area they might like to follow at a later stage. 

The following ten weeks are spent introducing students to the world of art, design and fashion. This includes design history, vocabulary, methods and academic foundation. This ten-week block will also give students the opportunity to learn and apply two-dimensional and three-dimensional visualisation techniques, giving them the tools required to conduct their final project. 

This final project takes place in the last fifteen weeks of the course and is based around the specific discipline that the student will go on to study. The project will be supported by tuition in visual presentation techniques, enabling students to communicate their concepts, development processes and final proposals. Students will also receive instruction in verbal communication and presentation techniques, increasing their confidence in pitching design ideas.

This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies

Students can develop an understanding of the ethos and expectations associated with degree-level study, enabling them to more easily make the transition to higher education.

Who is this course for?

Our design foundation programme is ideal for students who aren’t quite ready to undertake a full undergraduate degree, either because they aren’t from an art- design- or fashion-related background, or they don’t quite meet the entry requirements. 

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year are:
UK and EU full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £11,660 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

The 2020/21 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Compulsory costs: 
Portfolios, A4 ringbinders, and basic drawing materials will be required, approximately £150.

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

48 UCAS tariff points

  • from A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at PPP or BTEC Diploma at MP or equivalent.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.0 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT 71 with a minimum of 19 in in each individual component- TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

How to apply

What you'll study

Architecture and construction degrees:

  • Group Design Project
  • Industry Awareness
  • Design Visualisation 
  • Industry Skills
  • Personal Development Planning
  • Degree-related Project

Fashion degrees:

  • Creative Applications
  • Industry Awareness
  • Materials and Methods
  • Research and Ideas Development
  • Personal Development Planning
  • Degree-related project

Art and design degrees:

  • Creative Applications
  • Evaluation and Reflection
  • Materials and Methods
  • Research and Ideas Development
  • Personal Development Planning
  • Degree-related project


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Students' work

Meet the course team

Mark Jones academic profile Mark Jones Senior Lecturer View profile
India Lawton academic profile India Lawton Lecturer View profile
Suzy Merrifield academic profile Suzy Merrifield Associate Lecturer View profile
Lisa Earley academic profile Lisa Earley Associate Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


Foundation students will use the studio space and modelling workshops utilised by the courses onto which they may progress. The modelling workshops offer a range of machinery such as circular saws, bandsaws, lathes, sanders and pillar drills. There is also a three station paint spray installation and a state-of-the-art laser cutter.

In addition, for occasional and specialised project-related applications, workshops offering fibreglass construction and advanced manufacturing equipment are situated close to the design studio. These facilities offer 3D prototyping at an additional but subsidised cost.

Students work in teams, building interpersonal skills that will serve them well in further studies and throughout their career. They will study a carefully designed curriculum which introduces students to the world of creative design.

Your future

BA (Hons) Product Design focuses on finding creative solutions to human problems, students discover how to take a product all the way from concept to the marketplace. The course prepares graduates for roles in design consultancy, design engineering, interior design/space planning, exhibition design, special effects model-making, graphics/packaging/point-of-sale design, product marketing and research. Graduates of the BA (Hons) Product Design programme have gone on to find roles at organisations including Bright Innovations, Fitch, ALH Systems, Alfa Display and Design, and Celsus. 

BA (Hons) Interior Design brings together creative and practical skills and covers both commercial and residential interior design. Blending aesthetics and innovation, students will develop practical experience working on a variety of spaces, from hotels, restaurants and night clubs to offices, leisure facilities and even super yacht interiors. Interior design graduates have found employment as interior designers, architectural interior designers, design coordinators and CAD Designers at companies such as Jigsaw, John Lewis, Lakesmere, Artillery Architects and Walt Disney. 

BA (Hons) Interior Design Decoration provides students with the ability to create, style and deliver concepts relating to consumer lifestyle and the growing desire to personalise interiors in a fashionable and comfortable way. This course serves as suitable preparation for careers in interior design, interior styling, editorial styling, set design, visual merchandising, show home consultation, textile/wallpaper design and much more. Successful interior design decoration graduates have established careers  working for high profile companies including Bo Concept, Bulthaup, Claydon Reeves Yachts, Pattern Textiles, Fortnum and Masons, Dulux, and Farrow and Ball.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design encourages students to explore a range of professional techniques and develop their own unique visual style. Students will create visual products for a range of printed and digital mediums, and explore academic theories and visual culture in the context of contemporary graphic design. Graphic design students are encouraged to submit their best work to design competitions, securing valuable exposure. Recent graduates have found roles at companies including Adjust Your Set, Imagine Publishing, David Newman Design, Tweaq Media, Gary Frost, Manchester City Football Club, House of Fisher, Esquire, Halldale Group and The Graphic Design House.

BA (Hons) Fashion provides students with in-depth knowledge of the fashion industry, from garment design, pattern design and production to concept development, trend forecasting and fashion marketing. Students are encouraged to experiment and explore new techniques to help develop their creativity and individuality. Graduates have gone on to roles  at a wide range of companies including Fat Face, Nougat, Ariella Fashions, Zara, ASOS, Ted Baker and Next.

Industry links

Students may have the chance to undertake live projects in the ‘Degree-related Project’ unit. The courses onto which the Foundation students are expected to progress have an excellent record of industry engagement. For example: The BA (Hons) Interior Design course runs live projects supplied by its employer partners. Projects have been conducted for Wetherspoon’s - restaurant and bar refurbishment; HGP Architects – hotels and spas; Itchen College – reception redesign; and Adam Architects – boutique hotels. 

The BA (Hons) Interior Design Decoration course has an extensive range of live projects at all levels. These include kitchen projects with Bulthaup and show rooms for Linden Show Homes at L4, commercial spatial design projects with Southampton City Council and surface design for Blendworth Interiors at L5, and styling projects for The Clothes Show at L6. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their final work at New Designers, The Business Design Centre, London. 

The BA (Hons) Product Design course has comprehensive industry links and has established a ‘Partner Affiliation Network’- a group of companies who support a range of activities including live project work, design competitions, work placements.  Recent live projects have been conducted for B&Q and Ikea.  Product design's guest speaker programme allows students from all years, including foundation students, to contextualise their studies through the provision of ‘real-world’ examples. Hearing from guest speakers can open up career horizons, enabling students to appreciate the wide variety of occupations that are available to them.

The BA (Hons) Fashion course enables students to get involved with retail activities at Re:So, Solent’s student-run store. Re:So sells a unique mix of fashion, accessories, publications, furniture and art – all with an emphasis on developing student retail, enterprise and employability skills.

The BA (Hons) Graphic Design course provide students with the chance to pitch for paid work with commercial clients through Solent's in-house, student-run agency, Solent Creatives – past Solent Creative clients include Bear Grylls, Southampton Airport and Southampton City Council.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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