• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateJanuary, April, June or October
  • Course length7 weeks or 9 weeks

Orientation to Art and Design

Orientation to Art and Design Video by SokFok Studio. Music Credits: Going Higher by BenSound and Parametaphoriquement by GMZ

Orientation to Art and Design students participating in the Human Alphabet Project

Orientation to Art and Design students participating in the Human Alphabet Project

Introduction to the Portfolio Preperation courses

Orientation to Art and Design Students working in the studio

Orientation to Art and Design Students working in the studio



Orientation to art and design is a single 7 or 9 week course carefully created to help students with little or no art and design education to bridge the gap between their current skill level and the experience and visual thinking required to gain access to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (or other equivalent course).

Course structure

This course combines the studio and workshop practice of broad based art and design projects in line with the general requirements for entry to a foundation study program, giving you the chance to build your portfolio whilst expanding your creativity.

At the beginning of the course you are given a timetable of projects, which enables you to prepare for tasks that lie ahead, and will help you evaluate your completed work. Beginning with basic drawing and observational skills, the coursework will progress through:

  • Painting and colour theory
  • Life drawing
  • 3D construction projects
  • Architectural drawing
  • Photomedia
  • Design for the body

There will also be projects based around visits to local museums and galleries. All projects must be completed and the final part of the course will involve producing a portfolio of completed work. Progress on the course is regularly evaluated through tutorials that are scheduled as part of the timetable. Students are asked to provide their own materials for drawing, all other specialist materials are provided.

Many students would like to study art and design in Britain but might not have had the opportunity to develop the portfolio of art work needed to apply to study at a UK art college or equivalent course. This course has been design with this need in mind.

Curriculum / learning and teaching

The objective of this full time programme of study is to enable you to develop the necessary knowledge and practical skills for application to or entry on a foundation level course. This includes:

  • Observation and reflection skills
  • Analytical research skills
  • The control of materials and processes in the realisation of ideas
  • A capacity to evaluate your work and the work of others
  • The ability to establish communication skills with particular reference to the language used to discuss work in the studio

This course is runs for 9 weeks or 7 weeks during the condensed June programme. This means that you will still have the same number of teaching hours, but you will be expected to be in college for longer each day. The reason for this change is to give international students longer to renew their visa between the end of the Orientation to Art and Design course and the start of the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.


Martin Blake (course leader) began teaching at Central Saint Martins as a Group Tutor on Foundation and then moved full-time to Orientation in 2009. Orientation has grown in popularity and provides a perfect opportunity for students to prepare a portfolio for successful application to a Foundation Course.

What I particularly enjoy about Orientation is the small class size which gives the opportunity for one to one teaching and helps students to discover their strengths.

My own practice lies within Painting which for me began with large scale works which connected with maps and aerial images. More recently I have concentrated on geometric constructions which mirror architectural structures. I am interested in all aspects of the visual world from fashion to film, and am a firm believer in learning as a lifelong process.” – Martin Blake

The course is also taught by visiting tutors and UAL staff.

How to apply

To apply for this course please click on the “Apply” button located at the top of this page, you will be redirect to a course application form which you will need to complete.

We will only review completed applications, which must include:

  • A completed application form
  • A short statement (no more the 350 words)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • 15-20 high resolution images of your work

All international students from outside the European Union will need a Short-term Study Visa (STS) in order to attend one of our portfolio courses.  To find out more please visit UAL's Immigration guidance for short course students web page.

Entry requirements

  • This course is open to students aged 17 years and older
  • Non-native English speakers should be at IELTS level 5.0 in English language, for more information please visit UAL’s English Language Requirements webpage
  • To support your application you should have the beginning of a portfolio of 15-20 examples of your art and design work, for more information please visit UAL’s Portfolio Preparation webpage

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£4,995 per course

International fee

£4,995 per course

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials, for more details please visit the UAL’s Additional Costs webpage.


Please visit the Accommodation webpage to see the options available to you and to find out how much they will cost.