Course specification and structure
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UEFARTDE - BA Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year)

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Preparatory Diploma, Preparatory Certificate
Total credits for course 480
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 4 YEARS  
Part-time 8 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The Art and Design Foundation is a year-long course dedicated to the essential and fundamental skills underpinning art and/or design disciplines. Completing the Extended Degree allows you to progress onto any of the undergraduate courses at the Cass including Fine Art, Photography, Painting and Sculpture, Furniture, Fashion, Graphic Design, Fashion Accessories & Jewellery, Illustration, Interiors, Product, Textiles, etc.

The Foundation year is both a preparatory and diagnostic course that through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and experience allows for an informed decision to be made on the direction ahead for the student as a subject-specific creative practitioner or to give consideration to creativity in other personal or professional contexts. It provides adequate preparation for study at HE level in the area studied.

The Extended Degree in tandem with the Foundation year offers an outward looking, multi-faceted art-, architecture- and design-based education that on successful completion provides the first stage of an undergraduate qualification in art and/or design specifically or progression to other subject areas in the CASS. As a Foundation year it provides a discrete qualification and evidence of creative practice through production of a portfolio of projects.

The Extended Degree (with Foundation year) shares the modular framework of undergraduate courses at the Cass. The four core modules are treated as assessment frameworks and include discipline-specific/subject area content.

The Art and Design course is based on art, architecture and design practices and built around four equally weighted, year-long modules. The organisation of the modules sets a pattern of learning that is repeated in subsequent years in all the Cass undergraduate awards. Projects and Techniques are studio/workshop-based and develop complementary art/design-based skills in parallel; the weighting is on the Techniques module at the beginning of the year and on the Project module towards the end.

The Techniques module engages a range of practical 2D, 3D and time-based techniques, methods and processes in a range of different materials and media. The Project module introduces ‘the project’ as the main mode of creative practice in different contexts and timescales. Some projects refer directly to cultural, contextual or professional aspects specific to a subject area; this serves to inform students of key elements of their own practice ahead and of other creative and professional practices. Techniques and Project are focussed on students’ individual creative practice.

Workbook and Critical and Contextual Studies are viewed as complementary subject studies and are mostly lecture/ seminar-based though with some studio/project work in Workbook.

Workbook, introduces and develops knowledge, application and experience of practical and intellectual methods shared across creative practices or associated with specific creative practices, such as recording and presenting concepts, processes and outcomes; self-evaluation, critical thinking, group work and peer review; colour, composition; curating and publishing; digital and on-line platforms. Students explore and explain the positioning of their work in relation to others through participation in exhibitions, competitions and public events.

Critical and Contextual Studies familiarises students with the critical skill of ‘reading’ a range of visual, spatial and material phenomena alongside the conventional reading of texts; and introduces them to a range of relations of these to creative practices. It is an introduction to communicating ideas through a range of writing and presentation studies and techniques using text-based material from a wide range of conventional history and theory sources

Students are introduced to basic methods of retrieving, analysing, interpreting, articulating and structuring information and knowledge for different purposes and audiences. Research is introduced as key skill within the specific context of history and theory in relation to creative practices and alongside examples of professional, ethical and institutional concepts and contexts. The mode of delivery is seminar and lecture presentations, alongside study trips, image/object analysis and tasks/workshops to aid acquisition of library skills, information gathering, personal/ digital/ online presentation/submission.

There is provision for full-time and part time modes of study. The part time mode of study groups Project and Techniques together in one year, and Workbook and Critical and Contextual studies together in the other.

The course is organised in three sequential stages:

Stage 1 introduces and establishes a common ground of new experiences, values and practical skills. It lays the foundation for the course and serves as a base from which more independent work can be developed. Classes, workshops, inductions and tasks are relatively short and focus on substantial production and skills acquisition.

Stage 2 is more open-ended, with a series of longer projects and more choice and decision making for the student who is encouraged to apply, reinforce and develop effective practices from Stage 1 to establish a personal perspective, responsibility for time-management, self-knowledge and a sense of direction for their own creative practice. Direct experience of possible choices for subject-area of study ahead are through Cass subject-area tutors involvement in Stage 2 studio projects generally and from specific subject-area studio projects run by Cass undergraduate subject-area tutors that include use of subject area studios, workshops, technical facilities and expertise. Students experience what is shared across creative practices as well as what is specific to a subject-area’s culture.

Stage 3 helps the student undertake a sustained, focussed and resolved study with a longer, final project that is perceived as ‘under their control’. The emphasis is on increasing/focussing their subject-area knowledge - testing their commitment, and the production and organisation of coherent and resolved work - as they devise the brief, manage the process and outcome, and are participants in the process of evaluating their work.

The project is the predominant mode of delivery for creative work in studio and subject studies throughout the three stages. The projects vary considerably in duration, structure and aim. The student’s responsibility for implementation and development increases as the course proceeds. The teaching and learning for the projects is supported through taught exercises, classes, workshop demonstrations, handouts, briefs, lectures, tutorials, reviews/pinups/critiques of the stages and final pieces for presentation/exhibition; portfolio guidance and preparation; essays, library research, seminars, visits and Web-based learning.

Throughout the course there is an emphasis on learning discipline-specific as well as transferable skills and towards an experimental, disciplined and rigorous approach to visual enquiry. The course promotes experimentation, speculation, interpretation, flexibility, questioning and independence. The course is designed to encourage and support individual responses, initiatives, curiosity and lines of inquiry.

Digital literacy is embedded in the curriculum via the use of the university's virtual learning environment and in curriculum delivery and expectations of digital capabilities as appropriate to task set and the level of study. Students make use of digital platforms alongside traditional approaches to research, inform, develop and communicate their work.

Students have timetabled access to design studios, the full range of workshop facilities, lecture and seminar spaces, computer suites, libraries and related facilities.

The course seeks to foster learning and teaching that adopts a student-centred approach, identifying individual learning styles and accommodating them.

Lectures provide and encourage a critically informed view of a topic, contextualising the subject and illustrating applied approaches. Lectures provide students with a managed introduction to a theme, enabling them to continue with suggested or directed self-study (self-directed study).

Seminars enable students to debate and explore subjects, questions and assignments with peers and tutors; encouraging an open and collaborative approach to shared learning.

Tutorials support individual learning, allowing for individual approaches to study, and catering for individual interests. Tutorials can be diagnostic or can support specific assignment or project-related questions and support differing student paths to achievement of learning outcomes.

Study trips offer opportunities for vital direct experience with a wide range of creative practices and environments to communicate with and learn from experts and specialists at institutions and organisations.

Live briefings and feedback are an important introduction to aspect of work-related learning; allowing students to some experience of professional ways of working; professional expectations of standards and current professional practice. The students are introduced to ethical aspects of creative practice with reference to statements of ethics from across the Cass eg subject areas, research groups and project office, etc.

Please see the Course Handbook for the full text

Course aims

The course aims to:

CA1 - provide a preparatory and/or diagnostic foundation year to progress to Art and/or Design BAs at the Cass, a subject area alternative or a direction that utilises creative practice;

CA2 - foster self-reliance and commitment to personal development through identifying and developing skills and interests by supporting the growth of the individual with a strong pastoral approach to project practice and course academic tuition;

CA3 - introduce and develop a range of experimental, practical, conceptual and intellectual skills for having and realising ideas from a wide range of subject areas towards those specific to art disciplines – Fine Art, Photography, Painting and Sculpture, etc; or to design disciplines – Furniture, Fashion, Graphics, Jewellery, Illustration, Interiors, Product, Textiles, etc.;

CA4 - develop curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon creative practices through an integrated approach to methods of enquiry, research and analysis in studio practice and critical and contextual studies modules;
CA5 - combine intellectual processes, personal creative vision, material, media and technical skills in the realisation of creative projects that reflect independent and disciplined thinking, skill in execution and visual and verbal communication; in print and online and in exhibition spaces;

CA6 - produce students who can work independently, manage their own time and tasks and those of others where appropriate; reflect objectively on their own learning style and performance to plan effectively for the future by insisting that students prioritise their time through regular planning for work/life balance in study, leisure and employment.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of the course students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding (KU)
1. identify existing relationships between the concepts, methods, principles and theories of different creative practices; both historical and contemporary. (CA4, CA5);
2. acquire, describe, explore, test and challenge a range of skills associated with different creative practices including their ethical and health and safety requirements (CA4, CA5, CA6);
3. recognise and evaluate different subject area practices to demonstrate a direction for individual creative practice (CA1, CA2, CA4);

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities (CI)
4. demonstrate skills of both convergent and divergent forms of thinking, observation, investigation, research and analysis to select, organise and structure the content and processes of a series of creative projects that develop towards resolved outcomes. (CA3, CA4, CA5);
5. identify cultural/social, ethical, environmental and economic issues to apply to, experiment with and test ideas, in relation to making creative decisions (CA1, CA4, CA5);
6. consider the needs and views of viewer, audience, community, culture or wider public in relation to developing projects (CA4, CA6);

Transferable Skills (TR)
7. communicate creative ideas, principles and concepts effectively by oral, written and visual means with clarity and confidence (CA2, CA5);
8. exercise self-directed management skills for learning, including time management, preparation, team negotiation and collaboration (CA1, CA2, CA6);

Subject Specific Practical Skills (SS)
9. organise and apply tools, equipment, materials and techniques to projects relating to a range of creative practices including their ethical and health and safety requirements; select and develop those specific to a subject area discipline (CA1, CA5);

10. develop skills to effectively communicate, present, publish and exhibit individual project work and a portfolio of projects that demonstrates understanding of different means, various contexts and a variety of roles; (CA1, CA5).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

AA3001 Project

AA3002 Techniques

AA3004 Formats

CP3010 Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation

Learning Outcomes cover LO1-10

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; Art & Design (2017)

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment for all the modules occurs at the end of the course and details the achievement in student performance in relation to the learning outcomes for each module. Formative feedback is provided for all the modules on a regular basis and is focused on encouragement and improvement. It appears in a number of different formats, from informal suggestions or responses to specific items of work in progress, to formally recorded feedback at class presentations or ‘critiques’. Written feedback and diagnostic grades are provided at two decisive stages of the course delivery. This feedback specifically addresses areas for improvement towards the final submission at summative assessment.

The assessment strategy for the Foundation course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules are designed together with the programme, prior to the start of each year to take into account student, external adviser and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of project briefs and assignments, and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and reiterated at points through the year; these are designed to be used as consistently as possible to avoid unnecessary complication.

Assessment is directly related to the achievement of learning outcomes. Qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to the level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking. Scrutiny of the assessment process and marks from colleagues external to Level 3 to ensure that students understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

In every case, there is required formative feedback at set points in the course, either following assignment hand-in or at the Interim Reviews this written feedback and diagnostic indicative grades are provided at the end of each stage; this feedback specifically addresses areas for improvement prior to summative assessment at the end of the year.

Formative feedback and summative assessment is recorded, and shared where appropriate, so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Formative feedback appears in a number of different formats during the year from informal suggestions or responses to specific items of work-in-progress, to formally recorded feedback at class presentations or ‘critiques’.

Formative feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. It is managed so that students performing well are challenged and encouraged to strive for excellence, and those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for summative assessment and written feedback turnaround times and to the University's Academic Regulations for first marking and second mark sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to subject area projects and studio groupings where students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

All the Foundation course assessment and feedback practices are typically informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, as well as subject-specific and educational scholarship. Staff and students typically engage in constructive dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made. All Foundation students are provided with regular opportunities to develop an understanding of best academic practice and the necessary skills to demonstrate it.

The volume, timing and nature of assessment enables students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes. Formative feedback is clearly designed to support students’ development for summative assessment. Feedback on assessment is timely, constructive and developmental. All processes for marking assessments and for moderating marks are clearly articulated and consistently operated by all those involved in the assessment process.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

There are no placement, sandwich year or year abroad opportunities at this level.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives students are exposed to, and begin to understand, the professional environment of a wide range of disciplines; the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Course specific regulations

At Level 3 the following faculty-wide regulations shall apply.

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 3 to 4 students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

PART-TIME MODE OF STUDY
Part-time mode of study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 120-credit award will be 2 years. The pattern of study at Level 3 follows these groupings and may be taken in either order:
Grouping 1 – AA3001 & AA3002
Grouping 2 – CP3010 & AA3004

Modules required for interim awards

Progression to Level 4 is subject to a completion and pass (40%) of all core modules:

AA3001 Project
AA3002 Techniques
AA3004 Formats
CP3010 Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation

A Preparatory Diploma (exit award) will be offered to students who choose to leave the course after the completion of Level 3, without taking up their place on Level 4, having passed 120 credits.

A Preparatory Certificate (exit award) may be awarded to students completing all 4 core modules and achieving 60 credits.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The School’s studio system of curriculum delivery embeds reflective learning and personal development planning throughout the course.

Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative feedback points formally instituted over the course of the year. At these interim formative feedback points students reflect on their progress-to-date with their peers and course staff; seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection are recorded and informs an action plan for the next period of study.

This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in studio critiques. Level 3 students participate in the School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the UG curriculum and this supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress through the year, to understand the professional environment of the subject-areas ahead disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Therefore, throughout the modules and the course, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress, achievement and planning for their future achievement of targets.

The course embeds reflective learning and personal development in its strategy to be diagnostic/preparatory; it does this in a number of different ways:

The main outcome of the course is contained in the student’s portfolio of projects containing edited and organised versions of all the work the student has undertaken during the course. It is used both for the purposes of self-reflection and evaluation, formal assessment and, in various versions, to apply for jobs or courses. Building the portfolio is a continuous enterprise. Every project, practical or intellectual exercise can be represented in the portfolio but also has to contribute to the document as a whole and in its parts. Students learn to reflect on their work both as a specific item and in the context of their own developing profile in their portfolio.

The main teaching vehicle on the course is the project where students distinguish and develop their particular skills, interests and abilities. A number of projects are set during the year, each of which addresses different criteria, and the student gains increasing responsibility for their definition, direction and development as the year progresses. Students learn to evaluate their project work against that of their peers through frequent interim presentations, pin-ups or ‘critiques’ as well as tutorials. The Techniques module specifically enables students to hone their range of practical skills as well as begin to understand how the techniques and technologies of making and representing are also tools for thinking and understanding.

A tutorial system is organised to monitor student progress and provides advice and assistance throughout the year. It is an important means of guiding students to meet the aims and objectives of the course. Tutorial reviews and critiques provide for independent examination of the impact of lectures, the development of personal work and ideas on the project outcomes. Through discussing work of a complementary, extended or diverse nature, project work can be developed in an independent way and by discussing relationships between diverse course inputs coherence can be maintained.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Successful completion of this course allows progression to Art-related BAs and Design-related BAs at the Cass specifically and to other specialised undergraduate degrees at the Cass. It also offers improved career opportunities in the creative and cultural industries specifically and to other employers who require experience of creative practice.

Students also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’

Career opportunities

The course is suitable for anyone planning a career in art and design fields or the cultural and creative industries. The career opportunities available to you depend on the specialist undergraduate degree that you go on to study, however possible career options include artist, curator, art critic, art journalist, graphic designer or illustrator. Former graduates have also gone on to have successful careers as art event organisers, photographers, video producers, studio managers, art teachers, art therapists and lecturers. Former graduates include Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood and John Cecil Stephenson.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • at least one A level (or a minimum of 48 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above or will need to take the University English test

You will need to attend an interview with your portfolio of creative work. We encourage applications from International/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview.

Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a small portfolio of work via email.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2015/16 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 24 Jun 2014 Last validation date 24 Jun 2014  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes W200 (Design Studies): 100%
Route code FARTDE

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 03 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY SPR+SUM THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY SPR+SUM THU PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
          CITY SPR+SUM TUE PM
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED PM
          CITY SPR+SUM TUE AM

Stage 1 Level 03 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM THU AM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM THU PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM TUE PM
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30 CITY SPR+SUM TUE AM