Q. Who teaches on The Foundation Year?

The Foundation Year is directed by Daniel McAuliffe and teaching is led by a team of Senior Core Tutors with extensive experience in Foundation level teaching. They are supported by both Core Tutors and Alumni Faculty who are graduates of The Drawing Year, the School’s postgraduate level course.

Q. How much teaching will I receive on The Foundation Year? 

This in an intensive, taught, skills-based course. Students receive five days’ tuition each week during term time, as well as weekly Contextual Studies lectures and in-conversations with contemporary artists.

Q. Is there life drawing on the course? 

Yes, we draw from life in the studios, from both clothed and unclothed, male and female models. Drawing from the unclothed figure in particular familiarises us with our shape and movement and encourages an understanding of both. It allows students to see the structure of the body with the intention of developing the ability to make up figures in their artwork. We welcome students from all backgrounds, as such, students may request an alternative course of study if they are unable to work from unclothed models. If you are not able to draw from an unclothed model, please let The Foundation Year office know when you accept your place.

Q. How many students are on The Foundation Year?

Our intake is limited to 60 students each year to ensure that we are able to provide high quality one-to-one teaching throughout the course.

Q. What are the fees for The Foundation Year?

The Foundation Year awards a limited number of its cohort full scholarships or a reduced fee every year. Students awarded a full Scholarship pay no course fees, receive a bursary for termly travel and materials costs and a study support allowance. For those who can afford it, the course is fee-paying. Fees for domestic students for 2021/22 are £7,250.00. If you cannot afford the full fees and do not qualify for a full scholarship, you can apply for a reduced fee of 25% to 75% depending on circumstance. Please visit the Scholarships and Fees page for further details, fees for international students can be found on the International Fees page.

Q. What qualification will I receive at the end of The Foundation Year?

Students will receive a Level 3 or Level 4 Diploma in Fine Art. UK national students generally receive a Level 3 qualification which gives students UCAS Tariff Points to contribute towards university applications. UK nationals can request to study a Level 4 qualification. International students receive a Level 4 qualification which enables students to obtain a study visa for the UK. 

Q. Is The Foundation Year accredited?

Yes, The Foundation Year is a fully accredited course at Level 3 and Level 4. Accreditation is awarded by The Prince’s Trust (regulated by Ofqual). This qualification is recognised by all UK and international universities. 

Q. Do I get UCAS points on The Foundation Year?

Yes, at Level 3 students gain additional UCAS tariff points on completing the course and will be awarded a different number of points dependent on the grade they are awarded; Pass, Merit or Distinction. 

Q. What do our students go on to do?

Helpful, expert advice and guidance on progression from The Foundation Year is one of the key benefits that we offer students. Following their graduation, last year’s students progressed to a wide variety of BA courses in subjects ranging from Fine Art, Painting, Drawing, Sculpture and Photography, to Animation, Graphic Design, Architecture, Illustration and Technical Arts and Special Effects, at top-ranking universities including the Architectural Association, Camberwell College of Arts (UAL), Central St Martins (UAL), Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Glasgow School of Art, Goldsmiths University of London, Newcastle University, The Ruskin School of Art, Slade School of Art (UCL), University of Brighton, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, The University of Edinburgh, University of Falmouth, University of Leeds, University of Oxford, and Wimbledon College of Art (UAL), among others.

Q. Who can apply to The Foundation Year?

The course is tailored to recent school-leavers. To apply you must be 18 or over on 1st September in the year that you start the course i.e. if you are applying for entry in September 2021, you must be 18 or over on 1st September 2021. We do however welcome applications from over-19s, who feel that the course may help them to realise their ambition to progress to higher education or into a relevant career. The Foundation Year also welcomes international students (see below).

Q. Can I apply as an international student?

Yes, we currently accept applications from students with Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa status. From Spring 2021 onwards we will be accepting applications from students with Tier 4 (General) visas, this visa will allow you to study in the UK. For the latest visa eligibility and information please visit www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa. Further information can be found in the International Applications section.

Please note that this information is subject to change due to ongoing political negotiations. Please return to this page for the most up to date information on the visa status of EEA/EU citizens applying to study in the UK.

Q. Do you run courses for students thinking about applying?

Every summer the School runs a Foundation Year Portfolio Preparation Course at Trinity Buoy Wharf. This is an intensive one or two week summer course for young artists aged 16–19, thinking about heading to art school. The course is a unique opportunity to hone drawing, painting, printing and animation skills, build a portfolio, and experience art school first-hand. Individual guidance is given on art school applications, personal statements and portfolio preparation, alongside discussion and group critiques. Tuition comes from the Royal Drawing School’s faculty who teach on The Foundation Year. The School also runs ten week term-time drawing courses as part of its Young Artists Programme for 10–18 year olds at venues across London and a weekly life drawing course for 15–18 year olds in Shoreditch, East London. 

Q. How do I apply to The Foundation Year?

The first step is to complete the online application form and submit a digital portfolio. All applicants are then asked to complete a drawing exercise which is posted to The Foundation Year team. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview and should bring their physical portfolio and sketchbooks for discussion. Please see the Applications page for further details.

Q. How does a digital portfolio submission work?

Part of the application process will include uploading a digital portfolio of work (created within the past three years) via the online application form on our website. Your portfolio should include 20 high resolution images consisting of 10 drawings (dry media) and 10 additional works (in any other media). Animators may submit 2 short video files included within their additional works. 

Images should be saved as JPGs or PNG files, no larger than 200dpi and maximum 4MB per image. 

Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to attend an interview with their physical portfolio of work, including the original work submitted in the digital portfolio, and sketchbooks.  

Q. What should I submit in my portfolio?

The portfolio should display a sense of personal investigation through a range of drawing and painting media. Your work should include examples of:

  • Drawings that express a curiosity for looking at the world around you, these should be made directly from observation as well as drawings made from photography.
  • Pieces that demonstrate an ability to work across a range of materials, media and sizes. Please include photographic evidence of any 3D work, installations or larger pieces where applicable.
  • You may include sketchbook pages in your digital portfolio, however if possible, please try to limit this to 5 images.
  • If selected for interview, as well as the work submitted in your digital portfolio, you should bring sketchbooks demonstrating your personal artistic ideas and direction as well as exhibition/gallery responses and inspiration from artists.

Q. What is the drawing exercise?

Details of the drawing exercise will be emailed to you after you have applied for The Foundation Year and once the applications have closed. Applicants will have approx a week to complete a 3 hour drawing exercise which will form part of your portfolio, This drawing exercise needs to be submitted by post to arrive no later than midday on Monday 1 March 2021. Drawings are to be sent flat in an A3 envelope. Please do not send rolled drawings.


Further information specific to international applicants can be found in our International Applications section.