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Art and design

Think and create with limitless possibilities

Key Information

Whether in the studio, the classroom or around town, Cambridge is full of inspiration. Whether you’re honing your talent or finding your passion, the prestigious Cambridge School of Art at ARU is the perfect place to explore and design.

Key information

Undergraduate course


  • Foundation (4 Years)
  • First Year (3 Years)


  • January
  • September


  • Cambridge

Art and design overview

Do you have a passion for graphic design, photography, oil painting, fashion? Whatever your outlet, a foundation in Art and Design will help you to develop a knowledgeable approach to sharing your point of view.

Our Pathway of Art and Design targets the skills you will need in university to critically assess information, develop your design portfolio, and express yourself through visual language. Students will be introduced to practical art and design skills including developing skills of visual storytelling, image-making both in traditional and digital media, visual language and communication, formulating an independent creative response to a broad range of subject matter. For a hands-on degree, many of your classes are going to utilise project and portfolio based strategies to help you begin developing your portfolio and find your areas of passion.

Our staff are actively engaged in their own creative pursuits, and they’ll support you all the way. Plus, there’s the opportunity to go to extracurricular seminars and workshops, which feature guest presentations from specialist academics and researchers. Think and create with limitless possibilities, your journey starts here.

Pathway progression

Successful completion of this pathway will lead to the award of the following from ARU:

Please see our International and UK course matrix for entry point, intake and study location information.

Progressing to Second Year Illustration

Portfolio requirements

Foundation entry

No portfolio required

First-year degree entry (International students only)

The portfolio should contain a range of 10 pieces of work, utilising all of the following

  • Drawing
  • Selection of images of significant work/designs
  • Images of sketchbook work
  • Images that show the development process and research

Course structure

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC)

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC) will help you to develop your academic, research, communication, and literacy skills in preparation for your undergraduate degree. ILSC covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening and will give you an understanding of institutional culture, practices, norms, and expectations of UK higher education. You will develop transferable skills such as effective communication to support ongoing study, career, and professional development skills.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Information Communication Technology (ICT) provides you with the practical computer skills needed for university. In this module, you will cover fundamental topics surrounding the use of technology and discuss these together with societal and ethical perspectives. This will allow you to reflect on and discuss the main challenges facing society and consider the implications of your technology use. This module requires no previous technical experience and will introduce you to practical ICT skills that will be needed for academic success across many areas of higher education. By the end, you should have sufficient proficiency in the Microsoft Office productivity suite for planning and producing presentations, using functions, and writing formula to display, formatting and analysing quantitative data, and producing written assignments to a standard appropriate to higher education.

Creative Workshops 1

Within this module you will be introduced to various fundamental crafts, skills, and techniques required to support and study of a range of subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture. Creative Workshops 1 is delivered via a series of craft related, hands-on workshops and art practice, which will encourage and facilitate your individual creative expression through experimentation, observation and responding through drawings and image-making, using traditional and digital processes and techniques in a variety of contexts.

Composition and Style

Composition and Style teaches a structured introduction to all aspects and stages of the academic writing process. This module is vital for providing you with the knowledge required for the preparation and completion of written assignments within university and to university standards. This includes research and note-taking; structuring work; drafting and redrafting; editing and proof-reading; achieving an effective academic style; referencing; writing effectively under differing conditions; using feedback on your written work and grammar and punctuation. A considerable proportion of this module focuses on writing processes, and more specifically how these processes correspond to the different creative stages of writing.

Approach to Design

Approach to design is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental aspects of design and visual language that is required to support a range of subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture. Teaching for this module is centred on practical exploration and problem-solving in response to a series of lectures, workshops, activities/tasks, and project-based assignments.

Critical and Contextual Studies

Critical and Contextual Studies introduces you to some of the key aspects of visual, contextual, and cultural studies required to support a range of subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture. This module combines historical and present conceptions on a variety of related topics and has been designed to support you in developing a wide range of study skills needed for your intended pathway subject; this includes research, critical thinking, referencing, reflective practice, communication, visual literacy, and presentation.

Creative Workshops 2

Creative Workshops 2 has been designed to help you develop competencies in drawing, visualisation, and image-making which in turn will help to support core skills and techniques required for various subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture. Within this module, you will explore further elements and principles of art, design, and the built environment. You will combine different techniques to interpret and respond to creative themes and produce creative work.

Specialist Project

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to confirm your independent areas of interest through a major Specialist Project. You will apply what you have learnt and developed in other modules and visually communicate your work via a portfolio presentation. Language, communication, and presentations skills will be further explored through report writing and conducting active research with regards to intended study routes, careers, and associated industries. You will be guided towards developing a self-initiated Specialist Project proposal which clearly explores aspects of your intended progression route e.g., graphic design, interior design, architecture, digital arts, game design, photography, illustration, fine art.

Related links

For more information about intake semesters and campus location please see our course matrices.

Find out the academic entry requirements for our courses listed by country. Unless stated, requirements are standard across all courses.

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