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Art and design

Think and create with limitless possibilities

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.

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)

This module has been designed to help students develop their academic literacy, and research and
communication skills in preparation for undergraduate study. The areas of reading, writing,
speaking, and listening will be covered. ILSC also helps students understand the institutional
culture, practices, norms and expectations of the UK higher education.

A subsidiary aim of this module is to ensure that students develop transferable skills of effective and
professional communication to support ongoing study, as well as providing a basis to foster career
and life-building skills.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

No previous technical experience is required for this module, which provides students with an
introduction to practical ICT skills. This foundation will be needed for academic success across
many areas of higher education. The students will use industry standard office productivity
software and techniques to produce presentations, written assignments, and charts and tables in

Alongside practical skills, fundamental topics surrounding technology use will be discussed,
together with societal and ethical perspectives. The module will enable students to discuss the main
challenges facing society and consider the implications of their technology use.

By the end of the module, students should have sufficient mastery of the Microsoft Office
productivity suite to allow them to plan and produce presentations, use functions and write formula
to display, format and analyse quantitative data and produce written assignments to a standard
appropriate to higher education.

Creative Workshops 1

The module is designed to introduce various fundamental crafts, skills, and techniques required to
support and study of a range of subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture.

The module is delivered via a series of craft related, hands-on workshops and art practice, which
will encourage and facilitate individual creative expression through experimentation,
observation/analysis 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 aims to provide students with a structured introduction to all aspects and
stages of the academic writing process and various forms of writing to be undertaken.

It is designed to allow students the knowledge required for the preparation and completion of
written assignments within University and to university standards. This includes skills which apply to
many writing disciplines including 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 focus around the writing process will be of emphasis with application to different
kinds of written products. For the writer, these processes would correspond to the different creative
stages of writing.

Approach to Design

The module is designed to introduce and underpin some of fundamental aspects of design and
visual language required to support a range of subjects associated with Art, Design and Architecture.

The module is studio-based with teaching and learning centred on practical exploration and
problem-solving in response to a series of lectures, workshops, activities/tasks and project-based

Critical and Contextual Studies

The module is designed to provide a chronological framework and introduce key aspects of visual,
contextual and cultural studies required to support a range of subjects associated with Art, Design
and Architecture combining historical and present conceptions on a variety of related topics.

This module is also designed to help develop a wide range of study skills including research, critical
thinking/analysis, sourcing/referencing, reflective practice, communication, visual literacy and
presentation associated with their intended pathway subject

Creative Workshops 2

The module is designed to hone and develop competencies in drawing, visualisation, image-making
skills which help underpin and support core skills and techniques required for various subjects
associated with Art, Design and Architecture. Exploring further elements and principles of art,
design and the built environment. Students will combine different techniques from this module
to interpret and respond to creative themes and produce creative work.

The module is designed to encourage and facilitate individual creative response and expression.

Specialist Project

This module has been designed to represent the opportunity for learners to confirm their
independent areas of interest through a major Specialist Project, in which they can apply
understanding and knowledge acquired or developed in other modules, hone and develop skills
and techniques relevant to particular fields of interest, and develop work which visually
communicates via portfolio presentation.

This module is focused on Professional Development Planning – which relates to and endorses the
learners’ interest and intentions in progressing to his/her specific subject field. Language,
communication and presentations skills will be further developed through report writing and
conducting active research with regards to intended study routes, careers and associated industries.
Through this investigation, learners will be guided towards formulating and developing a self initiated Specialist Project proposal, based upon a creative design brief, which clearly identifies and
explores aspects of their intended progression route e.g. graphic design, interior design,
architecture, digital arts, game design, photography, illustration, fine art etc.

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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