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Pre-University: Foundation Design

An introduction to the creative potential of design.


Subject area








Credit level




Credits available






13 July - 24 July 2020




2 weeks


Contact hours




Course availability


Students must be in final two years of high school (aged 16-18)


Language requirements


Evidence of language ability equivalent to IELTS 5.5






Accommodation inc.








Application deadline


30 April 2020




An introduction to the creative potential of design, with a focus on equipping students with the tools to develop an expressive and personal portfolio for university application. Through a studio-based, hands-on learning approach, participants will engage in the creative process by exploring design thinking and acquiring practical image-making and research skills.


Pre-university: Foundation Design aims to introduce the design process, creative tools and techniques, and develop communication and presentation skills. This course involves a series of creative skill building workshops which are vital to the creative process such as image making, visualisation techniques, and contextual research. Using the facilities available at the Centre for Open Learning and Edinburgh College of Art, students may explore elements such as life drawing, print making, collage, photography, animation and digital image manipulation using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. An overarching theme that ties these disciplines together is mark making and visual communication. The workshops will also introduce the concept of studio culture as an important aspect of specialised study in design.

In addition to the daily course content, there will be a series of evening skill building sessions to introduce students to professional practice in the form of presentations by or about practising designers to provide insight on what every day design-led creative practice involves. Students will also work on problem-solving design exercises which will focus on team building. The course will conclude with a self-initiated project developed by each student and offer them an opportunity to focus on their particular interests in different design disciplines. One on one tutorials and guided studio sessions will help them discover individual strengths to focus on for the personal project. Students will work individually but also engage in group discussions to develop their ability to reflect and enhance their communication and presentation skills.
Sessions will take place in some of the following areas: Image Making, Pattern and Texture, Working in 3D, Understanding Context, Concept Visualisation.

This course has 56 hours of teaching contact hours. Students will have all art and design materials and dedicated teaching space included in the fee. For more information about fee breakdown, please visit the Fees tab.

For more detailed information on course content please see the Pre-University: Foundation Design Syllabus.

This course is suitable if you are in the final two years of high school. This course is also suitable for students who have not yet decided on their university study but would like a taster experience of studying design at university level.

Before applying for Pre-University: Foundation Design please ensure you meet the following criteria:

Academic Requirements


  • Students must be in final two years of high school (aged 16-18)


Language Requirements


  • Evidence of language ability equivalent to IELTS 5.5


Age Requirements


  • Applicants must be age 16-18










The fee for this course is £4,998. 

This fee includes:

  • Tuition fees for the two-week course with 56 hours of teaching contact time
  • Catered accommodation (breakfast and dinner included)
  • Course materials and equipment
  • Dedicated teaching space to collaborate and learn
  • Academic trips and excursions
  • Social programme including evening and cultural events
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off at Edinburgh International Airport

Additional fees may apply for visa applications. These are not included in your course fee.

As part of your application process, you will be required to pay a £500 deposit. The deposit payment will be redeemable against your course fee. After a 14 day cooling off period, the deposit is non-refundable. You will receive information on how to pay your deposit during your application process.



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