National Extended Diploma in Art & Design Practice UCA Farnham

National Extended Diploma in Art & Design Practice

Course overview

If you're looking for a creatively-focused alternative to A-Levels, our two-year Extended Diploma in Art & Design at UCA Farnham offers you the chance to begin specialising in Art & Design straigh after your GCSEs.

Open to students from the age of 16, this course is equivalent to three A-Levels and covers a wide range of art and design subjects to help you explore different specialisms before you choose your degree subject.

At our Farnham campus, you’ll be part of our creative community and have access to the same facilities and workshops as all our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Towards the end of the course, you’ll undertake a final major project and participate in your diploma exhibition – you may also take part in a live project, giving you an insight into the creative industries and the chance to work with studios or galleries in the area, or in London.

Once you finish this course, you will be awarded the Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma in Art & Design Practice.

Length of study 2 years full-time
Campus Farnham
Entry requirements 5 GCSE A*-C and/or grade 9-4
Course entry options Sept 2021, Sept 2022
Course details

Course details

You’ll spend the first year developing essential visual language skills, exploring a range of practical media, techniques and processes in an experimental manner.

You'll study the five key specialisms of:

  • Fine art
  • Fashion and textiles
  • 3D design
  • Lens-based media (photography and film)
  • Visual communication.

This will enable you to build a fundamental skill set for a future in art, including drawing, photography, construction and making, typography, animation, interactive design and moving imagery with sound.

By exploring each area in detail, you'll be able to make an informed choice for specialist study.


As you enter the second year, you’ll work alongside students from the Foundation Diploma and Access Diploma courses, and continue one of the specialisms as a pathway to focus on for the rest of the course.

Once you’ve picked a pathway from the five specialisms, you’ll develop specific skills in this area of study and prepare a portfolio to support an application to an undergraduate degree or, in some cases, direct employment.

Towards the end of the course, you’ll undertake a final major project and prepare for your diploma exhibition.

The second year of the Extended Diploma is fully integrated into the Foundation Diploma and the Access to Higher Education Diploma, so students share studios and lectures.

UCA supports weekly 1-2-1 and small group tutorials for 16 to 19 students who are studying English, Maths and other courses where learning has been disrupted, particularly where they have experienced additional disruption to learning because of their specific needs and disabilities. Tuition is focused on ensuring students receive formative and summative assessment and clearly understand assignment briefs, grading criteria and the additional support availability to them. This is for any students who have not achieved grade 5 or above in at least one of those subjects at this level by age 16. Support is prioritised for students who have not achieved a grade 4 in English and/or Maths, however, any young people with a grade 4 that also need catch up support may be considered.

Tuition fees
Currently, if you are an UK or EU student under 19 years old on the 31 August before your course starts, you don’t have to pay any tuition fees.

Additionally, you don't have to pay tuition fees if you are an UK or EU student aged between 19-23 on the 31 August before your course starts, and you are studying for your first full level 3 qualification.

The fees for 2021 entry are:

  • UK students - TBC
  • International and EU students - £13,340 (standard fee)
  • International and EU students - £12,810 (full early payment fee)

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry.

Further information
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

See our Student regulations

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.


At UCA Farnham there are studio spaces for all pathways of the pre-degree and foundation courses; 3D workshops with machines for working a in range of materials with dedicated technical support; digital media suites with both Macs and PCs loaded with design software; and open access print studios.


Pre-degree studios, UCA Farnham


3D workshop, UCA Farnham


Print studios, UCA Farnham


Pre-degree studios, UCA Farnham

Course connections

Course connections

After completing this course, most of our students progress to a degree course at UCA.

View all of our undergraduate degree courses


This course is part of our Diploma 2 Degree scheme which guarantees you a place on one of our undergraduate degrees after you have completed this course.

The process is simple and stress-free, letting you bypass lengthy application processes and avoid UCAS fees. There’s also no need for you to attend an interview.

More details about the scheme can be found on the Diploma 2 Degree pages.

Instead of further study you may also choose to progress directly into employment or do an apprenticeship in the industry.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard minimum entry requirements* for this course are:

Five GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 9-4 preferably including: art, design, media, or related creative subject, including English language/literature and a minimum of grade 3/D in mathematics

OR one of the following:

- Higher Diploma (Level 2) in a related subject area.
- Access Diploma (in an appropriate subject).
- BTEC National Award.

Other relevant and equivalent Level 2 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades - in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Include creative work in a variety of media that shows your interest in art and design - this could include paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics or design work. You can include film or video work but make sure it's no more than three minutes in duration. We also like to see examples of written work, such as an essay, case study, evaluation or exhibition review. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

Apply now

UK applications

International & EU applications

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa.
If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 416110 or

When to apply:

Our deadline for applications is 31 March - if you can apply by this date then we guarantee to consider you. But, if we still have places available after this date, we'll consider late applications, too.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

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