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Art and Design Extended BA (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

The extended route in art and design allows you to make an informed choice of which degree course to choose for undergraduate study. The extra year will also help you make the transition between further and higher education more smoothly.

 Work placement JAN 2016

You will have the opportunity to experience the full range of creative art and design subject areas, as well as gaining the research and study skills needed to progress further.

The first stage is split into four modules:

First, you will try exciting short projects in different pathways including: fine art practice, graphic design, glass and ceramics, fashion and textiles and photography and video skills and a broad understanding of the creative process.

Secondly, you will then choose one of these pathways and undertake longer and more developed project work. You are given opportunities to exhibit your work as well as support for constructing portfolios and blogs to showcase your own work. 

Alongside this, you will research current practice as well as Art and Design History, developing your own, Critical Studies in response.

Finally, you will pick a theme for your Final Major Project and develop it over nine weeks. This allows you to bring on everything you have learned, establish personal interests and processes within the specialism that you will continue to study at degree level.

This course will help you develop new ways of working by providing exposure to our degree programmes in Fine Art, Glass and Ceramics, Photography Video and Digital Imaging, Fashion Product and Promotion, Graphic Design, Illustration, Advertising, Animation and Games Art. You will develop transferable skills and interdisciplinary approaches that will enable you to excel within the creative industries that are supported by our specialist degree courses.

Work experience

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Art and Design Extended course can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. *By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 3)

Stage 1: Exploratory Stage (Rotations)

You will explore different ways of working and a range of pathways, including: 

  • Fine Art
  • Animation
  • Visual Communication
  • Glass and Ceramics
  • 3D Design
  • Fashion and Textiles
  • Lens Based Media

Stage 2: Pathway Stage

You will choose an area you would like to pursue at degree level in response to the pathways you have experienced. You will develop your knowledge of the creative process, skills in critical thinking and experience of interpreting set projects. At the same time you will develop a portfolio and blog to help present your work and research in a professional manner. 

If students choose to apply outside the University, help is given with the UCAS process. Students often gain experience with live projects or work experience in exhibitions and art events. Every year there are several study visits, including one overseas trip to help inspire your own studies. 

Stage 3: Confirmatory Stage

Based on your experiences so far, you will develop your own project within your chosen pathway. The academic team will encourage you further to develop the independent study skills that are necessary for degree level study.

Successful completion of this year of study leads to an automatic place on University of Sunderland honours degree.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include practical studio-based work, supported by lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Experienced tutors will give regular feedback and support as your work progresses.

The Final Major Project is assessed to give your final grade, encouraging experimentation at all of the earlier stages of the course.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK Universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

The University of Sunderland provides excellent facilities and we are no.1 in the North East for spend per student in Arts and Design, according to The Guardian University Guide 2015.

Our facilities include:

  • Workshops for wood, metal and printmaking
  • Large studio spaces
  • Project spaces
  • Digital studios with video, sound editing and screening facilities
  • Several suites of Apple Macs
  • Large format digital printing
  • Arts and Design Library
  • Digital sewing and embroidery facilities
  • Cameras and darkrooms
  • Photography studios
  • Mould-making and glaze workshops
  • Glass and ceramic kilns
  • Hot glass workshop
  • Two cold working studios for glass (sandblasting, cutting, grinding and polishing)
  • Architectural glass studio

Journals and research

We subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date articles.

Students are helped to develop their research skills working with lecturers and library staff to develop their awareness of art history as well as contemporary art and design and the wider contexts of the subjects.

Course location

The course is based in National Glass Centre, which is on the banks of the River Wear and less than a mile from the seaside. It is a key driver of Sunderland’s reputation as a world-class centre of excellence in the teaching of glass. It offers excellent, newly developed studio space for students and it is close to the University’s Design Centre and our other facilities linked to Arts and Design.


National Glass Centre 

Liberty Way, Sunderland, SR6 0GL

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 32 UCAS points from a minimum of one A Level or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

There is usually a requirement for three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If necessary, these qualifications can be achieved during the foundation course.

If English is your second language, we require a minimum of IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent).

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 32 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 32 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 32 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Portfolio requirements

We ask applicants to prepare a portfolio of work, which should be simply mounted and accompanied by preparatory work. Sketchbooks are an important feature of your preparatory work and should be included. Where possible, 3D and large 2D work should be photographed. Digital and screen-based work should be saved on a CD or memory stick.

If you are an international applicant, please supply your portfolio on a CD.

Suitable items for a portfolio include:

  • Drawing: examples of observed drawing and exploratory drawing
  • Projects: evidence of project work including sketchbooks and development work
  • Self-initiated work: that you have done out of personal interest
  • Research: examples of various forms of investigation undertaken for projects

Fees & finance

The annual fee is:

  • £6,800 if you are from the UK / EU (year 1)
  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU (years 2, 3 and 4) 
  • £10,750 if you are from outside the UK / EU

UK / EU students will be eligible for a £2,450 fee waiver in the first year which means you will only pay £6,800. Tuition fees for years 2, 3 and 4 will be £9,250.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Most students progress from our foundation course to an honours degree. If you wish to continue to study at the University of Sunderland, you can choose from our range of courses in:

  • Fine Art
  • Fashion
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Multimedia
  • Animation
  • Glass and Ceramics
  • Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

Although you are guaranteed a place at Sunderland if you complete the course successfully, you may also choose to apply to other universities. Results at Sunderland are way above the national average, students from foundation at Sunderland regularly gain offers from the most competitive art and design courses in the country.


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time with our experienced tutors, many of whom are well-regarded artists in their own right. If you have queries or difficulties, you can book an appointment with a tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance.

Further support for Arts and Design students is provided by our technicians. They offer support to help you make the most of the University's excellent facilities.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It's all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Download your personalised prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Course Leader for specific questions about the course:

Joe Woodhouse
Tel: 0191 515 3189

Social media: To see what events we run and to ask a question about this course, contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact the Student Helpline for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Tel: 0191 515 3000

The details

Course Name Art and Design Extended
Classification BA (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Foundation
Duration 4 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £See entry requirements page
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

32 points

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