Art and Design Extended BA (Hons)

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Develop your core skills and critical thinking. Gain experience of the possible routes within art and design. Use the skills and confidence you acquire to progress onto an honours degree of your choice.

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The extended route in art and design allows you to make an informed choice of which degree route you want to pursue and give you an introductory experience to different creative areas.

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. You will develop new ways of working by providing broad exposure to a range of pathways including Fine Art, Fashion, Visual Communication, Lens-Based Media, and Glass and Ceramics.

After completing the first year of study, you can choose from our range of courses in; Fine Art, Fashion, Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation, Glass and Ceramics and Photography, Video and Digital Imaging.

The extra year will also help you make the transition into higher education more smoothly. Midway through the course, you will specialise in an area you would like to pursue at degree level. You’ll be helped to gain access to the best course for you.

This course has exactly the same content and timetable as our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. The difference is in the funding arrangements; the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is free for school-leavers aged 18 at the start of the course.

Why us?

  • This course will allow you to progress onto one of our BA (Hons) Art and Design courses
  • We have a broad intake of students from across the UK, EU as well as international students, all offering different perspectives and approaches to art and design
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • We are acknowledged as providing innovative teaching and learning, creating opportunities, in university level facilities, for students to work on live projects alongside and with creative practitioners
  • Access to FabLab Sunderland on City Campus, part of a global network of digital fabrication spaces that provide 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and a CNC router
  • The end of the first year features an exhibition, in which you can showcase your work to the public

Course structure

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.

You will progress through this year developing skills that will assist you as you enter your chosen subject specialism.

Successful completion of the extended year leads to an automatic place on University of Sunderland honours degree.

Stage 1: Exploratory Stage (Rotations)

You will explore different ways of working and an exciting range of skills as you develop your practice in a range of art and design areas. As you experience different approaches and skills you will be best placed to progress into the specialism you want. 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


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 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 a series of experimental outcomes to help present your work and research in a professional manner.

Students often gain experience with live projects or work experience in exhibitions and art events. Every year there are several study visits to help inspire your own studies.

Stage 3: Confirmatory Stage

Based on your experiences so far, and working with your tutors, you will develop a self-directed project in your chosen pathway. This project at the end of the first year is assessed to give your final grade, encouraging experimentation at all of the earlier stages of the course.

The academic team will encourage you further to develop the independent study skills that are necessary for degree level study and careers in the creative industries.

  • 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
    • Risograph printing
    • Glass and ceramic kilns
    • Hot glass workshop
    • Two cold working studios for glass (sandblasting, cutting, grinding and polishing)
    • Architectural glass studio
    • Students also have access to facilities within FabLab on campus, which includes laser cutters, routers, milling machines, vinyl cutters and 3D printers
    Art and Design facilities
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • The University Library has an exceptional collection of photography books and monographs and subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Giving access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource on full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - arts and design
  • The Department of Glass and Ceramics is based in the National Glass Centre, a nationally recognised glass production and exhibition centre with world-class production facilities and a programme of international exhibitions and creative projects.

    Studying here puts you at the heart of an international network of professionals in the glass and ceramics sector. You will be exposed to the most modern techniques in glass and ceramics art, with access to world-class production facilities. Through the Centre’s visiting artists and designers programme, you will have the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned, high-profile artists currently working in the glass and ceramics field. You will also be given access to and the opportunity to work on cutting-edge contemporary exhibitions to help launch your career. National Glass Centre is also home to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, which has a long history of showing cutting edge contemporary art.

    National Glass Centre
  • Map and directions


This course is based at the National Glass Centre a nationally recognised glass production and exhibition centre with world-class production facilities and a programme of international exhibitions and creative projects.






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).

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 you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Portfolio requirements

We are interested in your creative potential - please prepare a portfolio of work you have created so far. We are not looking for perfection as we appreciate you may still be developing the range of your work. We would like to see: 

  • A variety of work – we want to see a range of approaches
  • Work completed in or outside of your studies
  • Ideas that you feel didn’t work
  • Research: examples of various forms of investigation
  • Photographs of 3D, and large 2D, work
  • A USB stick or online link with any digital and screen-based work
  • Accompanied by any supporting work, sketch books and developmental pieces

If you are an international applicant, please send a link to your online portfolio.

Please note, this course is under review.

Fees and finance

The annual fee is £9,250 for UK and EU students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


This extended course gives you a full year to explore different creative areas. It forms the first year of a four-year route towards gaining a BA (Hons) degree with us, providing you with a range of art and design skills. The first year of an Extended Degree is not a qualification in its own right, but when you successfully complete it you are guaranteed a place on our full undergraduate course.

If you want to pursue a creative undergraduate degree but have limited experience of hands-on making, or lack the relevant academic qualifications, our Extended Degree will prepare you to enter one of our BA (Hons) undergraduate courses.

Further your study

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


Work placement guaranteed

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Art and Design Extended courses 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.

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