Art and Design Extended BA (Hons)

Apply Now

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

Register your interest


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 completion of 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 programme 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
  • 94.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK undergraduate students)
  • 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

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 a 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 3
  • D 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 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, you will develop your own project within 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.

Following the extended year you will progress onto one of the following programmes: 

Fine Art  

Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

Graphic Design

Illustration and Design

Animation and Games Art

Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics

National Glass Centre,
Liberty Way,


  • 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
    Art and Design facilities
  • 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.

    Some of the most important sources for your course include:

    • Art Full Text + Art Abstracts: A major resource for media and arts information
    • Design and Applied Arts Index: Covers journals featuring both new designers and the development of design and the applied arts since the mid-19th century
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC): Provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Journals and research - art
  • Our Arts and Design library section has a specialist collection of over 120,000 books, DVDs, videos, slides and one of the largest electronic information networks in the sector.

    The experienced library team provide a high quality service and are sensitive to the requirements and working methods of our students. 

    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


Your studies will be based at National Glass Centre on the River Wear, an inspirational setting for an Arts and Design course.






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 necessary, these qualifications can be achieved during the foundation course. 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. Your portfolio should be simply mounted and accompanied by preparatory work, including sketchbooks, which are an important feature. Where possible, 3D and large 2D work should be photographed. Digital and screen-based work should be saved on a CD or memory stick.

Suitable items for a portfolio include:

  • Drawing: examples of observed drawing and exploratory drawing
  • Projects: evidence of project work together with your sketchbooks and development work that is relevant to the subject
  • Self-initiated work: that you have done out of personal interest
  • Research: examples of various forms of investigation undertaken for projects

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

Fees and finance

The annual fee is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU 

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.

You are viewing entry requirements for visitors from England. Not from England? Change your country preferences.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

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


This extended programme gives you a full year to explore different creative areas. The programme 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 programme.

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 programme will prepare you to enter one of our BA (Hons) undergraduate programmes.

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.

Meet our academics