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Diploma in Art and Design - Level 3


The Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design is designed for those who are looking to go on to study art and design related subjects at university or higher level of study and those who want to explore progression opportunities in an art and design related sector.

The level 3 Art and Design course is a full-time programme split into two stages:

  • The National Foundation Diploma studied in the first year.
  • Extended Diploma studied in the second year.

Following successful completion of the National Foundation Diploma in year 1 you may then be able to progress to a second year of study on the Extended Diploma.

The full Extended Diploma is the equivalent to three A Levels and highly suitable for preparing students for university entry.

The Level 3 diploma enables you to explore and experiment with a wide range of art and design materials and processes; contextual studies is included throughout the course. continuing to the extended diploma, you will be able to follow a specialist pathway within the area of fine arts, sculpture and ceramics, 3D design, photography, printmaking, illustration or fashion and textiles, as well as completing a final major project that will be included in a public exhibition. 

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Entry requirements

For the diploma you will need:

  • Four GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English or maths (or an appropriate equivalent).


  • A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English at grade 4/C (or an appropriate equivalent).
  • An art portfolio.

For the extended diploma you will need:

  • Five GCSEs with at least 4 points (grade C) including English or maths (or an appropriate equivalent).


  •  A relevant Level 2 diploma at merit level and GCSE English at grade 4/C or above.
  • An art portfolio.

You may need to supply at least one written reference from a teacher or employer (in some cases two) and/or your current school or college report.

Mature students (those aged 19 or over) who do not have the qualifications required for entry may still be eligible subject to relevant experience, your portfolio of work and career goals.

Start dates and fees

Start DateDurationCodeAnnual Fee (Age)Actions
16-18over 19
Sep 20211 yr(s)1565A1251FREEFREE* to £3155.00Apply

* If you are aged 19-23 and studying your first Level 3 course then that course may be free. Please contact us for more details. If you are aged 19 or over and either studying a second Level 3 course or qualifying Level 4, 5 or 6 course you may be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the costs.

How long is the course?

The diploma is a one-year course. After successful completion of this programme, and following advice and guidance, you may continue your study for a further year in order to achieve a full extended diploma.


How will I be assessed?

Assessment takes place through controlled assignments set by tutors and the examining board which are externally verified.

You will take part in projects and practical workshops based on realistic workplace situations. 

What does the course lead to?

The diploma and extended diploma are nationally recognised qualifications. The extended diploma at Level 3 is equivalent to three A Levels and will support an application to Higher Education as well as developing many of the wider skills required for progression to employment.

What will I study?

You will study a wide range of art disciplines including:

  • Photography
  • Graphics
  • Painting and drawing
  • Textiles/fashion
  • Printmaking
  • 3D and clay
  • Product design
  • Fine art.

Study programmes

It is an entry requirement for some courses to have gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths (see entry requirements). If the entry requirements to a course do not require A*-C in these subjects, and you haven’t already gained GCSEs A*-C in English and maths before joining us, you will continue to study English and maths as part of your programme and take appropriate qualifications in these subjects with the aim of achieving A* to C grade. In addition, to help you gain essential skills for employment, every student aged under 19 and studying a full-time course at college will take part in our study programmes alongside their main subject qualification. Find out more.

What can I go on to study?

HND, degree or higher level apprenticeship in art or design related area or other related university-level courses or employment.

How do I apply?

Apply online


Next steps

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Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2020

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Best A Level provider in Mansfield and Ashfield for student progress*

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction**

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An extensive bus service across Mansfield and the surrounding area

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£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

*Value added is a measure of a student’s progress against their starting point
**Learner Exit Survey 2017/18
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