Art and Design Level 3 Diploma


A great opportunity to learn creative thinking and making skills with traditional and contemporary materials and techniques to build a portfolio for Art Foundation, Higher Education or Apprenticeships/employment. This Diploma course is equivalent to two A-levels.

What will I study in Art and Design Level 3 Diploma?

For this Diploma, the first year focuses on the personal development of a sketchbook - containing research, ideas, practice with materials and techniques, reviews of progress and record of making final outcomes.

The 6 units in the first year are taught sequentially, responding to the theme 'Nature Transformed' - starting with different approaches to drawing.  This leads to an introduction to sculptural techniques exploring construction with a range of materials and modelling with paperclay.   Creativity then evolves to a ceramic/sculptural making unit looking at developing zoomorphic (animal influenced) forms to combine function and appearance in unusual and exciting ways.   The project ends with an illustration unit investigating image making through a sequence of familiar small-scale formats (playing cards/ postage stamps etc).

The last two units of the first year cover character development (looking at examples from graphic novel/animation) and devising, designing and using a range of materials and techniques to construct a character with cultural/religious and historical references.

The second year of the course is different.  The six units are 'paired-up' to create three projects.  The projects differ each year following student interests, though portrait oil painting, a contextual unit are often used, a mixed-media illustration and print project and a Fine art project covering a choice of 2 dimensional/3 dimensional responses to a group theme.

Entry Requirements

Four GCSE's grades 9-4 (A*-C) including English Language and an Art related subject demonstrating sound drawing skills.  Students with lower grades are still welcome to apply and will need to show a portfolio of their artwork to ensure the course level is right.

How will I learn?

The more essential units are delivered first so students pick-up the skills necessary for progression.  As a practical subject learning is by the practical application of skills to demonstrate understanding.  Demonstrations, examples, exempla work, work produced within the group to share experiences and extend learning.  Feedback is constant - with more formal feedback provided mid-way through units to identify areas requiring attention, while knowing what is being achieved.

There is no exam, but each unit in the first year and each pair of units in the 2nd year has a deadline.   As a vocational course the importance of meeting deadlines relates to real work and other work situations are mimicked in group exhibitions where students can sell their work.  Students who work slowly, or wish to put more work in to meet the deadline are strongly encouraged to work independently in the studio.

The grades are Pass, Merit and Distinction.


How will I be assessed?

Units are delivered sequentially - and marked within 2 weeks of submission - so students are aware of their progress as the course progresses.   Assessment of work follows the criteria outlined in the units the project briefs are based upon.  Direction for areas requiring attention are usually picked-up at interim reviews where students are provided with feeback.

All grades are based on coursework

Units often follow a similar pattern, requesting artist research leading to practical experimentation, the development of own ideas in response to a brief/task or theme.  Samples/prototypes might be required, then feedback takes place prior to starting final outcome.  Units frequently ask the student to present work in a considered and appropriate way.

Work experience is usually working with an arts organisation as a client and/or organising a selling print exhibition based on a student selected theme.

Any trips?

Yes (usually) to local places of interest for project briefs and to Oxford/London galleries and museums.

Are there any costs involved?

The Art Pack costs £80 (2021 price).  There is a 1/3 discount because the college shop bulk buys the equipment.  Payable on Wisepay or by cheque at the college shop usually within two weeks of the Autumn term.  The art pack is highly recommended for all students, it allows students to be equiped to do the projects from the 'get-go' becoming both more independent and prepared for lessons. Students in receipt of a bursary will receive an additional subsidy towards the cost of the Art Pack.


Are there exams?

No exams - all grades are based on coursework submitted to deadlines.  Students should put as much work and effort into their submitted artwork as they can.

Can I work in the studio outside of lessons?

Yes.  Students are encouraged to engage independently with their work - it demonstrates a level of ambition and interest in extending thinking and skills.   There are projects where it is only possible to work in the studio.   Also - if you are working in your own time at college there will be less homework that needs to be done.

What happens if I fall behind with my work?

Occasionally students find they have fallen behind with tasks, possibly through illness, work more slowly, or have found they need to re-work a piece.   The solution is to attend extra sessions in the studio to ensure you can keep pace with the project and achieve as good a grade as possible.

Is there a lot of written work?

There are some units requiring evaluations, but generally the writing is for contextual research, using paragraphs to write factual information, discuss 'formal elements' in artist's work, personal opinions and how you might use techniques.

There are also pages in your sketchbook recording the use of materials and techniques and the process of documenting the making of final work.  Photographs annotated - explaining how you use materials and techniques to complete intended outcomes.

Can I do what I want?

Project briefs are written to provide a framework and structure to learning and in response to unit criteria requirements.  Projects delivered sequentially build on prior experiences and learning and for different levels of student ability.   Projects are more directed in the first year and are more open to interpretation and student discussion for the second year.

Creativity needs to start somewhere and good research and ideas allow the learner to extend their own interpretation and interests into any project.

Awarding Body

OCR Cambridge Technical

Available As

[112 UCAS pts. available]

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What can I do after I have taken this course?

Available As

[112 UCAS pts. available]

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