From September 2020, The Foundation Year will be welcoming all international students to join the course.* Applications for The Foundation Year 2020-21 will open in September 2019.

The Foundation Year is an intensive one year skills-based course designed to help students develop the making and thinking skills needed for progression to top-ranking universities in the UK and abroad. The course provides a route to a number of careers in the creative industries including Graphic Design, Illustration, Architecture, Photography, Fashion, Set Design and Fine Art. 

The year is made up of three stages spread over three terms, during which students explore different approaches to observation and experimentation in preparation for expression of their personal ideas in Fine Art and Design. The structure of the course progresses from tutor-led assignments and workshops towards self-directed study, culminating in an End of Year Exhibition. 

Contextual Studies
A Contextual Studies programme runs throughout the year; every Friday students attend a morning lecture from art historian Antje Southern which is followed by a visit to one of London’s galleries or museums in the afternoon. This component of the course develops skills in analysing and critiquing artistic practices and introduces methods of interpreting and evaluating information. Students also attend a weekly evening lecture with our postgraduate students which allows them to be introduced to MA-level discussion and critical theory.

Why study with us?

With a maximum of 50 students per year and 5-days teaching per week, students on The Foundation Year have an unparalleled number of teaching hours throughout the course including step-by-step guidance through the university application process. 

Based at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London’s Docklands, students benefit from an individual studio space in the heart of this creative community and the School is also able to provide special access to the city’s galleries and collections not usually open to the public as well a Painting Residency at Dumfries House, Scotland – an estate carefully restored by HRH The Prince of Wales.

  • An intensive programme with 5-days teaching per week
  • 50 students per year, small workshop groups and one-to-one tutorials 
  • Individual studio space for each student
  • Step-by-step guidance through the university application process and progression to BA courses at top-ranking universities 
  • Personal Tutors offering advice, expertise and support on a regular basis 
  • Contextual Studies programme including weekly art history and contemporary practice lectures and visits to London’s art galleries and museums 
  • Studios located in an established creative community in an inspiring part of London’s Docklands
  • Dedicated International Pastoral Liaison Officer to look after specific needs of international students
  • Programme of social events throughout the year, organised by alumni of the Royal Drawing School’s postgraduate programme, The Drawing Year 
  • End of Year Exhibition at Trinity Buoy Wharf  
  • One week Painting Residency at Dumfries House, Scotland 
  • The opportunity to join the successful network of Royal Drawing School alumni

Please visit The Foundation Year Homepage for a comprehensive look at Course Structure, Curriculum and Facilities.

What is life on the course like for an international student?

Careers in the Creative Industries

The creative industries are thriving in the UK, currently growing at nearly triple the rate of the wider UK economy. Worth over £92 billion, this sector provides 6.1% of jobs, approximately 2 million over all. By providing a stimulating and challenging experience during The Foundation Year, students are prepared for degree level study in a wide range of creative subjects. The course helps to establish a work pattern that will sustain students throughout their degree and onto a career in the ever-expanding creative industries.

Royal Drawing School

Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales and artist Catherine Goodman, the Royal Drawing School is an independent art school that aims to raise the standard and profile of drawing through teaching and practise. Over the years, the School has forged a unique and vital place in the art education landscape. Alongside The Foundation Year, the Royal Drawing School offers an MA-level postgraduate programme, public courses for adults and children, bespoke drawing courses and an international residencies programme. 

*Subject to UKVI approval

It’s really great to be on a course where everyone is passionate about the same thing. It is a creative and supportive environment which I feel has allowed my work to flourish. Ewan White The Foundation Year 2016-17