International Foundation in Art and Design

A unique opportunity to benefit from the extensive range of workshops and equipment at Manchester School of Art.

Why apply for the International Foundation programme?

  • A guaranteed conditional route to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree at MMU (subject to meeting progression requirements).
  • A quality-assured programme, validated by MMU.
  • Combines both practical art and design skills, and English language in an art and design context.
  • Taught by helpful and supportive teachers at both INTO Manchester and the University’s historic studios.
  • Teachers are also practicing artists.
  • Access to a range of university facilities, including world-class studios and workshops within the School of Art.

Course options available

  • International Foundation (3 terms) - this is the standard option, suitable for most students
  • Headstart Foundation (3 terms) - this includes an additional two weeks of learning that introduces you to British culture and history
  • Extended International Foundation (4 terms) - this option features an additional term of English at the beginning for extra language support and English language entry requirements are typically lower

What is special about this programme?

The International Foundation is designed to increase your English language skills, improve your study and research skills, and develop your understanding of key academic subjects.

It provides all that is needed for successful study at the Manchester School of Art, part of Manchester Metropolitan University and the second oldest design school in Britain.

You'll be taught by practicing artists, enjoy your own studio space in the INTO Manchester Art Studio in Manchester School of Art, and have access to university workshops and equipment.

It offers:

  • university-style teaching with qualified and experienced teachers
  • communicative and interactive language lessons
  • high contact hours
  • continuous assessment to monitor your progress through assignments, coursework, examinations and other tasks

Teaching methods

75% of your time will be on campus in the INTO studio at the Manchester School of Art on the Manchester Metropolitan University's All Saints campus, which is a five minute walk from the INTO Manchester Study Centre.

You'll spend 75% of your time in your own art space in the INTO studio at MMU's prestigious Manchester School of Art. You'll receive technical support to use facilities such as bookbinding, screen-printing, the daylight photography studio and chemical workshop.

Some teaching will also take place at the INTO Manchester Study Centre, such as English language classes.

Who should apply for the International Foundation programme?

You should apply for this course if you have completed secondary school education in your home country.

The International Foundation programme provides academic preparation for first year entry and ensures that you meet the minimum English language requirement for entry to your chosen undergraduate degree programme at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Successful completion of this programme will also allow you to apply for entry to other universities in the UK.

What will I study?

You will study the following modules:

Developing Specialist Pathways

This unit will introduce a range of different potential pathways including textiles/fashion, graphics/illustration, fine art painting and sculpture, and interior and 3D Design.

Individual and group tutorials will guide you towards the most appropriate pathway to reflect your skills and interests, which will lead to the eventual choice of your degree subject.

English for Academic Study

This unit is designed to provide international students whose first language is not English with the language and study skills needed for effective transfer to UK undergraduate courses in Art and Design and related disciplines.

A particular feature of the unit will introduce the student to British life and culture, and explain the expectations involved in the UK Higher Education system.

Exploring Visual Language

The unit introduces basic art and design principles of 2D and 3D material handling together with associated specialist vocabulary and concepts of discussing work appropriately in English.

You will learn the theory of research and how journals and sketchbooks are developed and maintained.

Research briefs are given and reinforced by museum and gallery visits so that actual sources can feed into your work.

Final Major Project

For this unit, you will choose the subject matter for your major creative project, which will be developed over an extended period of 10 weeks.

You will be guided by your personal tutor as to the theme and direction of your creative piece and carry out associated reflection and research.

Group seminars and individual presentations will aid reflection on your achievements.

Academic guidance

You will be encouraged to explore your personal ambitions in art and design in an open, friendly and supportive atmosphere.

You will be assigned a personal tutor, with whom you will meet in small groups or on a one-to-one basis to discuss progress on the course, as well as general approaches to study and ways to develop your portfolio.

We also have an International Progression Manager who will help with your university application.

How will I be assessed?

Your progress is monitored continually. Grades from the International Foundation do not count towards your degree but help the University to assess whether you meet the requirements for progression to your chosen degree.

Assessment will be by:

  • portfolio review by your personal tutor
  • your journal, in which you will show research into and development of your work
  • presentations that evaluate your art and design, including your major project
  • formal assessment of levels and progress in English

The International Foundation is validated by Manchester Metropolitan University. If you successfully complete the programme with a grade of 50% or above, you will be offered conditional progression onto one of the undergraduate degree courses at the Manchester School of Art.

You will need to complete the course with 50% in your English for Academic Purposes module and an art and design portfolio, which will demonstrate the full range of skills needed for acceptance onto the appropriate degree programme. Progression to some degree programmes is subject to an interview.

How do I qualify?

Academic requirements:

You need to have completed 12 years of schooling (or the local equivalent to meet the same standard) with good grades.

For information about country-specific entry requirements please contact us.

English requirements:

4-term programme: IELTS 4.5 (with a minimum of 4.5 in writing) or equivalent.

3-term programme: IELTS 5.0 (with a minimum of 5.0 in writing) or equivalent.

If you have achieved the minimum IELTS score overall but do not have the required score in writing for direct entry, you will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Centre can only accept a UKVI approved IELTS test for this course. Read more about UKVI IELTS or contact us.

If you do not meet the minimum English language level you can apply for our Academic English course.

Portfolio requirements:

Applicants will also need to include a small portfolio.

Please submit six digital images of your previous work, of which a minimum of three should be observational drawings.

Other items that may be included are original photography, your sketch books, original computer-generated imagery, photographs of three-dimensional work that you have produced, and evidence of sketching which shows the development of your own artwork or design.

You must also submit a statement of up to 250 words describing the areas of art and design you are interested in, why you wish to join the programme and any key influences, for example artists, designers or others, that you particularly like or are inspired by.

You should indicate how much art and training you have already completed, and which degree you would like to progress to. You will also be asked to include a statement that the portfolio you have submitted is your own original work.

To submit your portfolio, you should either attach it to your application or if externally hosted, you should provide a web link to the hosting site.


16 years and above.

All students commencing courses on a published September start date must be 17 years old by 31 December of that calendar year.

For all other start dates, students must be 17 years old by 31 December of the preceding calendar year.

When can I start?

Start date Term dates Fees
June 2017 start
(4 terms)
Term 1: Wed 28 Jun 2017 – Fri 08 Sep 2017
Term 2: Mon 11 Sep 2017 – Fri 15 Dec 2017
Term 3: Mon 08 Jan 2018 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Term 4: Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fri 15 Jun 2018
August 2017 start
(3 terms) Headstart Foundation
Term 1: Tue 29 Aug 2017 – Fri 15 Dec 2017
Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Term 3:Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fri 15 Jun 2018
September 2017 start
(3 terms)
Term 1: Mon 11 Sep 2017 – Fri 15 Dec 2017
Term 2: Mon 08 Jan 2018 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Term 3: Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fri 15 Jun 2018
September 2017 start
(4 terms)
Term 1: Mon 25 Sep 2017 – Fri 08 Dec 2017
Term 2:Mon 08 Jan 2018 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Term 3:Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fri 25 May 2018
Term 4:Tue 29 May 2018 – Fri 31 Aug 2018
January 2018 start
(3 terms)
Term 1:Mon 08 Jan 2018 – Thu 29 Mar 2018
Term 2: Mon 16 Apr 2018 – Fri 25 May 2018
Term 3:Tue 29 May 2018 – Fri 31 Aug 2018

Tuition fees do not include:

  • enrolment fee: an additional charge of £150 per academic programme (to be charged upon confirmation)
  • text books: an additional charge in the region of £240 (3-term) or £320 (4-term) academic course
  • use of studio facilities: an additional charge of £400 per year
  • accommodation is not included in the fees: view our accommodation options.

How do I pay?

You can pay by bank transfer or by credit card. Please contact us for bank transfer details.

What's the difference between the 3 and 4-term courses?

The 4-term Extended International Foundation incorporates an additional term of intensive English language tuition at the beginning of the course, allowing you to improve your English to a level appropriate for academic study. It will typically have a lower English language entry requirement than the 3-term programme.

You will be required to pass the initial English language component before progressing to the next stage of the programme.

Headstart Foundation - helping you to get used to the UK

For students starting their International Foundation programme in September, the Headstart Foundation programme is a two-week course designed to provide you with an introduction to British culture and history. It has been designed to provide international students studying overseas for the first time with the perfect introduction to studying in the UK.

The course will:

  • provide a basic understanding of British society and institutions
  • provide an understanding of national and local history
  • develop your confidence and speaking skills through participation in activities

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • work effectively with other students in a team
  • understand and respond to spoken and written texts
  • communicate effectively through both individually based written work and group based spoken work
  • use English language skills effectively in a range of situations

Where will this programme take me?

Our conditional progression guarantee:

We guarantee to find you a conditional place to study on an appropriate degree and university if you successfully complete your International Foundation programme, follow professional advice offered by INTO staff and meet minimum attendance requirements.

As a successful pathway student, you’ll have access to a number of university progression options. Each progression option will follow a specific pathway and specific requirements for both English/study skills and overall grade. You’ll also find some courses have specific requirements, such as:

  • successfully completing an interview;
  • having previously studied a relevant discipline;
  • having previously completed a degree; or
  • having IELTS 6.0 or equivalent in English language.

The International Foundation is validated by Manchester Metropolitan University. If you successfully complete the programme with a grade of 50% or above, you will be offered conditional progression onto one of the undergraduate degree courses at the Manchester School of Art.

You will need to complete the course with 50% in your English for Academic Purposes module and an art and design portfolio, which will demonstrate the full range of skills needed for acceptance onto the appropriate degree programme. Progression to some degree programmes is subject to an interview.

Degree options

This course leads to a wide range of bachelor's degrees at Manchester Metropolitan University.

You can search for a particular degree on the Manchester Metropolitan University website or view the list below.

Please note that this information is subject to change - contact us with any questions you may have around available progression degrees.

Joint 15th in the UK for Art and Design
(The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017)

INTO Manchester in partnership with MMU Alina Panova from Russian Federation

from Russian Federation

"I think this course is really good if you’re an international student and you need to know the basics of studying art and design."

Read more Read less

Meet Alina who studied International Foundation in Art and Design at INTO Manchester in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. She is now studying BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan University.

What made you choose to study this programme at INTO Manchester?

I had already graduated from college and I thought it was not enough for me because I wanted to get a higher education. Previously I had studied photography and photography is part of art and design. So I thought it would be really valuable for me. This is how I got here.

Is the teaching and learning style different to your previous education experience?

It’s really different because here tutors are really supportive and helpful so if I had any problems they always were there to help and give advice. I never thought of teachers like this before. At my previous institute I was on my own, basically. Here, you’re surrounded by really helpful people. I had a tutorial with an MMU photography tutor and he said I was really welcome on the photography course at MMU. This really made me happy. Here we had personal tutorials, we would discuss our work, how it’s going; our strengths and weaknesses. We basically got help and advice on how to make our work better.

What do you enjoy about your course at INTO Manchester?

I enjoy basically everything! We had such a busy schedule in the first term but I still felt a kind of freedom with what I was able to do. I could do everything and anything. If I wanted to go for example to exhibitions, I could do so. It’s not like we were restricted. It was a really open course.

Have you learnt or developed any skills whilst studying at INTO Manchester?

Well, yeah when I arrived I only knew about photography. Now I have developed core skills in sculpting and I’m progressing to a fine art course because of this. I’ve found myself really enjoying sculpture even though I’d never done it before in my whole life. Now I’ve done it, I’ve found I’m really good at it.

Can you describe the programme to a future student?

The first term is basically exploration. Students are taught everything; from drawing to collages. You try everything. The second term is more focused. We experimented with techniques that we want to use in the future. In my case I did professional, self-directed and independent projects in fine art.

You’re given a brief and then create your own ideas. In the final term we had a ten-week project. Our final major project. Here we had to think about our future and studying at the University. So, we basically did anything we wanted to. We would still have tutorials with our teachers but it was very independent in structure. I think this is really good, as we start with help but we end up being really independent. We finish as adults. We are ready to go and fully prepared for university.

What’s been your favourite project?

A project which was called ‘Hidden’. We were given the word ‘hidden’ and we had to go off and build ideas around that word. So I made some sculptures about the hidden lives of people. This was my favourite project; I did what I wanted and this was really good for me. My advice for future students would be, don’t be afraid as you will really enjoy it.

Has your English improved since you arrived?

Yes, it’s improved a lot because we had English for Academic Purposes (EAP), and it’s related to art. Everything we do in English is about art; we were taught how to describe our own work, we had seminars and studio time. We also had to do presentations where we would talk in front of the class about our work in preparation for later on in life. This taught us how to present our work and how to exhibit work. I think my English has improved an awful lot. It’s really good.

Can you tell us about the location of where you study?

It’s really good because our studio for practical sessions were on the MMU campus and then the INTO Study Centre is only a five to ten minute walk away. We would take English at the INTO Study Centre and practical sessions on the MMU campus. It wasn’t a problem as I lived really close to them both. If you know how to manage your time, you will be OK. I spent more time in the studios on the MMU campus so naturally I felt more part of this environment. When I was at INTO I felt welcomed and people were really friendly there. I think you get double the amount of support in a way.

Do you feel confident about progressing after studying this course?

I didn’t at the beginning. But now I’ve developed and feel confident. I think I am really well prepared to study with British students. I will be at their level.

What advice do you have for a future student?

I think you have to be creative but also be brave. You need to push yourself to try different things. You also have to manage your time well, be open-minded, and don’t be afraid.

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