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Art Foundation Courses | Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Art Foundation Courses

Designed for those who want to develop skills and understanding before embarking on degree level study, or as interesting courses in their own right.

Why choose an Art Foundation Course with OCA?

If degree study is new to you or you are uncertain about where to start, you are strongly encouraged to consider starting with the OCA’s Open Art Foundation courses.

These courses will provide the building blocks you will need to start out on a degree pathway and will help to build your confidence and familiarise you with the study skills you need to study from home. This is especially relevant if you have been out of education for a long time.

By choosing to study an OCA art and design foundation course, you will get the same level support as OCA undergraduates and can join study visits, access the OCA student website, participate in online forums, and tap into the many and varied resources there.

The courses are not accredited but, by completing the course, you will gain the confidence that you are ready for degree study and progress in your subject.

How it Works

Start anytime

There are several intakes throughout the year you can join, study online, and pursue further education options – or you can investigate a distance learning degree with OCA straight away! Review the key enrolment dates here.

Spread the cost

For the academic year 2023/2024, a Foundation course costs;

  • UK Students: £1025, or a deposit of £307.50 followed by 5 monthly instalments of £143.50. Course fee bursaries are available for OCA Foundation courses, and you can find out more information about the Learner Support Scheme here.
  • International Students: £1,175, or a deposit of £352.50 followed by 5 monthly instalments of £164.50
Study at times to suit you

Your course materials are accessible online through the virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, where you’ll also have access to student forums, a subject space and the student handbook,. You’ll work primarily from a set text of course materials and resources, but can also sign up to webinars, workshops and study groups in addition to your core learning. You’ll be able to complete a Foundation course within 12 months when dedicating the recommended minimum 10 study hours per week. If you have more time to dedicate, you can complete sooner!


This Open Foundations drawing course will give you the best starting point to develop basic drawing skills, explore different ways of using materials and tools, and discover drawing as a pleasurable and inventive activity.

Course synopsis


This Open Foundations course aims to equip you with fundamental creative, visual and technical skills in photography. It is a practical, task-oriented course filled with creative approaches to developing your photography skills.

Course synopsis


This Open Foundations course will help you develop your visual skills and explore different ways of using materials and tools to develop your own textile ideas, introducing you to the nature and context of textiles.

Course synopsis

Drawing for Textile Art, Design & Fashion

This Open course is designed as an introduction to drawing for textiles and contemporary drawing practice more broadly. You will be introduced to expressive, gestural methods alongside more traditional approaches.

Course synopsis

Interior Design

This art and design foundation course has been designed to offer you an insight into the creative processes, critical thinking and practical skills needed to conduct a personal investigation into the navigation, conceptualisation and occupation of space.

Course synopsis


This is a bespoke course designed to help you develop as a composer, musician, or music appreciator. It will give you a firm grounding in music theory, basic composition and arrangement, ear training and music history.

Course synopsis

Creative Writing

The Open Foundations Creative Writing course is designed to inspire and encourage new students to practise independent writing. You will start writing immediately, drawing from personal experience, and you can expect to make rapid progress.

Course synopsis


This course introduces you to painting practice, practical application and contextual material. You will explore a range of subject matter including still life, interiors, landscape and the figure, and there will be an emphasis on working from life.

Course synopsis

Drawing from the Past

This art foundation course is designed to provide students with a new way of looking at and thinking about works of art and art history, learning strategies that should allow you to discover and generate knowledge on your terms.

Course synopsis

Studying with us

Our flexible part time Open art foundation degrees come to you, wherever you might be, and whatever your circumstances. We recognise that distance learning education can require a greater level of self-motivation than traditional campus-based study, and so we offer a range of online facilities and support.

Learn more
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