If you are an international student who has completed an art &design degree outside of the UK and are looking to come to the UK with the ambition of studying on a Master’s course in the same, or related art and design discipline, our Pre-Master’s programme will help prepare you for this transition. This course would also suit any UK or European creative practitioner looking for an opportunity to develop their portfolio in anticipation of an application to any UK Master’s programme, in any Art & Design discipline, or simply as a means of investing in their own professional development. 

Choose a Pre-Master if you

.....have studied your BA outside the UK and are wishing to adapt your work and study practices to a UK higher educational environment

.....would like to improve your English Language level for application to a Master’s course

.....would like to develop your portfolio within a dynamic, project-led, transformative, creative studio environment

.....would like to develop potential lines for creative and critical enquiry, developing assumptions and ambitions for further research 



What to expect

This innovative programme is designed to help you develop the skills required for success at the Master’s level, at CSVPA or elsewhere, bridging the gap between your existing ability and experience and the realities of Postgraduate study. Emphasis is placed on encouraging you to become an independent creative practitioner, who is both critically informed and professionally aware; who understands both historical and contemporary contexts for Art and Design; and who is able to operate with confidence within an English-speaking educational environment.

Our Pre-Master’s course will also help you with other presentation and communication skills will enable you to develop your portfolio and will assist you in acquiring a more sophisticated understanding of specialist terminology and understanding required for entry onto leading Master’s courses. The programme will also give you the experience of working at the postgraduate level as you undertake a pilot Master’s project, building on existing skills and developing potential lines of research in the process.

There are three pathways within our Pre-Master’s programme, which are designed to suit your disciplinary ambitions. You can choose between Art and Design (Fine Art, Product/Industrial Design, Spatial Design, Speculative Design), Fashion (Fashion Design, Fashion Branding, and Creative Communication), and Visual Communication (Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation, Photography, Moving Image).

Participation in a range of experimental/interdisciplinary labs and workshops will enable the development of new skills, interdisciplinary perspectives, and experience with collaborative creative practice.

Throughout the course, you will assess/evaluate your existing knowledge and skills (technical, conceptual, and contextual). Also, you will learn skills and references that can be applied to all areas of art &design, before honing in on any area of specific interest. You will encounter critical thinking and scholarly methods that will help you explore possible lines of research for your MA (and may feed into any study proposals that MA courses may require at the point of application. Specially designed activities will provide you with an opportunity to develop your own research proposals, while still working on developing your portfolio.

All the way through this intensive course, you will be focussing on the development of your own creative practice, through detailed research and development. The final outcome is a capstone project, which representsthe culmination of your experience at CSVPA, as well as the platform for continued creative enquiry on a Master's programme in the UK.

1 semester/study block

Course Start

Masters in an Art & Design-related subject.

Tutor Support
Specialist tutor support available 5 days a week.

Studio Access
Students have access to our studios 7 days a week, from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at weekends.

How your Work is Assessed
Visual and written assignments and projects.

Guest Lecturers
The course is enriched by a programme of visiting lecturers and workshops, delivered by a range of creative practitioners, from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and employment contexts within the creative industries.

How we Teach
Throughout this course you will be taught by dedicated, experienced, multi-skilled creative practitioners, with whom you will work on a range of practical and conceptual briefs, designed to challenge and stimulate your creativity, facilitated through studio practice sessions, technical workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, experimental ‘labs’, field trips, and collaborative projects. As you progress, you will enhance and deepen understanding of your own practice, acquire new skills and develop new methodologies for art & design, establish fresh contexts for your work (both academic and professional), as well as developing your ability to write critically about topics relevant to your own creative approaches and ambitions.

Entry Criteria

20 years +

Educational Level
Students should hold a good Level 6 qualification (BA (Hons) degree or equivalent qualification); or a Level 5 international qualification (for example, 3 Years Diploma from a University in China) in an art or design or a closely related subject. Students who do not meet these entry requirements will still be considered on their own individual potential to succeed.

English Level for International Students

A portfolio is required

What should I include in my portfolio?

Your portfolio is the chance to show us your passions, enthusiasms, and skills. As a guide, we would like to see some, but not necessarily all, of the following:

  • project and self-initiated work; to include work-in-progress and/or finished pieces, showcasing levels of visual skill and creativity
  • evidence of primary and secondary research, which might include information derived from your own creative practice (drawing, photography, observation) as well as referenced information sourced from books, articles, magazines, exhibitions, films, museum visits, other cultural sources, or other academic contexts
  • your development process, as documented in sketchbooks or notebooks, including any reflective and/or evaluative thinking
  • personal ideas, proposed projects, and possible areas of interest, even if only speculative at present: if you can imagine it, how might you begin to visualise and reflect on it?
  • experimentation with a range of different media, materials, and disciplines, showing evidence of invention, discovery, and innovative thinking
  • breadth of interest in, and exploration of, a range of art and design disciplines
  • evidence of cultural awareness, identifying any social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, historical, anthropological, or scientific influences on your work


When submitting your portfolio digitally, please save it as a PDF, including a minimum of 10–15 pages, which showcase your creative practice, and which might additionally include pages from your sketchbook. Don’t forget to provide titles and short introductions to your projects, as well as annotations for images. You may know the contexts for your work, but don’t assume that someone reviewing your portfolio will have access to the same knowledge as you! At the same time, don’t swamp your visual practice with descriptions – aim to strike a balance between the visual and textual elements of your portfolio, combining them in order to communicate your passions, skills, insights, and creativity. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ portfolio. The very best portfolio is the one that best reflects you and your work, at this present point in time.

awarded by

awarded by

in partnership with