Further Education

Further Education 2024-2025

Art and Design: Portfolio Preparation 5M1985

This one-year course is a foundation course in art and design - the portfolio you make is the result of this year of study. You can then use this portfolio to gain entry to third level Higher Education art and design colleges in Ireland, the UK or even further afield. A foundation in art and design provides the fundamental knowledge and understanding of art and design processes to provide a good basis for further study in any related area. There is a strong emphasis on drawing as a way to develop visual awareness and analytical thinking. You will find out how art and design practice has developed and its position within today's society, culture and creative economy This is a capsule, stand-alone, year without the commitment and expense of a four-year degree. The course gives you the time to consider if a future in art and design is for you and to choose the college and course that suits you best. Teachers will give you subject specific career guidance and support. Your QQI award attracts CAO points; colleges take the higher of the scores you get from your Leaving Certificate or your QQI award for application to relevant courses. Students from GTI achieve great results from the very beginning of their Degree courses. Course leaders from NCAD, Limerick and Galway tell us that former GTI students are always top of the class, from the very beginning. It is a gateway to a whole range of possibilities. College visits, formal and informal discussions with teachers and your classmates give you a great idea of the courses and colleges available to you.

This course is designed to

• Provide fundamental knowledge and understanding of art and design ideas and processes

• Develop transferable skills of visual communication, problem solving and self expression

• Identify unique personal abilities and strengths in art and design

• Enable the preparation of a portfolio of artwork to gain entry to third level courses.

Entry Requirements

Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied, or equivalent.

Pre entry guidance meeting

Applicants are requested to show some evidence of their interest. What we are looking for is primarily drawing from observation but also evidence of your interest in visual art or design. This can take many forms: notebooks, painting, photographs, diaries, poetry, models and ideas. Please feel free to bring whatever you feel best represents you, your interests and abilities.


Drawing 5N1862

Painting 5N1302

Sculpture 5N1918

Problem Solving 5N1615

Work Experience 5N1356

Appreciation of Art,Craft & Design 5N0755

Collage Techniques 5N0761

Printmaking 5N1373


Learners may also have the opportunity to study Maths as an extra module.

How the course is taught

GTI has developed a style of teaching to meet the needs of a diverse community of learners.

  • Courses are project based and student centred
  • Whenever possible, we use a 'learning by doing' approach to make the learning experience more relevant and enjoyable.

  • We make extensive use of advanced multimedia and internet technologies to bring subject matter to life and to ensure effective learning

  • We provide learning supports that are tailored to the needs of individual learners
Progression to Higher Education
  • Students who successfully complete the course may gain entry to Third Level Institutes and Colleges through the QQI Higher Education Links Scheme. Click [here] The most up-to-date information on Higher Education Links is located at CAO website.

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Atlantic Technological University

*AU518 BA in Art

*AU519 BA in Design

*AU615 Film and Documentary

*AU525 BA in Heritage Studies

*AL861 Animation and Illustration

*AL863 Graphic and Digital Design


*US800 Art and Design

*A8116 BA Hons in Fashion

*LC115 Art and Design Teacher Education

*DL826 Graphic Design

*DL827 Art

*DL832 Animation

*DL833 Photography and Visual Media

*SG231 Fine Art

*SG232 Creative Design

*SG244 Fine Art

*SG245 Creative Design


QQI Level 5 Award in Art (5M1985)


Student Contribution: €175

Please note: Additional charges may apply. Details TBC.


This is a full-time one-year course and runs from September to May.



how do I apply

To apply for the course, complete the application form available. Interviews are scheduled in May and August. We look for a genuine interest in art and design and we request you bring some drawing, painting, or other work to show at the interview as evidence of this interest.

Who is the course for?

We welcome applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and educational experience. This lively mixture of people benefits staff and students and promotes a positive open-minded environment for learning to take place. The course is primarily designed for people who wish to pursue an art-related subject at a third level institution, but is equally suitable for those who wish to try an art course for a year, before moving on to another field of study. You are prepared for third level by learning fundamental

skills, knowledge and concepts which are common to all art disciplines. The pieces of work which are products of this learning are a good indicator of a student's aptitudes and abilities. This work may be presented at interview or portfolio assessment as part of the entry procedure for third level courses both here, in the U.K. and any other country with similar requirements.

What is the Course Schedule

This is a one year full time course in visual education. Foundation courses in art and design are long established as a means to provide a basis for further study and to enable the student to find their strengths and weaknesses within this broad subject. The course is purposely not specialised, as third level colleges prefer potential students to remain open-minded about their choices particularly if the college offers a core year.

Where could I go to study Art?

The main art and design colleges in Ireland are in: Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Dun Laoghaire, and Athlone. There are a wide variety of disciplines from which you can choose in Ireland and an even wider choice in the U.K. Students from GTI have gone on to Goldsmiths University, London, Central St Martins, London, The Slade School of Fine Art, London, De Montfort University, Leicester and Edinburgh and Glasgow Schools of Art. Part of the course content on the Portfolio Preparation course is to help you find out about the many college options available.

What are Discipline Options?

Disciplines are "subjects" that you can do in art college. They are specialist areas that you choose either straight away or after a general first year.

The disciplines available are sometimes separated into two main areas, design and fine art; Fine Art disciplines are; painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital media and video, performance, etc. Design disciplines are; visual communications (graphics), fashion, product design, ceramics, metal and glass, film and video, textiles, product design, interactive media, animation, etc.

Related courses which also require a portfolio of artwork for admission are: industrial design, architecture, interior design and other specialised courses such as fine art conservation, illustration, costume and stage design, and art therapy.

The kind of employment you are likely to find after having completed a course in one of these disciplines is related to your area of specialisation. A career in teaching, arts administration or gallery management, may also be open to those who successfully complete a third level course of study.

Yes, but what will I do?

During the year students will learn to draw, and learn about the variety of ways that drawing can be used, e.g. life-drawing, drawing for design purposes etc. Other areas of study are; painting and colour, 3-D and sculpture, printmaking, mixed media and collage, art history, graphic design. Students also participate in work experience in an area related to their own interests. Each year there is are organised trips to Dublin and Limerick to visit colleges etc.

As part of their end-of-year examination, students hold an exhibition of their work. This is open to the public for one week, usually towards the end of May.

The examination referred to is the QQI Level 5 Award of Certificate in Art. Students' coursework is examined during the year and in a final examination in each module or subject taken. A good result in this award can help students gain a place in college if they do not have enough points from their Leaving Certificate. Many colleges accept this certificate in place of the Leaving Certificate and the QQI award is recognised as a high standard of achievement. Check with college for details or come to our Open Day.


End of Year Exhibition

Please Note

GTI reserves the right to make changes in any course, to limit the number of places available or to withdraw a course. No part of this information shall be deemed to form a contract between the Institute and a student or third party.

Student Testimonial: Colin Finnerty

I attended the portfolio preparation course in GTI in 2012/13, before going on to Limerick School of Art & Design. GTI gave me tools that I found indispensable when faced with a self directed brief in my first semester. Introductions to drawing, painting, print, research, art history, and thinking creatively gave me confidence and helped me to hit the ground running as a mature student in third level education.

Weblink to Artwork


Student Testimonial: Tamara Conneely


An amazing team of tutors working with you, helping you to reach your full potential, I feel like my year in GTI went so fast but taught me so much about myself and how I work. It helped me know for sure that art is what I wanted to study. I'd go back and do it again if I could, I loved my time there and have made friends for life, it was such a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone. Our tutors are amazing , they all bring great ideas to the table and give so much of their time for us as students and I haven't met any other tutor quite like them at college yet and miss them a lot. I knew I loved art history at GTI – it came to life for me, I'm still going back to the notes I have from GTI as refreshers and they're such a help.

Now I'm in first year Art and Design in LSAD and loving it, it's very different to what I'm used to and I'm grateful for all the projects we did last year since we were thrown into a mapping project the work I did at GTI means I can tackle anything!

I went into GTI unsure and worried and came out of it confident that art is what I want to pursue.