The Foundation first-year course of study consists of Foundation Core, Survey of Art I and II (HA 115 and HA 116), and English (ENGL 101 and ENGL 103). The fashion department is an exception and has its own first-year program.

The Foundation core helps students evaluate their previous art experience in the light of new ideas and techniques. This grounding in underlying concepts and principles of the visual arts puts professional goals in a historical perspective. Before specialization in the sophomore year, the core curriculum encourages flexibility, adaptability, and the experience of design and art as wide-ranging enterprises. Transfer students will be evaluated for advanced standing, with proper documentation (transcript and portfolio), by the Office of Admissions.

The primary objective of the Foundation core is to develop and expand students’ visual thinking through multiple processes of creativity. To accomplish this, students participate in a series of studio experiences that deal with the analysis of problems in perception, conception, and imagination. The studio work encompasses both 2- and 3-D forms in their optical, technical, and symbolic natures. In addition, students receive an introduction to 4-D time arts through the use of computers and other media. At one point, students may deal with specifically designed structural problems and at another point may examine these problems from expressive, social, and historical perspectives. Through this process, individual imagination, skill, ambition, and preferences are examined.