Integral to the mission of the Art & Design studio programs, foundations coursework is required of all students in order to introduce the basic principles of 2D/3D art theory and practice. Throughout their progress, students develop an understanding of design theory and practice through a range of exercises which introduce the fundamental concepts of visual composition and communication. Students develop the basic skills required to effectively work in a range of traditional media and emerging technologies, and which provide a basis for mindful experimentation and critical thinking throughout their progress in the program.

The Foundations curriculum introduces students to the elements and principles of 2D and 3D design. Hands-on demonstrations and exercises introduce an array of materials, tools and technologies used to problem solve, think critically and create. As students develop a technical, historical, and conceptual understanding of art and design, they develop the ability to think critically through mindful observation and communication of ideas through the analysis of form and content. By the conclusion of the foundational year of study, students are well prepared to apply their understanding of art and design to a more focused and directed field of interest, and as they consider their work as part of the classroom, studio, and workplace.

During the second semester of the foundations, students may apply to either the BFA program with a concentration in Studio Art or Graphic Design through the portfolio review and application process​, or enroll in the Studio Art BAA program. In consultation with their faculty advisor, each student will choose a program of study specific to their particular areas of interest. Students who wish to concentrate on more than one area should consult with their advisors during their freshman year to determine the best courses of study.