Foundation Year

Artwork by Hilary Cianciosi
The Associate of Fine Arts Degree Program requires a core group of Foundations courses during the first year of study. Starting with the second year, students take major-specific courses in addition to liberal arts courses.

During the Foundation Year, all students, regardless of their major, focus on the same fundamental issues of form making through studio classes in drawing, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and four-dimensional (time-based) design, and color theory. Photography majors and Interior Design majors take the courses in an altered sequence. The purpose of the Foundation experience is to develop visual literacy and skill in basic studio techniques, to provide an introduction to art history, and to promote understanding of the underlying concepts and principles of the visual arts. During the first two semesters, students work with materials, concepts and skills that they apply later in their areas of concentration. Students cultivate the potential for visual, technical and symbolic qualities of two- and three-dimensional form as well as color theory and the use of time as a design element. The Foundation area includes a basic introduction to each of DCAD's six majors through the Foundation Seminar.

The program goals for the Foundation Year are:

  • To develop visual literacy and an understanding of the underlying concepts and principles common to all the visual arts.
  • To provide basic studio techniques and skills.
  • To provide every entering student with an introductory experience of every major and an opportunity to interact with every Area Coordinator through the Foundation Seminar.  
  • To make connections and reinforce visual concepts between the first-year studio courses. To make connections between studio courses and Art History courses. To encourage connections between Foundation year courses and seond-year major courses. 
  • To prepare students for further study in the fields of art and design.


Foundation Year Studio Course Syllabi & Supply Lists (PDF)