The Foundations program serves as the core curriculum for the Department of Art & Design. It is designed to foster a knowledgeable, creative, community of artists and designers. Classes are structured to encourage a strong work ethic, disciplined practice and ambitious creative goals. Hand skills, technical abilities, and compositional strategies, in concert with critical analysis, historical knowledge, and theoretical background will offer students the tools to develop elegant and appropriate solutions to a broad range of aesthetic problems.

The Studio Foundation includes courses in visual studies, drawing, and a "workshop" structure integrating two- and three-dimensional form, analog and digital technologies, and time-based media to introduce students to a range of creative approaches toward contemporary art and design practice. These courses are required for application to the BFA program, and serve as pre-requisites for many upper-level, discipline-specific courses.