Foundation Year

“Through exposure to a wide spectrum of processes, techniques, and ideas, our first-year students construct a strong and diverse base from which to move confidently into their major field of study.”
— Roy Tomlinson, Department Chair

Foundation students at PNCA work together in a first-year experience that introduces the basic vocabulary, concepts and skills shared by all disciplines of the fine and design arts. During this year of immersion in studio and liberal arts, students explore a variety of tools, techniques, and ideas as they are introduced to the fundamentals of PNCA’s studio majors. Students investigate the language of visual organization and acquire the material and conceptual skills to successfully communicate ideas and manage projects as they move through the PNCA curriculum. Other Foundation fundamentals include:

  • Developing the language to discuss visual phenomena
  • Investigating the materials, processes, and technologies of creative practice
  • Understanding the professional activities and attitudes of working artists and designers
  • Practicing writing, reading, researching, and critical analysis
  • Learning about the areas of study at PNCA and assistance with choosing and declaring a major
  • Exposure to the issues and ideas of contemporary art and design in the 21st century

In addition to required courses, students may choose a one-credit elective each semester from a variety of offerings in PNCA’s Continuing Education (CE) program. Consult the current CE catalog or visit for specific courses and schedules.

3-D Design, here taught by assistant professor Chris Gander, introduces the fundamentals of three-dimensional design techniques and concepts such as space, mass, form, volume, texture, material, and structure.


Studio Classes

Basic Drawing  (Fall or Spring*)
Visual Elements: 2D  (Fall or Spring)
Visual Elements: Digital Tools  (Fall or Spring)
3D Design  (Fall or Spring)
Time Arts (Fall or Spring)
First-Year Studio Elective (Spring)

Seminar and Liberal Arts Classes

First-Year Seminar (Fall)
Exploring Visual Culture (Fall)
Foundation Writing (Fall)
Writing in Context (Spring)
First-Year Liberal Arts Elective (Spring)

* Term(s) indicated pertain to first-year students who enter PNCA in the fall semester.



Future Students ProgramsTransfer InfoGlobal StudiosVisitApply

Current Community HomeroomLibraryEmailRecords + Registration

Alumni ExhibitionsNews + NotesGifts to PNCATranscripts   

Continuing Education Courses + RegistrationCertificatesYouthCE Contact

Museum of Contemporary Craft Main SiteHoursBecome a Member