Video: School of Visual Arts Assistant Professor Lucy Kim brings students to BU Biology Natural History Museum to draw from observation.

The Foundation Program is the bedrock of all School of Visual Arts BFA degree programs

Students entering the School of Visual Arts as undergraduates all begin in the Foundation program before selecting a major. Core coursework in drawing, painting, sculpture, and optional courses in printmaking and graphic design, introduce students to visual thinking strategies across disciplines.

The Foundation faculty strives to educate the eye, hand, and mind of each student-artist. All students learn to focus their perceptual skills, to represent form in 2D and 3D, to solve complex visual problems, and to analyze and criticize concept and content in the art.

The Drawing classroom is the crucible of the program, where visual ideas are introduced, tested, and refined. Early Drawing assignments present tools, materials, and working vocabularies for solving particular visual problems. Progressively more complex problems require students to employ a larger range of experiences, skills, and resources.

Studio practice in Drawing prepares students to elaborate and augment their visual education through coursework in Painting, Sculpture, and Art History. Twelve to fifteen hours of studio, lecture, and discussion each week provide the groundwork for BFA students to select the discipline of their major. The Foundation experience enables art students to enter their majors with confidence, skill, and the critical capacity to grow a self-directed studio practice.

Major Selection

In the second year, following their training in the Foundation program, students select their intended major.

BFA Graphic Design

BFA Painting

BFA Printmaking

BFA Sculpture

BFA Art Education

Curriculum Requirements

Although curriculum requirements vary, all Foundation students are required to take at least one painting and sculpture course each, and two semesters of drawing courses in addition to those requirements specific to their intended major.

Learn more about Foundations requirements through the Academic Bulletin.

Academic Bulletin

Average Class Size


Faculty Members