Experimental and Foundation Studies

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  • One of the first of its kind, RISD’s Experimental and Foundation Studies program began in 1940, providing an enlightened approach to education that has since been widely adopted at other colleges of art and design. All first-year students follow the same course of study - which introduces RISD’s pedagogical approach - before they move on to disparate studio majors as sophomores. The intensive, collaborative investigation of abstract and conceptual issues that touch every discipline is considered fundamental to the educational experience at RISD.

  • Joanne Stryker | dean

    "In all departments at RISD, we focus on developing the artist as a whole, helping students to become strong conceptual thinkers and makers through studio practice and an understanding of history and context. It all starts in Experimental and Foundation Studies, a pivotal year of growth and development for students that helps them better understand process, materials, visual language and the rigorous inquiry RISD expects of students in every major."