First Year

All students in the School of Design share in the Foundations Program experience—an intensive studio-based curriculum introducing various techniques in form-making and conceptual visualization.

Emphasis is placed on perfecting hand skills and in developing proficiency with digital technology. Through exposure to design practice, design culture, and critical observation, students experience Chicago as a global design center. 

First year students are rapidly immersed into design process in studio courses developed and organized by Foundation Studio Coordinators, members of our full-time faculty dedicated to undergraduate education. Foundation studio courses are taught by professional designers from within our faculty and from the Chicago design community. Courses in two- and three-dimensional form-making, analog and digital visualization, interactive media, and color theory provide the basis for entry into a BDes program.

Courses leading to a BDes degree depend on successful completion of the first year program. For this reason, the UIC School of Design is not able to accept transfer credit for design courses from other institutions. Students completing the Foundations Program undergo a portfolio review by departmental faculty in consideration for a place in one of the major areas of study.