Undergraduate Core: Foundation Year
Paris College of Art
EUR 28,800 / per year *
Earliest start date
* financial assistance, based on merit and need, is available for up to 50% of tuition fee
The success of this program is based on the fact that we work with who is here – right here – right now. Therefore, courses and instruction are continually evolving. The students and faculty are from all over the world and bring to the school the diversity of their experience. This creates an extraordinary learning environment.
– Chloe Briggs, Chair of Foundation
Foundation, the first year of our four-year BFA degree programs in Communication Design, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Interior Design and Photography, taught either in-person or online, is built on the philosophy that there are fundamental approaches, skills, and knowledge to be learned that are common to all creative disciplines. We encourage our students to have a cross-disciplinary foundation attitude: to take risks, suspend disbelief, and generally be open to new experiences and ways of looking at the world.
Emphasis is placed on craft and skill across disciplines and media: drawing, photography, design, video, 3D forms, etc.
A primary goal of our foundation year is to give students confidence in their ability to manifest their ideas. In this way, you will gain the ability to be flexible and innovative with tools and a variety of media, which is the key to success in any creative discipline.
The studio and academic components of the program are dedicated to using Paris or your immediate environment (for those studying in the Foundation Online: Pathways to Paris) as an ‘extended classroom’, drawing upon the city’s rich resources to inform and inspire student learning.
Foundation is a diagnostic program to help you choose the best direction for your future creative practice; throughout the year students take part in events and workshops designed to introduce the specificities of each major offered at Paris College of Art.
The mix of social and cultural contexts from which the students and faculty come creates a unique Foundation year. In this environment, you are encouraged to think seriously about what contributions you, as an artist or designer, can potentially make to the world.
The Foundation year curriculum gives students the flexibility to explore media and ways of working that will prepare them for their major area of study. Each semester, students take a course on ways of seeing, choosing between Drawing or Photography. In the fall semester of Materials & Dimensions, students work in printmaking, photography, & 3D, while in the spring semester they choose to focus on one of these areas. While the required credit load for the Foundation year is 30 credits, students are strongly encouraged to take an elective in the area they plan to focus on for their degree. In addition, the curriculum includes a year-long course in Intro to Digital Media, two semesters of Critical Thinking & Writing, as well as Art History courses both semesters.
Foundation Year also can be achieved online through a different program: 'Foundation Online: Pathway to Paris.'
Two options for starting your Bachelor’s degree
Foundation in Paris
Join us in Paris for our traditional in-person Foundation program.
The Foundation year curriculum gives students the flexibility to explore media and ways of working that will prepare them for their major area of study. Each semester, students take a course on ways of seeing, choosing between Drawing or Photography. In the fall semester of Materials & Dimensions, students work in printmaking, photography, & 3D, while in the spring semester they choose to focus on one of these areas. While the required credit load for the Foundation year is 30 credits, students are strongly encouraged to take an elective in the area they plan to focus on for their degree.
In addition, the curriculum includes a year-long course in Intro to Digital Media, two semesters of Critical Thinking & Writing, as well as Art History courses both semesters.
Foundation Online: Pathway to Paris
Join us Online to complete the Foundation year.
The Paris College of Art Foundation course is built on the philosophy handed down from a century of artists, designers, and educators that there are common skills and approaches to all fields of art and design that are dynamic when taught together.
In the Foundation course, we teach students to be constantly looking for creative solutions to unexpected constraints.
In this spirit, we developed the ‘Foundation Online: Pathway to Paris’ course in response to the current world situation, as a way to engage first-year students in the Foundation experience remotely. Following the success of the program in Fall 2020, we decided to continue offering the Pathway program on a permanent basis.
How does the studio experience differ between in-person and online Foundation?
Working together in the studio, students in Paris enjoy the synergetic energy that is created from working alongside each other.
Going between hands-on, independent work and the intense virtual sharing of projects, the Pathway to Paris program recreates the energy that we generate in-studio classes in your home. You will be expected to use basic tools that are to hand and to work predominantly with recycled materials, in keeping with our commitment to ecological responsibility. We will begin the course with guidelines and inspiration about how to set up your art school at home.
What is the student experience?
Whether in-person or online, Paris College of Art brings together students from all over the world to work across disciplines and collaborate: imaginations combine in a sort of laboratory for future creativity. Eyes and minds are opened up.
The online course establishes and maintains these essential student connections through allocated time for peer-to-peer exchange and collaborative work.
How does the teaching structure differ?
For in-person Foundation, individual classes take place in different studio environments throughout the school.
Online Foundation is structured around weekly assignments that parallel those offered in face-to-face classes. The program will follow a recurrent weekly structure: Each week we announce a new challenge and then tackle it first through drawing, then experiment in 2 and 3 dimensions, and finally translate it digitally.
Continuing your Degree
Both in-person and online student declare their major during advising in the spring semester.
Online Foundation students must take an additional 2 credit studio elective in their Sophomore year to complete the Foundation requirements.
- Ways of Seeing: Drawing or Photography
- Materials and Dimensions I & II
- Introduction to Digital Media I & II
- City as Studio
- Introduction to Art & Design
- Critical Thinking & Writing I & II
- Paris Yesterday and Tomorrow: history, art and urban culture
Join PCA's In-Person Open House on March 16,2024!
You will meet some of the people who make up the PCA community. Our department chairs, staff and current students will be available to fill you in on all that makes PCA a great place to study. Sign up here