First-Year Experience and Core Curriculum

As a first-year student, you will experience an immersive program that promotes your success in college.

Your yearlong Foundation Studio section will establish an immediate sense of community with your faculty and fellow classmates. The first-year Common Core Curriculum includes studio courses that teach the universal vocabulary, skills and concepts of all art and design disciplines. Working with your hands, on the computer, drawing from observation and building form prepares you for any major and because we teach across disciplines, Foundation helps equip you for the future, wherever your careers take you.

The Core Curriculum in your Liberal Arts and Sciences courses places a strong emphasis on common intellectual experiences, art history, critical inquiry, diversity, writing, information literacy and collaborative learning. You will always be in close dialogue with faculty members who will help you to discover working methods that will carry you into a major, serve you through college, and last a lifetime.

First year experience: Affinity Sections
First year experience: Drawing Techniques
First year experience: Building Form
First year experience: Ballona Wetlands
First year experience: Creative Practices and Responses
First year experience: Drawing Studio
First year experience: Foundation Forward
First year experience: Getty Museum
First year experience: O-Week

All Foundation students select an Affinity Section with 18 students who share all of their studio courses for the entire year. The students above are finishing their Foundation year with the body project in the Form and Space course. They have shared challenges, deadlines, and learning experiences together.

Drawing Techniques

Life Drawing instructor Beverly Bledsoe demonstrating drawing techniques to Foundation students. Small classes mean ample opportunity for faculty/student interaction.

Building Form

Building Form students work in teams to build room-size cantilevers, learning basic principles of physics. Students collaborate on fast and dirty solutions to join disparate materials together, distributing and projecting weight from the fulcrum.

Ballona Wetlands

Second semester Foundation students on a field trip to the Ballona Wetlands for their Connections Through Color and Design course, a first year Creative Action Course. Students use their color and design skills to solve problems in the larger community that require transdisciplinary practice, research, and collaboration.

Creative Practices and Responses

Creative Practices and Responses, a second-semester class, gives you the opportunity to research and develop your own interests and work in any medium you desire. Past projects range from book-making to performance and video.

Drawing Studio

Drawing Studio helps students to develop their capacity for creative inquiry. Students learn to ask the questions that lead them to create innovative work.

Foundation Forward

Foundation Forward, part of year-long co-curricular programming, offers students an opportunity to gather more information about each of the majors, meet faculty, students and hear alumni talk about their professional lives and reflections on Foundation and their Otis College experience.

Getty Museum Field Trip

Liberal Arts and Sciences Ways of Knowing field trip to the Getty with faculty Adam Berg.


O-Week is a series of programs and events welcoming new students to Otis. Students here are enjoying conversation with new friends and classmates.