The undergraduate experience: SCAD Core

The nexus of the SCAD undergraduate degree is the SCAD Core, a thoughtfully curated series of foundation studies and general education courses that propels students through SCAD’s demanding degree programs and serves as a centerpiece for personal and professional success.

Foundation studies

Foundation studies provide students with a studio foundation that builds visual, conceptual and creative abilities essential to their development as professionals. Each required foundation studies class is aligned with the foundation studies goals preparing students to utilize visual language, develop creative solutions and respond to art and design, and is intended to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfill their artistic potential.

In these courses, students gain a foundation in drawing, design, color theory and a shared visual vocabulary, allowing them to work and communicate across creative professions.

General education

General education courses in liberal arts are designed to help students develop as critical thinkers by providing an intellectual foundation and breadth of knowledge for lifelong learning. Based on the general education framework, these classes are designed to develop six core competencies for all undergraduate students:

  1. Research, analysis and synthesis. Students will utilize a range of qualitative and/or quantitative methods to develop foundations of inquiry, conduct effective research, analyze information and justify proposed solutions.
  2. Contextual investigation and contextualization. Students will investigate and interpret the historical, social, political and economic contexts surrounding visual and cultural productions to determine meaning and significance.
  3. Cross-cultural knowledge and engagement. Students will actively engage with cultural theories, perspectives and ideas to enrich understanding of their roles within complex and diverse communities.
  4. Strategic communication. Students will employ specialized terminology and persuasive communication practices to convey ideas professionally based on an evaluation of diverse audiences and circumstances.
  5. Digital fluency. Students will effectively and ethically communicate ideas and identity, interpret information, construct knowledge and design content in a digitally connected world.
  6. Leadership and professionalism. As future leaders of creative professions, students will demonstrate work and behavior that reflect ethical and professional standards within a range of contexts.

The organization of these courses into a two-year sequence allows students to complete necessary prerequisites for future study and also prepares them for the work of their selected major. Students should consult their programs of study for specific curriculum requirements.

Sample SCAD Core courses

The SCAD Core may consist of a combination of the following courses. Students should consult their faculty or staff adviser for specific course requirements and sequencing.

Foundation studies courses:
DRAW 100 Drawing I: Form and Space
DRAW 101 Drawing II: Composition and Media
DSGN 100 Design I: Elements and Organization
DSGN 101 Color: Theory and Application
DSGN 102 Design II: 3-D Form in Space
DSGN 204 Design III: Time

General education courses:
ARTH 100 Survey of Western Art I
ARTH 110 Survey of Western Art II
CMPA 100 Survey of Computer Art Applications
-OR -
CMPA 110 Advanced Survey of Computer Art Applications
COMM 105 Speaking of Ideas
ENGL 123 Composition

Mathematics/natural sciences (choose one of the following):
ANAT 100 General Anatomy
ASTR 101 Introduction to Astronomy
BIOL 100 Environmental Science
MATH 100 College Mathematics*
MATH 101 Intermediate Mathematics*
MATH 110 Evidence and Inference: The Power of Statistics*
MATH 140 The Geometry of Physical Space*
MATH 160 Contemporary Mathematics in Real-world Phenomena*
MATH 201 Applied Mathematics*
PHYS 201 Applied Physics

* See undergraduate mathematics competency requirement.

Social/behavioral sciences (choose one of the following):
ANTH 101 Introduction to Anthropology
BUSI 180 Introduction to Economics
BUSI 250 Macroeconomics
COMM 205 Intercultural Communication
POLS 100 Politics in America: Freedom, Equality and Power
POLS 110 Ideology and Controversy in American Life: Left, Right and Wrong
POLS 120 Global Political Issues: From Genocide to Globalization
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
PSYC 126 A Psychology of Self
PSYC 260 Creative Thinking Theories and Processes
PSYC 280 Psychology of Group Processes

Students should consult with their faculty or staff adviser when selecting or registering for any general education or elective course to ensure that the course meets the requirements of the program. Students must meet prerequisites in order to register in any course.