The Basicyear is the first year of the four-year Bachelor's degree programme in Fine Arts and Design. At the Gerrit Rietveld Academie students complete the Basicyear before they begin a specialisation. It is a general, formative year that offers a broad and coherent programme, of which all components are mandatory. The focus of the programme is on becoming intensively acquainted with numerous views, concepts and working methods, with the aim to linking these to the students' own interests and potential.

A joint first year provides insight into the diversity of talent and potential among students, which leads up to the extensive academy-wide exchange and collaboration in the later years. The Basicyear lays the foundations to enable students to work independently. From the outset, the required level and pace are high, demanding serious effort. At the same time, this year offers the appropriate amount of stimulation and encouragement for up-and-coming artists and designers who have an adventurous, receptive and inquisitive attitude. A critical eye and a willingness to cooperate with others are essential preconditions for ensuring that students get the most out of the programme.