The Preparatory Course is an extensive preparatory programme preceding the Bachelor's degree programme in Art and Design. Application is open to candidates from 16 up to the age of 25, who have at least obtained a HAVO (senior general secondary education) or MBO (senior secondary vocational education) diploma at level 4 or an equivalent qualification. The maximum age to apply is 25.

Making a lot of work is the starting point of the course. The classes are assignment-based and encourage a way of working in which the investigative making process is as important as the end result. With these assignments participants are encouraged to develop skills that give room for the unexpected, and to expand the visual possibilities.

The course lasts 25 weeks, from late September to mid-April. Classes are in English. Each group has a weekly DESIGN class, ART class and, in the first and second semester, a PROJECT that includes visiting exhibitions and making assignments.

In addition to classes in which hands-on work is done and process results are discussed, extra time is required for working on assignments at home.

Twice a year, there are assessment moments, to evaluate developments. The first assessment takes place round the Christmas break (often in January), and the last in April.

When there is sufficient confidence in development in the Preparatory Course and match with the education at the Rietveld Academie, a positive evaluation can possibly contribute to admission to the Basicyear, the first year of the academy’s full-time Bachelor.

The portfolio built up in the Preparatory Course can also be suitable for admission to bachelor programmes at other art academies.

After completing the Preparatory Course, everyone receives a certificate.