The Foundation Programme is a unique interdisciplinary core offered to the Undergraduate Programmes at Ahmedabad University. All the students entering the University’s Undergraduate Programmes go through the eighteen-week common core Foundation Programme that builds the foundations of citizenship and sustainable living and enables students to engage with issues of society. The programme is a distinctive pedagogical experiment offering transformative, transdisciplinary and contextual learning by integrating six domains of Knowledge as Constitution and Civilisation, Behaviour, Biology and Life, Materials, Data, and Communication. It effectively provides students, not only a platform for skill-building, research, training in critical thinking, and leadership but also offers a guide to becoming the agents of change in society through active ownership and participation, perspective building and collaborative cognition.  

The objective of this new age programme is to cultivate a new generation of thinkers, problem solvers, and 21st-century professionals who are empowered with a more open, balanced and pragmatic approach towards life and work, who can decode the complexities of the recent world and put the knowledge earned into action. The programme aims to pave the way for an empowered and sustainable society with a promise to become a beacon of inspiration for the higher education institutions attempting to offer transformative education to students. 

Foundation Programme Domains

  • Communication


    Communication can be acknowledged as one of the most critical transdisciplinary knowledge domains of the 21st century. The ability to communicate effectively is believed to have a profound impact on the professional as well as personal development of an individual. In the closely interconnected landscape of our times, the responsibility of leaders and other professionals to deal with complex and grand real-world challenges can only be met with training in effective communication at all levels to achieve the desired goals. Every initiative and innovation of our world today and tomorrow will have to integrate a well-defined communication strategy into its plan to not only successfully navigate through complex challenges and successful implementation but also to meet sustainable and continuous growth. Ahmedabad University aims to foster an intellectual and interactive learning environment for its students by integrating the communication domain as one of the core domains/competencies of its programmes. Communication as one of the six domains constituting the Foundation Programme thematic Studios indicates that Ahmedabad University recognises the domain as not only a necessary academic domain but an empowering tool to meet 21st-century work and society.

  • Data Science

    Data Science

    Data is the new gold in the current era with its ability to offer meaningful insights into the society we live in and the grand challenges it encounters. In this interconnected world, the growth of individuals, organisations, multi-billion corporations, institutions, and countries is intertwined with their ability to extract meaningful and actionable insights from Big Data. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML), a subset of AI, the new world buzzwords, are nothing more than a few lines of code if they are not trained with meaningful data. Ahmedabad University’s focus on transdisciplinary contextual learning through Foundation Programme thematic Studios integrates data science as one of the key domains for students. The students of today, and the leaders of tomorrow, must be equipped with the perspectives and insights that this learning domain has to offer so that they can contribute through active participation and effective, ethical decision-making when they encounter the grand challenges of our times.

  • Constitution and Civilisation

    Constitution and Civilisation

    The Constitution, whether written or unwritten, not only asserts the sovereignty of a nation-state but also conveys a promise to its citizens. The Constitution and Civilisation domain emphasises the contextual specificity of Constitutions, with a particular focus on the history and transformations of the Indian constitution. The Constitution is a living document and the transformations/amendments in the Constitution reflect the dynamic aspirations that shape civilisations. Through a thoughtful engagement with the history of the Indian constitution via the constituent assembly debates, this domain instils an appreciation for the challenging task of drafting a constitution that was capable of reflecting the hopes and concerns of a remarkably diverse citizenry. The domain attends to the lived experiences of democratic citizenship and how everyday citizens call upon the Constitution to ensure the accountability of governments. The domain also invites us to engage with the challenges that dominate the Anthropocene which are critical for ecological civilisation. What kind of development and urbanisation do we need? How can we ensure that neighbourhoods are cognizant of their interwoven past and ready for a sustainable future? Students explore such questions through readings, field visits, and other highly interactive learning experiences.

  • Behaviour


    In the modern times of the 21st century, the field of behaviour has assumed higher significance as a knowledge area for empowering students and learners in various aspects of life. Understanding behaviour and its nuances encompasses not only the field of psychology and behaviour but also extends to aspects such as citizenship, sustainable development, meta-learning, inclusivity, and problem-solving. Behavioural knowledge enables learners to understand the role of becoming and developing responsible citizens. It promotes a deep understanding of societal norms, ethics, and civic engagement. This includes understanding sustainable development goals and related behaviour patterns such as responsible consumption and environmental conservation. This contributes to a more ecologically conscious society. Understanding and appreciating that diversity exists in individual and group behavioural traits of people allows for the development of empathy and supports inclusive environments. With the interdisciplinary approach of the foundation programme, the identification of intersections of the various domains with behaviour helps students become more effective through conceptual thinking and lifelong learning.

  • Biology and Life

    Biology and Life

    Why is it important to study relationships between humans and ecosystems, nature and sustainability? Is the knowledge domain of biology and life sciences transforming our world in ways beyond our understanding and knowledge? How is biology as a discipline enriching itself by intertwining with other disciplines and becoming more of an interdisciplinary phenomenon? Can biology prove helpful to address decimating bio-diversity, feeding an explosive global population, treating diseases which seem incurable till now or even living sustainably? Cutting-edge research on stem cells, artificial organs, gene therapy for rare disorders to personalised genomes and even genetically modifying crops provide hope in mitigating problems in medicine, food and conservation. Biology in today's world is truly interdisciplinary and thus a crucial area of study in the Foundation Programme curriculum. As the world struggles to tackle pandemics like coronavirus and the dramatic effects of rapid climate change, biological insights could certainly help mitigate some of the crises we face today. The Foundation program therefore integrates biology as a central domain through which one could more closely associate with other faculties e.g. humanities for a holistic understanding of our environment.

  • Materials


    Materials have played a pivotal role in the growth and sustenance of civilisations, across the globe, in the past. In the 21st century, technological advancements have taken humans or human-made objects to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond, all centred around the success of synthesising new materials. Some materials are critical to our very existence, while others, when overexploited, have the potential to derail economies or decimate civilisations. In the current era of exponential technological advancements, the know-how of materials plays a critical role. Materials hold the key to economic, scientific, and social growth in the present world order. Whether it is governance, technology, quantum computers, medical science or households, materials have an important and central role to play. The work and society of tomorrow need a deeper understanding of the materials in order to cope with the fast-paced changes and transformations. Foundation Programme Studios are designed keeping in mind the domains of knowledge that offer the directions to lead and guide the present and future generation thinkers. Our curriculums must not only offer the knowledge but also the wisdom that, going forward, sustainable usage or exploitation of these materials will define the course of climate change and its impact on present civilisations and their future growth.

These six knowledge domains of the programme aim to define the areas of advanced research and innovation that are transforming our world and offer students the contemporary academic and life skills essential in the 21st century.  These Domains provide the scaffolding for contextual interdisciplinary learning in a way that by the end of the programme, a student is not only exposed to the Domain-related learning but can demonstrate an understanding of the relevant global concerns and ways to address them individually as well as collectively. 

The domains are delivered through studio-type immersive and intensive thematic courses to develop a holistic approach to thinking and enquiry amongst our students. Students do four such Studios in a year and each of these Studios follows a 4 weeks-modules format where apart from concepts and theories on domains, the application of the same is realised through daily, week-long, individual, and group activities, projects, and interactive sessions.  

The Foundation Programme offers four thematic Studios such as -

Water | Environment and Climate Change | Democracy and Justice | Neighbourhoods

These thematic Studios are carefully chosen in order to engage the student’s imagination with contemporary problems that the society in which they live encounters. Each of these Studios requires students to interact with the local community and gain insights into their concerns related to the themes of the Programme and in turn, work on collaborative class projects to devise a feasible approach to address the same. The Programme’s integration of theoretical, critical, global and local perspectives to understand contemporary concerns allows students to display a deeper understanding of real-life society and contribute through social service.

The Foundation Programme is unique in many ways. The unconventional design not only facilitates students with exposure to real-world global concerns but enables them to engage and actively participate in the cause with the help of invited speakers who bring global and local initiatives, industry perspectives and a rich range of experience and exposure to the classrooms.

Samir Shah


Managing Partner
Peak Sustainability Ventures

Designed by a diverse group of faculty as part of the Foundation Program at Ahmedabad University, the Water Studio illustrates the urgency of looking at water from an interdisciplinary, inclusive and ethical lens. Through practical examples, contextualised frameworks, field-visits, case studies and multimedia analysis, the month-long program builds sensitivity and leadership in our youth as future water stewards.

Sara Ahmed


Founder, Living Waters Museum

Foundation Programme Studios

  • Democracy and Justice

    Democracy and Justice

    Democracy has emerged as the most desirable, the most legitimate and the most just if not the most successful, form of government in the contemporary world. The Foundation Programme Studio on Democracy and Justice revolves around the fundamental questions contextualising democracy, understanding the nature and value of democratic systems and conversations, and enabling students to be responsible citizens.

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  • Environment and Climate Change

    Environment and Climate Change

    Human activities and its consequences such as depleting and unequal access to resources, climate extremes, food insecurity, pollution, ecosystem degradation, extinction of species and many more, have posed challenges of sustainability that span spatial and temporal scales. The Studio on Environment and climate change facilitates discourse on these issues enabling students to take the charge, act, and play their role as agents of sustainable transformation.

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  • Neighbourhoods


    The Studio Neighbourhoods dwells upon the continuously evolving idea of the neighbourhood. The Studio explores ways of understanding the concept of neighbourhood in geographic, historical, cultural,economic and social perspectives. It also enriches students’ understanding of aspects of governance, biodiversity, lifestyle and health profile of neighbourhood.

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  • Water


    Studio Water has been designed to study water through an interdisciplinary approach, facilitating a multi-dimensional understanding of this vital flow resource. The Studio offers a close opportunity to students to not only engage in understanding various aspects of water but also to interact with ‘self’ and ‘communities’ in order to appreciate the water realities.

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The Journey so far...