Graduate Applicants


Applications for graduate admission are accepted beginning in early September.

Next graduate application deadline » January 10, 2015  

Note: Selected programs may consider late applications. Contact the Admissions Office for additional information about the status of your program of interest. 

Decisions are mailed no later than March 24.


Students who will have completed an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university by June 2014 are eligible to apply to the graduate program for admission in fall 2014.

International students completing requirements for a diploma rather than a degree must submit a written statement prepared by an appropriate school official verifying that the status of the diploma is equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree.


Application Form  Complete and submit RISD’s graduate application form. The application fee is $60. If you’re not able to use our online form, please contact the Admissions Office at or 800 364 7473.

Academic Transcripts  You must provide official transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited college or university. If you are attending a school in a non-English-speaking country, your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator.

Special instructions for MAT program
 applicants: The state of Rhode Island requires that any candidate applying to a post-baccalaureate teacher education program here has achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 as an undergraduate. Additionally, RISD’s department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design requires that each candidate show evidence of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in her/his studio studies. Any candidate who has already completed a Master’s degree must also show evidence of meeting these same cumulative GPA requirements.

Portfolio  Graduate applicants are required to submit 10–20 examples of visual work, with certain programs suggesting more specific ideas or portfolio requirements (see below).

You must submit your portfolio through SlideRoom, an online portfolio service that charges a $10 fee.

Specific program instructions:

ARCHITECTURE | In addition to submitting a portfolio via SlideRoom, all applicants to the Architecture department must send a hard-copy portfolio that includes reproductions of art and/or design work, freehand drawings, two- and three-dimensional work in any media or written material. Make the layout of your portfolio simple, direct and thoughtful. We strongly encourage using a quality binding method (perfect-bound, tape-bound or saddle stitched).

Mail portfolio books to the Admissions Office address listed below. Portfolios will be returned upon request, but you need to include return postage if you want yours returned first class. All portfolio materials will be handled with great care, but neither RISD nor the Admissions Office takes responsibility for loss or damage.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE | All applicants to the Masters of Landscape Architecture degree programs are required to submit a portfolio and an essay. Your portfolio should contain 10 individually produced and carefully chosen images of work that reflects your interests in landscape and the discipline of landscape architecture. Applicants to the MLA-1 program who have no prior design training may include photographs, sketches, or written work that conveys your ability to observe, identify, and explore spatial conditions within the landscape. All other applicants should include a selection of work that best represents the development of your interests in this field of study. All work should be labeled to indicate if it is academic, professional or personal. If team projects are presented, your individual contribution must be clearly identified. The portfolio should include a minimum of text.

Your short essay should describe how your interest in landscape developed, how the work in your portfolio is indicative of that development, and why the landscape architecture program at RISD seems well suited to your goals. The admissions faculty will review your essay and portfolio together.

TEACHING + LEARNING IN ART + DESIGN | MAT | Your portfolio should consist of 20 images exhibiting the depth and breadth of your studio experience: 10 images should represent work that reflects your investigations within a single medium; 7 images should represent your confidence in handling a variety of media; and three images need to be samples of drawings.

TEACHING + LEARNING IN ART + DESIGN | MA | Submit a portfolio of 20 images that most clearly represent your creative practice as an artist or designer.

Statement of Purpose  Graduate applicants must submit a written statement (500–750 words) outlining their interest and goals in pursuing graduate study. Certain programs suggest more specific ideas or written requirements as outlined below.

Please include your full name and address on your statement document and upload it to SlideRoom with your portfolio.

Specific program instructions:

PHOTOGRAPHY | In addition to a statement of purpose, applicants should send an artist’s statement describing the work included in their portfolio. In other words, the artist’s statement should be about the work submitted, while the statement of purpose should address why you are seeking a graduate degree.

TEACHING + LEARNING IN ART + DESIGN | MAT | Submit a statement describing your work as an artist or designer. What is it about? How do you feel your academic, studio or work experience prepares you for entry to a graduate teacher education program? Discuss how, in your opinion, the quality of an educator’s artistic practice contributes to high-quality arts learning for children and youth. Since the significance of arts education in K–12 schools is not fully recognized, please provide a succinct argument for including the visual arts as a required core subject for all students at this level.

TEACHING + LEARNING IN ART + DESIGN | MA | Community Arts Education Track | Submit a statement describing your work as an artist or designer. What is it about? How do you feel your academic, studio or work experience prepares you for entry to a graduate program that has a focus on community arts education, especially for underserved urban youth? Discuss your interest in connecting your creative practice to work in the public sphere. Why is obtaining this graduate degree important to you? How do you expect it will support your career aspirations?

TEACHING + LEARNING IN ART + DESIGN | MA | Professional Development Track
 | Submit a statement describing your current work as an art or design educator. Why is obtaining this graduate degree important to you? How do you expect it will support your career aspirations?

Tests  TOEFL or IELTS | All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on either test; RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS. Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take six weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD. The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who are enrolled in an institution where English is the language of instruction.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) | Results from the Graduate Record Examination are not required, but MA, MAT and MLA candidates are encouraged to submit their scores.

Letters or Recommendation  Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential for graduate study. Since SlideRoom (the portfolio submission site referenced above) allows for this, please invite people who are writing letters in support of your application to submit them through this service. If that’s not possible, please have your letters sent to our postal address (see below) or emailed to



» Submit your application and fee online.

» Make sure your college(s) mails official transcripts to the address listed below for the RISD Admissions Office.

» Upload your portfolio through SlideRoom. Applicants to the Architecture department should also mail a book format portfolio to the Admissions Office.

» Upload your Statement of Purpose through SlideRoom or mail it to the Admissions Office.

» Make sure your recommendations are submitted through SlideRoom or mailed to the Admissions Office.

Our postal mailing address is: 

Graduate Admissions Office
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903

Application process

RISD’s online graduate application allows you to save the form in process and return to it later. You will also submit other required credentials, including your portfolio and letters of recommendation, in this online process.

To get a better sense of RISD’s programs, facilities and community, we encourage you to visit RISD for one of our graduate information programs.

If you’re  not able to make it to campus, RISD representatives are available to speak with you at selected Portfolio Days throughout the country.

You can also request additional information and receive printed materials designed to give you a better understanding of graduate education at RISD.


And please feel free to contact us with any questions.
401 454-6300
800 364-7473


Dating from 1773, Market Square was once the hub of downtown Providence and is now a popular campus plaza for
displaying sculpture and other unexpected objects.