FAQs + Info

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are AP or IB courses accepted for credit?

    Coursework from Advanced Placement (AP) classes taken during high school can be accepted by RISD towards the fulfillment of liberal arts requirements. If a student has taken the College Board exam in art history, English literature, foreign languages, humanities, mathematics or the natural or social sciences, and received a score of at least 4, up to nine credits may be accepted for transfer.

    Please note that credit is not granted for APs in English Language and Composition (ENG LANG/COMP) or Computer Science.

    RISD accepts international Baccalaureate (IB) certificates with scores of 5, 6 or 7 and Oxford A-level exams with grades of C or better. A maximum of nine credits will be accepted for transfer. The Liberal Arts Division will evaluate your transcripts for courses applicable to liberal arts requirements.

    Learn more about transferring credit »  

  • Are there any evening or weekend classes available at RISD?
    Our Continuing Education division (RISD|CE) offers evening, weekend and summer courses for students of all ages. During fall and spring semester, RISD|CE courses run for 12 weeks, while winter and summer terms offer more intensive six-week courses. Courses are open to everyone regardless of experience and talent, with absolute beginners often working alongside experienced artists and designers to take classes for both personal and professional development.
  • Can I change majors?

    Students are permitted to change majors should their areas of interest change. Such a change may mean more time will be required to achieve the BFA degree. RISD advisers are available for consultation before you declare a major or change majors.

    Learn more about RISD advising »

  • Can I cross-register at Brown University?
    From sophomore through senior year, about 15 percent of RISD students cross-register annually at Brown. They may take anything from foreign languages to political science to anatomy and satisfy RISD’s liberal arts requirements at the same time.

    Learn more about RISD’s relationship with Brown University »
  • Can I double-major at RISD?
    The work of each major is demanding, and generally students pursue one major full-time at RISD, although it is possible for a student to double major. Double majors typically require five years to complete. For all students, Wintersession can be a rich opportunity to pursue studio interests outside of the major. By choosing Wintersession classes in a secondary area of interest, you can concentrate in that area and develop a level of experience in it.

    Learn more about Wintersession »
  • Can I graduate with a dual degree from RISD and Brown?
    RISD and Brown offer a dual-degree program which will allow participating students to earn a BFA from RISD and an AB from Brown over the course of five years. Students interested in this opportunity must apply to both colleges and, if admitted to both, will then be considered for admission to the dual program. Approximately 15 students enroll each year.

    Learn more about the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program »
  • Can I study abroad?
    Yes. RISD’s European Honors Program (EHP) allows 30 juniors/seniors to pursue a full-credit, independent study year in Rome. Also, RISD enjoys a rich International Exchange Program that allows students to participate in one-semester overseas study experiences. Currently RISD has agreements with approximately 43 institutions in 21 countries.

    Learn more about study abroad »
  • Can international students work on campus?
    International students are eligible to work on campus. Information regarding US employment can be found at oiss.risd.edu/immigration-employment.
  • Does RISD offer a pre-college program for high school students?

    Yes, the Summer Pre-College Program offers 16- to 18-year-old high school students a comprehensive introduction to the experience of studying in an art school environment, which is very different from majoring in art at other colleges. For six weeks, students follow a college-level studio curriculum, live in RISD residence halls and experience campus life at an art school. The program is focused, serious and challenging; students engage in the core elements of a RISD education, from foundation drawing and design courses, to critical studies in art, to focused concentration in a choice of diverse majors. 

  • Does RISD offer any certificate programs?

    Yes, our non-credit certificate programs for adults – offered through RISD|CE – provide a focused approach for students wishing to advance or change careers. Most certificate programs can be completed in an average of two to three years. Certificate programs are also offered to teens interested in developing their portfolios. 

  • Does RISD offer classes and workshops for children?

    Yes, students from ages 6 through 17 are invited to immerse themselves in the art-making process through RISD|CE’s Young Artist Program. The program’s open-ended projects and lessons encourage confidence and creativity in a fun and structured environment. Offerings include classes throughout the year, over the summer and during school vacation weeks. 

  • How can I get involved in community service?
    Students engage in community service through the Center for Student Involvement. CSI facilitates and coordinates community service programs that are centered on the ideas of awareness, collaboration, action, learning, and development. Community Service supports large-scale events and programs like Alternative Spring Break, MLK Day of Service, and the Leadership and Community Engagement Fellowship.
  • How do I register for courses?
    All first-year students will receive a pre-planned schedule for the fall. Foundation students have a choice of Art History and English classes for second semester, but their studio class schedule is preassigned. Students register for Wintersession classes between late October and early November, and for spring semester classes in January.  Beginning in the sophomore year, students have more freedom to select and register for studio and liberal arts classes.

    More complete information is available from the Registrar’s Office »
  • How many students at RISD are of international backgrounds?

    Currently about 800 students, representing 70 countries and 35% of the student population, comes from an international background.

    More international student statistics can be found at oiss.risd.edu/coming-to.

  • How would I connect with my religious denomination on campus or in Providence?
    Members of the RISD community are invited to participate in a variety of religious services in Providence, many of which are within easy walking distance. Specifically suited for the college community are Brown University’s services for students of Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Baha’i faiths (call 401 863-2344) and the Brown Hillel Foundation (services and events for Jewish students; 401 863-2805).

    Learn more about religious services for RISD and Brown students »
  • What about diversity on campus?
    RISD has 2,400 students from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Students come from all over the United States and 70 countries, including South Korea, Turkey, Colombia and India. About 20% of undergraduate students are US citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic or Native American backgrounds. The Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (ise@risd.edu, 401 277-4908), is a resource center for students of color that provides advising, assistance with event planning and connections with community-based organizations.
  • What are some of the work study jobs on campus? Will I be able to work off campus?

    Students who choose to work on campus can find jobs in almost any area or department of the school. Some students work in areas such as the Library, Admissions Office, RISD Museum or the Nature Lab. Others work within their discipline as studio monitors, teaching assistants or monitors of the various departmental galleries around campus. The Work Study office maintains a job board listing on-campus jobs, as well as a listing of off-campus opportunities for all RISD students. More information about work study is available from the Financial Aid Office: 401 454-6661.

  • What are the open hours for studios?
    Studio buildings are generally open until 2am while the College is in session, with key card access only after 9pm. Certain studio facilities, particularly in majors where students must make use of specialized equipment, are open 24 hours on some days. First-year students tend to do much of their studio homework in their dorm rooms, where each resident has his or her own drafting table work area. For work after hours or for large-scale projects shared studio space in the first-year residence hall complex is accessible around the clock. First-year students can also be found in the evening drawing in the Nature Lab, home of a fascinating natural history collection.
  • What emergency health services are available in case of illness or injury?
    A registered nurse is on duty Monday-Friday, 8:30am-8:30pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; and certain holidays, 12-7:30pm. Health services is closed on Sunday. A physician is on call every day and is in the office for one “sick call” hour each weekday. If there’s an emergency when the Health Services office is closed, students are instructed to call the Department of Public Safety, located within the first-year Residence Hall complex. A trained officer will then respond with treatment or arrange for transportation to an appropriate medical facility. Questions may be directed to Health Services (401 454-6625) or Public Safety (401 454-6376 or EMERGENCY: 401-454-6666).
  • What is a typical academic year schedule?
    The RISD academic year is divided into Fall, Wintersession and Spring semesters. Fall semester typically runs from mid-September through mid-December, with a break for Thanksgiving recess in late November. Students break again for holiday vacation around December 15 and return for Wintersession around January 3. Wintersession typically runs from January 3 through mid-February. Students then have a week-long winter break. Spring semester begins around the third week of February and runs through the end of May, with a week-long Spring Break at the end of March. Commencement usually takes in early June.

    View the complete academic calendar »
  • What kind of athletics are offered at RISD?
    RISD’s own sports teams include basketball (“The Balls”) and ice hockey (“The Nads”). There is also men’s and women’s soccer, a skiing group, biking and climbing clubs. Students may participate in Brown University’s Ultimate Frisbee, tennis and softball teams. Contact the Center for Student Involvement at 401 454-6602 for more information.

    Learn more about athletics at RISD »
  • What kind of fitness facilities does RISD have?
    The Catanzaro Student Center, in the center of the freshman residence hall complex, is a multi-purpose facility with a health and fitness center (weight machines, curl bars, treadmills, stair climbers, exercise bikes, rowing machines and a punching bag), a student lounge and two pianos. Classes are offered in dance, aerobics, yoga and martial arts. Students also have free access to the Brown University athletic center, which has an Olympic-size pool, an ice-skating rink, indoor tennis courts and a wide variety of classes in dance, sports and martial arts.
  • What kind of salaries do alumni earn after graduation?
    Salary levels vary based on occupation. Some alumni start their own businesses and earn less in their first year than their classmates who have chosen to work for larger corporations or firms, so an average starting salary would not be representative. However, RISD graduates consistently earn a higher average salary than the published average salary of liberal arts graduates in their first year out of college. For more information, contact the Career Services Office: 401 454-6620
  • What kind of security is present on campus?
    The Department of Public Safety’s officers patrol the campus on foot, bicycle and distinctively marked cruisers, and provide service around the clock to the RISD community. Emergency phones are located inside each building on campus, and outdoors near parking lots and some entrances, and connect directly to the Public Safety office. Academic buildings and residence halls are card-access only.

    The RISD Rides shuttle service operates on a loop every half hour, providing transportation from 7pm-12am. From 12am to 3:30am shuttles provide direct service from campus buildings to student residences within a designated service area in Downcity and the East Side.

    Visit the Public Safety website for more information »
  • What opportunities are there to serve in student government?
    RISD’s Student Alliance is the voice of the student body on campus. Members include an elected Executive Committee, representatives from each of the 16 departmental majors, and first-year representatives.

    Learn more about student government »
  • What organizations are active on campus?
    Typically, about 25 different student organizations are in place each year. Among the groups currently active are the Anime Culture Club, RISD Jew Crew, the Community Service Club, the RISD Christian Body, the Dancing Club, the Film Society, the the Network for Intellectual and Artistic Exchange (which plans activities for African-American students), and the Queer Student Union.

    For more information on student organizations and events, contact the Office of Student Life » 
  • What percentage of graduates find jobs in the arts?
    The Career Services Office does an annual survey of alumni who have been out of school for one year. Of respondents to the survey conducted in 2005, 96 percent are employed. An additional four percent are currently in a full-time educational program. Of the employed alumni, 70 percent are employed in a position directly related to their major, and 25 percent are employed in a position indirectly related to their major. Statistics in this annual survey tend to be similar from year to year. For more information, contact the Career Services Office: 401 454-6620
  • What percentage of students graduate from RISD?
    Although it varies a bit from year to year, on average, 90% of students who begin at RISD as first-year students complete their studies and receive a degree within 6 years.
  • What resources are available for learning-disabled students?

    RISD has a Writing Center where students may get feedback on their papers for liberal arts classes. Tutors are also available to assist students with class notes and assignments. Students in need of additional assistance may visit Disability Support Services (DSS), where staff members will assist with accommodations for RISD students who have either cognitive (learning) or physical disabilities.

    For more information on RISD’s policies and support systems pertaining to disabilities, visit the Policies + Disclosures page

  • What resources does RISD have for international students?

    RISD’s Office of International Student Services (OISS) offers services including immigration advising, cultural support and assistance in navigating U.S. systems. Contact OISS (oiss@risd.edu, 401 277-4957) with any questions.

    Another nearby resource is Buxton International House at Brown University, which is a home-away-from-home for international students studying in Rhode Island. Clubs and organizations at RISD that may be of interest include the RISD ACA (Asian Cultural Association), the Korean Student Association and the Latin Alliance. An event that would be of particular interest is the annual International Day, a festive outdoor celebration where students from many cultures share music, art, dance and cuisine from their native lands.

  • What’s a typical first-year schedule like?
    Both semesters of your first year, you’ll be assigned to a section of approximately 20 students with whom you’ll attend classes and studios.

    Each studio class is a full-day (eight-hour) investigation and exploration, during which your instructor will spend time working individually with each student. You can expect your first semester school week to be similar to the schedule outlined below:

    English Literature + Composition

    Art History section meeting

    Two-Dimensional Design

    History of Art + Visual Culture

    Two-Dimensional Design

    English Literature + Composition

    Three-Dimensional Design

    Art and Architectural History

    Three-Dimensional Design

    Foundation Drawing

    Foundation Drawing
  • What’s Wintersession?

    Wintersession is a six-week period, starting in early January, between fall and spring semesters. Freed from the prerequisites and pace of the “normal” academic schedule, students choose from several options:

    • Wintersession courses on campus: innovative courses suitable for a shorter time-frame
    • Wintersession courses off campus: recent destinations include Western Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and Africa
    • Independent Study Programs: students may determine and pursue a specific area of interest and study for credit
    • Internships: an opportunity to earn six credits and gain practical experience. Experiences range from assistantships at major design firms and publishing houses (Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, Hallmark, Hasbro, Microsoft, Nickelodeon and Tommy Hilfiger have recently sponsored RISD interns) to curatorial work at museums and apprenticeships with independent artists and designers.

    Read more about Wintersession »

  • When do I have to choose a major?
    First-year students must declare their majors in early March. During Wintersession, you’ll attend presentations which will help you to formulate a decision about your choice of major. Your academic adviser is also a valuable source of guidance.
  • Who do I contact with questions about my international student visa (I-20)?

    Pre-enrollment, contact Admissions at admissions@risd.edu

    After enrollment, contact the Office of International Student Services at oiss@risd.edu.

  • Will I be able to take classes outside my major at RISD?
    Yes. RISD students are encouraged to expand their expertise by pursuing areas outside their major. Prior to graduation, students must complete a minimum of 12 credits (four classes) in studio areas outside their major.
  • Will I get a well-rounded liberal arts education at RISD?
    RISD requires that students complete 42 credits in the liberal arts, constituting almost a third of the coursework toward the BFA. You are required to complete credits in English; History, Philosophy + Social Sciences (HPSS); and History of Art + Visual Culture (HAVC). RISD also requires general liberal arts credits which may be fulfilled in any of these departments or in areas such as math, science or foreign language. Students can also choose a concentration in English (Literary Studies or Creative Writing), History of Art + Visual Culture or HPSS by focusing their liberal arts elective classes in one of those areas.
  • Will RISD help me find a job after graduation?
    Finding a job after graduation requires a combination of preparation and persistence. The Career Center supports graduating students and interested alumni by providing an annual series of more than 30 seminars, lectures and guest speakers from various art and design professions.

    Skills that are emphasized include writing an effective resume, preparing a professional portfolio and handling an interview. Some of the other topics covered in workshops include contracts and copyrights, grant writing and financial management.

    Other resources of the Career Center include ArtWorks, an online job listing service, and several computers with a library of bookmarked websites for artists and designers. RISD students may also meet with a career counselor for an individual appointment if they wish. For more information, contact the Career Center: 401 454-6620

Contact RISD

Questions concerning Admissions should be addressed to:

Admissions Office
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903-2784

phone: 401 454-6300 or
800 364-7473
fax: 401 454-6309

Schedule an appointment to visit RISD »  

Students find plenty of good outdoor spots to draw and paint at RISD.