• MFA | 2-year program

    The MFA program emphasizes a high level of production in the context of strong critical dialogue. Interdisciplinary graduate seminars serve as a meeting ground for students to address contemporary issues affecting all areas of the fine arts. In Sculpture graduate students focus on their own growth as creative individuals as they work to realize their ideas through a hands-on approach to process and materials.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Graduates are prepared to:

    • consistently generate new studio work in a self-directed and self-defined practice

    • merge and relate conceptual areas of interest and a personal artistic voice with novel forms, materials and approaches

    • identify their own way of thinking and processing ideas through an effective studio process

    • demonstrate advanced and innovative approaches to an emerging professional studio practice

    • articulate the conceptual framework of both individual pieces and overall practice

    • identify and conduct independent research of source material and critical texts relevant to an emerging practice

    • contextualize one's practice within the larger realm of contemporary art

    • articulate studio and conceptual concerns in writing, making critical connections between source material in the larger world and ideas and work developed in the studio

    • demonstrate the ability to acquire new technical and conceptual skill sets through self-education

  • Inspiring Community

    Throughout the rigorous program, graduate students are guided and challenged by RISD's diverse and committed faculty. Visiting artists and critics, along with an active community of peers, also expose students to a wide spectrum of skills, philosophies and professional experiences. The department's visiting artist program brings outside professionals to campus each semester for lectures, studio demonstrations and critiques. Graduate students also benefit from frequent one-on-one meetings with faculty, along with small-group discussions with other students.

  • Learning Environment

    Graduate students have 24-hour access to private and semi-private studios in RISD's Fletcher Building, a facility designed to promote interdisciplinary discourse with grad students in other fine arts programs. The building also offers critique spaces, a woodshop and a computer area for shared use. In addition, Sculpture majors have access to the foundry, woodshop and extensive metal fabrication facilities in the Metcalf Building, which houses the undergraduate program. A full-time technician maintains a state-of-the-art ceramic shell foundry, where bronze and aluminum are poured weekly, and also supports wax-working, patina and rubber mold areas. In addition, students have access to a nearby iron foundry. Relevant electives are available across the full spectrum of RISD disciplines, as well as at Brown University, and RISD's proximity to Boston and New York affords ready access to museums, galleries and practicing professionals.

  • Heather Rowe | graduate program director

    “Sculpture is a discipline of agency and exploration – and one of particular vitality. It can be both specific in material and ambitious in its reach across boundaries and disciplines. The RISD grad program creates an open and rigorous environment in which students can develop as artists and see that pursuit flourish in the long term. Sculpture grads are encouraged to take risks and experience new ways of working through ongoing dialogue with their faculty and peers, along with visiting artists and the larger RISD community.”

  • Curriculum

    MFA candidates engage in two years of intensive individual research and creative activity in residence at RISD. During the second year, graduate students are invited to teach a course that they conceive and develop themselves – usually during the six-week Wintersession.

    MFA first year

    • Fall
    • Advanced Critical Issues Seminar I
    • Graduate Sculpture Studio I
    • Studio or seminar elective
    • Wintersession
    • Studio or seminar elective
    • Spring
    • Advanced Critical Issues Seminar II
    • Graduate Sculpture Studio II
    • Studio or seminar elective

    MFA second year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Sculpture Studio III
    • Studio elective
    • Seminar elective
    • Wintersession
    • Studio or seminar elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate Sculpture Thesis Project
    • Studio or seminar elective

  • Thesis Project

    In the final semester, MFA candidates focus on creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All Sculpture grad students produce a written thesis and participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. academic transcripts
    3. 3 letters of recommendation
    4. portfolio of work
    5. statement of purpose (500–750 words) outlining your interest and goals in pursuing graduate study
    6. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
      • The faculty selection committee in Sculpture looks for evidence of the ability and preparedness to undertake graduate-level work. Portfolios should be professionally presented using the highest quality representation of work showing the breadth and depth of artistic and creative thinking capabilities.
      • For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.