Graduate: MArch

  • Do the students who choose RISD differ from other architecture students?
    RISD students are highly diverse, drawn from throughout the world and visually and culturally literate. They are open-minded, with few of the pretensions or unfounded demands sometimes found in students at other schools. It is important to understand that the Department of Architecture integrates graduate students from diverse backgrounds and undergraduate students with strong visual training in studio courses, comingling visual literacy, energy and hunger for experimentation with intellectual discipline and maturity. The result is quite powerful for both sets of students.

  • How does RISD's program differ from other architecture programs?

    In addition to such vital items as pedagogic intent and philosophy, the primary differences are in the spectrum of course offerings and the size of the college. RISD offers a relatively small program with a high proportion of full-time to part-time faculty, neither of which holds true of some university-based programs. Through cross registration at Brown University, RISD offers a broad range of research-based and liberal arts courses, and in addition provides a strong array of fine arts, design and studio courses. This includes such obvious things as painting, sculpture and graphic design, but also less obvious options such as metal-working, glass blowing, textiles and digital media.

  • Is green design part of the curriculum?
    Yes. We understand architecture as part of a dynamic system in constant homeostasis, not as an act of resistance to the forces of nature. This approach is evident in the way design is approached – using an organic, iterative model – and in the curriculum through such initiatives as the Solar Decathlon, studios on wood and bamboo as sustainable resources, and a series of projects in Mexico, Costa Rica and Africa. Course offerings address student and faculty interest in and commitment to environmentally cautious, architecturally stunning work.
  • Is RISD's Architecture Department accredited?
    Yes. Both our undergraduate B.Arch and graduate M.Arch degree programs are accredited. For more information on acreditation, please visit our accreditation page.
  • What do you look for in an application portfolio?

    We look for signs of potential for architectural studies over prior experience or knowledge. Architectural potential can be defined through faculties of spatial cognition, material reasoning, imagination, sensibility, critical thinking, analytical thinking and abstraction. These can be made evident through any combination of the following: freehand drawing from life, prior design work, fabrication, photography, other studio artwork and even creative writing. We do not discourage students who have no background in architectural studies from applying.