Graduate: MFA

  • Are internships part of the program?
    It is up to each individual student to arrange potential internships. Although we are able to assist and advise with appropriate opportunities, in general these do not take place during the academic year at the graduate level. The course of study at RISD is very intense and there are many opportunities for our graduate students to participate in professional exhibitions, partnered research projects, international travel classes and more.

  • If my making skills are limited, is it advisable to develop them prior to starting at RISD?
    Yes, you should try to develop your making and designing skills to the highest possible level. We are happy to recommend classes and institutions that provide suitable background. Additionally, we offer a few qualified students a three-year course of study path, where they attend RISD as a graduate student in a preparatory year utilizing a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in preparation for beginning the two-year MFA curriculum and their thesis work. Many students who graduate from the three-year course of study become some of our most successful alumni.
  • What are you looking for in application portfolios?
    We are looking for evidence of your ability and preparedness to undertake graduate-level work. It is important that your portfolio be professional and concisely presented since it will be competitively reviewed by a departmental Admissions Committee. Use only the highest quality images and include all work in any media that you feel best represents your abilities, along with the breadth of your design, creative thinking and experience. It is not necessary to limit your work to only furniture examples. We look for sophisticated realization of an individualized approach. Because students learn well from the whole departmental graduate community, we also seek students who will excel as part of a community.
  • What do people who graduate from your program end up pursuing for a career?
    Opportunities for our graduates are plentiful, diverse, and dependent on individual focus. Many of our alumni practice as individual studio artists, furniture and product designers, or design consultants, while others are employed as in-house professional designers in companies large and small. Others work as teachers and curators. Some alumni have formed companies where they produce their own product lines or license designs. Professional success in current times requires flexibility and multiple capabilities; therefore many students combine a number of endeavors to construct their full professional practice. We find that our education prepares students well to face the challenges and opportunities of professional life with a wide range of success.
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