Graduate: MFA

  • Should I plan to visit RISD before making a decision?
    Yes, if possible. It's always helpful to get a sense of the place and the program by visiting in person. You can attend an InFocus session for graduate candidates and/or schedule a tour through Admissions. Due to the volume of inquiries, however, we can't schedule individual meetings or portfolio reviews.
  • What are you looking for in an application portfolio?
    Your portfolio should present images of your best and most complete work (even if it's three-dimensional). Support it with working drawings, pages from your sketchbook — anything that shows you're able to "think through making." Along with graphic design work, please feel free to show drawings, prints, photographs or other media that are a mix of good finished and process pieces. This shows the scope of your visual engagement and lets us see the genesis of your solutions.
  • What format should I use for presenting my portfolio?

    Applicants are required to submit digital images that can be easily accessed for a quick overview and clear representation.

    1. Present all work in digital form (via Slideroom or a personal website) supported by hard copy for reference only; please do not send original posters, books, etc. Detailed instructions for using Slideroom are available on the site ( Slideroom charges $10 for using this submission option.
    2. Submit a total of 20-25 images
    3. Individual images (.tif or .jpg files) should not exceed 2MB; film and video should be in Quicktime format; for longer works, please provide excerpts only.
    4. Film and video should be in Quicktime format; for longer works, please provide excerpts only
    5. Include a .pdf hard copy of your image list, with a caption for each that includes medium, date and a brief description that helps us understand your work in context (i.e., a captioned thumbnail sheet in binder pages or in book form)
    6. Please provide a back-up disk (even if your work is posted on a website)


  • What scores are required on the GRE or the TOEFL tests?
    The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to our program. However, if English is not your native language, you must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum results accepted are 237 on the computer-based TOEFL, 93 on the internet-based TOEFL and 580 on the paper-based version.
  • Which is best for me — the two-year or three-year program?
    The two-year program is intended for students with an undergraduate background in graphic design — that is, people with BFA or BA degrees in Graphic Design, Visual Communications or the equivalent. The three-year program is for students who have visual/verbal aptitude and an interest in entering the field, but lack a related degree. We have accepted people with undergrad degrees in such fields as computer science, literature, fine arts, creative writing and even neuroscience.
graphic design foreground image 5
Lisa Ann Bai