Graduate Applicants


Applications for graduate admission are accepted beginning on September 1.

 » Begin your RISD application

Deadline for all graduate applications: January 10

Students will be notified of the outcome of their candidacy no later than March 24.


Students who will have completed an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university by June 2017 are eligible to apply to the graduate program for admission beginning in the 2017/18 academic year.

International students completing requirements for a diploma rather than a degree must submit a written statement prepared by an appropriate school official verifying that the status of the diploma is equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree.


Application Form Submit your RISD application form, and all other credentials, through our online application. The application fee is $60.

Academic Transcripts Initially, you must provide unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited college or university. If you are attending a school in a non-English-speaking country, your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator. You can upload your unofficial transcripts within your online application. Enrolling students will later be required to submit official transcripts.

Special instructions for MAT program
 applicants Since the MAT program prepares candidates to earn art teacher certification for pK–12 schools in the United States, enrollment is restricted to those eligible to work in the US – namely, American citizens and permanent residents who hold a green card. The state of Rhode Island requires that any candidate applying to a post-baccalaureate teacher education program in the state has achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 as an undergraduate. Additionally, RISD’s department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design requires that each candidate show evidence of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in her/his studio studies. Any candidate who has already completed a master’s degree must also show evidence of meeting these same cumulative GPA requirements.


Graduate applicants are required to submit 10–20 examples of visual work, with certain programs suggesting more specific ideas or portfolio requirements (see below).

Include your portfolio images within your online application.  

Specific program instructions:

Furniture Design | In the MFA programs, students make their own work as part of learning from, and with, materials. This applies to tests and models as well as to full size objects at human scale. Material experimentation includes traditional, new, and hybrid materials as appropriate to individual student interests.

In addition to your portfolio materials uploaded to Slideroom, we invite you to include a self-made video no more than 20 seconds duration of you making something. We are not looking for video with professional production values; we are interested in seeing you making something - small, large, modest or complex, any making action can work, the choice is yours. This is an option you might enjoy adding to your submission for us to learn more about your interests. Finally, please title your video.

Landscape Architecture | All applicants to the Masters of Landscape Architecture degree programs are required to submit a portfolio and an additional video essay. Your portfolio should contain 10 individually produced and carefully chosen images of work that reflects your interests in landscape and the discipline of landscape architecture. Applicants to the MLA-1 program who have no prior design training may include photographs, sketches, or written work that conveys their ability to observe, identify, and explore spatial conditions within the landscape. All other applicants should include a selection of work that best represents the development of their interest in this field of study. All work should be labeled to indicate if it is academic, professional or personal. If team projects are presented, your individual contribution must be clearly identified. The portfolio should include a minimal amount of text.

Prepare a short video of yourself telling us: 

1. the most important reason you are motivated to study landscape architecture 

2. at least one goal you hope to achieve in your graduate education 

3. why you think RISD is the best place to achieve your goals  

You are encouraged to be authentic and heartfelt in your video, which will function as the beginning of a conversation that will continue if you enter the program at RISD. You do not need to repeat the same information provided in your written essay. Cell phone videos are accepted as well. Maximum length: 2 minutes

Master of Arts in Teaching | MAT | Your portfolio should consist of 20 images exhibiting the depth and breadth of your studio experience: 10 images should represent work that reflects your investigations within a single medium; 7 images should represent your confidence in handling a variety of media; and three images need to be samples of drawings.

Master of Arts in Art + Design Education | MA | Submit a portfolio of 20 images that most clearly represent your creative practice as an artist or designer.

Statement of Purpose  

Graduate applicants must submit a written statement (500–750 words) outlining their interest and goals in pursuing graduate study. Several programs suggest more specific ideas or written requirements as outlined below.

Specific program instructions:

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE | Your essay should describe how your interest in landscape developed, how the work in your portfolio is indicative of that development, and why the landscape architecture program at RISD seems well suited to your goals. 

PHOTOGRAPHY | In addition to a statement of purpose, applicants should send an artist’s statement describing the work included in their portfolio. In other words, the artist’s statement should be about the work submitted, while the statement of purpose should address why you are seeking a graduate degree.

Master of Arts in Teaching | MAT | Submit a statement describing your work as an artist or designer. What is it about? How do you feel your academic, studio or work experience prepares you for entry to a graduate teacher education program? Discuss how, in your opinion, the quality of an educator’s artistic practice contributes to high-quality arts learning for children and youth. Since the significance of arts education in pK–12 schools is not universally recognized, please provide a succinct argument for including the visual arts as a required core subject for all students at this level.

Master of Arts in Art + Design Education | MA | Submit a written statement (500–750 words) describing your interest in pursuing the MA. Describe how you might customize a program of study that maximizes the resources of RISD, Brown and the city in support of your particular interest in art and design education. In what ways do you, at this time, anticipate that earning an MA will advance your professional development and career aspirations?

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential for graduate study. You may invite your recommenders to upload their letters through SlideRoom. If your recommenders are unable to submit through SlideRoom, their letters may be emailed to or mailed to the Graduate Admissions Office.


TOEFL or IELTS | All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on either test; RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS. The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who are enrolled in an institution where English is the language of instruction.

Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take six weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD by the test agency. 

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) | Results from the Graduate Record Examination are not required, but MA, MAT and MLA candidates are encouraged to submit their scores.


Our online application will allow you to submit all required materials:

  • Application Form
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Portfolio
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Program specific materials (if required)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • CV/Resume (optional)

Our mailing address is: 

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

Application process

RISD’s online graduate application allows you to save the form in process and return to it later. You will also submit other required credentials, including your portfolio and letters of recommendation, in this online process.

To get a better sense of RISD’s programs, facilities and community, we encourage you to visit RISD for one of our graduate information programs.

If you’re not able to make it to campus, RISD representatives are available to speak with you at selected Portfolio Days throughout the country.

You can also request additional information and receive printed materials designed to give you a better understanding of graduate education at RISD.


And please feel free to contact us with any questions.
401 454-6300
800 364-7473

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