Fall term transfer applicants » March 15, 2013
Transfer candidates who submit all required credentials by March 15, 2013 will be notified the last week of April with the Admissions Committee’s decision. Please use RISD’s online application form to apply.
Spring term transfer applicants » next deadline is November 1, 2013 for admission in 2014
If your training and accomplishments qualify you to forego the Summer Foundation Studies Program and enter as a second-semester sophomore, you may be considered for admission in the spring semester, if there are openings. Mid-year entrance is generally not possible, however, in the architectural studies departments. All candidates for mid-year admission must have completed at least two years of college. The deadline for filing an application and all other required credentials for spring term entrance is November 1. You will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision in late November. If you have been considered and denied admission for second-semester entrance, you will not be reconsidered for entrance the following fall.
If you have satisfactorily completed at least one full year of study at a college accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US (or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority if the college is in another country) by June of the year you intend to enroll at RISD, you may apply as an upperclass transfer student. A full year of college-level study consists of a minimum of 27 earned credits, including a minimum of 12 credits in the liberal arts.
The quantity and type of education previously completed will determine your entrance level at RISD. If you have completed one year, you must apply as a first-semester sophomore. If you are admitted, you will be required to participate in the Summer Foundation Studies Program, a six-week session that runs from mid-June through the end of July.
Modeled on our Foundation Studies curriculum, the Summer Program is an integral part of the degree program, offering courses in drawing, design and spatial dynamics. On the recommendation of Foundation Studies faculty, required attendance may be waived by the Admissions Committee. Waivers are granted only if you have completed the equivalent of RISD’s Foundation Studies Program; all applicants are automatically reviewed for this waiver.
Candidates who have completed three semesters or more‚ including 18 credits in the liberal arts‚ may apply for second-semester sophomore standing. If you have completed four semesters or more (with a studio emphasis), you may apply for entrance as a first-semester junior. Advanced sophomore or junior standing will be granted only if you have completed the equivalent of RISD’s freshman and sophomore studio programs, and if your application portfolio presents sufficient evidence of the breadth of your visual skills and experience. If you apply for advanced standing but are admitted as a first-semester sophomore, you may request a departmental review of your background and accomplishments to determine eligibility for advancement once you have completed your first semester at RISD.
Transfer students must be enrolled in a department for a minimum of two years to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from RISD. Those transferring to architectural or design areas must be enrolled at RISD for at least three years to receive a professional degree. In rare instances, an exception may be made for transfer students from other accredited schools of architecture who have completed three years of full-time study.
With permission from the department head (to be granted only during your second semester in the department), you may be eligible to complete the curriculum for the professional degree in two and a half years.
Transfer of Credit
Course credits in liberal arts, mathematics, science and foreign languages earned at other colleges or universities accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US (or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority if the college is in another country) are usually transferable to RISD and will be applied toward the 42 liberal arts credits required for graduation. A grade of “C” or better is required in order to transfer credits from other institutions. The Division of Liberal Arts determines whether each course is eligible for transfer credit. Once you have enrolled as a RISD degree student, you may only transfer 12 credits from other institutions.
If you are transferring to RISD with a BA degree, you will be exempt from all liberal arts requirements, except the required two-semester sequence in the History of Art + Visual Culture. You may seek a waiver of the second-semester ARTH H102 course if you have taken an equivalent course elsewhere. If you are transferring to RISD with a BA degree from a foreign institution, you may need to seek a waiver of the English requirements for graduation. Contact Gail Hughes in the Liberal Arts Office for more information regarding waivers. Credits earned in studio courses are generally not transferable. If you enter RISD having completed a minimum of three semesters at an accredited institution, you may apply to receive studio credit from your major department. Typically, these credits will be reviewed for transfer after you have completed your first semester at RISD. One or two semesters of advanced standing may be granted after your initial performance at RISD and your previous studio experience have been evaluated. In rare instances, advanced standing may be granted at the time of admission.
Applicants must provide official transcripts covering at least the last three full years of academic work completed. This should include all college transcripts and if applicable, your secondary school transcript. If you are attending school in another country, all of your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator.
Two drawing samples are required of all candidates. Your first
drawing must reference a bicycle. Your second drawing should be chosen from this list of options:
- In the course of a single calendar day, make 25 related images in a single visualization
- A drawing that uses both sides of the sheet of paper
- A drawing that interprets the phrase “Inside/Outside”
Each drawing must be done on a sheet of white paper measuring 16" x 20"
(40 cm x
50 cm). Your bicycle drawing must be done using
graphite pencil. For your second drawing sample, you may use graphite pencil or any dry
(fixable) medium, a water-based medium (such as ink, watercolor
or gouache) or a combination of these media. Do not, however, use any
oil-based medium or collage for your second drawing and remember that
whatever medium(s) you choose for this drawing, you must be able
to fold the paper to mail it to our office.
You may approach these two drawings in any way you wish. For
example, your drawings may be abstract expressions or representational
observations; you may choose to draw an object alone or place it in a
situation; you may choose to cover the entire surface of the page or
only a small portion of it, etc. Other than the stated requirements
related to paper
size (16" x 20"), subject (i.e., bicycle) and medium (graphite pencil),
everything and anything else are up to you.
These drawings must be submitted in their original form, not as
reproductions. Fold your drawings in half and then in half again to a
finished size of 8" x 10" (20cm x 25cm) and be sure to note your full
name and address on the back of each drawing.
An important thought: we consider drawing to be as much about process as presentation, so
we encourage you to consider your drawing submissions as exercises in
experimental thinking and risk-taking more than final presentations or
examples of technical proficiency. We encourage you to consider the full
range of possible expression in your submissions, as we do not value
any particular style of drawing more than another. Finally, using photographs as a source for your drawings is not recommended.
Your portfolio should consist of 12 to 20 examples of any type of
two- or three dimensional work you have completed recently. We suggest
that the work reflect your ideas, interests, experience and abilities in
the arts to date. It may be in any media, may be finished or in sketch
form, and may be the result of an assigned class project or a
self-directed exploration. We strongly suggest that as part of this
visual presentation you also reproduce and submit 2-3 pages from your
journal or sketchbook to indicate your process of research, thinking or
To submit your portfolio, we prefer that you use Slideroom, an online portfolio submission service. Detailed instructions for using Slideroom are available on the site (risd.slideroom.com), which charges $10 for using this submission option.
As an alternative, you may reproduce your work and submit it as digital image files on a CD or DVD or as unmounted digital or photographic prints (no larger than 8.5" x 11" or 21.5cm x 28cm each). If you choose to send your portfolio directly to RISD on a CD/DVD, each image should be submitted as a separate file in .jpg format. Individual files should not exceed 3MB. Do not combine images in a prepared presentation or slideshow of any type (e.g., PowerPoint or Keynote). Please be sure to include a printed thumbnail page showing all the images submitted digitally. Time-based work or performance pieces may be submitted as QuickTime or .mpg files on your CD or DVD.
format you select, include a work description sheet. Number the
examples you are submitting and on your description page list the
corresponding number, medium, size, date of completion and title for
each work. It is very important that your full name and address be
clearly noted on each CD, DVD, print, description and thumbnail page
Submit two examples of writing, each between 200 and 400 words. Your
first sample should address, "What is the most important thing you hope
will have happened to you as a result of your time in the RISD
Your second sample should be chosen from this list of options:
- Every day we’re confronted by circumstances that range from the
worrisome to the inspiring. What do you find most compelling in the
world right now? How might this impact our future? What influence can
you have on this situation?
- Is there something you love, have to do, can’t stop thinking about?
Write about a personal passion or obsession other than visual art or
- Do visual creators have a responsibility to contribute to their community? If so, why and how?
While we encourage you to adhere to the rules of good writing, we
look for applicants who are not afraid to take risks in their
expression. Please don’t hesitate to use a writing style or method that
may be outside the mainstream as you express a dynamic position in the
samples you submit. Please be certain that your full name and address are
clearly noted on each writing sample
Letter(s) of Recommendation
Recommendations should be written by teachers or other professionals
have a first-hand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and
can comment on your potential as a student. Although not required, these
letters can be very helpful in the consideration of your application.
One letter is suggested, although as many as three may be submitted.
We suggest that your recommender(s) use our recommendation form (pdf).
Recommenders may also use their own stationery, but it is critical that
they include your full name in the letter. Recommendations should be
sent by the writer directly to the Admissions Office in time to meet the
Download recommendation form »
SAT Reasoning Test (SAT)
If you are a transfer applicant to Architecture, Interior Architecture and Industrial Design, you must submit results from either the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) or the examination of the American College Testing (ACT) program. Submitting these scores is optional if you apply to these departments but have already completed at least three years of higher education, or if you are applying to any other department.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
If English is not your native language, you must submit results from the TOEFL. Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance and applicants must attain an acceptable score on this test. Different versions of this examination may be available, depending on where you are in the world. We expect a minimum score of 93 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT), which is becoming more widely available. On the paper-based version, which is still in use in some testing centers, we expect a score of 580. Finally, some applicants may have taken the Computer-Based TOEFL (CBT), which uses a different scoring scale; if you took this version of the test, we expect a result of at least 237. You should plan to take the TOEFL well in advance of the application deadline since (depending on the test center location and the test format) it may take six weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Students may choose to submit results from the IELTS in place of the TOEFL. RISD expects a minimum score of 6.5 from an IELTS examination.
SENDING YOUR MATERIALS
Most applicants will use two different mailing addresses to submit all of their required credentials.
Transcripts, test scores and recommendations should be sent to RISD by your school, the test agency and your recommender(s). (NOTE: If you choose to use the Common Application, these credentials may be submitted to RISD through that process.)
You should also send your writing samples to this address:
Rhode Island School of Design
Admissions Mailing Center
PO Box 2667
Providence, RI 02906
You should submit your portfolio (if not using Slideroom) and drawings directly to the Admissions Office (together, in one envelope).
The Admissions Office mailing address is:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903