Policies + Disclosures

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Brown University Cross-Registration

Cross-registration Arrangement with Brown University

As a result of a long-standing cooperative agreement between the two institutions, all upperclass students of RISD (undergraduate sophomore and above, as well as graduate), may enroll in courses at Brown University, our Ivy League neighbor on College Hill, as part of their RISD tuition. The courses at Brown must be applicable toward RISD degree requirements or they will not be approved. Brown University is the only college or university with which RISD has a reciprocal cross-registration agreement.

RISD first year students must have prior approval from the Dean of Foundation Studies, although this permission is not often given due to the workload and other factors affecting first years. First year Brown-RISD Dual Degree students are permitted to register at Brown and, like upperclass Dual Degree students, they will enroll directly with Brown and do not follow the cross-registration process (information is provided during the initial enrollment process).

Enrollment at Brown is on a space-available basis and is subject to written permission of the Brown professor and the Brown Registrar.  Brown University courses taken by RISD students will be recorded by RISD as three credit courses with the appropriate RISD subject (e.g. LAEL or HPSS) followed by a course number of 8800, and will be calculated with that credit value in all RISD credit load calculations. Courses are recorded on the RISD transcript whether the course is passed, not passed, or withdrawn, unless the course is dropped with the RISD Registrar prior to the RISD deadline for dropping courses.

Fall and Spring term courses may be taken under this arrangement. Summer term is not part of the cross-reg agreement.  Students pay Brown directly when they register for a summer class and must petition to transfer the course to RISD.

RISD students may register for Brown courses no earlier than the first day of Brown’s classes (see the Academic Calendar)  This policy is consistent with RISD’s requirement for Brown students who wish to take courses at RISD and who may not register prior to the first day of RISD classes. For more information, refer to the RISD-Brown Cross Registration instructions on the Registrar’s office website which also provides a link to an instructional video.

Cross-registration Grading

System Options for RISD students taking courses at Brown

Grade earned at Brown Grade Recorded on RISD Academic Record
Grade Option 1: RISD Pass/Fail
A or B or C or S
P (Credit earned but not calculated in GPA)
No Credit NC
Incomplete Incomplete I (must be completed following RISD deadlines)
Grade Option 2: RISD Letter Grades
A or B or C or No Credit
A, B, C or NC
Incomplete Incomplete I (must be completed following RISD deadlines)


In selecting a grading option, students are reminded that:


  •  Credits graded “P” do not apply toward the minimum of 12 required for consideration for semester Honors. 
  • The grade option selection will not be changed after the RISD Add/Drop deadline or the Brown deadline, whichever is earlier. 
  • Brown courses that contain the designation “S/NC” at the end of the Brown course description are mandatory “S/NC” and may only be taken with that grade option. 
  • Course withdrawals must be done within the deadline set on the RISD academic calendar. See the RISD Academic Calendar for drop/add and course withdrawal deadlines.


Biking is big at RISD – despite the killer hill.