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Academic Year and Course/Credit Load
For most students, the academic year consists of two semesters (Fall and Spring), and a Wintersession term.
Credit load restrictions and consequences: The normal credit load is 12 to 15 credits per semester, and 3 credits during Wintersession. Twelve (12) credits per semester is the minimum requirement for full-time enrollment. Registering for less than 12 credits in a term is not permitted. Students who do not attempt at least 12 credits in a term may be placed on academic probation and run the risk of jeopardizing financial aid. International students must enroll for at least 12 credits to maintain their visa status. Attempting less than 3 credits during Wintersession will place a student on academic probation as well.
Requests to enroll for less than 12 credits (referred to as “reduced load”) are considered according to the policy described on the Full-time Enrollment Requirement for Undergraduate and Graduates page. Requests for reduced load must be made in writing to the Academic Standing Committee using the Request for Exception to Academic Policy Form available in the Registrar’s Office. Requests must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than one month prior to the start of classes.
Refer to the Maximum Term Credits page for the policy on maximum credits for a term.
Students may take credit bearing courses at RISD in the Summer under limited circumstances. These circumstances include internships for which registration is completed prior to beginning the internship and enrollment in the Summer Experimental and Foundation Studies Program, which offers up to nine credits to incoming as well as continuing students seeking to make up EFS coursework. RISD Continuing Education offers credit-bearing courses.
Select graduate programs have summer credit requirements, such as the MLA in Landscape Architecture, MAT program in Art Education, MDes program in Interior Studies (Adaptive Reuse), and the MA in Interior Architecture.