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Transfer Credits

Credits in Liberal Arts are granted for courses in the humanities (history, art history and criticism, literary studies and writing, classics, philosophy, religious studies, theater studies, performance studies); the natural sciences; foreign languages; mathematics and computer science; and the social sciences (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, sociology, etc.), as well as for interdisciplinary courses involving any of those disciplines (e.g., area studies, women’s studies).

Among courses not considered part of the Liberal Arts curriculum are courses in athletics, dance, instruction in musical instruments and/or musical performance, methods and practicum courses in education, business and secretarial training, computer applications, extracurricular activities and work or “life” experiences. Courses in education and business are acceptable if they are taught from a humanities or social science point of view. Non-visual art studio courses (e.g., music, dance) and academic courses not satisfying the above can now be counted as “non-major electives.” See your Department Head for permission. One Liberal Arts course is equivalent to three credits.

I. Liberal Arts Requirements for Graduation (42 credits)


A. Distribution
  1. Twelve credits (four courses) in History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC courses)
  2. Nine credits (three courses) in Literary Arts and Studies (LAS courses)
  3. Nine credits (three courses) in History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (HPSS courses)
  4. Twelve credits (four courses) in liberal arts electives; may include courses from any of the three areas above (HAVC, LAS and HPSS), courses identified as Liberal Arts Electives (LAEL) in the course catalog, or courses in any other appropriate area of Liberal Arts (humanities, social sciences, sciences).
B. Course requirements
  1. As part of the Literary Arts and Studies requirement (9 credits), the College requires that students satisfactorily complete LAS-E101 Literature Seminar: Design in Words or its equivalent. There are no waivers for LAS-E101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.
  2. As part of the History of Art and Visual Culture requirement (12 credits), the College requires that students satisfactorily complete HAVC-H101 History of Art and Visual Culture 1 and HAVC-H102 History of Art and Visual Culture 2 (Topics) or its equivalent. There are no waivers for HAVC-H101. Waivers for HAVC-H102 are determined by the HAVC Department Head.
  3. As part of the History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences requirement (9 credits), the College requires that students satisfactorily complete HPSS-S101 History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (Topics). There are no waivers for HPSS-S101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.

II. Transfer Credits


A. Courses taken at other institutions
  1. Transfer credits are accepted only from regionally accredited, residential, non-profit colleges and universities.
  2. Credits from schools on the quarter system (rather than semester system) will be converted as follows:
    5 quarter credits = 3 semester credits. Credits will first be assigned towards the departmental distribution requirements. Any remaining credits will then be assigned to the Liberal Arts elective requirement.
  3. Credits are transferable only for courses in which a grade of “C” or better has been earned. “P” in a Pass/Fail system or other such notations are interpreted as “C” or better. Transfer credits are not calculated in the RISD GPA.
  4. The Liberal Arts office must receive official transcripts from each school attended. Credits are transferable only from the institutions where credits were earned. For example: a transcript from MIT can only be used for credits earned at that college and not credits earned at other institutions which appear on the MIT transcript as transfer credits.
B. Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/Oxford-Cambridge “A” Levels (a maximum of 9 credits)
  1. Credit for Advanced Placement (AP) tests is granted on the basis of exam reports sent by the College Board Advanced Placement Program (PO Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671; toll-free 888 225-5427). RISD may grant up to 9 credits for AP exam scores of 4 or 5. We accept the ENG LIT/COMP exam only. We do not accept the ENG LANG/COMP exam. Also, the Liberal Arts Division does not grant credit for AP exams in studio art.
  2. Credit for participation in the International Baccalaureate Program or Oxford-Cambridge “A” levels is granted for coursework receiving a grade of “C” or better or Higher Level (HL) grades of 5, 6 and 7 and is contingent upon the receipt of an official transcript.
C. After matriculation, only 12 credits will be approved for transfer

Students should seek prior approval of transfer credits from the Dean of Liberal Arts before taking courses at other institutions.

III. Review of Transfer Credits

Questions regarding transfer of Liberal Arts credits should be addressed to the Division of Liberal Arts, College Building, Room 418, located at 236 Benefit Street. Telephone: 401 454-6572 or 401 454-6570.

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