Academics

Liberal Arts

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  • At RISD the exploration of both studio arts and liberal arts makes for a powerful experience. In fact, RISD stands out among art schools for its emphasis on liberal arts study, led by doctorate-level faculty in archeology, anthropology, biology, cognitive science, creative writing, literature, history, art history, performance studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology and more.

  • Daniel Cavicchi | dean

    “In ancient Greece and Rome, the liberal arts comprised skills and attainments that were neither mechanical nor mundane but rather enabled free men to participate fully in public life. The role of Liberal Arts at RISD is similarly based on the principle that serious engagement with the world of scholarship provides the foundation for truly critical, ethical and transformative work.”

  • Liberal Arts Departments

    All RISD students are required to take a third of their classes in liberal arts, a division that includes three departments:

    Additional Liberal Arts electives, including Science for Art and Design Education Courses, may be used to fulfill liberal arts requirements

    In addition to offering a wide range of courses, each department also allows for a “concentration” – a more focused program of study for students interested in concentrating their liberal arts studies within one of the departments. Liberal arts faculty are also open to working with students one-on-one through for-credit Independent Study Projects (ISPs).

  • The mission of the Liberal Arts division is threefold: to provide a strong general education, to offer possibilities for focused study, and to foster opportunities for deepening and enriching art and design practice. In Liberal Arts classes students learn to articulate ideas with independence and confidence; think creatively, critically and analytically; and develop a lifelong curiosity about the world.

  • For more information

    • Gail Hughes
    • Division Administrator
    • ghughes@risd.edu
    • 401 454-6572
    • Carrie Miller
    • Department Administrative Coordinator
    • cmiller02@risd.edu
    • 401 454-6569
    • Trish Sweeney
    • Curriculum and Enrollment Coordinator
    • tsweeney@risd.edu
    • 401 454-6570