• MFA | 2-year program

    Integrating new artistic and technical approaches to printmaking with the great historical traditions of the medium, the MFA program encourages individual artistic growth through the exploration of printed multiples. Exposure to critical insights from faculty, visiting artists and print-world professionals leads to advanced personal work responsive to the issues defining the field. Mastery of intaglio, lithography, screenprint, relief, photo and digital methods – with special emphasis on one area – ensures confidence in the professional arena. MFA candidates in Printmaking also have the opportunity to design and teach a fully accredited course during Wintersession of their second year.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Graduates are prepared to:

    • demonstrate mastery of traditional techniques of relief and intaglio printing in all their complexity, along with a knowledge of lithography, screenprint, photographic and digital methods

    • indicate confidence in their ability to make work that is meaningful to them and successfully conveys their ideas

    • build a studio practice based on skills and procedures developed from research and study

    • articulate – both verbally and in writing – concepts and contexts pertaining to their work

    • exhibit deep and thorough knowledge of at least one traditional printmaking process through rigorously executed studio work

    • display appreciation for and knowledge of the broad field of contemporary art making, including installation, relational aesthetics, performance and sound


  • Inspiring Community

    The 14 first- and second-year MFA candidates enrolled in Printmaking are deeply engaged in personal artistic exploration and work closely with faculty and curators at the RISD Museum, who offer ready access to original works of art along with historic context and expertise. Grad students also become part of the larger community of artists pursuing advanced-level work and  appreciate the many opportunities RISD affords for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

  • Learning Environment

    Graduate students work in individual studios in RISD’s Fletcher Building, an interdisciplinary space designed to promote discourse with peers in other fine arts graduate programs, and also make use of the department’s core facilities in Benson Hall, where they work side-by-side with approximately 36 Printmaking undergraduates. Facilities include an intaglio editioning studio, a woodshop, a computer lab and spaces for student exhibitions and group critiques. In addition, Printmaking majors share a screenprinting facility and large-scale intaglio and lithography presses with graduate students in Textiles.

  • Andrew Raftery | graduate program director

    “The compression and refinement that occur while working an idea into a matrix for printing can encourage clarity and insight. In addition to exploration in the studio, our students study prints with faculty and visiting artists, learning how and why they were made and how they work in the world. Innovation and new technologies have been a constant since the development of print technology in third century China. The prints we make and the ones we research in our museum and beyond collect and transmit ideas about where we come from, who we think we are, and what our future might be.”

  • Curriculum

    During two years in residence at RISD, graduate students undertake a serious investigation of the broad range of possibilities presented by contemporary printmaking. In addition, they are encouraged to extend their professional experience through off-campus internships during Wintersession and over the summer.

    MFA first year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Printmaking I: Historical Context & Practice
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Graduate Printmaking Projects I
    • Open elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate Printmaking II: Curatorial & Critical Topics & Practice
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Advanced Printmaking elective

    MFA second year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Printmaking III: Historical Context & Practice
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate Printmaking IV: Critical Topics and Practice
    • Graduate Printmaking Thesis: Articulating the Ideas and Processes that Underlie Your Work
    • Elective

  • Thesis Project

    In the final semester, degree candidates focus on creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All MFA candidates produce a written thesis book and participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. academic transcripts
    3. 3 letters of recommendation
    4. portfolio of work
    5. statement of purpose (500–750 words) outlining your interest and goals in pursuing graduate study
    6. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
      • In determining admission to the MFA program, the faculty selection committee in Printmaking looks for evidence of an applicant’s commitment, drive, technical competence and openness to experimentation. Portfolios should be professionally presented using the highest quality representation of work showing the breadth and depth of art and creative thinking capabilities. Phone interviews are followed by invitations for finalists to visit campus for in-person meetings.
      • For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.