RISD’s European Honors Program (EHP) offers highly motivated and self-directed juniors and seniors the opportunity to live and study in Rome for half a year. Since its founding in 1960, EHP has offered thousands of students a unique base for independent reflection and personal growth at their own pace. “The experience changed my life,” notes alumnus David Macaulay [RISD BArch ’69], a 2006 MacArthur Fellow and author/illustrator of The Way Things Work, Ship, Cathedral, Rome-Antics and numerous other bestsellers.
Housed in the Palazzetto Cenci, a 16th-century palace within walking distance of the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Coliseum and the Roman Forum, EHP enables RISD students to delve deep into independent study of the fine arts, architecture and design. The 21-week program is offered twice per year—in summer-fall and winter-spring, which enables students to study abroad and still meet certain major program requirements by allowing for a semester in Providence in the same academic year. Studio work is supervised by a chief critic (a member of RISD’s faculty who is appointed to the position), with visiting scholars, artists and short-term critics complementing the program.
While in Rome, students participate in Italian language and art history courses that make full use of the city’s museums and architectural and archaeological monuments as subjects for study. Special study tours of northern and southern Italy enable students to explore other culturally significant cities such as Venice, Florence, Assisi, Perugia, Siena, Naples and Pompeii. EHP recently expanded opportunities for students to engage in potentially broader independent study away from the classroom in Rome, with guidance from RISD critics. Digital connections to faculty members in Providence and other critics throughout the world also allow students to interface with a wider range of resources.