Sculpture

Undergraduate

  • BFA | 4-year program

    Based around a hub of core studios, a major in Sculpture offers students opportunities to enhance and inform ongoing work with an array of workshops, intensives, electives and seminars. The curriculum is further enriched by RISD’s fortuitous location between Boston and New York, affording students ready access to museums, galleries, performances and other culturally rich opportunities.

  • Inspiring Community

    Approximately 35 undergraduate and a dozen graduate students in the department are guided and challenged by professors committed to helping each individual to push and refine his or her own expressive capabilities. Students show a lot of mutual respect for each other's work, offering informal critical feedback and helping each other with projects as needed. The many visiting artists and critics who come to campus each semester offer exposure to a wide range of work and philosophies, and contribute to the caliber of critical dialogue.

  • Learning Environment

    Sculpture majors work in shared spaces in the Metcalf Building, which houses a foundry, woodshop and extensive metal fabrication facilities. A full-time technician maintains the state-of-the-art foundry, where bronze and aluminum are poured weekly, and also supports wax-working, patina and rubber mold areas. In addition, students have access to a nearby iron foundry. In the studio, students are expected to assume responsibility for their own toolkit so that they come to understand the value of caring for the specialized tools a sculptor needs.

  • Curriculum

    Entering the major as sophomores (after RISD’s required Foundation Studies year), students focus on such skills as wood and metal fabrication, casting, drawing and figure modeling through classes that emphasize conceptual and technical development. Juniors begin to identify areas for serious conceptual and technical investigation, supported by greater choice of electives such as robotics, advanced fabrication methods and a seminar in contemporary sculpture issues.

    Foundation Studies

    • Fall
    • Drawing I
    • Design I
    • Spatial Dynamics I
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Drawing II
    • Design II
    • Spatial Dynamics II
    • Liberal Arts courses

    Sophomore

    • Fall
    • Sophomore Studio I
    • Wood & Metal Shop Practice I
    • Figure Modeling or Casting Studio
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Sophomore Studio II
    • Wood & Metal Shop Practice II
    • Surveying 20th Century Sculpture
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts courses

    Junior

    • Fall
    • Junior Studio I
    • Metal Fabrication Studio or Casting Studio
    • Open elective
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Junior Studio II
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts courses

    Senior

    • Fall
    • Senior Sculpture Studio I
    • Senior Studio Elective
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Senior Sculpture Degree Project
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts courses

  • Degree Project

    During senior year, students become increasingly self-directed, delving into their own research methodology and integrating conceptual concerns with technical skills. A Professional Practices class helps seniors prepare for life after graduation, with the final semester culminating in a thesis and degree project that articulates the central concerns behind the final body of work produced.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. official academic transcripts
    3. test scores: SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language
    4. portfolio of work 12–20 examples
    5. drawings 2 RISD-assigned samples
    6. writing samples 2 RISD-assigned pieces
    7. optional: letters of recommendation 1–3 suggested

    All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.

    For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.