• MFA | 2-year program

    Building on solid technical skills and a proficient design process, MFA candidates in Textiles engage in individual research to develop a personal vision and an understanding of design as an expression of a continually evolving culture. The program focuses on the woven, knit and print design of fabrics used for apparel and interior design applications. Geared towards those who have a background in textiles, along with experience in visual studies from an undergraduate program or professional practice, it helps students to broaden and sharpen their skills, hone their artistic identity and become well versed in the technical and creative potential of their chosen medium and its context. The program also emphasizes studies in drawing and color - along with participation in graduate seminars - as a means of building analytical and critical thinking skills.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Graduates are prepared to:

    • implement the design process through the framing of content and context

    • articulate the purpose and context for a finished work and how these may inform decisions in the process of creating it

    • recognize the potential of textile materials, techniques and processes to articulate ambitious ideas

    • display analytical and critical thinking/reasoning skills to support the development of one's work, as well as the work of others, and in order to engage in rigorous discourse related to historical and contemporary issues that influence the art and design fields 

    • exhibit strong visual and material competency, including an understanding of color, pattern, structure and materiality as they relate to the creation of two- and three-dimensional work 

    • demonstrate excellence in craftsmanship by creating wovens, knits and other material forms that are well considered, made and resolved

    • demonstrate confidence and proficiency in the field, with emphasis on advanced equipment and processes

    • become acquainted with scales of manufacturing and distribution

    • recognize environmental/sustainability and social concerns related to textile processes and manufacturing

    • articulate their role as designers in the field while demonstrating broad historical and theoretical awareness of textiles and its larger cultural and economic contexts, along with how it intersects with other disciplines

    • explain the current field in the context of art, architecture, design and technology

    • identify where the work will sit in the world

  • Inspiring Community

    Textiles majors at RISD form a strong and supportive community, with approximately a dozen graduate students working together in various studios with more than 80 undergraduates and interacting with RISD's other 400-plus master's degree candidates. Faculty bring a wide range of professional expertise to working closely with graduate students to help each individual push his or her own capabilities and develop a strong, confident vision and direction for future work in the field.

  • Learning Environment

    Graduate students work closely with RISD's accomplished faculty, whose professional expertise ranges from digital technology to complex woven structures, including jacquard weaving. Vital connections to the profession are maintained through a required internship, seminar speakers, field trips, visiting critics and communications with experts in the field. Specialized facilities, high-end looms and professional software accommodate advanced work, while valuable resources outside the department include an outstanding textiles collection in the RISD Museum of Art and inspiring textiles resource materials in the Fleet Library at RISD.

  • Brooks Hagan | graduate program director

    "It's important that all MFA candidates in Textiles have a basic understanding of the medium, a strong visual vocabulary and exceptional motivation to undertake a rigorous program. Beyond that, however, students learn what they don't already know about hand-based techniques, digital design and operating advanced equipment while developing a critical language and context for their work." 


  • Curriculum

    The first year of the MFA program focuses on enriching students’ creative background and expanding their skills, including the use of digital technology in design. The second year allows for more individual exploration of weaving, knitting or surface design, with the final semester culminating in a thesis project that entails both studio work and writing.

    MFA first year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Studio or CAD in Textiles or elective
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Textile Seminar I
    • From an Idea to Meaning
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate Studio or CAD in Textiles or elective
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Textile Seminar II

    MFA second year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Seminar
    • Textile Seminar I
    • Open electives
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Thesis Project
    • Thesis Writing
    • Open elective

  • Thesis Project

    In the final semester, MFA candidates focus on creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All graduate students produce a written thesis 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. letters of recommendation (3)
    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 Textiles 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 artistic 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.