Acceptance of first-year applications begins
Early decision deadline
Decisions are mailed in the second week of December. Please note that applying for Early Decision indicates a commitment to attend if admitted.
First-year regular deadline
Decisions are mailed in the third week of March.
You'll begin and manage your RISD application process by completing the application form provided on the Common Application website. There is a non-refundable application fee of $60 to use this service; eligible students may apply for a fee waiver.
Applicants must provide official transcripts of all secondary academic work through the most recent grading period. Your counselor may submit your transcript through the Common Application, Parchment, email or mail. If your academic credentials are not written in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator prior to submission.
SAT or ACT
All applicants are required to submit the results of the SAT or the ACT (American College Testing program). Subject tests are not required.
RISD’s CEEB code number for the SAT is 003726; for ACT the code number is 003812.
TOEFL or IELTS
All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on either test; RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS. Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take six weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD.
Your portfolio should show a selection of 12–20 examples of your best recent artwork. We suggest that the work reflect the full range of your ideas, interests, experience and abilities in the arts to date. Work presented can be in any medium (including film or video), in finished or sketch form, and the result of an assigned project or a self-directed exploration. We strongly recommend that you include a few pages from your journal or sketchbook to indicate your process of research, thinking and investigation.
Do not submit a multi-page PDF with individual and unrelated works on each page since this is likely to exceed the limit of 20 examples we’ve requested. The only exception to this is a portfolio piece like a graphic novel where multiple pages are part of a single, cohesive work.
Portfolios must be submitted through SlideRoom, an online portfolio service (which requires an additional $10 fee).
Choose one of the following three prompt options and create two responses using any medium you prefer (no restrictions).
We consider this assignment to be as much about process as presentation and encourage you to consider your submissions as exercises in experimental thinking and risk-taking more than as final presentations or examples of technical proficiency. No particular outcome is valued more than another, so feel free to explore the full range of possible expression in these works.
Each of these prompts has more than one meaning or usage and you might want to begin by referring to dictionary sources to expand your initial reaction about a direction.
Please upload your responses in the specific section of SlideRoom dedicated to these works. (Do not include them in the Portfolio area of SlideRoom.)
If the file size of either of your responses exceeds 10 MB, please embed a link to direct us to another viewing platform such as a personal website, Vimeo, etc.
In the SlideRoom submission section for your two works, we also ask you to reflect on the two responses that you are sharing and provide a brief response to this question: What are the other directions or ideas you would explore as a next step?
Submit one example of your writing, up to 650 words. Remember, this is the limit, not a goal. Use the full limit if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so.
You will find the writing prompts in the Personal Essay section of the Common Application.
While we encourage you to adhere to the rules of good writing, we look for applicants who are not afraid to take risks in their expression. Please don't hesitate to use a writing style or method that may be outside the mainstream as you express a distinctive personal position in the samples you submit.
Letter(s) of recommendation
Although not required, these letters can be very helpful to your application. One letter is suggested, although as many as three may be submitted. Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential as a student.
Please use the Common Application to invite your recommendation writers to submit letters through that service. Letters may also be sent directly to our mailing address (see below) or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitting your materials
Submit your application form through the Common Application.
Have your school send official transcripts to the Admissions Office, either electronically through the Common Application, Parchment or email, or by mail.
Upload your portfolio through SlideRoom.
Upload your responses to The Assignment in Slideroom.
Upload your writing sample and letters of recommendation through the Common Application.
We prefer that your credentials be submitted electronically using the online tools.
Paper versions of official transcripts, recommendations, writing sample and test reports may also be mailed to:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Graduation from secondary school is a prerequisite, although a high school equivalency diploma may be accepted. Prospective applicants are urged to follow a college preparatory program in secondary school, taking courses in studio art and art history where possible. Courses that develop visual and design skills (such as studio drawing) are strongly recommended. Students interested in our Architecture program must have completed a course sequence in mathematics including algebra, geometry and trigonometry and one year of science, preferably physics.
Brown|RISD Dual Degree program
Students applying for admission to the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program must complete the application process at both institutions by our respective deadlines: January 1 for Brown and February 1 for RISD.
You may not apply to both RISD and Brown using the Early Decision deadline, although you can choose to apply to one of the two schools early. If you do so, please indicate your interest in this program on your application.
The only additional credential required to apply for this program is the Dual Degree Supplement, which is included within the Common Application. Note that the Dual Degree essay does not replace the other required writing sample.
Students must be admitted both to RISD and Brown before being considered for admission to the Dual Degree program.