Transfer application deadline for fall semester
Decisions are mailed the third week of April. Most transfer students are required to begin their RISD education with the Summer Experimental and Foundation Studies Program, a six-week session that runs from mid June through the end of July. Modeled on the full-year Experimental and Foundation Studies curriculum that all freshmen follow, the summer program is an integral part of the RISD learning experience, offering studios in Drawing, Design and Spatial Dynamics. If you have completed the equivalent of RISD’s first-year program, this requirement may be waived. The Admissions Committee automatically reviews all applicants and issues waivers where warranted.
Transfer application deadline for spring semester
Decisions are mailed the second week of December. Note: If you have been considered and denied admission for the spring semester, you cannot be reconsidered for entrance the following fall.
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 covering at least the last three full years of academic work completed. This should include all college transcripts and if applicable, your secondary school transcript. If you are attending a school in non-English-speaking country, your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator.
Transcripts can be submitted by school officials through the Common App, Parchment, eTranscript, email or mail.
SAT or ACT
If you are a transfer applicant to Architecture, Interior Architecture or Industrial Design, you must submit results from either the SAT or the ACT (American College Testing program), including the writing component. Submitting these scores is optional if you’re applying to any other department or you’ve already completed at least three years of higher education. RISD’s CEEB code 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 your ideas, interests, experience and abilities in the arts to date. Work presented can be in any media (including film or video), in finished or sketch form and the result of an assigned project or a self-directed exploration. We strongly recommend you to include 2–3 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, using the prompt indicted below. Remember, this is the limit, not a goal. Use the full limit if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so.
- Provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve by joining us at RISD.
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 dynamic position in the samples you submit.
Your writing sample may be uploaded through the Common Application.
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 first-hand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential as a student.
Please use the Common Application to invite people who are writing letters in support of your application to upload them through that service. Letters may also be sent 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(s) send official transcripts to the Admissions Office - electronically through the Common Application, Parchment or eTranscript - or by email or mail.
Upload your portfolio through SlideRoom.
Upload the 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 samples and test reports may also be mailed to:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Transfer of credit
Course credits in liberal arts, mathematics, science and foreign languages earned at other colleges or universities accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US (or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority if the college is in another country) are usually transferable to RISD and will be applied toward the 42 liberal arts credits required for graduation. A grade of C or better is required in order to transfer credits from other institutions. The Division of Liberal Arts determines whether each course is eligible for transfer credit. Once you have enrolled as a RISD degree student, you may only transfer 12 credits from other institutions.
Credits earned in previous studio courses will be reviewed by faculty during the application process. Studio credits are generally not transferable at the point of entrance, but in rare instances, they may allow placement at a more advanced level. Your application decision will indicate your entry level.
Typically, credit for appropriate studio courses will be reviewed after your first term in the department. Advanced standing may be granted after your initial work at RISD and your previous studio experience have been evaluated. RISD requires a minimum of two years of residency before granting a degree.
Fall term If you will have satisfactorily completed at least one full year of study at a college accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US (or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority if the college is in another country) by June 2018, you may apply as an upperclass transfer student. A full year of college-level study consists of a minimum of 27 earned credits, including a minimum of 12 credits in the liberal arts.
Spring term If you have completed two years (approximately 60 credits) of college and your visual arts training and accomplishments qualify you to enter a specific RISD program as a second-semester sophomore, you may be considered for admission in the spring semester. Opportunities for spring admission vary by department and mid-year entrance is generally not possible in the architectural studies majors.
Transfer students enter RISD degree programs as sophomores—at the second-year level, which is when departmental major requirements call for sequential courses focused on a specific studio discipline. Applicants with prior experience that closely matches RISD’s curriculum may be eligible for placement at a more advanced level, either at the time of admission or after the first semester. Your application decision will indicate the level at which you are admitted