First-year Advising


First-year students are assigned advisors from among the Experimental and Foundation Studies (EFS) faculty members who taught their specific section of DrawingDesign or Spatial Dynamics.

Highlights of your first year include:

By the end of your first year you will have earned 33 credits, as follows:

  • EFS: 18 credits
  • Wintersession elective: 3–6 credits
  • Liberal Arts: 12 credits

The timeline below lists advising events and info for first-year students choosing majors. Consult the academic calendar or click timeline links for dates and details.

To find your advisor, log into Workday with your RISD credentials and follow these steps.

Find your advisor in workday

First-year timeline


  • Introduction to your Experimental and Foundation Studies (EFS) faculty advisor
  • Beginning of EFS Advising course on Canvas for all first-year students—this course provides deadlines and important information about choosing a major


  • Mid-semester advisor check-in—schedule asap
  • Open Studios: An opportunity during RISD Weekend to explore academic departments and possible majors
  • Wintersession course exploration/selection: An opportunity to research courses of interest in your possible major
  • Mid-semester warnings of unsatisfactory progress via RISD email—contact your advisor asap if you receive a warning


  • Undergraduate open studios


  • Final crit week: A chance to check out academic departments and explore possible majors


  • Wintersession add/drop registration period—add and/or drop classes without penalty (first seven days of Wintersession, starting on the first day of classes)



  • Early declaration of major: You must declare early in the early spring, even if you noted a major of interest on your application for admission. If you did express interest in a major when applying, you can still choose any major you'd like.
  • Department meetings for declared first-year students
  • Deadline to resolve incomplete grades awarded in the previous Wintersession


  • Final declaration of major: anyone choosing to change their declared major must go to the EFS office to complete required paperwork
  • Mid-semester academic advisor check-in
  • Mid-semester warnings of unsatisfactory progress via RISD email—contact your advisor asap if you receive a warning


  • Final crits: A last chance for first-year students to check out their declared major. (EFS will send out a list of open crits.)