Skip to main content

As neighbors on College Hill, RISD and Brown have long enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, with students at each institution cross-registering for classes at no extra cost. Many RISD students take advantage of intensive foreign language classes at Brown, along with a wide range of offerings in math, science and the humanities. Conversely, many Brown students welcome opportunities to do in-depth studio work and tap into the creative expertise available down the hill. In short, RISD and Brown students benefit from cross-disciplinary exchanges and interact both academically and socially.

Shared resources + opportunities

In addition to being invited to take courses at Brown, RISD students have ready access to Brown's extensive research libraries and comprehensive athletic facilities, which include a pool, an ice skating rink, fitness classes, gyms, tracks and miscellaneous courts. Many other activities that take place at Brown—from lectures and symposia to concerts, exhibitions and theatrical productions—are open to the RISD community. In other words, with a RISD or Brown ID students at each institution have access to many more opportunities than are available on their own campuses alone.

Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program

The Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program (BRDD) offers a rigorous course of study for highly capable and self-motivated students to integrate diverse spheres of academic work, earning both a Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from RISD simultaneously. The program provides access to a broader range of faculty and resources than is available in pursuing a degree at either one or the other institution.

Established in 2007, the BRDD is the first of its kind in the country to build on the different but complementary strengths of two world-class institutions. RISD provides specialized education in the fine arts, visual media, architecture, design and the liberal arts. Brown offers comprehensive concentrations in the physical and biological sciences, social sciences, mathematics and the humanities.

BRDD candidates have pursued majors in such disciplines as Apparel Design and Environmental Studies, Furniture Design and Mechanical Engineering, Printmaking and International Relations, and Film/Animation/Video and Physics, among many other interesting combinations. Prospective students must apply and be accepted to both institutions, and then be approved for admission to the BRDD.

Graduate-level research opportunities

Given the collaborative spirit between RISD and Brown, graduate students often consider the campus up the hill as an extension of RISD’s own. Students with a RISD ID card are granted full privileges at Brown’s extensive research libraries, which include “the Rock” (the huge, main Rockefeller Library), the historic John Hay Library and the Orwig Music Library, among others.

Graduate students may also enroll in courses at Brown at no extra cost and often do research alongside Brown students through jointly sponsored projects such as the eMotive electric car, designing solar housing, exploring STEAM connections and climate change, and tackling a range of other real-world issues. Given Brown’s large graduate community, RISD grad students also appreciate the opportunity to expand their learning through the many lectures, symposia and cultural activities available at the university.