Graduate students come to RISD at various ages and stages of their lives, meaning some are here fresh from their undergrad experience while others are returning to school in their 30s or older. Despite the diversity of backgrounds and individual backstories, together grad students form a close-knit community based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to advancing their work.

Graduate Student Alliance

A student organization with representatives from each master’s degree program, the Graduate Student Alliance (GSA) works to enhance the quality and focus of the educational and social experience of grad students at RISD. Staff members in the Center for Student Involvement work with the GSA to coordinate programs and special events such as open studios. GSA reps also serve on a wide range of planning committees at RISD, offering input on everything from student life initiatives to financial aid to academic policies.

Graduate housing

Many graduate students opt to live off campus in rental properties in neighborhoods in and around RISD, including College Hill, Fox Point and the East Side. Loft and warehouse spaces are also available relatively nearby in Olneyville and on the West Side. On-campus apartments and studios for grad students are available in 15 West, a high-rise above the Fleet Library at RISD, and at Charles Landing, Colonial Apartments and Dwight House.

Students with families

All graduate students at RISD enroll in programs that require a full-time commitment, but this doesn’t necessarily preclude having a life beyond the studio. If you come to campus with a partner and/or children, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to balance academic commitments with other essential aspects of your life, whether that involves working, parenting, being a supportive spouse, helping aging parents, engaging with friends and family members or doing anything else that’s important to how you live your life.


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