Bachelor’s Program

The four-year Jewelry + Metalsmithing BFA offers conceptual and technical challenges that help you discover and execute design solutions with skill and ingenuity. Faculty help you hone critical thinking and making skills through challenging assignments, selected readings and group discussions, and by encouraging unconventional approaches to the field.


In the first year of the program, sophomores learn fundamental design principles, the history of adornment and the traditional skills of the gold/metalsmith. You also begin to develop your own design process for jewelry.

Juniors continue to refine technical skills by delving further into a personal approach to design and content, while learning fundamental computer design skills, formal rendering techniques and the basics of enameling, casting and alternative materials usage.

View the curriculum

Learning outcomes

Graduates are prepared to:

  • think critically by questioning, evaluating options and being aware of their own working methodologies.
  • articulate positions and defend decisions regarding materials, making processes, location of work on the body and intended audience.
  • master the varied technical processes inherent to creating original work responsive to contemporary materials and methods.
  • demonstrate a deep understanding of both traditional gold/silversmithing and contemporary jewelry making, in terms of methods, history and culture.
  • understand personal aspirations in order to work from an authentic position and establish a self-reflective practice.
  • create work that is personally expressive and responsive to evolving global values.
  • be a conscientious practitioner by sourcing materials that consider environmental sustainability and other factors.
  • develop the agility, skills, sensibilities and rigor necessary to sustain a creative practice.

Inspiring community

Approximately 30 undergraduate students working with all types of materials and techniques share studio spaces and specialized equipment in RISD's Metcalf Building. Faculty members provide focused, individual attention both in class and as you work on your own in the studio. J+M grad students enrich the discourse, contributing to a ready exchange of ideas.

Learning environment

Throughout the program, you engage with the professional world in many ways. Visiting artists from the US and around the world offer exposure to current critical analysis and artistic practices developing in the field. They also provide their insight and perspectives during critiques and individual studio visits.

In addition, the department assists you in finding rewarding professional internships at selected companies or studios.

Degree project

Seniors pursue independent work that reflects a personal aesthetic and culminates in the exhibition of a final body of work. A professional practices seminar and meetings with visiting professionals help strengthen each student's portfolio.