BFA | 4-year program

Intensive study of conceptual, formal and practical issues related to historical and contemporary prints in the RISD Museum of Art and other collections in the region provides inspiration through direct contact with original works of art. Critical insights from faculty, visiting artists and other print-world professionals help students to develop mature personal work responsive to the issues defining the field today.

Learning outcomes

Graduates are prepared to:

  • develop the self-reflective capacity to explain why they are making prints
  • be conversant with the history of the printmaking field
  • articulate the conceptual grounding of their work and defend it through critical dialogue
  • demonstrate knowledge and technical skills in varied printmaking contexts, from intaglio, lithography and silkscreen to related disciplines such as illustration, textiles and photography


Inspiring community

Approximately 36 undergraduates work alongside 14 graduate students in the department's dedicated facilities in Benson Hall. Students at all levels – both within the department and beyond, in fine arts and design majors – inspire each other through provocative individual inquiry and exploration. In addition, Printmaking majors are very curious, open and willing to help each other in any way they can.

Learning environment

In addition to having access to state-of-the-art facilities in Benson Hall, Printmaking majors regularly take advantage of RISD resources that are especially helpful for research and personal growth. Just across the street, in the RISD Museum of Art's Minskoff Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs, students have access to a collection of 26,000 works on paper from the 15th century to the present. Direct study of these works offers invaluable insights and inspiration, as does hands-on access to specimens in the Nature Lab and in the Fleet Library's extraordinary collection of artists' books.

Curriculum

After completing RISD's required first-year Foundation Studies program, sophomores who choose this major are introduced to the basic forms of printmaking – intaglio, lithography and silkscreen. Juniors continue to hone their conceptual, critical and technical skills through a number of Printmaking electives or studios in related disciplines such as Illustration, Textiles and Photography.

Foundation-year

Fall
Drawing I
Design I
Spatial Dynamics I
First-year Literature Seminar
Theory & History of Art & Design I
Wintersession
Non-major studio elective
Spring
Drawing II
Design II
Spatial Dynamics II
Topics in History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences
Theory & History of Art & Design II

Sophomore

Fall
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts electives
Waterbase Silkscreen I
Relief Projects I
Wintersession
Non-major studio elective
Spring
Intaglio I
Lithography I
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts electives

Junior

Fall
Workshop: Light to Ink
Junior Printmaking Workshop: Seminar/Critique
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts electives
Wintersession
Non-major studio elective
Spring
Junior Printmaking Workshop: Seminar/Critique
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts electives

Senior

Fall
Senior Printmaking Workshop: Critique
Senior Printmaking Workshop: Seminar
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts elective
Wintersession
Non-major studio elective
Spring
Senior Printmaking Degree Project: Critique
Printmaking or other studio elective
Liberal Arts elective

Degree project

In the third year of the program, seniors work more independently, refining a personal visual vocabulary through a final Degree Project - a body of work that demonstrates each individual's technical strengths, along with his/her conceptual clarity and depth.

Application requirements

  1. Common Application

    You’ll begin and manage your RISD application process by completing the Common Application. There is a non-refundable application fee of $60 to use this service; eligible students may apply for a fee waiver.

  2. Academic transcripts

    Applicants must provide official transcripts of all secondary academic work through the most recent grading period. Your counselor may submit your transcript through the Common Application, Parchment, email or mail. If your academic credentials are not written in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator prior to submission.

  3. Tests

    SAT or ACT

    All applicants are required to submit the results of the SAT or the ACT (American College Testing program). RISD will superscore your results. Subject tests are not required.

    RISD’s institution code number for the SAT is 3726; for ACT the code number is 003812.

    English language proficiency tests

    All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from any one of these three options: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or Duolingo (an online English test). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on their chosen test; RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL, a 6.5 on IELTS or a 63 on Duolingo.

    Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take three weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD by the test agency. Duolingo test results may take up to four days to be received by RISD.

    The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who have studied in an institution where English is the language of instruction. You must contact the Admissions Office to explain your school history and determine if you are eligible.

  4. Portfolio

    You will upload your portfolio in SlideRoom through the Common Application.

    Your portfolio should present 12–20 examples of your most recent work that showcases your thinking and making. The work should reflect a full range of your ideas, interests, experiences and abilities in the arts. This can include work in any medium, in finished or sketch form, and can be the result of an assigned project or a self-directed exploration.

    We recommend that you include some developmental research and/or preparatory work for one of your submissions. It is helpful to show your process of thinking and investigation so we can see how you develop your ideas. A sketchbook or journal page may be an appropriate way to share your process. Consider also including the finished piece and preparatory work(s) in a single image. There is an area in SlideRoom where you can include brief text descriptions for your submissions.

    We strongly discourage the submission of works in PDF format that include multiple pages, especially when there are numerous elements on a single page. These are difficult for reviewers to view and assess and are likely to exceed the allowed limit of 20 work examples.

  5. The Assignment

    Choose one of the following three prompt options and create two responses using any medium (no restrictions).

    • error
    • verify
    • forge

    Each of these prompts has more than one meaning or usage. You might want to begin by referring to dictionary sources to expand your initial reaction and inform your direction. We consider this assignment to be as much about process as presentation. We encourage you to consider your submissions as exercises in experimental thinking and risk-taking more than final presentations or examples of technical proficiency. No mode of expression is valued more than another, so feel free to explore the full range of possibilities.

    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 response exceeds 10MB, embed a link to direct us to another viewing platform such as a personal website, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

    Along with these works, reflect on the two responses you are sharing and provide a brief, written response to this question: What are the other directions or ideas you would explore as a next step?

  6. Writing sample

    Submit one example of your writing, up to 650 words. Remember, this is the limit, not a goal. Use the full limit if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so.

    You will find the writing prompts in the Personal Essay section of the Common Application.

    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 distinctive personal position in the samples you submit.

  7. 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 firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential as a student.

    Please use the Common Application to invite your recommendation writers to submit letters through that service. Letters may also be sent directly to our mailing address (see below) or emailed to admissions@risd.edu.

Departments

Apparel Design Architecture Ceramics Digital + Media Film / Animation / Video Furniture Design Glass Graphic Design History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences Illustration Industrial Design Interior Architecture Jewelry + Metalsmithing Landscape Architecture Literary Arts + Studies Painting Photography Printmaking Sculpture Teaching + Learning in Art + Design Textiles Theory + History of Art + Design