Brown + RISD

Brown University campus

As neighbors on College Hill, RISD and Brown University 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.

RISD-Brown cross-registration

For RISD students who wish to elect courses at Brown, as well as Brown students seeking to register for RISD courses, support resources are available from the RISD Registrar’s Office. Registration is on a space-available basis and subject to permission from the course instructor and registrar of the host school.  

Please note that Brown|RISD Dual Degree students and those enrolled in the Master of Arts in Design Engineering graduate program do not elect courses at either institution via cross-registration. 

Cross-registration details

Shared resources and 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.

Design Engineering master’s program

A partnership between RISD’s Architecture + Design division and Brown's School of Engineering, the Master of Arts in Design Engineering program (MADE) fosters innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Working with experts across a wide range of fields, students discover new frameworks for addressing urgent contemporary issues and, through iterative making and testing, develop effective, socially impactful solutions.

MADE students benefit from the complementary strengths of RISD and Brown, whose close academic ties make it easy for students to broaden their knowledge through elective coursework or access to campus resources. Iterating with intention, MADE participants create and refine work according to real-world needs.

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.