Academics

Brown + RISD

Brown University campus

As neighbors on College Hill, RISD and Brown University enjoy a longstanding relationship. Students at each institution benefit by cross-registering for classes at no extra cost. Many RISD students take advantage of foreign language classes at Brown, along with diverse offerings in math, science and the humanities. Likewise, many Brown students take studios and tap into RISD’s creative expertise. In short, RISD and Brown students gain from mutual exchange and interact both academically and socially.

RISD-Brown cross-registration

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

Brown|RISD Dual Degree and Master of Arts in Design Engineering students do not elect courses at either institution via cross-registration. 

Cross-registration details

Shared resources and opportunities

Students with a RISD or Brown ID can access opportunities on both campuses. In addition to taking courses at Brown, RISD students enjoy use of Brown's libraries and athletic facilities—including a pool, an ice skating rink, gyms, tracks and courts.

Other events at Brown—from lectures and concerts to exhibitions and theater—are open to the RISD community. Overall, RISD’s connections with Brown greatly enrich the student experience.

Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program

The Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program (BRDD) invites students to merge diverse spheres of academic work. Upon completing the program, graduates earn both a Bachelor of Arts (AB) from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from RISD. The program also offers access to the combined resources and faculty of both institutions.

Established in 2007, the BRDD is the first in the US to build on the 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 combinations such as:

  • Apparel Design and Environmental Studies
  • Furniture Design and Mechanical Engineering
  • Printmaking and International Relations
  • Film/Animation/Video and Physics

Prospective students must apply and be accepted to both institutions, and then approved for admission to the BRDD Program.

Application details

Master of Arts in Design Engineering

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 range of fields, students discover new frameworks for addressing urgent issues. Through iterative making and testing, they develop effective, socially impactful solutions.

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

Graduate-level research opportunities

Given RISD’s connections with Brown, graduate students often consider the campus up the hill as an extension of RISD’s own. Students with a RISD ID card have full access to Brown’s research libraries. These include the main Rockefeller Library, the historic John Hay Library and the Orwig Music Library, among others.

Grad students may also enroll in courses at Brown at no extra cost and often do research alongside Brown students. RISD and Brown students co-design solar housing, explore STEAM connections and climate change, and tackle other real-world issues. RISD grad students also enjoy expanding their learning through lectures, symposia and cultural activities available at Brown.