Early Decision application deadline
Decisions are released in the second week of December. Please note that applying for Early Decision indicates a commitment to attend if admitted.
Early Decision financial aid deadline
Regular Decision application deadline
Decisions are released in the third week of March.
Regular Decision financial aid deadline
Application requirements for 2019 entry
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.
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.
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.
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.
Choose one of the following three prompt options and create two responses using any medium (no restrictions).
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitting your materials
Submit your application form through the Common Application.
Have your school send official transcripts to the Admissions Office, either electronically through the Common Application, Parchment or email, or by mail.
Upload your portfolio through SlideRoom.
Upload your responses to The Assignment in Slideroom.
Upload your writing sample and letters of recommendation through the Common Application.
We prefer that your credentials be submitted electronically using the online tools.
Paper versions of official transcripts, recommendations, writing sample and test reports may also be mailed to:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Brown|RISD Dual Degree program
Students applying for admission to the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program must complete the application process at both institutions by our respective deadlines: January 1 for Brown and February 1 for RISD.
You may not apply to both RISD and Brown using the Early Decision deadline, although you can choose to apply to one of the two schools early. If you do so, please indicate your interest in this program on your application.
The only additional credential required to apply for this program is the Dual Degree Supplement, which is included within the Common Application. Note that the Dual Degree essay does not replace the other required writing sample.
Students must be admitted both to RISD and Brown before being considered for admission to the Dual Degree program.
Graduation from secondary school is a prerequisite, although a high school equivalency diploma may be accepted. Prospective applicants are urged to follow a college preparatory program in secondary school, taking courses in studio art and art history where possible. Courses that develop visual and design skills (such as studio drawing) are strongly recommended. Students interested in our Architecture program must have completed a course sequence in mathematics including algebra, geometry and trigonometry and one year of science, preferably physics.