Transfer application deadline for spring semester
Note: We will not be accepting transfer applications during the 2022-2023 application cycle for spring 2023 entry.
Transfer application deadline for fall semester
Decisions are released mid-April.
Fall Transfer financial aid deadline
Transfer students enter RISD degree programs as sophomores, which is when departmental major requirements call for sequential courses focused on a specific studio discipline. With RISD's studio-based programs, our ability to admit transfers depends on the available space within each major. It is possible this information will be shared with Admissions after you’ve submitted your transfer application. While we wish we could predict this sooner, it is the nature of our process and varies with each cycle. If the major to which you’ve applied is not able to accept transfers, you will be notified as soon as possible.
To be eligible for transfer admissions in the fall, you must satisfactorily complete one full year of study (at least) at an accredited college by June 2023. If you attend college in the US, your school must be accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies. If you attend college outside the US, your college must be accredited or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority. A full year of college-level study consists of a minimum of 27 earned credits, including a minimum of 12 credits in the liberal arts.
(application unavailable for Spring 2023 entry)
Application requirements for 2023 entry
Submit your RISD application form, and all other credentials, through the RISD Applicant Portal. The application fee is $60, plus a nonrefundable $10 fee to submit a required online portfolio via SlideRoom.
RISD wants to make sure that application fees do not pose a barrier for any student. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll process your waiver application for the RISD application and SlideRoom fees.
Applicants must provide official transcripts covering at least the last three full years of academic work completed. This should include all college transcripts and, if applicable, your secondary school transcript. If you attend a school where the language of instruction is not English, your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator.
Transcripts can be submitted by school officials through Parchment, eTranscript, email or mail.
Test-Optional, SAT and ACT
RISD is offering all applicants (domestic and international) the ability to be reviewed without submitting results from the SAT or ACT. Students may opt into this process by selecting this option within the RISD Application. For students who choose to submit test scores, RISD will superscore your results, looking at your highest outcome across multiple test dates.
RISD’s institution code number for the SAT is 3726; for ACT the code number is 003812.
Some Advanced Placement (AP), A-Level classes and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits can be used toward RISD liberal arts requirements. See the transfer of credit section below and view RISD's full transfer credit policy.
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 English proficiency is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants are required to meet a minimum score of at least 93 on the TOEFL, a 6.5 on the IELTS, or 115 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 email the Admissions Office at email@example.com to explain your school history and determine if you are eligible for a waiver.
Your portfolio should present 12–20 examples of your most recent work that showcases your thinking and making. You will upload your portfolio in SlideRoom, which you will receive access to via email after starting your application.
Your selected work should reflect a full range of your ideas, curiosity, experimentation and experience in creating and making. 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.
Transfer students apply directly to a specific major and we therefore recommend that you show your interest and aptitude in that area in your portfolio. That being said, you can still include work from other disciplines that you feel strongly about.
We recommend that you include some examples that involve drawing from direct observation (rather than from imagination or a photograph). Drawing is a fundamental tool for visual makers from initial concept to execution, so it is valuable for reviewers to see examples of your experience with and approach to drawing.
While the majority of your portfolio should feature finished pieces, we suggest including some research or preparatory work in up to three—but no more than three—portfolio selections. This helps reviewers better understand how you develop your ideas.
Finally, we strongly discourage including excessive visual elements and text descriptions in a single slide submission. These are difficult to view and are likely to exceed the allowed file limit. Additional angles or detail shots of some works can either be submitted as an individual image or video upload, or you can upload a composite including up to three images. Editing is an important part of curating your portfolio. You may need to devise creative solutions to best show your work within the limits of submission guidelines.
Our recommended file formats are: jpeg, png, gif, mp4 and mov. These formats are most compatible with SlideRoom. Google Drive or zipped files are not recommended formats for sharing your artwork.
You may be interested in attending or watching the recording of one our of Portfolio Tips webinars for more advice on how to approach your RISD application portfolio.
The RISD Assignment is no longer part of the application
After extensive research and discussion, it has become evident that requiring the RISD Assignment functions as a barrier for applicants and is in direct conflict with RISD’s Social Equity and Inclusion action plan. To provide more access and equity in our admissions process, we have made the decision to remove the RISD Assignment as an application requirement beginning with the 2022/23 application cycle. We will continue to prioritize the portfolio when evaluating the visual component of an applicant’s candidacy.
Submit a written statement, up to 650 words, using the prompt indicated below. Remember, this is the limit, not a goal. Use the full limit if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so.
Provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve by joining us at RISD.
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 dynamic position in the samples you submit.
Letters of recommendation can be very helpful to your application. One letter is required, 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 have your recommendation writers submit their letters directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may also be sent directly to our mailing address (see below).
Submitting your materials
Your online applicant portal will allow you to submit all of the materials required in the application process:
- Application form
- Official transcripts
- Writing sample
- Letters of recommendation
Your portfolio will be submitted through SlideRoom.
Paper versions of official transcripts, recommendations, writing samples and test reports may also be mailed to:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903
Transfer of credit
Course credits in liberal arts, mathematics, science and foreign languages earned at other colleges or universities accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US (or recognized in a similar fashion by an appropriate authority if the college is in another country) are usually transferable to RISD and will be applied toward the 42 liberal arts credits required for graduation. A grade of C or better is required in order to transfer credits from other institutions. The Division of Liberal Arts determines whether each course is eligible for transfer credit. Once you have enrolled as a RISD degree student, you may only transfer 12 credits from other institutions.
Credits earned in previous studio courses will be reviewed by faculty during the application process. Studio credits are generally not transferable at the point of entrance, but in rare instances, they may allow placement at a more advanced level. Your application decision will indicate your entry level.
Studio credits transfer at the discretion of your major's Department Head and the Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies.
See the Transfer Credit Policy for more information about what credits we will and will not accept.
Typically, credit for appropriate studio courses can be reviewed after your first term in your department by request. You may be considered for this process, which is called advanced standing. Advanced standing may be granted after your initial work at RISD and your previous studio experience have been evaluated. RISD requires a minimum of two years of residency before granting a degree. Please note that this process takes place after your first semester in RISD. Therefore, the Admissions Office can’t guarantee that you will receive advanced standing.
Summer Experimental and Foundation Studies program
A new transfer student enters RISD at the sophomore level, skipping the Experimental and Foundation Studies (EFS) first year. For that reason, most new transfer students are required to enroll in a six-week Summer EFS course starting in mid-June. The program is taught by EFS faculty and offers the same three studios as in the foundation year: Drawing, Design and Spatial Dynamics. Each studio session meets 10 hours (over one and a half days) a week—or a total of 60 hours per course.
Students who complete the program successfully earn nine of the 18 required credits in EFS and find it to be an excellent way to transition to RISD. It both strengthens their confidence as makers and reinforces critical thinking and making capabilities.
Transfers applicants with 18 comparable foundation art credits may be considered eligible to waive this program.