The Rhode Island School of Design was established in 1877 as a private, non-profit institution in Providence, Rhode Island. It is one of the country’s finest art and design colleges. At RISD (sounds “RIZ-dee”), about 2,500 students from all over the world pursue liberal arts courses and intensive, studio-based learning courses. The college offers bachelor’s or master’s degrees in 22 disciplines. Each year about 5,800 students and young adults attend RISD Continuing Education.

Rhode Island School of Design Admission: Criteria

  • Academics at Rhode Island School of Design: The Rhode Island School of Design features 16 undergraduate programs, 18 graduate degrees, an exploratory and foundational program for first-year students, and one certificate program.
  • Admission Deadline: The RISD admissions start in the Fall and Spring for undergraduate and graduate courses. The deadline is set for February 1st for graduates and undergraduate applicants.
  • Application Procedure: The application procedure for undergraduate courses is done through the Common Application. There are no application costs. Students who want to enroll in graduate programs can do so online for a charge of $60.
  • Academic Requirement: A 3.73 GPA on a 4.0 scale is necessary for admission (90 percent). The accepted average freshman’s score is 688 on the SAT math and 655 on Evidence-based reading & comprehensive writing sections.
  • Letter of Recommendation(s): Recommendation letters can benefit your application. A single letter is required; however, you can also present three. You can request teachers or other experts to know your creative or academic achievements. They can add a positive remark on your potential as a student in recommendation letters.

Course Highlights

Majors and Degrees

Architecture And Related Services Associate  Bachelors
Architectural And Building Sciences/technology
Family And Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences Associate Bachelors
Apparel And Textiles, General
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies Associate Bachelors
Systems Science And Theory
Precision Production Associate Bachelors
Furniture Design And Manufacturing
Visual And Performing Arts Associate Bachelors
Ceramic Arts And Ceramics
Fiber, Textile, And Weaving Arts
Film/video And Photographic Arts, Other
Fine Arts And Art Studies, Other
Graphic Design
Industrial And Product Design
Jewelry Arts

Total Number of Students

2021/22 Total Enrollment number 2,576
2021/22 Total Undergraduate students 2,044
2021/22 Total Graduate students  532
2020/21 Percentage of domestic students 38%
2020/21 Percentage of International students 36%

Financial Details

2021/22 Tuition and fees $55,220
2021/22 Endowment Charges $442.9 m
2021/22 Financial/ Operating Budget $161 m

Acceptance Rate



2021/22 First Year  20%
2021/22 Graduate 33%
2021/22 Transfer 22%

College Faculty

2021/22 College Faculty (full-time and part-time teachers) 600+

Student-Faculty Ratio

2021/22 Student: Teacher 9:1

Retaining Rate

2020/21 First-year to Sophomore 95%

Graduation Rate

2013-19 First-year undergraduate 89%

Average SAT score


In Math (Mentioning first-year students fall 2020)


In Evidence-based Reading and Comprehensive Writing (Mentioning first-year students fall 2020)


Alumni 31,000+

General details

Academic Calendar Semester wise
Seasons Intake Fall/ Spring
Interview Mandatory after Selection of application
International Admissions Visit the RISD Admissions portal

Deadlines for the Rhode Island School of Design admission

Admission is available in the Fall or Spring seasons. The deadline for both undergraduate and graduate programs is normally the same at the college. 

The deadline for admission is listed in the table below: 

Early action application November 1
Early action decision Mid-December
Regular action application February 1
Regular action decision Mid-march

Rhode Island School of Design International Admission Procedure

In comparison to domestic applicants, international applicants must meet some additional standards. The following are the requirements:

  • Common Application: Application Portal (Online portal application).
  • The application fee is $60.

RISD Admission requirements are as follows:

  • Translate all secondary school documents into English.
  • Scores on the SAT and ACT.
  • RISD accepts grades IB levers 5, 6, or 7.
  • Scores on the English Proficiency Test.
  • The portfolio should have ten to twelve examples of previous work.
  • The entire assignment must be completed and presented in slide-room style.
  • College essays need to be presented with a word restriction of 650 words.
  • It is necessary to submit 1-3 letters of recommendation.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is essential.

International Student’s English Proficiency Requirements

The minimum requirements needed for an undergraduate and graduate degrees are as follows:

Exam/Test Minimum Score requirement
Duolingo 63

Visas for International Students in the United States

The college will mail the Certificate of Eligibility for a Student Visa (Form I-20 A/B) to the student when accepted for admission. After receiving the mail from the college, check the details. This form is mandatory to obtain an American student visa to join RISD.

  • Final Non-immigrant visa application form (DS-156) with a passport-size photo
  • A valid passport.
  • Payment confirmation slip of visa application expense.
  • Proof of payment is mandatory for the SEVIS fee (I-901 receipt)

Rhode Island School of Design Admission – Undergraduates 

The college offers various bachelor’s degrees to undergraduate students such as Furniture Design, Architecture, Glass, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Textiles, Graphic Design, Illustrations, etc.

For admission, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Online application portal
  • ACT/SAT scores 
  • Academic transcripts
  • Portfolio: The applicant should submit a portfolio along with an application form including 12-20 recently completed projects. 
  • Writing Demonstration: Must submit a written sample with a 650-word limit. The standard application’s essay section has written examples.
  • The Assignment: The applicants must complete the given assignment. The assignment’s details are available on their website.
  • Letter of Recommendation (optional)

Rhode Island School of Design Admissions – Graduates

Graduate programs in Architecture, Furniture Design, Ceramics, Industrial Design, Textile, Printmaking, and Painting are available at RISD. For admission, the applicant must meet the following conditions.

Admission requirements are as follows:

  • Online application portal
  • Bachelor’s degree (relevant discipline is mandatory)
  • Coursework for undergraduates
  • Application form
  • Documents of academic work
  • English Proficiency certificate- TOEFL/IELTS
  • Portfolio: Graduate applicants must present 10-20 instances of previous projects in which they were actively involved.
  • Purpose statement
  • Writing Sample
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation 
  • CV/ Resume

Financial Aid for Undergraduate and Graduate students

Rhode Island School of Design assists selected students eligible for additional financial resources to join RISD. RISD students receive a world-class education through various initiatives. Scholarships, state and federal grants, need-based loans, and work-study programs are given to undergraduates. Fellowships and assistantships are assessed for all admitted graduate students. This financial assistance help students in meeting their other secondary expenses.

For Undergraduate students

Student Financial Services is designed to aid undergraduate students. They determine the best way to fund their education.

Students seeking financial aid should fill out the following forms:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Help (FAFSA) is a form that you can fill out for financial assistance (to be considered for federal financial aid)
  • Application for CSS Profiles (to be considered for financial aid from RISD).

You must fill out and submit these forms before the deadlines each year. Financial help is not available to international students, visiting students, mobility students, or students in other provisions.

For Graduate Students

Student Financial Services is here to assist graduate students in navigating the financial aid process and determining the best way to fund their studies. Please keep track of all important deadlines. Financial aid applications will be assessed based on available funds after the deadlines. Fellowships and assistantships are offered to all enrolled graduate students. There is no such application process to get these services.

By submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, US citizens and permanent residents can apply for federal student loans (FAFSA). Every year before the deadline, you must submit the FAFSA.


Thousands of students apply to the Rhode Island School of Design each semester, making admission extremely difficult. However, if the applicants have a solid academic background and a passion for the arts, this will ensure an advantage in the admission process.