Application FAQ

On this page you'll find answers to common questions about graduate degree programs and admission, including about eligibility, tuition and fees, international student-specific questions and more.

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General admissions

What graduate programs does RISD offer?

We offer 19 master’s degree programs. Explore our programs for more information.

What is the application deadline?

The deadline is January 5. Learn more about the application process to get started.

Can I apply during the spring semester?

No, we do not accept new applications in the spring.

Do you have rolling admissions?

No, we do not have rolling admissions at RISD. All applications for the upcoming academic year are due January 5.


Who can apply for a graduate degree?

Anyone with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is eligible to apply for any graduate degree program.

For programs that require a portfolio, it and the statement of purpose are the most important part of your application, so experience related to your intended major is helpful. Learn more about the application process to get started.

Do you accept transfer students or transfer credits at the graduate level?

No, we do not accept transfer students or credits for any RISD graduate program.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

No, we do not require a minimum GPA for admission to RISD graduate degree programs.

Do you require applicants to take the GRE?

We do not require the GRE for any of our degree programs. However, if you would like to submit your scores, you are welcome to do so.

Degree program modes

Are any of your degree programs offered online?

No, we do not offer any online degree programs at RISD. Instruction for all graduate degree programs is in person.

Do you allow graduate students to enroll part-time?

No, RISD only offers full-time graduate degree programs.


Do my letters of recommendation need to come from a professional or professor in art, design or another field related to the program I'm applying to?

Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your academic and/or professional achievements in art, design or field related to the program to which you're applying, and can comment on your preparedness and potential for graduate study.

What are the portfolio requirements?

Graduate applicants to studio programs are generally required to submit 10–20 examples of visual work. Certain graduate programs have more specific portfolio requirements or suggestions about what to include. We use SlideRoom for portfolio submissions.

Why doesn’t my program of interest list their portfolio requirements?

Not all departments have program-specific portfolio requirements. If you do not see specific requirements then you will need to submit 10–20 examples of your work, per our general requirement.

What do you look for in a portfolio?

This varies depending on the program you are applying to. You can learn more or discuss your portfolio with someone from RISD by attending a webinar or virtual portfolio review day, or viewing recordings of past events.

Do I need to submit official academic transcripts for the application?

Initially, you must provide unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Enrolling students will later be required to submit official transcripts.

Use the RISD applicant portal to upload your unofficial transcripts.

Tuition, fees and financial aid

What is the tuition for RISD graduate degree programs?

You will find the estimated cost to attend RISD on Note that these figures reflect the current academic year (not the year for which you are applying).

The listed amounts represent the estimated costs of one academic year. Some programs that start in the summer require additional fees that are also listed on the linked page above.

Is tuition the same for international and domestic students?

Yes, tuition is the same for international and domestic students.

Does RISD offer financial aid?

Financial assistance is available for students who qualify. You can read more about financing your graduate education at RISD and, if you have further questions, reach out to Student Financial Services at or 401 454-6661.

How do I apply for assistantships or fellowships?

All students admitted to RISD, including international students, are eligible to receive fellowships and assistantships.

You do not need to submit an additional application to be considered for an assistant ship or fellowship. They are awarded as part of the review process and are based on merit. Award amounts vary but typically don’t cover the full cost of attendance.

If you have further questions, reach out to Student Financial Services at or 401 454-6661.

International student-specific information

Do my transcripts need to be evaluated if I attend/attended an international school?

Only if your transcript is not in English. If so we require that it be translated by an approved translator prior to submission. If it is already in English then you can submit it as is.

Do I need to submit language test scores as part of my application?

All applicants for whom English is their second language, including US citizens, must submit an English language proficiency test. We accept scores from TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo.

Do you accept TOEFL MyBest Scoring?

Yes, RISD accepts the TOEFL MyBest Scoring for exams that were taken within one year of each other.

Can I waive the English proficiency requirement if I have studied in the US or attend/attended a school in which English was the primary language of instruction?

We grant language test waivers sparingly to students who can prove fluency. If you are interested in requesting a waiver email us at

Which programs are STEM designated at RISD?

The following graduate programs are STEM designated:

  • Architecture (MArch)
  • Digital + Media (MFA)
  • Graphic Design (MFA)
  • Industrial Design (MID)
  • Interior Architecture (MA and MDes)
  • Landscape Architecture (MLA)