To enhance the department-specific curriculum in each degree program, graduate students take Grad Commons courses and other studios and seminars designed to support exploration of issues and practices of interest to advanced-level students in all disciplines.
Study options + opportunities
Grad Commons courses
Graduate Commons is a shared curricular space within graduate studies with courses that allow students to collaborate across departments, engage in advanced inquiries into a range of topics and methods, and further investigate and promote the outcomes of their own work. As a place of shared graduate learning, the Commons courses also offer unique opportunities for graduate students to engage in RISD’s institutional resources such as Co-Works, the Nature Lab, the Center for Arts & Language and the RISD Museum. Additionally, these courses are well suited to respond to special topics or timely events and allow for exciting visitors to the school and experimental course structures.
In addition to Graduate Commons and your program-required courses, some programs also offer courses that open to non-major students. See the "Studio electives" section below for more information.
COURSES IN GRADUATE COMMONS
For details see the 2018-19 course announcement.
The Artist and the Museum
Ijlal M. Muzaffar
Intro to Climate Change
Mapping the Intelligence of your Work
Participatory Exhibition Design
Retooling the Studio Tool Kit
Collegiate Teaching Practicum
Mariah Doren/Instructor TBA
Computer Programming for Studio Practice
Investigations: Betwixt & Between
(Making a) Living as an Artist
Alchemy Research Studio
The Computational Line
Cross-Disciplinary Color Lab
Yueh J. Li and Evelyn Eastmond
Experiments in Optics
Sean R. Salstrom
From the Alternative to the Institutional: A Curatorial Practicum
The Gradual Contemporary: Conversations in Contemporary Art
Introduction to Research for Art and Design
Origin Point: Graduate Thesis Ideation Workshops
Public Art: History, Theory and Practice
INDEPENDENT STUDY OPTIONS
Seminar and studio electives (open to non-majors)
The following courses are open to graduate, non-major students. See the 2018-19 course announcement for more information.
Seminar: Source Presentation
Topics in Ceramics Material Science
Research Studio: Technological Landscapes
Grad Critical Issues Seminar
Open Graduate Seminar
Technology and Materials II: Site Engineering
History of Landscape Architecture
Technology and Materials I: Material and Grading
Theories of Natureculture
Inventive Political Ecologies
Collegiate Teaching: Preparation and Reflection
Design Education Workshop II
Interdisciplinary experimentation @ Co-Works
To support interdisciplinary research and learning, Co-Works offers a shared space for pursuing projects that require especially advanced tools and technology. Students in all disciplines make use of a wide range of advanced equipment for 3D printing, 3D scanning, CNC routing, laser cutting, vacuum forming, machine embroidery and knitting, and more. This state-of-the-art fabrication lab also hosts seminars, studio courses and special research projects undertaken by faculty and graduate students.
RISD stands out among art schools for its emphasis on liberal arts study, led by doctorate-level faculty in archaeology, anthropology, biology, cognitive science, creative writing, literature, history, art history, performance studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology and more.
The Liberal Arts division is comprised of three departments: History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences; Literary Arts + Studies; and Theory + History of Art + Design. Additionally, RISD also offers two Master of Arts programs in the interdisciplinary fields of Global Arts and Cultures and Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies.
Certificate in Collegiate Teaching
Through exploration, practice and research, the Certificate in Collegiate Teaching in Art and Design offers graduate students from all disciplines an opportunity for focused study in the area of collegiate-level studio pedagogy. Benefitting from access to the vitality and pedagogical practices of RISD faculty, students participating in the six-credit program learn models of teaching that aid them in creating a personal teaching philosophy and acquiring important skills for their development as future faculty in art and design and related disciplines.
For graduate students interested in pursuing teaching opportunities in higher education, the certificate provides an endorsement of their pedagogical skills—and a meaningful edge as they enter a competitive academic job market. In addition, students who also serve as instructors or co-instructors of Wintersession courses earn certificates that officially acknowledge the classroom experience they acquire here.
Learn more here about certificate tracks and curricula.
Brown University courses
Given the collaborative spirit between RISD and Brown, graduate students often consider the campus up the hill as an extension of RISD’s own. Students with a RISD ID are granted full privileges at Brown’s extensive research libraries, which include “the Rock” (the huge, main Rockefeller Library), the historic John Hay Library and the Orwig Music Library, among others.
Graduate students may enroll in courses at Brown at no extra cost and often do research alongside Brown students through jointly sponsored projects. Brown also hosts many lectures, symposia and cultural activities that provide opportunities to expand learning.
For instructions about electing courses at Brown, please visit the Registrar's office website.
RISD students are encouraged to engage in travel courses that enhance research and creative practices through multidisciplinary exploration of various cultures. Five-week travel/study courses are available during Wintersession.