Rhode Island School of Design

2014 Quick Stats
2 College Street

Providence, RI 02903

Phone: (401) 454-6100
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Feb. 1
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
Unranked Unranked. Program too new or too small for U.S. News to calculate a ranking.

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Rhode Island School of Design is a private institution that was founded in 1877. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,971, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 51 acres. It utilizes a 4-1-4-based academic calendar. Its tuition and fees are $42,932 (2013-14).

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private, four-year school located in Providence. When the institution was created during the Industrial Revolution, it was named as a design school to indicate its importance to economic development in an area where textiles and jewelry manufacturing industries were flourishing. Now, although there are design majors offered, RISD is considered an art school. RISD offers nearly 20 bachelor’s and master’s programs, with fine arts being the most popular major. The school is home to one of the top-ranked master’s programs in fine arts, which can include a range of specializations, such as photography, sculpture, metals/jewelry, graphic design, glassware, and more.  

The RISD campus has an extensive art museum with rotating exhibits and a nature lab with animals, plants, and specimens for students to study and reference in their art. On campus, RISD students can explore dozens of clubs, including student government, and off campus, they can check out the restaurants and interesting architecture of the state capital. There are no RISD varsity athletic teams on campus, although students can participate in many recreational sports, including “midnight soccer.” Notable RISD alumni include Seth MacFarlane, who created the animated series Family Guy, in which he also voices the main character Peter.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Since its founding in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the preeminent college of art and design in the United States. The mission of Rhode Island School of Design is to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge, and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation.

RISD currently enrolls 1,971 undergraduates and 415 graduate students in 16 undergraduate and 16 graduate programs in architecture, design, the fine arts, and art education. Approximately 525 full- and part-time faculty artists, designers and architects work closely with students in the studio, offering challenging assignments and critical feedback designed to help them develop their own artistic voices. Under the leadership of President John Maeda, RISD seeks to educate flexible, creative leaders capable of driving innovation.

In addition to an intensive Foundation Studies program and work in their studio majors, RISD undergraduates earn one third of their credits in liberal arts subjects, studying everything from art history to literature, philosophy, science and the social sciences as a means of developing big-picture thinking and providing context to their studio work. RISD students and faculty have access to the rich collections and teaching resources of the RISD Museum of Art, which houses more than 80,000 works of art, and to the collections at the Fleet Library at RISD and the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab. RISD is located in Providence, and shares the city's College Hill neighborhood with Brown University, where students can cross-register for classes and pursue a dual degree program.

RISD has an endowment of over $280 million, a freshman retention rate of 95% and a graduation rate of 87%. More than 19,000 accomplished RISD alumni are now practicing art and design throughout the world.

Undergraduate majors: Apparel Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Furniture Design, Film/Animation/Video, Glass, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Studies, Jewelry + Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textiles

Graduate majors: Architecture, Digital + Media, Furniture Design, Ceramics, Glass, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Jewelry + Metalsmithing, Landscape Architecture, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Teaching + Learning in Art + Design, Textiles

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1877
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar 4-1-4
Setting city
2012 Endowment $285,696,135


When applying to Rhode Island School of Design, it's important to note the application deadline is February 1, and the early decision deadline is November 1. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due February 1. The application fee at Rhode Island School of Design is $60. It has an an acceptance rate of 25.4 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity N/A
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 25.4%
Application deadline February 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by February 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Rhode Island School of Design is 9:1, and the school has 76.1 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Rhode Island School of Design include: Illustration; Architecture; Industrial and Product Design; Graphic Design; and Painting. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 94.8 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 9:1
4-year graduation rate 70%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Illustration 18%
Architecture 13%
Industrial and Product Design 13%
Graphic Design 12%
Painting 8%

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Student Life

Rhode Island School of Design has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,971, with a gender distribution of 33.3 percent male students and 66.7 percent female students. At this school, 70 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 30 percent of students live off campus.

Total enrollment 2,386
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association N/A

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Campus Info & Services

Rhode Island School of Design offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Rhode Island School of Design also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Rhode Island School of Design.

Students who have cars on campus N/A
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Rhode Island School of Design, 42.2 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $18,728.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $42,932 (2013-14)
Room and board $12,272 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

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