Rhode Island School of Design Reviews

  • 42 Reviews
  • Providence (RI)
  • Annual Tuition: $57,505
100% of 42 students said this degree improved their career prospects
93% of 42 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

  • Reviewed: 3/30/2023
"This school will spit in your face if you are not among its wealthiest, and it’s concerns over equity and disability based accessibility are nothing more than a facade in order to make their image better. I have faced constant difficulties at this school and do not recommend it to anyone. Those who succeeded at this school had the means to do so even before attending because of their status and income."
Flora Hwang
  • Reviewed: 3/24/2017
  • Degree: Architecture
"Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a school I would recommend to anyone around me. Attending RISD - despite all the student loans - was the best choice I made in my life. The school truly prepares you not only for the creative world, but also for any kind of job or life you will be having. The community accepts the uniqueness of each member and supports each other to experiment and explore one's creative potentials. Everyone I met was passionate about what they were doing, and going through the similar 'agony' as a creative, was simply rewarding and satisfying. Moreover, my department - Interior Architecture (IntAR) - was an exceptionally well put together department. Focusing on concept and actually teaching us "how to think," not only taught us how to develop our own design strategies, but also equipped us with the designer-brain. This allowed me to be able to design in various fields, not just in interiors. I truly believe that this is why I was able to get into graduate school in Creative Producing. The rigor and support of experimenting and exploring in RISD will make you an all-rounded creative. Again, I can't emphasize enough of how much the opportunity of studying in RISD has changed my life overall."
  • Reviewed: 2/19/2017
  • Degree: Graphic Design
"RISD offered a really critical lens on design; students had a strong foundation in articulating form and answering abstract and often difficult prompts. My education made me very comfortable with ambiguity, and constantly parsing out the "why" in my work. Ultimately, the education prepares you to make as a means of thinking and critique. As far as design schools go, it's less vocational and industry-driven; this means it's more on you to prepare the right portfolio for your post-degree plans."
Emily Fishbaine
  • Reviewed: 3/20/2015
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"I cannot overstate how much I have learned so far through this program. It has its difficulties, and it could stand a tech update across the board, but the faculty and students are amazing, and the career services department is a standout. Guest speakers are also generally very impressive."
Emily Fishbaine
  • Reviewed: 1/28/2015
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The best resources at RISD are the extraordinary teachers and students who work here. The classes push students to develop both their depth and breadth of understanding and expertise, and the professors are generally very available for additional support. I am learning a great deal from my classmates, and am inspired to work harder and stretch myself more because of their talent and commitment. The school has an internationally diverse population, but is a bit lacking in American racial diversity. I think the school could benefit from reaching out to students in public schools who may otherwise not be aware of RISD's opportunities. The career services center is excellent, and provides many resources for preparing for life after RISD. These resources go hand in hand with the strong alumni network. RISD alums are known for hiring graduates or connecting them with other opportunities. Providence is a rich environment with an active creative scene. The RIPTA system provides access statewide, but would be improved by more frequent service. RISD helps to fill the gaps with its RISD Rides service, which covers most of the areas where students live. Overall, I don't think I could have chosen a better place to study. As someone changing careers, I feel that I have been opened up to paths I didn't know I wanted to follow, and that I will be well prepared and connected as a professional designer."
Caleb Churchill
  • Reviewed: 1/9/2015
  • Degree: Art & Design
"This is a rigorous concentration of an MFA program. Also notable is the schools ranking of second in the nation."
Maria Camarena
  • Reviewed: 1/6/2015
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The pros is that I am in a great program with a lot of facilities to learn from all the medias to make my work. I have my own space to work and all the criticism I need to make it better. The cons is just the cost. I'll probably leave the program before the thesis year because I can't afford it. I believe that I was going to be able to find enough scholarships and grants but I have not."
Hung-Nien Lai
  • Reviewed: 8/19/2014
  • Degree: Landscape Design
"pros: teachers and students here are very talented so I can always learn a lot from them. And RISD is a school which really emphasizes "hand-made", which means that we have to do a lot of models and drawings by hands. cons: the space for one student in studios is sometimes not big enough, since we have to store lots of objects we made."
  • Reviewed: 8/6/2014
  • Degree: Industrial Design
"I transferred into RISD, so I can't speak to their foundation year program. I transferred directly into sophomore year of Industrial Design. To be honest, I really disliked my first year at RISD. I loved the skills-based metal- and wood-working classes, and the teachers and shop techs are all amazing. The required ID Design Principles studio was hell for me. I hated the projects, and the culture of the studio was "if you're not miserable, you're not working hard enough." Remember - college is as much about the work you produce as it is personal growth. Sometimes at RISD it felt like a definitive choice: time for homework (or work for the sake of working) versus extracurriculars, clubs, jobs, fun off-campus stuff...it's a whole different vibe than my previous university. So basically, make your projects be about something you love, then your time is really worth it. That being said, I stuck it out and had an amazing junior year. Find teachers you relate to and take their courses, talk to them as much as you can. A huge part of your education will come from your classmates. A lot of what you do (or don't) learn at RISD depends on how hard you work for it, which can be difficult at times--for example, learning some software programs, getting to know how to take good photos of your work, things like that. RISD does have a good deal of ego surrounding it. A lot of the students are from wealthy families, and there's a pretty obvious socio-economic gap (or there was to me, as one of the few students who heavily relied on financial aid, work-study, and loans). I did have to put up with some bullsh*t from the administration, both in my department and with student accounts, and sometimes you can definitely see how RISD is run by artists, for better or worse. Bottom line: I made some of my best friends here, and learned a lot about myself, my design skills, and my values as an artist. If you can afford it, RISD is worth it, but prepare to stand up for yourself and the education you want. I graduated two months ago and am still job-hunting, so hopefully the brand-name education is worth it in the end. Good luck!"
Sierra Wojcik
  • Reviewed: 7/9/2014
  • Degree: Architecture
"Find the right professors and stick with them during your design education. As your own design principles evolve, they will be able to consistently guide you. The fact that they are such accessible mentors is a huge pro for RISD. Cons would be the lack of socio economic diversity and financial aid."
Rocio Delaloye
  • Reviewed: 6/12/2014
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"Overall, I feel like this school is such an amazing place to study. Both students and faculty are very helpful and willing to share their knowledge and help you no matter what. I like the diversity, people from all over the world come here. Although Providence is not quite a big city, it has a lot to offer and a lovely place for a student life."
Maria Pizarro
  • Reviewed: 2/12/2014
  • Degree: Interior Design
"I believe the most remarkable quality about RISD is its student body and the various potential connections a student can make. People are very friendly and interested in sharing knowledge. My experience as a graduate student is kind of negative, honestly I was expecting more in terms of quality of education. Professors are confusing and sometimes they just care about the final image rather in the technical, practical and viability of the project. Therefore if you are interested in "real architecture", I wouldn't recommend the Interior Architecture Master because is focused on art and utopian design concepts, is not functional at all."
Jon Merritt
  • Reviewed: 2/10/2014
  • Degree: Art & Design
"The Rhode Island School of Design painting department is New York art world oriented, which is of benefit to me coming from undergraduate in California. The criticism is rigorous and also frequent, we critique weekly, sometimes twice a week. The studios are nicely outfitted with a good shop just down some stairs. There is a lot that can be learned from other departments while you are here. There is also an opportunity to teach your very own class to undergraduates. This is a great program for those interested in teaching, this is for me mostly what could possibly justify the immense expense of the program. Obviously tuition is extremely expensive. Trips to New York from Providence are expensive as well, $60 round trip bus fare for a day or evening trip. Also, a car is required for getting larger materials such as full sheets of plywood to the grad studio building."
Michael Jacobs
  • Reviewed: 3/6/2013
  • Degree: Architecture
"RISD has the most amazing art and design resources of any university that I have come across. As a graduate student, I am able to experience as much as possible cross-discipline. Creating self driven and faculty advised independent study programs within my degree opens up many doors to other departments and resources. The career services people here are incredible and if you talk with them, they are committed to make sure you get a job. Unfortunately, RISD is absurdly expensive. Their oversight and administration is terrible, often disorganized, and sometimes borderline dysfunctional. If you're able to navigate the politics of the school, be self-motivated, and can somehow afford the pricetag, RISD is worth it."
Adriel Tong
  • Reviewed: 3/1/2013
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The pros of my graduate program is that you can meet a variety of Artist that are the top of their professions and very serious about their work. The cons of the graduate program is too much non-studio classes as required when you are a studio-base Artist."
Amanda Pickens
  • Reviewed: 2/23/2013
  • Degree: Graphic Design
"The faculty at RISD really push you to do your best work and are always there to provide further support. The career center is great as well and the people there do an amazing job at networking with companies and providing useful internship and career advice."
Kyoko Jackson
  • Reviewed: 2/17/2013
  • Degree: Interior Design
"challenging program that doesn't teach technical skills but instead focuses on the process of how to design."
Kjartan Oskarsson
  • Reviewed: 2/16/2013
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"RISD is good school, with grate faculty. It's a hard work."
Diana Wagner
  • Reviewed: 2/13/2013
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"While RISD offers a competitive education this program lacks organization, focus and mentorship. Courses are ill considered to the needs of a diverse graduate student body and an overwhelming portion of education received is done independent of instruction and advisement. While RISD as an institution has a wealth of opportunity to offer its students the Industrial Design department specifically is lacking in fostering a supportive and well rounded design education for its students."
Sebastian Whyte
  • Reviewed: 2/11/2013
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"Pros: stimulating school environment, reputation and variety of projects to choose from. Cons: Very demanding"