Academic Year and Course/Credit Load

For most students, the academic year consists of two semesters (Fall and Spring), and a Wintersession term.

Credit load restrictions and consequences: The normal credit load is 12 to 15 credits per semester, and 3 credits during Wintersession.Twelve (12) credits per semester is the minimum requirement for full-time enrollment. Registering for less than 12 credits in a semester (and less than 3 credits in Wintersession) is not permitted. Students who do not attempt at least 12 credits in a semester (or 3 credits during Wintersession) will be placed on academic probation and run the risk of jeopardizing financial aid. International students must enroll in at least 12 credits (and 3 credits in Wintersession) to maintain their visa status.

Requests to enroll for less than 12 credits (referred to as “reduced load”) are considered according to the policy described in the section entitled “Full-time Enrollment Requirement” in the Registration Policies. Requests for reduced load must be made in writing to the Academic Standing Committee using the ‘Exception to Academic Policy’ Form and submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than one month prior to the start of classes.

Refer to the entry entitled “Maximum Semester and Wintersession Term Credits” in the Registration policy section for the policy on maximum semester credits.

Students may take credit bearing courses at RISD in the Summer under limited circumstances. These circumstances include internships (for which registration is completed prior to beginning the internship) and enrollment in the Summer Experimental and Foundation Studies Program which offers up to nine credits to incoming as well as continuing students seeking to make up coursework in Foundation Studies. RISD Continuing Education offers credit bearing courses. As well as select summer travel courses are offered through RISD Global Partners and Programs.