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Graduation Requirements for Undergraduates

Students are governed by the college-wide requirements in place when they enter RISD and follow departmental graduation requirements and policies in place and published when they declare their major. Reinstated students who have been away from RISD for four years or more will be required to satisfy the graduation requirements that are in effect at the time of their reinstatement.

Academic Evaluations, also known as Program Evaluations, show progress toward the degree. This degree audit is available electronically to each student as well as to their departmental advisor at all times via Student Planning.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Requirements

  • A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.00.
  • A minimum of two full-time years on the RISD campus in a program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
  • Satisfactory completion of the final semester and degree project as a full-time student at the College - normally in the second semester of the senior year (fifth year for B.ARCH students).
  • The minimum tutition requirement for graduation is four academic years (B.F.A) or five academic years (professional degree), or the equivalent for transfer students. This tutition requirement is separate from and in addition to any other degree requirements.
  • Payment of all financial obligations to the College or satisfactory arrangements for such payment.
  • Filing a Graduation Application in the senior year by the established deadline.
  • Completion of a minimum of 126 credits, including:
    • Foundation STUDIES - 18 credits
    • Major - 54 credits (Refer to the curriculum outlines elsewhere in the Course Announcement)
    • Liberal Arts – 42 credits
      • Theory & History of Art & Design - 12 credits (Including THAD-H101 & THAD-H102)
      • Literary Arts and Studies - 9 credits (Including LAS-E101)
      • History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences - 9 credits (Including HPSS-S101. S101 is a prerequisite for further Fall and Spring elective study in the department of HPSS)
      • Additional electives in Liberal Arts - 12 credits (This category includes four courses chosen from electives in any of the above areas - THAD, LAS, HPSS - or from a pool of other courses which carry Liberal Arts credit, such as SCI or LAEL courses which include subjects in mathematics, the natural sciences, theater, and the history of specific studio disciplines, among others.)
      • Beginning Fall 2018 (for the entering Dual Degree class of 2023), the RISD Liberal Arts requirement for BRDD students is 14 liberal arts courses with the distribution: 4 THAD (including H101), and 10 open Liberal Arts electives (except where specific programs have required 'History of' courses, in which case, they must fulfill those requirements and their open liberal arts electives would be reduced accordingly). Beginning Fall 2019 (for the entering Dual Degree class of 2024), one of these 10 open Liberal Arts electives must include a required credit-bearing capstone course taken in their 4th or 5th year.
    • Non-major Studio Electives - 12 credits Typically, studio courses taken outside of one’s major. However, up to 6 of the 12 credits may be in non-major electives that are neither Liberal Arts nor visual art or design studio, such as engineering, music, or theater. Students must get the approval of their department head before registering for a course expected to substitute for a non-major studio. Beginning in 2016, Brown | RISD Dual Degree students may substitute up to 12 credits of their choosing for the RISD non-major studio electives.
Total Credits for BFA: 126 credits


Bachelor of Architecture Degree Requirements

  • Satisfactory completion of all requirements for the RISD BFA degree.
  • Completion of an additional 30 credits as specified in the curriculum table outline for the B.ARCH
  • The B.ARCH degree requires a minimum full-time course of study of five years at an accredited college. Up to two years may be transferred to RISD from another accredited college. Students with at least three years of study at an accredited school of architecture may be granted a maximum of two-and-one-half years’ credit toward residence. For a student who entered RISD as a freshman, up to one year of study away from the Providence campus may count toward the total five-year residency requirement. For transfer students, participation in any independent study away from the Providence campus of RISD does not count towards the RISD residency requirement.
  • Payment of all financial obligations to the College or satisfactory arrangements for such payment.

Total Credits for B.ARCH: 156 credits


Special Notes about Graduation Requirements for Transfer Students

Transfer students fulfill the Foundation Studies eighteen (18) credit requirement by transfer of credit from another institution or by completion of the RISD Summer Experimental & Foundation Studies Program (9 credits) along with transfer of credit. In a situation in which the student does not have sufficient Foundation credit even after transfer of credit and completion of the summer program, the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies may grant permission to substitute comparable courses earned through extra RISD course work in any studio area of the College. The total credit requirement for the degree (126/156) is never reduced.

Liberal Arts Degree Requirements: Transfer students who have adequate academic experience in art history may be waived from THAD-H102 and substitute an elective THAD course. “Adequate academic experience” is defined as one of the following: passing the AP Art History exam with a grade of 4 or 5; passing (with a C or better) any 3 credit course in Art History at an accredited college or university; or taking an art history course as part of the International Baccalaureate degree. There are no waivers for THAD-H101.Likewise, HPSS-S101 and LAS-E101 are required for all students. Entering transfer students admitted with credits applicable may be permitted to substitute these credits for HPSS-S101 or LAS-E101. Refer to the “Transfer Credit for Transfer Students” section for more information.