The purpose of the Wintersession term is to present students with an alternative learning experience which may not be available in the Fall and Spring semesters.
Students are provided the opportunity to take a break from their core studies and experiment with more innovative course offerings suitable to a shorter time-frame. Courses are designed to take into account the compressed and immersive nature of a condensed term. Many students take advantage of this opportunity to explore new practices, interdisciplinary study, travel courses, or internship opportunities.
Most courses are available to students without restriction and regardless of major, prior knowledge, or experience. Courses with restrictions are indicated in the description of the course.
In some departments, students may be required to enroll in specific Wintersession courses. Students that are required by their program to take a designated major-required Wintersession course will be pre-registered into the course prior to web-registration opening.
No more than six credits are permitted during Wintersession (there are no exceptions to this 6 credit maximum rule).
Registration for Wintersession courses is available via Student Planning, except for travel classes (see below section Wintersession Travel Course Registration for details), ISP/CSP and Internships. Web-registration appointment times are emailed to students in October and follow the schedule posted on the Registrar’s website. Web-registration appointment times are randomly assigned within the appropriate cohort/class level group. Student Planning allows students to register only after their assigned time begins.
Students are limited to selecting one course at the time of initial registration (which includes any pre-registered course). Most courses offered during Wintersession are three credits. If you register in one course which carries six credits, then you may not take a second course, even if the second course is an independent study or internship, as students may not exceed six credits in Wintersession.
Registration in a second course is dependent upon course availability and is not guaranteed. The registration system is set up to provide all students with an opportunity to select one course before any student has an opportunity to select a second course. Registration for a second course is allowed only after all students have had a chance to register in one course.
One-credit workshops offered in Wintersession are available once every student has the opportunity to register.
Wintesession is designed for focused, unrestricted work in a course without the normal distractions of multiple courses. Coursework for two classes in Wintersession can be overwhelming. Consult with your academic advisor if you are thinking about taking more than one course. Care should be taken in choosing courses so that they do not conflict in time or attendance.
Wintersession Travel Course Registration
Wintersession Travel Courses are open to all enrolled RISD and Brown RISD Dual Degree students, as well as Brown University Students, and require an application process to be reviewed by the faculty members teaching the course. RISD and Brown RISD Dual Degree students will be given priority. Freshman students are eligible for certain travel courses, with the approval of the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies. Additional details regarding the registration process can be accessed via the RISD Global website.
Students are required to pay an additional tuition for the Global Summer Studies program. This tuition cost is typically inclusive of: mandatory accommodations with the group, certain group meals, field trips, some local transportation, and obligatory medical/travel insurance, among other individual costs. The full description will include additional details which may not be listed here. Students are responsible for securing their own travel visa, but are reminded that RISD Global is available for assistance with this process.
Scholarship application questions are embedded in the travel course online application and scholarship awards are announced within this course admission notification.
Registration for Wintersession Travel Courses is held in advance of on-campus Wintersession registration and typically opens in early October. Official registration dates are published in the Academic Calendar.
The following steps outline the process of registration into to a Wintersession Travel Course.
- Students are required to attend the Course Instructor’s information session, which provides a detailed overview of the course description, as well as what is included in the course’s tuition. Information sessions take place between mid-September and early October and are open to all interested students. Certain instructors may permit a one-on-one meeting in lieu of information session attendance. Students are encouraged to reach out to the instructor and/or RISD Global for more information.
- During the individual information session, instructors will inform students how they can apply for their course via RISD Global’s website. Once the instructors have selected their lists of accepted and waitlisted students, these lists will be sent to the Office of the Registrar and Student Financial Services for additional processing.
- Students approved to register will receive acknowledgement via e-mail from the Office of the Registrar on the first day of travel course registration. This e-mail will also include payment details (payments will be made online). Students will have one week (7 days) to submit payment for the course. Upon verification of payment, the student will be officially added to the Wintersession Travel Course roster.
- Waitlisted students will also receive an acknowledgement from the Office of the Registrar on the first day of registration. Should seats become available in the course, waitlisted students will be notified via e-mail and given 48-hours to submit full payment. Upon verification of payment, the student will be officially added to the Wintersession Travel Course roster.
Students will be notified immediately if a course is canceled due to low-enrollment.
Meeting Times for On-Campus Courses
Courses in Wintersession generally span five to six weeks in January and early February. In order to have 12 scheduled course meetings for the term, three credit classes will meet twice a week and additionally on alternating Wednesdays. For six credit studios, contact hours are doubled, and courses meet Monday through Friday or as listed on Student Planning.
- Schedule A: Courses meet every week on Monday and Tuesday, except for the Monday holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr day when classes are not in session. In addition, courses meet on 3 Wednesdays for a total of 12 course sessions.
- Schedule B: Courses meet every week on Thursday and Friday. In addition, courses meet on 2 Wednesdays for a total of 12 course sessions.
- Schedule AA (Alternative to A): This is an alternative to Schedule A in order to provide at least one day off between most course meetings. Courses meet every week on Monday and Thursday. In addition, courses meet on 3 Wednesdays for a total of 12 course sessions.
- Schedule BB (Alternative to B): This is an alternative to Schedule B in order to provide at least one day off between most course meetings. Courses meet every week on Tuesday and Friday. In addition, courses meet on 2 Wednesdays for a total of 12 course sessions.