Academic Programs and Faculty
181 full-time (2018/19)
421 part-time (2018/19)
9:1 student/faculty ratio (fall 2019)
A major cultural institution in Rhode Island, the RISD Museum houses approximately 100,000 works of fine and decorative art ranging from ancient times to the present. It is the only comprehensive art museum in southeastern New England and, as such, is a vital resource both for RISD and the broader community.
With seven curatorial departments, the museum offers a rich and varied program of exhibitions, lectures, tours, workshops, and publications. It is dedicated to the interpretation of art and design from diverse cultures and to educating and inspiring artists and designers, families, scholarly researchers, and students of all ages.
As a campus-wide resource and forum for exploring the exciting connections between art, design and science, the Nature Lab is a hub for research, with staff and facilities to help support the increasing number of science courses offered at RISD. Students find a natural entry point here for addressing issues of sustainable living through biodesign—emerging areas of inquiry that include biomimetics, biophilic design, and the use of natural and biological materials in architecture and building systems.
Deep observation of the disparate collections housed at the Nature Lab—from nearly nano-scale to life-sized objects—provides students the opportunity to touch and examine specimens from the natural world, discover the wonder and complexities of design in nature and inform their studio work through the processes, materials, and organizing principles found in the living world. Selected specimens may also be borrowed for short periods of time—like checking a book out of the library.
Students in all disciplines make use of a wide range of advanced equipment available at Co-Works for 3D printing, 3D scanning, CNC routing, laser cutting, vacuum forming, machine embroidery and knitting, and more.
This state-of-the-art fabrication lab also hosts seminars, studio courses, and special research projects undertaken by faculty and graduate students.
Created to support and enhance cross-disciplinary learning, Co-Works is an ideal space for deep exploration of concepts and topics unencumbered by departmental boundaries.
Founded in 1878, the RISD library is one of the country’s oldest independent art college libraries. Its circulating collection of more than 150,000 volumes offers unusual depth and richness in the areas of art, architecture, design, and photography.
The collection provides strong historical and contemporary perspectives and specialized materials in landscape architecture, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry to support upper-level research. RISD’s specialized library is also noted for its artist’s books collection, rare books, some 400 periodical subscriptions, and collection of outstanding visual resources.
Center for Arts and Language (A&L)
The Center for Arts & Language’s exceptional team of staff and tutors provides individualized guidance for all RISD students, who may seek support on anything from an academic research paper to an artist’s talk, from the mechanics of a single sentence to the design of a whole graduate thesis book. RISD takes pride in its commitment to language as a vital tool for artists and designers, and A&L dedicates itself to helping students become more confident and proficient communicators.
Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery
Located on the second floor of the Chace Center, the Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery and the Dryfoos Gallery for new media within it are at the heart of campus both literally and figuratively. The galleries offer unparalleled learning opportunities for students along with ideal space for showcasing student work and making it readily accessible to museum visitors and other members of the general public.