FAQ for INTAR

A. General

1.      How can I apply to Interior Architecture at RISD?

Submit your RISD application form, and all other credentials, through SlideRoom. The application fee is $60. If you are not able to use SlideRoom, please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@risd.edu or 800 364-7473.

SlideRoom will allow you to submit all of the materials required in the application process:

•       Application Form

•       Academic Transcripts

•       Portfolio

•       Statement of Purpose

•       Program specific materials (if required)

•       Letters of Recommendation - CV/Resume (optional)

Initially, you must provide unofficial academic transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited college or university. If you are attending a school in a non-English-speaking country, your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator. You can upload your unofficial transcripts within your SlideRoom application. Enrolling students will later be required to submit official transcripts.

Graduate applicants are required to submit a portfolio of 10–20 examples of visual work, within your SlideRoom application. For more information visit:

http://www.risd.edu/Admissions/Apply/Graduates/

2.      What are the application requirements for an MDes 2+ year and MA 1+  year degree in RISD Interior Architecture?

 MDes Interior Studies 2+ Year (see pdf curricula page)

Students who will have completed an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university by June 2016 are eligible to apply to the graduate program for admission beginning in the 2016/17 academic year. International students completing requirements for a diploma rather than a degree must submit a written statement prepared by an appropriate school official verifying that the status of the diploma is equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree.

 MA Adaptive Reuse 1+Year (see pdf curricula page)

Students who will have completed an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree program in Architecture at an accredited college or university by June 2016 are eligible to apply to the graduate program for admission beginning in the 2016/17 academic year. International students completing requirements for a diploma rather than a degree must submit a written statement prepared by an appropriate school official verifying that the status of the diploma is equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree.

 3.      What is the difference between the MDes 2+ year and the MA 1+ year degree in RISD Interior Architecture?

Two graduate programs are offered in the Department of Interior Architecture: the 2-year Master of Design [MDes] in Interior Studies and the 1-year Master of Arts (MA) in Adaptive Reuse. Both programs offer a graduate specialist design education on the alteration of existing built environments.

Students enter the MDes program with an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts from an accredited institution (most often but not exclusively in related design fields). Students enter the MA program with a degree in Architecture: BArch or MArch. The two programs share the pedagogical objective to focus on interventions in the existing built environment but diverge on their approach. The MDes degree program offers investigations within a broad interpretation of the existing built environment that ranges from the reuse of structures to installations and exhibitions while the MA degree program focuses directly on the adaptive reuse of existing structures. The two curricula reflect these different approaches within their own unique requirements. The two graduate programs share the pedagogical objective to focus on interventions in the existing built environment but diverge on their approach. The MDes degree program offers investigations within a broad interpretation of the existing built environment that ranges from the reuse of structures to installations and exhibitions, while the MA degree program focuses directly on the adaptive reuse of existing structures. The curriculum for each program reflects these different approaches.

Students enter the MDes program with an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts from an accredited institution (most often but not exclusively in related design fields). Students enter the MA program with a degree in Architecture: BArch or MArch.

4.   How many credits do I need to take to graduate from RISD Interior Architecture Masters and BFA degrees?

MA: 45 credits

MDes: 75 credits

BFA: 126 credits

The BFA program in Interior Studies [Adaptive Reuse] is an undergraduate spatial design education relating to the existing built environment. It is completed in four years with 126 total required credits of Liberal Arts, Major requirements and Non-major Electives. Liberal Arts requirements include coursework in History of Art and Visual Culture, Literary Arts and Studies, History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences.

Major curriculum requirements of 60 credits balance design studio and a suite of core courses in technology, history, and theory with major elective courses in varying special topics, from set design to digital fabrication. Students investigate the varying aspects of interior interventions through a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for conceptual thinking and critical making within a collaborative work environment.

The program enables students to develop design strategies in their work, recognizing the importance of social and environmental responsibility, providing the foundation for the pursuit of graduate studies and professional design practice.

5.      What is a typical academic year schedule?

The RISD academic year is divided into Fall, Wintersession and Spring semesters. Fall semester typically runs from mid-September through mid-December, with a break for Thanksgiving recess in late November. Students break again for holiday vacation around December 15 and return for Wintersession around January 3. Wintersession typically runs from January 3 through mid-February. Students then have a week-long winter break. Spring semester begins around the third week of February and runs through the end of May, with a week-long Spring Break at the end of March. Commencement usually takes place in early June.

6.      What is a typical MDEs or MA Summer Program schedule like?

MA and MDes Summer Programs start in the third week of June and end on the last week of July.

Students entering the Interior Architecture graduate programs begin their studies in mid-June with an immersive summer program: the MDes 2+ years students in a 6-week study of the fundamentals of design, in Providence, and the MA 1+ year students in a 7-week focus on adaptive reuse through both a design and travel program based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The MDes graduate program was created as a shorter version of the 3-year MIA, and begins of a 6 week-long intensive 9 credit program, with classes from Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00PM, in Providence. Anticipating applicants with a range in skills and understanding of design concepts, the summer program was developed as a rigorous introduction to both design principles and basic skills of representation and making. Students who complete the summer program are prepared to undertake the full program in Interior Studies.

The MA graduate summer program takes place at DIS/Copenhagen, and consists of a 7 week-long intensive 9 credit program. The city’s unique approach to environmental issues provides a focused introductory topic from which students with diverse backgrounds launch their studies.

7.      What are the open hours for studios?

Interior Architecture studios are open 24/7.

8.      What software programs do students work with in RISD Interior Architecture?

Adobe Creative Suite, Autocad, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Revit and others.

9.      What fabrication facilities do students work in RISD Interior Architecture?

RISD Interior Architecture studios include Digital Fabrication workshops; direct access to a fully equipped wood shop/3D model-making (several 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC, ...) facility in the CIT building and a connection to a shared Technologies Program within the Division of Architecture and Design, which includes access to workshops across the division, and throughout campus.

10.   What’s Wintersession?

For five weeks between the fall and spring semesters, RISD offers students a complete change of pace. Wintersession—as this condensed semester is known—allows for an intense exploration of a particular discipline or an off-campus interest. It also offers faculty an opportunity to experiment with more innovative course offerings suitable to a shorter timeframe—from performance art workshops to targeted project research to travel-study options. (from http://www.risd.edu/academics/wintersession/)

Each year during Wintersession (early January to mid-February), RISD offers a number of travel courses designed to introduce students to the arts, architecture, design and culture of other countries, as well as regions in the U.S. Small study groups travel abroad to destinations including India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. In recent years, students have studied photography in Paris, Renaissance painting techniques in Florence, puppetry in Bali, signs and symbols in Ghana, environmental issues in Costa Rica, textiles in Guatemala and Mayan culture in the Yucatan. Domestic travel/study courses also take students around the U.S. to investigate regional architecture, national park sites, and urban issues. Costs and travel arrangements vary from course to course. Learn more at the RISD Global site.

11.   How do I choose an Elective?

Students select a course elective from the current RISD Course Announcement.

12.   What’s a Design Thesis in the curriculum of the MDes Masters Program?

The Design Thesis, a three-part endeavor, includes a theory seminar, a research component and a studio component. The research component allows the student to pursue a self-selected subject that, through scholarly research, is the basis of the design thesis.

13.   What academic advisor support do I have in RISD Interior Architecture?

Full time faculty serve as academic advisors during the academic year.

14.   Will I be able to take classes outside my Masters degree at RISD?

In addition to the required curriculum, students of the MDes in Interior Studies [Adaptive Reuse] option can concentrate in Nature, Culture, SustainabilityStudies (NCSS) through the Liberal Arts Department. With an inherently sustainable focus on reuse, some of the courses of the Department of Interior Architecture are already part of the NCSS concentration. Through this concentration MDes students have the option to take additional coursework with a complementary viewpoint on sustainability.

All elective classes can be taken in other RISD Departments, Graduate Studies, as Independent Studies or at Brown University.

15.   Will I get a well-rounded liberal arts education at RISD?

The BFA program in Interior Studies [Adaptive Reuse] is an undergraduate spatial design education relating to the existing built environment. It is completed in four years with 126 total required credits of Liberal Arts, Major requirements and Non-major Electives. Liberal Arts requirements include coursework in History of Art and Visual Culture, Literary Arts and Studies, History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences.

16.      How do I register for courses?

Begin online, with the Registrar's Office.

17.   Can I cross-register at Brown University?

RISD and Brown have adjacent campuses on College Hill and students at either institution may cross-register for classes at the other at no extra cost. RISD students typically turn to Brown for a broad array of foreign language and advanced science and math classes, which may be used to satisfy a portion of RISD’s distribution requirements in liberal arts. Students also have access to Brown’s extensive athletic facilities and can supplement activities available at RISD by attending concerts, lectures, theatrical performances and the like. In addition, the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program enables highly motivated undergrads to earn a BFA from RISD and an AB from Brown in five years. (from http://www.risd.edu/About/FAQs_Facts/)

18.   Can I study abroad?

Each year during Wintersession (early January to mid-February), RISD offers a number of travel courses designed to introduce students to the arts, architecture, design and culture of other countries and regions in the US. Small study groups travel abroad to destinations in India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and  Sri Lanka, among other countries. In recent years, students have studied photography in Paris, Renaissance painting techniques in Florence, puppetry in Bali, signs and symbols in Ghana, environmental issues in Costa Rica, textiles in Guatemala and Mayan culture in the Yucatan. Domestic travel/study courses also take students around the US to investigate regional architecture, national park sites and urban issues. Costs and travel arrangements vary from course to course. (Learn more at the RISD Global site.)

19.   Can I teach as a grad student in the MDes or MA Program?

Graduate Students may teach at RISD during Wintersession by submitting proposals for original, self-designed, independent courses.  It does not apply to graduate students assigned by departments to teach standard, recurring, department-designed courses with a prepared course syllabus.  

Full Time Faculty or the Graduate Program Director serve as faculty mentors for teaching grad students. 

Graduate students need a GPA of 3.0 or higher to qualify for teaching and may teach individually or co-teach with one other grad student.  Co-teaching students do not need to be in the same department but both departments must approve the proposal.

20.      How can I get involved in community service?

Faculty in the Department have strong associations to community organizations and will guide you.

B. Financial Aid

1.      What is the cost of tuition for the Academic year?

Please refer to the Student Financial Services page of the main RISD website for current fees associated with tuition and housing.  

2.      What is the difference between an assistantship and a fellowship?

Graduate students at RISD Interior Architecture can receive two forms of financial assistance: Fellowship grants and/or Assistantships.

Fellowship grants are awarded to all graduate applicants (including international students) upon their acceptance to the Graduate Programs.  These awards are applied directly to the student's tuition account.

Assistantships are employment-based awards for a limited number of positions available in the Interior Architecture Department each academic semester. Interested graduate students apply for the positions of their choice at the beginning of each semester.  Generally, assistantships are for teaching, programming and technical aide. Graduate students are engaged in supporting class instructors preparing course materials; assisting on the implementation of departmental initiatives including exhibitions, departmental publications; and in technical assistance for departmental facilities, tools and equipment.

3.      Can international students work on campus?

International Students receive employment-based awards in the form of assistantships. Students must have a US Social Security number (as payment is considered taxable income). International Grad students may apply for a US Social Security number by providing proper documentation, once in the US if they have proof of the promise of employment.  More information on the process can be found here on the RISD OISS (Office of International Student Services)  (from website:   http://ise.risd.edu/oiss/)

4.      What are some of the work-study jobs on campus? Will I be able to work off campus?

Students work for a variety of reasons, whether to meet the basic costs of a RISD education, or to learn/improve their skills and work habits. The work-study program itself consists of Federal Work-Study (FWS) or is part of a student’s financial aid package. While priority is given to financial aid recipients for on campus jobs, RISD also allows non-financial aid students to work should there still be jobs left unfilled by work-study students. Students can find jobs at RISD by checking listings on the Student Employment website.

The Student Employment Office, reserves the right to determine that a position may or may not be appropriate to list in our office or online. We make these determinations to the best of our ability with the welfare and safety of our students in mind. RISD is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will enrich and contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of our College. RISD does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, color, religion, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin, or disability status in employment or in our education programs.(from: https://studentemployment.risd.edu)

C. Student Experience

1.      How can I schedule a visit to RISD Interior Architecture?

You may contact the Department of Interior Architecture via email to schedule a visit

2.      How can I connect with current students in RISD Interior Architecture?

You may contact the Graduate Program Director via email for contact list of Graduate Program liaisons.

3.      How many students are enrolled in IntAR?

IntAR is a cohort of 113 currently,  and the student body in the Department of Interior Architecture is comprised of approximately 33% undergraduates and 67% graduate students. Within the Division of Architecture and Design, made up of seven departments (Apparel, Architecture, Furniture, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, and Landscape Architecture), INTAR constitutes 11% of the total student enrollment.

4.      What about diversity on campus?

RISD has 2,400 students from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Students come from all over the United States, and 19 percent of undergraduate students are from over 84 countries such as Korea, Turkey and South America. Of undergraduate students, 20 percent are US citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic or Native American backgrounds. The Office of Intercultural Student Engagement (diversity@risd.edu, 401 454-6638), is a resource center for students of color that provides advising, assistance with event planning and connections with community-based organizations.

5.      Is there a large international student population at RISD?

Both undergraduate and graduate students are highly diverse and come from Australia, Cambodia, China, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, U.K., and the U.S.

6.   What resources does RISD have for international students?

RISD’s Office of International Student Services offers a range of support services including maintenance of visa status, academic advising and assistance with community and personal matters. Contact Janet Hoyte (jhoyte@risd.edu) with questions.

Another nearby resource is Buxton International House at Brown University, which is a home-away-from-home for international students studying in Rhode Island. Clubs and organizations at RISD that may be of interest include the RISD ACA (Asian Cultural Association), the Korean Student Association and the Latin Alliance. An event that would be of particular interest is the annual International Day, a festive outdoor celebration where students from many cultures share music, art, dance and cuisine from their native lands.(from:  http://www.risd.edu/Admissions/FAQs_Info/)

7.   Who do I contact with questions about my international student visa (I-20)?

Pre-enrollment, contact Admissions at admissions@risd.edu

After enrollment, contact Kate Sacco (csacco@risd.edu) or Mika Kanazawa (mkanazaw@risd.edu) in the Office of International Student Services. (from:  http://www.risd.edu/Admissions/FAQs_Info/)

8.      How can I connect with my religious denomination while at RISD?

Members of the RISD community are invited to participate in a variety of religious services in Providence, many of which are within easy walking distance. Specifically suited for the college community are Brown University’s services for students of Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Baha’i faiths (401 863-2344) and the Brown Hillel Foundation (services and events for Jewish students (401 863-2805). (from: http://www.risd.edu/Admissions/FAQs_Info/)

9.      What are the student governance organizations?

The undergraduate Student Alliance and the Graduate Student Alliance provide a platform that facilitates and advocates students’ voices in order to improve RISD.

Department Reps and Graduate Department Liaisons work with the Executive Boards to represent all students and majors on issues that matter to students. Town Hall meetings are a chance for all students to actively participate in the RISD Community. The Alliance and Grad Student Alliance ensure students are represented on academic and other institutional committees (from: http://csi.risd.edu/Student_Government)

10.      Where do RISD students live?

The RISD Office of Residence Life offers a wide variety of on-campus housing options to first year students, upperclass students and grad students. Students who are qualified to live off-campus, and choose to do so, can work with Residential Life to ensure the best possible outcome, but per Residential Life, "RISD expects all first-year and second-year students to live on campus. Those students who are married, will turn 21 years of age before September 1st, or plan to live at home locally with their parents, may request a waiver of this requirement by contacting the Residence Life Office at housing@risd.edu. We define “home” as the parent(s)’ place of legal domicile."

11.   What emergency health services are available in case of illness or injury?

 A registered nurse is on duty Monday-Friday, 8:30am-8:30pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; and certain holidays, 12-7:30pm. Health services is closed on Sunday. A physician is on call every day and is in the office for one “sick call” hour each weekday. If there’s an emergency when the Health Services office is closed, students are instructed to call the Department of Public Safety, located within the freshman Residence Hall complex. A trained officer will then respond with treatment or arrange for transportation to an appropriate medical facility. Questions may be directed to Health Services (401 454-6625) or Public Safety (401 454-6376 or EMERGENCY: 401-454-6666).

12.   What resources are available for learning-disabled students?

 RISD has a Writing Center where students may get feedback on their papers for liberal arts classes. Tutors are also available to assist students with class notes and assignments. Students in need of additional assistance may visit Disability Support Services (DSS), where staff members will assist with accommodations for RISD students who have either cognitive (learning) or physical disabilities. (from:  http://www.risd.edu/Admissions/FAQs_Info/)

D. My Career

1.      Will RISD help me find a job after graduation?

The RISD Career Center offers a comprehensive program of one-on-one counseling, portfolio reviews, seminars and other targeted events aimed at helping undergraduates, graduate students and alumni translate their creativity into meaningful and rewarding careers.  Career counselors also offer support in entrepreneurial education and in the areas of grants, fellowships and residencies. Among its many helpful online resources, the Center manages ArtWorks, which connects employers with students and alumni for jobs, internships and other career opportunities.

Reference the RISD Careers site for a full overview of online resources and available programming. (from: http://www.risdcareers.com)

2.      How active is the alumni network in help me find a job after graduation?

The alumni of the department are engaged with the profession in many ways and around the world.

Alumni [BFA] Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Studies

Alumni [MDes] Master of Design in Interior Studies

Alumni [MIA] Master of Interior Architecture

Alumini [MA] Master of Adaptive Reuse

3.      Where do Interior Architecture alumni work?

BFA alumni are employed in architectural firms around the country. They include firms such as CBT Boston, Elkus Manfredi Boston, Richard Meier & Partners NYC, Robert Stern NYC, and Yabu Pushelberg NYC. Many BFA alumni pursue graduate education in Architecture and design related fields including Historic Preservation, Sustainability, Media Arts, and Business. They include institutions such as Babson College, the Bartlett (UK), Catholic University, Columbia University, Harvard University, and University of Pennsylvania.

MA alumni typically return to architectural practice. The majority of the MDes alumni enter professional architectural practice while a minority pursue an academic career, attend graduate school (for MArch or PhD) enter into Exhibition Design or pursue an affiliated design career. Alumni of the graduate programs practice at many different offices including: Arquitectonica, BIG, Cannon, Foster & Partners, Gensler, NBBJ, OMA, Perkins & Will, Shepley Bulfinch, SOM. Those who pursue academia have taught at: Brown

University, HongKong Polytechnic, and Yale University. Those who have pursued additional graduate education have attended: Columbia GSAPP, Harvard GSD, University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, and Yale University.

Those in Exhibition design have practiced at: the Guggenheim, the Mathaf Arabic Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian. Those in affiliated design practices include architectural photography, jewelry design, furniture design, sculpture and installation art.