+How many credits do I need to take to graduate from RISD with an Interior Architecture BFA degree?

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, and provides the foundation for the pursuit of graduate studies and professional design practice.

+How and when do I declare Interior Architecture as my major?

Majors are declared during spring semester of your first year. Your major course of study begins sophomore year.

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

Liberal Arts requirements include coursework in History of Art and Visual Culture, Literary Arts and Studies, History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences.


+How many credits do I need to take to graduate from RISD with an Interior Architecture graduate degree?

MDes: 75 credits; MA: 45 credits

+Do both the MDEs or MA programs require a preliminary summer program?

Students entering the MDes and MA Interior Architecture graduate programs begin their studies in mid-June with immersive summer programs: 

The MDes graduate program participants, in both Adaptive Reuse (AR) or Exhibition and Narrative Environments (EXNE), stay on campus, in Providence, for a six week intensive nine-credit summer program, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00PM. Anticipating applicants with a range in skills and understanding of design concepts, the summer program offers a rigorous introduction to both design principles and basic skills of representation and making. Completion of the summer program  prepares new MDes students to undertake the full Interior Studies program, come fall.

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

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

Students enter the Interior Architecture MDes program with an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts from an accredited institution (most often but not exclusively in related design fields). Students enter the Interior Architecture 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. The MA degree program focuses directly on the adaptive reuse of existing structures. The curricula for each program reflect these different approaches, and have their own unique requirements.

+Will I be able to take classes outside of 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.

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

+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.

+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.  This 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.


+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.

+What are the open hours for studios?

Interior Architecture studios are open 24/7.

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

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

+What fabrication facilities do students use 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 across campus.

+What is Wintersession?

For five weeks between 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 time frame—from performance art workshops to targeted project research to travel-study options.

+How do I choose an Elective?

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

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

Full time faculty serve as academic advisors.

+How do I register for courses?

Begin online, with the Registrar's Office.

+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.

+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.

+How can I get involved in community service?

INTAR faculty have strong associations to community organizations and will guide you.