The Rhode Island School of Design

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a four-year private school situated in Providence. When it was established during the time of the Industrial Revolution, it was called a design school to suggest its significant role in economic development in a region where jewellery and textiles industries were thriving.

While they do offer design majors, RISD is regarded as an art school. While it offers almost 20 programmes but fine arts is the one out sought after. The fine arts Masters Degree includes a number of specialisations like glassware, graphic design, jewellery/metals, sculpture, and photography.

RISD is consistently ranked as one of the U.S.’ top art and design schools. It was ranked first among Fine Arts programmes by U.S. News and World Report, above the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Yale University.

In both 2015 and 2016, QS World University Rankings ranked RIDS 3rd for Art and Design programmes. Within Fine Arts subdivisions, the school ranked No. 1 in industrial design, printmaking, and graphic design; No. 1 in painting; and No. 3 in photography and ceramics.


The school was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1877 by members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission. The group was formed to raise funds for a woman’s pavilion at the very first major world’s fair. Their efforts were largely successful as the pavilion was built.

It showcased the scientific, literary, entrepreneurial, and artistic skills of women in America, as well as supporting women’s economic rights to self-sufficiency. Once the project was complete and the group had funds remaining, they held a meeting and a vote. The result was a decision to establish RSID. It now ranks among the most well-known and oldest art and design colleges in the U.S.

The school was officially formed in 1877 and in fall of the following year it opened up to the public for the very first time in downtown Providence at the Hoppin Homestead. Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf, whose idea it was to establish the school, was director until she passed away in 1895. Her daughter, Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke, assumed the same role until she passed away in 1932.

Campus life

The campus, situated at the base of College Hill, is contiguous with Brown University’s campus. The institutions share community, academic, and social resources, as well as offering joint courses.  There’s an impressive art museum on campus, featuring rotating exhibits, as well as a nature lab with specimens, animals, and plants, for students to reference and study for their art.

Students have literally dozens of clubs from which to choose, including student government. There are also some interesting architecture and popular restaurants in the area for the students to check out. While there’s no on-campus varsity athletic team, there are opportunities to take part in numerous recreational sports, such as midnight soccer. Distinguished alumni include Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.