Question about graduate program in RISD

Hello everyone,I want to apply RISD next year for industrial design graduate study. Does anyone know the study there? which direction do they focus on? How many graduate students can find good design jobs in USA.(I dont want to become an artist, I want to become a designer for product design).

I heard that it is a top 3 school for design in USA, but I can`t find too many famous designers graduated in RISD.

please tell me something about it as much as you can.


Most RISD graduate open their own business. And yes you are right as far as “Famous” designer, RISD hasn’t produce many if any, but I wouldn’t choose a program based on how many famous designer a school produces, but rather on the merit of the program, in other words is the program right for you… Also keep in mind that RISD grad. program is small, they only take 10 applicants a year.

RISD is a great institution with a lot going for it. Great facilities, inspiring students, but it lacks a bit in placement. The commenter who suggested that most grads own their own “businesses” is being generous. RISD has graduated a lot of unemployable designers who start “Consulting practices” with no clients. I know in my undergrad class maybe 10 of the 60 or so have found work as something close to an industrial designer. Those are not great odds for the number 3 school in the country. I networked to a prominent RISD grad who had started his own business with a roster full of famous brands as clients and he told me “I don’t hire RISD grads because they need too much training”. Not a great endorsement.

The grad program is even less successful since most students are career switchers. They don’t teach any fundamental skills in the grad program (CAD, Sketching, etc.) and instead focus on VERY arty conceptual products. If you want to be a product designer I would find another school.

Best of luck

I graduated from RISD grad program several years ago and have been working successfully as an industrial designer since.
I think a lot of time people don’t get the difference between a grad and undergrad program. If you want to get out of school and get a job as a junior product designer at a consultancy, then I agree with Joe that RISD grad isn’t the place. It’s true, they don’t teach much drawing or CAD, because that’s what they teach in undergrad. At the graduate level they assume you can teach yourself those technical skills (or find the resources/electives to do so) and instead focus on larger ideas and theory (yes, arty conceptual). If you don’t feel you can teach yourself those technical skills, then you should go into an undergrad program (even if you already have a degree). Working in the industry not a lot of people care if you have a grad or undergrad degree. They care if you can design.
I had an amazing time at RISD and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else, but like somewhereinla says, it has to be the right program for you.

As an alum from RISD’s undergrad program (ID’98) Joe’s placement numbers where about the same back then as well.

loonatic, I’m glad to hear from someone who went through the program on the boards. I was accepted for this fall and am visiting this week. Just wondering, do you have an undergrad ID background as well? If RISD isn’t the place to come out starting at a junior designer (and I understand that’s not what grad programs are for at most schools), what areas do you think the program’s strengths provide opportunities for? Obviously, thesis work and portfolios will make a big difference but what are your peers from the program doing now?

I am starting my grad. program this fall. When I visited RISD, I met with both a faculty and a grad student and was told that most RISD grad. go into business for themselves. If you want to get a job in a big design firm, RISD many not be the right program for you. However, I have got to say I was very impressed by the school and by what the program is all about. However I did decide to go to Art Center instead. I think you will enjoy your visit there, it’s a beautiful school.