RISD 2.5 Year Grad Program

Has anyone taken or heard about the 2.5 year Industrial Design Masters program at RISD? I’m certainly interested as someone who comes from an art background but would like to hear about/from anyone who has gone through it.

Hey Peter,

I went through the 2.5 program at RISD 3 years ago. The other two programs I was choosing between was DAAP for a second undergrad, and NCSU which has a similar to RISD’s 3yr masters program (but for way less money). I had a BFA in sculpture, and my intention was to use it as a career-changing education, into commercial product design (basically to fill gaps in my own skill set and get a diploma that said ID on it). This worked in my case but didn’t for some of my other classmates. It did not feel as though the curriculum was designed for this, which to be fair, is not really the point of any master’s degree program. So if that’s your intent as well, just know that you need to be very strategic about how your choose your projects and supplementary courses. That said, there are some amazing resources available to you: Nature Lab, Materials Library, connections with Brown and MIT, to name a few that I really appreciated. You can skate through and graduate without taking advantage of these, or you can work your ass off and get a good education, in just about any subset of design that interests you. It worked out for me, largely due to my employer putting on an extra curricular research project at RISD and that’s where I met my future boss and teammates. This was quite a bit of good luck on timing, as it was not a repeating affair. But I have to give some credit to the school for attracting employers to do that kind of thing.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Hi Peter:

I didn’t attend RISD but am just finishing a 3 year program at Academy of Art University.

What are your expectations going into the program? What skills/knowledge are you looking for? Do you know what field you’d like to focus in?

Might help us give you some feedback on the realities of the school, especially as someone switching majors.

Good questions from Joshua. I defiantly recommend you have that conversation with yourself as well as a representative from the department of whatever schools you are looking at attending. Especially as a grad student, you can begin with the end in mind. What kind of work do you want to be doing when you graduate? Ask a representative from the school if their program will help you attain the necessary skills, portfolio, and experiences to attain that.