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July 24, 2007
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

Brown and RISD Announce Dual Degree Program

Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) announce the establishment of a dual-degree program, a five-year program that offers students the opportunity to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree from RISD. The program will enable students to explore the integration of a wide range of disciplines by combining the rigorous degree requirements of both institutions.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The governing boards and trustees from both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), today announce the establishment of a dual degree program, creating a new partnership between the two institutions. Students are invited to apply for entrance for the 2008-2009 academic year. This historic moment acknowledges and reinforces the collaborative and multidisciplinary educational efforts of these two world-class institutions, by forming a program to offer students enhanced opportunities for creative work that integrates, relates and develops diverse spheres of academic and artistic work.

The Brown/RISD dual degree program is five years in length and offers students the opportunity to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree from RISD. The dual degree program requires that students complete the existing degree requirements for both institutions by being actively enrolled in both institutions while earning two simultaneous degrees.

Currently, students from Brown or RISD can cross-register for classes, proving the viability and creative value of a dual degree program that draws extensively on the strengths of both institutions. In the fall of 2006, the exploration of formal cross-institutional programs and curricula was determined a priority by President Ruth Simmons of Brown and President Roger Mandle of RISD.

With this mandate a working group was formed with administration and faculty representation from both Brown and RISD. This group continued the work of the Committee on Institutional Collaboration, formed in 2003, in which the idea of the dual degree was conceived. The joint Brown/RISD working group was appointed by the Provosts to further research and develop the dual-degree proposal. Formally endorsed by the faculty of both institutions in the spring of 2007, the proposal received final approval by the governing boards and trustees respectively from both Brown and RISD.

“By combining Brown’s strengths in science and engineering, humanities and arts, and social sciences with RISD’s renowned programs in art and design studies and the liberal arts, we are offering students an extraordinary opportunity to draw on the offerings of two outstanding institutions,” said Simmons. “Formalizing the dual degree program affirms the close relationship between Brown and RISD and represents a commitment to providing students with innovative, multidisciplinary experiences.”

“The creation of this dual degree program,” states Roger Mandle, president of RISD, “allows our institutions to develop a consilient approach, merging the strengths and educational rigor of each institution to form a true model of interdisciplinary education.”

Applicants to the dual degree program will be required to apply to both Brown and RISD and be accepted by both institutions. A Brown/RISD admissions committee comprised of admissions and faculty representatives will determine final admission to the program from among those students admitted to both institutions. For the initial five years of the program–during its pilot phase–it has been determined that applications will only come from first year applicants and not from transfer or currently enrolled students. Once enrolled in the program, the dual degree students will acquire a dual identity and as such will see themselves as both RISD and Brown students.

RISD and Brown offer different but complementary strengths; RISD offers intensive, specialized education leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in extensive categories of visual art, architecture, design and the liberal arts; Brown offers comprehensive concentrations (academic majors) leading to the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or Bachelor of Science (Sc.B.) degree in the physical and biological sciences, social sciences, mathematics, arts and the humanities.

Upon acceptance, students will undertake a first year of Foundation Studies at RISD. A minimum of two years in residence at each school will be expected of students in the program. It is expected that with prior approval students in the program would have the opportunity to spend a semester or a year studying abroad.

For more information on the Brown/RISD dual degree program, visit

Brown University

Brown University is an internationally known Ivy League institution with a distinctive undergraduate academic curriculum, outstanding faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, and a tradition of innovative and rigorous multidisciplinary study. Brown offers nearly 100 programs of study to its approximately 7,190 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and has a firm commitment to academic excellence and diversity in its student population. The University adheres to a collaborative university-college model in which faculty are as committed to teaching as they are to research, embracing a curriculum that requires students to be architects of their education. In 2004, Brown publicly launched its Plan for Academic Enrichment, which is designed to strengthen educational opportunities and significantly increase the number of faculty, add more courses and research opportunities for undergraduates, improve support for graduate and medical education, and invest in libraries, information technology and new academic space. For more information, visit

Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design has earned a worldwide reputation as the preeminent art and design college in the country. Today, with more than 20,000 alumni and alumnae, the college enrolls roughly 1,900 undergraduates and 400 graduate students from the United States and almost 50 countries, offering degree programs in the fine arts, architecture, and design disciplines, and art education. Academic programs include research and design initiatives, the exploration of art criticism and contemporary cultural concerns, as well as international exchange programs. Each year, RISD hosts prominent and accomplished artists, critics, and authors to its campus. Included within the college is The RISD Museum of Art, which houses a world-class collection of art—objects from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and art of all periods from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, as well as the latest in contemporary art. For more information, go to

Press Contacts

RISD Contact: Jaime Marland,, (401) 427-6954
Brown Contact: Deborah Baum,, (401) 863-2478

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.