It is not possible to transfer into the Brown | RISD Dual Degree Program. However, you may consider transferring to either Brown University or to the Rhode Island School of Design. The respective Admissions Office is the best point of contact for how to do so. Brown and RISD students can take advantage of the cross-registration policy. Students at Brown can take up to 4 courses at RISD and RISD students are able to take courses at Brown to fulfill degree requirements.
Applicants may choose to apply to either Brown or RISD under their respective Early Decision Programs, with the understanding that if they are admitted via Early Decision, they agree to matriculate regardless of the outcome of their applications to the other institution and the Dual Degree Program. If admitted through the Early Decision Process to either Brown or to RISD, the applicant is permitted to apply to the other institution through the Regular Decision application process. In mid-March of the application year, the Dual Degree Admission Committee will convene to discuss the applications of any Regular Decision applicants to the Program, and the applications of any Early Decision applicants who have been admitted or deferred. Final decisions will be mailed in late March or early April, immediately following the regular decision mailing date.
The BRDD supplemental essay has a limit of 650 words.
You are not required to submit the arts supplement for the Brown Admissions application, though it is encouraged. If you do submit your portfolio to Brown, it will be reviewed as part of your admissions material and be factored into the admissions decision. Whereas, the BRDD supplemental essay must be the same essay submitted to both Brown and RISD, the portfolio submitted to Brown does not need to contain the same works as the portfolio submitted to RISD.
Please see our page dedicated to tuition and financial aid here.
Please see this page for information about financial aid for international applicants.
Not all combinations of majors at RISD and concentrations at Brown may be possible because of the rigorous demands of the Dual Degree Program. Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) and RISD's Architecture major are not permitted within the Dual Degree Program.
Pre-med/pre-health requirements can be found on Brown's Health Careers Advising page. There is no certainty that a student could complete these requirements while in the five-year BRDD Program. Many factors may contribute to the feasibility of fitting in some or all of these requirements. Some of these factors include how far ahead a student plans, if the student's concentration requirements and the recommended pre-med requirements have significant overlap, how many courses a student takes per semester, if a student intends to do summer studies or research, and when courses are offered.
To be considered full time at RISD, students are required to be enrolled in no fewer than 12 credit hours. This is usually four classes, though can be three if one of those classes is a double weighted (6-credit) studio. Generally, Dual Degree students are taking four to five classes a semester. Students are also required to take a minimum of one class in the RISD Wintersession of their first and second years in the program. Many students choose to continue participating in RISD Wintersession throughout their five years.
BRDD students have changed their majors at RISD. Most often this occurs between their "soft" declaration in the spring semester of the first year and their re-declaration in the spring semester of the second year. The feasibility of changing a major is really dependent upon when the student makes the change, what major a student is switching from and into, and the number of requirements the student has remaining to complete their Brown degree. Similarly, the feasibility of changing a student's Brown concentration depends. Requirements towards Brown concentrations range, with some concentrations requiring 9 courses and others more than 20. The feasibility of changing a concentration is also really dependent upon when the student makes the change, what concentration a student is switching from and into, and the number of requirements the student has remaining to complete their RISD degree. At both RISD and Brown, some areas of study require specific attention to sequencing of courses and some courses are only offered in certain semesters. Changing a major or concentration requires close advising and may or may not be possible. Students in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program must complete their degrees over a period of 10 semesters or 5 years.
The BRDD Program is demanding as students work to complete two degrees over a five year period. If study abroad is an important part of a student's experience, the student works closely with the Dual Degree Advisor to see how it may be possible during the five year course of study. BRDD students have spent a semester abroad on RISD European Honors Program, in a RISD global exchange program, or on a Brown study abroad program. These students have had to carefully plan ahead to make sure that credits they need towards one or both of their degrees were available abroad and that they still would meet all degree requirements within ten semesters. BRDD students have also taken advantage of other opportunities abroad. These have included RISD Wintersession travel programs and summer study abroad programs, through Brown, RISD, or another institution. Some students have also received a Brown UTRA (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award) or the Edward Guiliano '72 Global Fellowship to conduct a project abroad. At times, students have also sought out summer internships abroad.
Yes! Creating an accessible College Hill community in which students can fully access learning and community resources is a priority at both Brown and RISD. Each of our campuses has an office dedicated to coordinating services for students who may have different physical, psychological, and learning needs. Links to each office are provided below:
At any time, a BRDD student may choose to withdraw from the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program but remain enrolled in one or the other of the institutions, provided the student meets the selected institution’s requirements for continuing. A student considering such withdrawal must consult with academic advisors to understand implications on degree requirements, ensure the viability of completion of a degree at the selected institution, and understand the timeline of such completion. Students considering this option should also consult carefully with the Financial Aid Office of the selected institution to evaluate the effect on their aid. Once made, the decision to withdraw from the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program is irrevocable.
Community and Student Life
See the statistics for student demographics in our About section.
Each student in the Dual Degree Program manages the balance of coursework and prioritizes co-curricular and social involvement differently. Sometimes it takes students a few semesters to determine whether there is specific combination of coursework that works best with their learning style. For example, some recognize that it is best for them to distribute the type of demands their courses require in a certain way, whether that be limiting the number of reading/writing heavy courses they take per semester, considering the number of credits they are taking during the semester when their is a particular co-curricular demand, or even in some cases, finding a way to alternate in how they prioritize coursework at one institution or the other. There is not a prescribed way of moving through the Program.
Our students are active and involved on our campuses. We have students who illustrate for multiple campus publications, TA courses, lead large annual conferences, conduct research, volunteer, are involved in activism, compete as Division I or club athletes, lead or found clubs and organizations, serve as peer leaders in the residence halls, and the list goes on and on. With so many opportunities, the challenge can sometimes become deciding how to choose!
Njari (BRDD 2024; Sculpture, Modern Culture and Media) wrote, “Finding a home here tends to dictate where most Dualies spend their time. I spend more time at RISD because I'm in my studio a lot, but it differs from person to person. Some are more balanced than others, but I think most Duelies dedicate their time to the things/places where they are most passionate.”
Lucy (BRDD 2022; Graphic Design, Chemical Physics (ScB)), said, “It depends on the student and their majors! A variety of students spend different amounts of time at either campus, whether it may be their major calls for more time and classes, or they are more interested in one side than the other. BRDD students choose to spend their time wherever they need to to accomplish their work. If that means spending long hours in studio to finish a project, or studying in the Rock at Brown, BRDD students are flexible to work at either campus.”
Njari (BRDD 2024; Sculpture, Modern Culture and Media) shared, “It's hard to escape the BRDD limbo, especially in your first year of the program; however, it's not impossible. I think the best way to do it without overextending yourself is to join clubs one or more on each campus. Clubs, in my experience, provide a bit of structure that can help you familiarize yourself with the kind of people at each school without getting swept up in their abundance of people, events, opportunities, etc. With clubs, you'll find people with similar interests as yourself, and hopefully, those early connections will blossom into great friendships that will make you feel more at home here in Rhode Island.”
Lucy (BRDD 2022; Graphic Design, Chemical Physics (ScB)) expressed, “There are all sorts of ways to feel connected to both campuses in a meaningful way. Some ways include joining clubs on either campus, working with a professor in their department on a project or research, helping out with their RISD department to coordinate events such as senior shows, open studios, etc. Both campuses offer multiple ways to engage with the campus, with potential low key events on the Main Green, Upper Quad, etc. Also, a student doesn’t have to be fully integrated into both campuses. Whatever they feel comfortable with is always acceptable!”
In their first-year, BRDD students are housed on one or two floors together in the RISD Quad. There are predominantly shared rooms (doubles or triples) in the Quad, though single rooms may also be available. Students go through the RISD roommate pairing process and can elect to room with another BRDD first-year student or with a RISD first-year student. Learn more about RISD first-year housing.
In their second-year, BRDD students are housed at Brown. Most second-year BRDD students choose a pre-lottery option available to BRDD students to live together in one of Brown’s sophomore-designated residence halls. This option involves mostly shared rooms and students choose to live with a BRDD student or a Brown sophomore. This building is also centrally located and allows students to be near other BRDD students at periods in the semester that are unique to their RISD academic requirements, such as the beginning of RISD Wintersession while the majority of Brown students are still on winter break. BRDD students in their second year can also choose to live in Brown special interest housing, program housing, or participate in the general housing selection lottery process.
Dual Degree students have access to both Brown and RISD resources. Students can choose to meet with a therapist in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on either campus. Both offices offer individual appointments, groups, medication management, referrals to local providers, and 24/7 on-call crisis services. More information can be found online: Brown CAPS and RISD CAPS.
In addition, both campuses have Health Education Programs (Brown BWell Health Promotion and RISD Health Education and Promotion Office), resources for students seeking accommodations for medical, physical, psychological, and learning disabilities (Brown Student Accessibility Support Services and RISD Disability Support Services), and deans who meet with students to provide support for personal concerns that may impact their academic engagement (Brown Student Support Services and RISD Student Affairs).