FAQs

Admissions

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.  

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. 

Academic Experience

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) to conduct work abroad in the summer with a faculty member.   At times, students have also sought out summer internships abroad.  

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. 

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: 

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. 

Community and Student Life

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!