Rhode Island School of Design

Continuing Education

Certificate Programs: for creative lives and work
 
RISD has an unparalleled reputation for producing highly skilled, successful and internationally renowned creative practitioners. 
 
With more than 100 years of expertise nurturing ‘critical making, thinking and innovation’ and ‘applying the principles of art and design to the requirements of trade and manufacture’, RISD Continuing Education (RISD|CE) Certificate Programs are designed to facilitate personal and professional development, by engaging students in sustained exploration and learning in specific creative disciplines. 
 
These non-credit certificates are flexible to accommodate both your learning interests and schedule; robust by providing immersive, studio based learning that is current, relevant and integrally connected to creative sector development; and impactful – equipping students with skills, confidence, proficiency and real-world experience to accelerate creative lives and work. 
 
Programs are led by diverse, expert faculty – academics, creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and industry leaders – with professional connections to multiple sectors. With no entry requirements, learn with motivated peers to develop your portfolio, broaden existing skills, explore a new career path or life pursuit, or start your own business – and build the network that will help you do it. 
 
RISD|CE certificates offer an accessible, transformative and effective way to join a community of alumni who have accelerated their creative lives and work.
 
Certificate Program Overview (PDF)
 
Certificate Program Application Form
 
Certificate Program Policies
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    Animation

    Embedded within film, documentary, viral video and interactive content, animation is one of the most creative, effective and visually captivating storytelling mediums available to us today. This certificate blends technical instruction in 3D modeling and animation, digital illustration, non-linear editing and sound design, with drawing, composition and narrative structure in a way that enables students to develop authentic characters, make images move and tell stories that come alive. Through projects and visual exercises, students develop an online portfolio - enabling them to confidently pursue careers in gaming, simulation, special effects, filmmaking, digital engagement or graphic design.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “AN-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Graphic Design

    A field that incorporates type, images, visual acuity, conceptual fluidity and technical skill, graphic design is foundational within design. It is useful to multiple sectors seeking to engage people, and represent ideas, perspectives and relationships in visual form. The certificate synthesizes learning about design principles, visual thinking, graphic form, typography and digital technology through studio work, design challenges, peer critique and independent projects - enabling students to develop fluency and confidence with the field and their own practice. As a creative form with multiple potential user interfaces, this certificate provides students with foundational learning in brand strategy and implementation across print, digital and interactive.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “GR-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Interactive Design

    Interactive design is a dynamic and rapidly growing field. Developed to engage people in compelling and vital experiences and relationships, interactive design draws on user experience, conceptual frameworks, coding and multiple digital platforms and media to create desirable and seamless digital user interfaces. The certificate incorporates digital tools and platforms including JavaScript, CSS and app development into learning about structure, user experience, medium selection and synthesis to develop vibrant and innovative digital interfaces that communicate with brand, audience and the world. The certificate enables graduates to expand existing digital competencies and/or product development, create new avenues for business development or seed startups with new identities and marketing channels.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “IT-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Interior Design

    With the foundational classes of Drawing, Design and Applied Color, the Interior Design Certificate Program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to create and implement all phases of an interior design. Classes address the creative aspects of the field as students develop the discipline and organizational skills that are the foundation of a successful business. Color, texture, light and the inherent characteristics of materials interact to convey the language of design together with such functional concerns as structural and space planning. This program addresses the importance of collaboration, communication, critical thought, discipline, ethics and organizational skills. Upon completion, students will be prepared to pursue a variety of interior design careers. Note: this non-credit program does not satisfy NCIDQ or ASID eligibility requirements.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “ID-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Jewelry + Light Metals

    Jewelry and light metals play a significant role in the increasingly diversified market for wearables. Providing an introduction to and foundation for  designing and making jewelry, wearables and accessories, this certificate combines technical skills with creative and conceptual thinking, enabling students to develop their own route, experience and style. The certificate core introduces students to critical skills of drawing, rendering, design and color in preparation for working three dimensionally. Through subsequent and sequential learning assignments, students are introduced to jewelry and light metals studio practices, essential techniques and working with a variety of metals and materials. Students make portfolio-ready work, providing a strong platform  for  industry based internships, small business development, setting up personal studios or continuing their education.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “JM-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Natural Science Illustration

    Natural science illustrators need to accurately translate and communicate subject matter to inform and educate. This certificate equips students with the necessary skills to document and detail the natural world - strong visual acuity; precise hand coordination and natural subject empathy and knowledge. Students explore mediums and techniques including pencil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache and oil to discover their individual style; and composition and color strategies enable students to fully interpret, capture and portray subjects including birds, animals, botanicals, etc. in natural environments. The program utilizes RISD’s unique facilities including the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab as well as site/field visits to the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History, Zoo and Greenhouse. Students progress towards creating portfolio-ready pieces of natural science subjects for the purpose of professional presentation and potential publication.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “NS-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Painting Studies

    The Painting Studies certificate introduces the beginning artist to the techniques and conceptual thinking necessary to explore, learn, practice, and master painting. The program guides students through learning about materials, techniques, concepts and representing different subjects in different contexts, to working on more complex visual challenges that enable them to fully navigate the relationships between color, space and composition. Students are supported in creating their individual practice -  developing confidence and competence with diverse techniques and conceptual fluidity. As a personal visual language is refined, students shift towards more self-directed study and learning to work independently as an artist.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “PS-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Photography

    Photography is often described as equal parts science and art. Photographers help us see the world in new ways - documenting, representing, contextualizing and/or interpreting objects, people, places, situations or occurrences through distinct lenses. The core certificate engages students in exploring the principles of design to be able to construct considered, meaningful and impactful images. Subsequent learning includes focused technical learning and practice with a camera: seeing through a lens, digital technology, lighting, post-processing and archival printing.  Graduates of the photography program are able to depict powerful visual narratives - building portfolios that support professional development, personal fulfillment and/or subsequent independent practice.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “PG-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    Product Development + Manufacturing

    Product developers practice human-centered design through careful planning and creative thinking, and ultimately drive user satisfaction and business growth. The Product Development + Manufacturing certificate teaches students to use the design process to develop meaningful solutions to real-world problems. With this certificate, students gain a range of fundamental creative, diagnostic, mechanical and visual skills allowing them to conquer the many challenges that arise in the product development process. The certificate reviews all phases of the product design and development lifecycle, including: conceptualization; research; design development; prototype and user testing; manufacturing and assembly; distribution and marketing. Graduates pursue careers at product design and manufacturing related firms or in entrepreneurial pursuits.

    Certificate Program Guide (PDF)

    For a list of electives offered during the current semester, enter “PM-E” in the keyword field of cereg.risd.edu.

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    What is the RISD|CE certificate program?

    RISD|CE Certificate Programs are designed to facilitate personal and professional development, by engaging students in sustained exploration and learning in specific creative disciplines. These non-credit certificates equip students with skills, confidence, proficiency and real world experience to accelerate creative lives and work.

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    Why earn a RISD|CE certificate?

    For people who want to make a sustained commitment to their creative learning, RISD|CE certificates can help you develop your portfolio, explore a new career path or life pursuit, expand an existing career or start your own business. Widely acknowledged by employers and the creative sector, certificate completion demonstrates the level of interest, commitment and ability necessary to seriously advance your skills.

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    How long will it take to earn a certificate?

    All certificates require 378 hours of study: 162 hours of core study; and 216 hours of study in the concentration of your choice. Students enroll in certificate classes at their own pace, but an approximate timeframe for certificate completion is 2 years – taking 14 or 15 classes consecutively.

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    Who are the instructors?

    Programs are led by diverse, expert faculty – academics, creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and industry leaders – with professional connections to multiple sectors.

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    Who can enroll?

    All certificates are open admission. Students interested in professional or personal growth must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

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    How do I apply and do I need a portfolio?

    Just fill out an application form at CE Website. No portfolio is required for admission.
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    What is the structure of the RISD|CE certificate program?

    All certificates begin with the Core: study in the fundamental skills of drawing, design, color, digital and other technique building. This is followed by the Concentration: study in specific disciplines (such as graphic design, painting, interactive design, illustration, etc.). Completion of both levels is required to earn a certificate. Core study is a requirement of every certificate – providing a sound base for subsequent learning in specific disciplines. While each certificate has a slightly different set of core courses, a student is able to go into any certificate once they have completed the core level. It is recommended that classes in the certificate be taken sequentially according to the curriculum guides.

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    How are the new certificates different?

    The new programs are shorter and more focused; because of this, they are more affordable to complete. Individual curricula have been reexamined and updated to better prepare students for successful engagement with art and design careers. Active certificate students may elect to transition to the shorter revised program depending on how many classes they have completed in their current certificate.

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    Are there prerequisites?

    Some classes in the concentrations have prerequisites. We encourage you to pay attention to the listed prerequisite so that you can learn effectively and contribute to the classroom community more productively.

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    Can I take classes before committing to a certificate program?

    Yes, you may take classes that apply to a certificate program for up to a year before submitting your Application for Candidacy to a certificate program. Application for candidacy can be found at CE Website. All classes in the certificate Core apply, and that may be a good place to start. If you aren’t sure, please contact our staff in advance of enrolling in classes to ensure that they apply.

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    What are electives?

    Most certificates have electives – classes the student is able to select independently of the requirements. There is a lot of flexibility with this choice; to be certain it counts toward your certificate, the two-letter program code followed by an “E” for elective (for example: ID-E) at the end of a course description indicates if it is a pre-approved elective and applies to your certificate.

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    Are my old certificate program classes applicable to a new program?

    Yes. Classes taken by active certificate students will count toward a new certificate in most cases, with the exception of closed programs. We will work with you to transition from a closed program into a current program.

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    My certificate program was closed. Can I apply my previous classes to other programs?

    In most cases, yes – as long as you are an active certificate student and took required classes. Some classes are specific to one certificate program and may not count toward requirements in another certificate program. However, they may count as electives. Students in this situation should contact the CE Office to request individual advising. This can be done by calling 401-454-6201 or sending an email to cemail@risd.edu.

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    Can I receive transferable college credit for any of the classes?

    No. While RISD|CE certificate programs do not offer college credit, they prepare you for work in specific sectors or more advanced studies.

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    Can any previous classes I took at another school/institution count toward a certificate?

    In some cases, yes. You may have up to 4 classes waived from previous study. You will need to apply for a waiver and submit a transcript from that institution listing classes you want waived. You can request waivers by emailing cemail@risd.edu. Once you submit this, it will be reviewed and you will be notified if approved.

    A substitution for a required class may be approved if you have equivalent experience of the required class and wish to substitute it. The substituted class must be equivalent in level and number of hours. 

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    May I take a leave of absence? For how long?

    Certificate students may request a leave of absence for the period of one year. To take a leave of absence, please send a written request to the Associate Director for Enrollment + Operations, sbellair@risd.edu. During this time, the requirements of your program stay the same until you enroll again at the end of that year. However, if you do not enroll after the approved leave period, any changes to your certificate program that were made in your absence will then apply to you.

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    What happens if I do not take classes for over a year?

    Students who do not take classes pertaining to their certificate program will be made inactive. This means that you will not receive important updates to the certificate programs, messages to active candidates, etc. Also, any changes to your certificate program that were made while you were inactive will then apply to you.

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    How do I get reinstated in the certificate program?

    It is easy to be reinstated. Simply send an email to the CE Office at cemail@risd.edu. State your request to be reinstated to your previous program and ask to be informed of any changes to your program while you were inactive.

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    May I audit a class?

    RISD|CE does not offer an option to audit a class.

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    Are internships available?

    Internships to satisfy program requirements are not available, but we encourage you to seek out ways to practically apply what you are learning in the program.

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    Are the classes graded?

    Yes. Any class over 18 hours is graded with a letter grade. Any class measured in 3, 6 or 12 hours is graded only as pass/fail.

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    How much does a certificate program cost?

    With an average certificate program completion cost of $6875 to $8600 depending on the program you choose, students pay per class - making the program both accessible and affordable.

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    Is financial aid available?

    Financial aid is available in the form of a limited number of scholarships for the Spring and Fall semesters only. RISD|CE programs do not qualify for federal or state financial aid through the FAFSA. To obtain a financial aid form contact the RISD|CE office at 401-454-6201 or at cemail@risd.edu.

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    Are there any additional fees?

    Some classes have additional fees to cover the costs of materials or models. These fees typically do not exceed $100 per course, and are specified in course description information.

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    Is there a graduation?

    Yes. Certificate Program Graduation is held in June. Students who petition to graduate in the Fall receive information about the graduation the following Spring.

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    What do I need to do to graduate?

    You must complete all of programmatic classes with a grade of C minus or better and have paid all fees attached to your account. If you have petitioned for any waivers, they too must be reflected on your transcript.

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    How do I petition to graduate?

    Petition to Graduate forms are sent by email to eligible certificate candidates during the Fall registration period. If you are ready to graduate, but did not receive a petition, please call the CE Office at 401-454-6201.

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    How do I declare candidacy?

    The Application for Candidacy is available on this page and in the CE Office, or you may call the CE Office to request that one be sent to you. You may also request it by email at cemail@risd.edu.