Rhode Island School of Design

Continuing Education

Although any RISD/CE course may be taken for personal or professional enrichment, many may also be taken as part of a certificate program. Most RISD/CE certificate programs encompass a specific body of knowledge and practice that prepares candidates for rewarding positions in art and design fields. A background in art and design is helpful but not necessary for any of these programs. Complete program information, curriculum charts, and advisor biographies may be found by visiting any of the individual certificate program pages listed below.

Certificates are available in the following disciplines:

Advertising Design (AD)  •  Animation + Video (AV)  •  Apparel Design (AP)
Children's Book Illustration (CB)  •  Digital Photography (DI)  •  Drawing + Painting Studies (DS)
Graphic Design (GR)  •  Interior Design (ID)  •  Jewelry + Light Metals (JM)
    Natural Science Illustration (NS)  •  Product Development + Manufacturing (PM)  •  Web + Interactive Design (WE)

For courses applicable to a particular certificate program, look for the two letter program code (in parentheses in the above list) in the "Applies to" statement at the end of the course description.

  • Advertising Design Certificate

    Gale Litchfield, Certificate Advisor

    Marketing, promotion and persuasion are the objectives of the advertising professional; this certificate program teaches those core concepts and how they inform design practice. Students learn how to develop an advertising campaign and how to give it effective and media-specific form. The curriculum reflects the … Read More

  • Animation + Video Certificate

    Evan Villari, Certificate Advisor

    Telling stories using the technology-rich vocabulary of film, animation and video gives one a unique opportunity to express a creative vision. This certificate program provides students with a fast-paced curriculum designed to give novices access to the field, as well as training for forward-thinking professionals … Read More

  • Apparel Design Certificate

    Philip Sawyer, Certificate Advisor

    In this program, students have the opportunity to develop skills in clothing design, sketching, patternmaking and draping, garment construction, textiles, and critical analysis. The curriculum also provides exposure to business practices, entrepreneurship, material sourcing, merchandising, styling and presentation. Students learn to develop their own collections … Read More

  • Appraisal Studies in Art + Antiques Certificate

    Louise T. Hall, Certificate Advisor

    RISD/CE and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) combine their resources to provide students with the theoretical skills needed to build a career in the appraisal of personal property, and to develop a more thorough appreciation of collecting fine art, decorative art and antiques.   The program's … Read More

  • Children's Book Illustration Certificate

    Cheryl Kirk Noll, Certificate Advisor

    Aspiring illustrators are introduced to the multi-faceted world of children's book design and illustration while surveying the creative, technical and business aspects of the illustration field. With an emphasis on process, students develop the skills in drawing, painting, writing, digital design, research and development they … Read More

  • Comic + Sequential Art Certificate

    Ty Varszegi, Certificate Advisor

    This program provides students with the opportunity to explore the history, scholarship and assembly of words and pictures that combine to become compelling visual narratives. With core lessons in drawing, story-telling and computer-based workflow, the program allows for the creation of an eye-catching portfolio that … Read More

  • Digital Photography Certificate

    John Hames, Certificate Advisor

    Photography is both an art and a science, requiring both aesthetic and technical skills. This program addresses the need for photographers of all levels to stay technologically current and creatively relevant. With its broad instructional focus, the program is appropriate for both beginning and experienced … Read More

  • Drawing + Painting Studies Certificate

    Michael Peery, Certificate Advisor

    Within the context of a structured studio environment, students develop critical skills in drawing and painting while exploring the intimate relationship between the two. The curriculum provides a solid foundation in depicting the subject and its setting, while providing tools for experimentation and self-expression. Participants … Read More

  • Graphic Design Certificate

    Dina Zaccagnini Vincent, Certificate Advisor

    The Graphic Design certificate program focuses on pragmatic problem solving through an emphasis on the design process. Students learn to effectively develop a piece from concept to delivery, as they study typography, image and image making methodologies, structure, systems and meaning – all in a … Read More

  • Hand Knitting Design Certificate

    Marisa Gutmacher, Certificate Advisor

    This program's goal is for hand knitting design students to create collections that best suit their style and interest in apparel, accessories, home design and sustainable living through fiber products. Students have the opportunity to develop skills in hand knitting design, pattern writing, construction of … Read More

  • Interior Design Certificate

    David Paolino, Certificate Advisor

    The Interior Design Certificate Program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to create and implement all phases of an interior design. Courses address the creative aspects of the field as students develop the discipline and organizational skills that are the foundation of a … Read More

  • Jewelry + Light Metals Certificate

    Jennaca Davies, Certificate Advisor

    The Jewelry + Light Metals certificate program provides a broad-based introduction to and foundation in designing and making jewelry. Combining technical skills -- including digital -- with conceptual thinking, this focused program allows students to gain insight into and experience with making wearable works of … Read More

  • Natural Science Illustration Certificate

    Amy Bartlett Wright, Certificate Advisor

    From Lady's Slipper Orchids to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, scientific illustrators must communicate accurate natural science information while applying artistic skills of design, drawing and painting. In this program, students develop the observational skills necessary for realistic depiction while honing artistic abilities to create visually powerful illustrations. … Read More

  • Product Development + Manufacturing Certificate

    Mark Guarraia, Certificate Advisor

    Product developers work to shape the world we live in and the experiences we have within it. They practice human-centered design through careful planning and creative thinking, and ultimately drive user satisfaction and business growth. The Product Development + Manufacturing certificate program teaches students to … Read More

  • Web + Interactive Design Certificate

    Eric Paul Meier, Certificate Advisor

    This certificate program prepares students to enter, or stay current with, a complex and continually evolving field. Its programmatic objectives address technical functionality and design topics while acknowledging the electronic media professional's responsibilities to organize information, communicate clearly and consider and incorporate the user's needs. … Read More

  • Read MoreRead Less

    How does a certificate compare with a degree?

    A certificate program is not the same as a degree program, which here at RISD requires full-time study. Certificate programs address specific professional training needs of adult students, many of whom have college and professional experience but want to upgrade their skills or make a career change. Certificate program courses prepare students for work in their chosen fields, and part-time evening study allows people with career or family commitments to come back to school.

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    How quickly can I earn a certificate?

    Certificate programs generally take two to four years of part-time study to complete, depending on the certificate program and its specific requirements, as well as how you schedule courses. Students with a full course load take two courses in each of the Fall and Spring terms and one course in each of the winter and summer terms, for a maximum of six courses per academic year. (In rare circumstances you can take extra courses in Fall and Spring if you have no other pressing commitments and select your courses strategically. A meeting with the Academic Advisor or Certificate Advisor is strongly recommended in this case). Note: Appraisal Studies in Art + Antiques does not follow this scheduling model. Up to two courses may be waived in the Apparel Design, Hand Knitting Design and Jewelry + Light Metals programs; students in most other programs may waive up to four courses for previous academic or professional experience. Please refer to Certificate Programs Policies on the Certificate Programs Registration page.

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    I’ve been working in the field and think that I’ve learned a lot of the things your certificate program covers. How do I know what courses to take?

    You can petition to waive up to four courses for previous professional or academic experience (see previous paragraph). Make an appointment with the Certificate Advisor if necessary. If you are very advanced, you should just pick and choose the individual courses you need without enrolling in a program; you may still contact the Certificate Advisor or Academic Advisor for help with selecting the appropriate courses.

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    I would love to start the certificate program but I am not very good at drawing.

    People tend to think that a person is either “born with talent” or not, but drawing can be learned if the student is interested and motivated. Almost everyone feels a little intimidated about taking a drawing course, but the Drawing I teachers do not expect students to have any previous experience and are very patient and generous with their time.

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    I’m not sure which program to pursue.

    The first step is to read through each certificate program description. If you still have doubts, call the Academic Advisor, who can help you clarify your interests. You may like to take courses that count towards more than one program (such as Drawing I or Digital Tools for Print Design) for a few semesters before officially becoming a certificate candidate.