Rhode Island School of Design

Continuing Education

The Summer Institute for Graphic Design Studies (SIGDS) at RISD offers an unparalleled opportunity for students and professionals from numerous disciplines to participate in an extensive array of concentrated two-week credit courses. Instruction is provided by professors of RISD’s Graphic Design Department, as well as by visiting international graphic design professionals. RISD's renowned, comprehensive design studios and high-tech facilities, among the very best in the country, complement a curriculum that is both technically advanced and conceptually innovative.

The SIGDS curriculum is especially attentive to addressing the monumental changes that have occurred as a result of the globalization of visual communications. SIGDS courses seek to aid participants in the challenging undertaking of improving the way we communicate visually. The individual offerings range from those with little emphasis on technology to those much more technology-dependent (for which computer literacy is a prerequisite), but all invite students and other aspiring graphic designers to join with educators and working professionals as they create exciting, well-considered graphic design.

SIGDS two-week courses are intended for students at all levels of experience, including absolute beginners. If you have any questions or concerns about prerequisites, please feel free to contact Franz Werner at fwerner@risd.edu or 401 277-4843.

Courses and program details are subject to change without notice.

June 26-August 4, 2017

Summer 2017 courses and registration will be posted in late fall/early winter 2016. Join our list to be notified when summer credit courses open for registration. For examples of courses from prior years, see the SIGDS Courses page for 2016 courses.

Request additional information, including the Summer Programs catalog and email updates.

Visit the Summer Programs Registration page to learn how to register and for more information on deadlines and applying as an international student.

RISD’s comprehensive studio facilities and extensive equipment have an excellent international reputation. Facilities in over 40 buildings include highly specialized computer labs, jewelry, apparel, textile and printmaking studios, jacquard and computer design looms, woodworking shops devoted to industrial design, furniture design and sculpture, and the Edna Lawrence Nature Laboratory, a repository of more than 90,000 natural specimens.

Visit our On Campus page for more information on RISD resources, including the RISD Museum of Art, the Fleet Library at RISD, art supply stores, and parking.

neighborhood + surrounding area
College Hill, on Providence’s historic East Side, is one of the most picturesque sections of the city, home to the expansive campuses of RISD and neighboring Brown University. The main RISD campus, situated at the center of the historic district, is famous for its narrow streets lined with restored Colonial homes and fine examples of early Federal and 19th-century architecture. RISD’s extensive facilities span Providence’s central rivers — home to Waterplace Park and WaterFire, a recurring after-dark festival of light and music — and include several notably restored historic buildings in the city’s vibrant downtown.

RISD’s neighborhood offers a variety of restaurants, cafés, shops, bookstores and art cinemas. If you like music and theater, you can enjoy great performances at popular local venues, including the nationally acclaimed Trinity Repertory Company and the Providence Performing Arts Center. Local restaurants range from ethnically rich neighborhood eateries to world-renowned, five-star dining establishments. All of these options are within walking distance of the college.

While Rhode Island is only 48 miles long and 37 miles wide, it is blessed with almost 500 miles of enchanting coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay. Rhode Island is also convenient to such popular summer destinations as Newport, Block Island, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, which makes it an ideal jumping-off point for family vacations, or a perfect vacation destination in itself. Traversable in little more than an hour, the state offers both a welcome retreat from the bustle of Boston and New York, and easy access to these cities by road, rail, bus and airplane. In short, it’s a great place to be — especially in the summer.

Student work in all credit-bearing courses is evaluated through letter grades from the faculty. (Grades of "Incomplete" are not allowed.) Grades are mailed approximately four to six weeks after the semester ends, but they are withheld if the student owes fees to any RISD department (such as the library). Please be sure to settle accounts promptly. Transcripts are not available until grades are sent out. Grades are mailed to the address on the registration form. Please update the mailing address if it is changed over the summer.

grade review + change
For guidelines regarding requests for an academic grade review, please contact RISD/CE at 401 454-6200. Please note that grades are subject to revision by the instructor, with the approval of the Associate Director, Enrollment + Operations, through November 18, 2016. After that time, all grades become a permanent part of the academic record and cannot be changed.

acceptance + transfer of credits
Rhode Island School of Design Division of Continuing Education (CE) offers credit-bearing courses in the summer session only. While the credit offered by CE is distinct from credit courses offered in RISD degree programs, CE is in compliance with all relevant NASAD guidelines concerning the number of required contact hours mandated for credit courses.

  • Students from institutions other than RISD: Students who are not RISD matriculated students may transfer the credit earned from CE Summer Studies courses to their home institution by requesting an official transcript. It is at the descretion of the home institution to make decisions about what credits it will accept.
  • RISD Matriculated Students: RISD/CE credit is treated as transfer credit by RISD's undergraduate degree programs. Although the course is recorded in the student's transcript, the grade is not; nor is the grade counted in the calculation of the student's GPA. Different policies apply regarding the transferring of RISD/CE credit to RISD degree programs, depending on whether the student is an undergraduate or a graduate student, and on whether the course is a studio course or a liberal arts course, as follows:
  • RISD Undergraduate Students: RISD undergraduates are not permitted to transfer more than 12 credit hours towards their degree from outside of the RISD degree program, including those from the RISD/CE Summer Programs. Those students interested in taking a CE Summer Studies, SIGDS, Textiles Summer Institute, or Global Summer Programs course must obtain approval from their Department Head or major advisor before enrolling in one of these courses for non-major elective credit, making sure to get the appropriate signature on the Summer Undergraduate Credit Pre-Approval form, available in the RISD Registrar's Office and the Continuing Education Office at 345 South Main Street. This form must be submitted to the RISD Registrar's Office. Summer Studies transcripts for RISD undergraduates are automatically sent to the Registrar's Office after grades have been processed.
  • RISD Graduate Students: Transfer credits from outside the RISD Graduate Degree Programs -- including RISD/CE Summer Programs courses -- are not ordinarily accepted by RISD.  Check with your Graduate Program Director or Department Head for more information.

transcripts for non-RISD students
Transcripts must be requested in writing. For a transcript of your coursework, send $5 per transcript requested (pay by check, money order or credit card; cash payments are not accepted for this service). Students may download the Continuing Education Transcript Request Form or write a letter including the following information: name at the time of enrollment, course title(s), year attended and telephone number, as well as the contact name, address (including department) and zip code where the transcript is to be sent. If paying by credit card, please include card number, expiration date, CVV number and cardholder name, plus house number and zip code of the billing address.

Mail requests to:
RISD Continuing Education
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903-2787
or fax to 401-454-6218

Allow two to three weeks for processing. If you must meet a specific deadline, state it in your letter of request. Transcripts are not mailed without full payment and the complete address of the recipient, nor are transcripts processed until grades are sent out (approximately four to six weeks after the program ends).

RISD offers two housing styles and options for use during the summer. Each option requires participation in a RISD dining plan. There are two categories of Summer Programs accommodation to choose from to meet each individual’s needs:

1) Shared Lofts, where two to three people share a common living/sleeping room with an adjacent bathroom, are the most economical choice.

2) Private Lofts cater to more independent living and offer a self-contained, private apartment with sleeping/living area, private bathroom and private kitchen.

Loft residents may choose from two dining options but, because we do not equip loft kitchens with cooking/dining supplies, we require a minimum of a five-meal block plan per week (see "Dining" below).

All accommodations provide:

  • bed and mattress (extra-long 80-inch twin in shared and single rooms; full size in private apartments)
  • desk and chair
  • bureau
  • closet or wardrobe

Residents must provide:

  • linens
  • blankets
  • mattress covers
  • towels
  • pillows
  • lamp
  • fan
  • other electronic or computer equipment

The lofts offer laundry facilities, or you may contract for a professional linen and laundry service at additional cost; information on the latter is distributed via email by the Residence Life Office in May and at Check-In. Please note: We do not permit smoking in any building on the RISD campus. Also, pets are not permitted in any RISD residential facility. All lofts are air-conditioned.

All lofts offer wired network access and most include wireless access via guest privileges. Additionally, summer students may utilize RISD's computer labs, library and publicly accessible stations for their computing needs.

We grant housing requests based on availability. Shared lofts are single sex. All buildings and floors are mixed gender. Special requests to accommodate medical or psychological needs require additional information. The medical accommodation form and all other information regarding housing and residence life at RISD will be sent via email by the Residence Life Office in May. We will provide move-in instructions and your specific room assignment via email at least one week prior to your arrival.

The Metcalf Dining Center, known as “The Met,” is centrally located in the Residence Life Quad. The Met features a sandwich station, salad and pasta bars, vegetarian/vegan, traditional entrees and a Wood Stone pizza oven. The Portfolio Café, located in the lobby of 15 West (the Mandle Building), serves continental breakfast Monday through Friday.

The RISD Dining Services staff is sensitive to the dietary needs and preferences of its student body, representing cultures and religious traditions from around the world. If you have further questions about meal plans, contact Dining Services at (401) 454-6642. For questions about special dietary needs, please call (401) 454-6362.

meal plans
Students living in shared or private lofts must purchase a minimum of one 5-meal block per week ($49 per week) but may purchase as many blocks as they wish, or the full meal plan ($205 per week), to meet their needs.

Students living off campus are not required to have a meal plan, but may choose from either plan if desired.

housing + dining fees
If you plan to live on campus and are not a current RISD student, please review your choice of room below.

(subject to change)



TOTAL (per week)

Shared Loft (w/ 5-meal block plan)



$284 per week

Shared Loft (w/ full meal plan)



$440 per week

Private Loft (w/ 5-meal block plan)



$474 per week

Private Loft (w/ full meal plan)



$630 per week

To apply for the campus housing and dining options described above, complete and return the Housing and Dining Services section of the program registration form. Indicate the number of weeks you will be here and then multiply that number by the TOTAL per week from this chart. Include the nonrefundable housing deposit of $100 with your registration form. If you register after the deposit deadline of Friday, April 8, 2016 please include the total housing and dining fees amount with your registration form.

dining hall hours

The Met:
Monday-Friday:  7-9am, 11:30am-2pm, 4:30-7:30pm
Saturday + Sunday:  8am-2pm, 4:30-7:30pm

Portfolio Café:
Monday-Friday:  7-9am

(for Students in Shared or Single Rooms)
Parking for summer students may only be arranged through the Residence Life Office, which leases space at the Charles Landing Apartments, a ten-minute walk from the center of the RISD campus. Summer rates are $10 per day, $40 per week or $200 for a six-week summer program. To reserve a space, or ask questions regarding parking, contact RISD's Residence Life Office (as indicated below).

for more information
If you have questions regarding summer housing that are not covered on this website, please call RISD’s Residence Life office at 401 454-6650, Monday-Friday between 8:30am-4:30pm EST, or send an email to housing@risd.edu.

risdbucks Guest Cards
risdbucks is an optional prepaid declining balance account developed to be a convenient way for students to make purchases of products and services both on and off campus (wherever you see the risdbucks logo when making purchases). In addition to participating on- and off-campus retailers, risdbucks is the only method of payment accepted for on-campus printing (including specialty printing) and laundry. Summer students who are not current RISD degree students may purchase risdbucks guest cards in increments of $10, $20 or $50 at the RISD Store, Portfolio Café and The Met.
Use of the risdbucks guest card constitutes acceptance of the following terms: guest card is not redeemable for cash; is non-refundable; and may only be used at participating dining and retail locations and participating printers and laundry areas. Treat your card like cash; RISD is not responsible for expenses resulting from loss, theft or misuse of the card. Value can be added at the RISD Store, Portfolio Café or The Met with cash or check. For a list of participating retailers, visit the risdbucks webpage and view the “Where to use risdbucks” tab.


April 8

After this date, all tuitions and fees must be paid in full upon registration.

April 15

Deadline for non-US citizens and non-US permanent residents. This includes course registration form, Student Visa Information Form, and payment in full (tuition, housing and dining).

June 25

check-in day*

July 4

Independence Day holiday; offices closed; no classes held

July 7

Summer Faculty Exhibition opening, 5-7pm

August 6

check-out day (by 12pm)*

*Check-in for courses beginning Monday, June 27, 2016. Courses beginning after June 27 will have different check-in and/or check-out days.


Access to RISD is easy to arrange by car, bus, air or train. The Amtrak train station is within walking distance, though taxi service is recommended for students with heavy luggage. T.F. Green Airport is 12 miles south of Providence in Warwick, providing direct flights to most major cities. T.F. Green airport vans are available to downtown Providence and the RISD campus for a nominal fee. International students traveling to RISD by plane are advised to also check flights into Boston's Logan International Airport for more direct flights and potentially lower airfares. Logan International Airport is located a one-hour bus ride from downtown Providence. Frequent buses run directly from Logan International Airport to downtown Providence.

Driving Directions:
From Interstate 95 North or South, take Exit 22A, Downtown. Continue straight off the exit ramp onto Memorial Boulevard. At the fourth light, turn left onto Washington Place (which becomes Waterman Street). Consult the campus map to locate the appropriate building and parking lot.

From Interstate 195 Westbound, take Exit 2, South Main Street. Follow South Main Street for five blocks to its intersection with College Street. Consult the campus map to locate the appropriate building and parking lot.

SIGDS two-week courses are intended for students at all levels of experience, including absolute beginners. If you have any questions or concerns about the program, please feel free to contact Franz Werner at fwerner@risd.edu or 401 323-3184.

For additional information on our academic and financial policies, including withdrawals and refunds, visit the Summer Program Policies page.