Adult Certificate Programs FAQs

General

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.

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.

Most certificates require 396 hours of study: 162 hours in Level I: Core and 234 hours of study in Level II: Concentration. Jewelry + Light Metals requires 324 hours of study; 162 hours in Level I: Core and 162 hours in Level II: Concentration. Students enroll in certificate courses at their own pace, but an approximate time frame for certificate completion is 2.5 to 3 years – taking courses consecutively, as suggested in the Certificate Program Guides.

No, we do not have full-time status in Continuing Education. The certificate programs are designed to be taken part-time to accommodate students with work and family responsibilities. Also, facilities are shared with RISD degree program students who use them during the day.

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

Yes. Any course over 18 hours is graded with a letter grade. Any course meeting for less than 18 hours is graded only as Pass/No Pass.

All certificates are open admission. Students interested in professional or personal growth must be 18 years or older.

Yes, adult international students are welcome to join the certificate program. However, there is no residential option and certificate students do not qualify for F-1 visa status.

Students have the option to complete their certificate 100% online. Prospective certificate students can apply by clicking the “Apply Now” button found on each of the specific Certificate Program pages. Students who take certificate courses with the intention of enrolling in a certificate program at a later date have a one-year grace period in which to apply. Students must be 18 years of age or older. No portfolio is required for admission.

Certificate Structure

All certificates begin with Level I: Core: study in the fundamental skills of drawing, design, color, digital and other technique building. This is followed by Level II: Concentration: study in specific disciplines (such as graphic design, painting, interactive design, illustration, etc.).

Core study is a requirement of every certificate – providing a sound base for subsequent learning in specific disciplines and we highly recommend students complete this level before moving on to Level II: Concentration. Completion of both levels is required to earn a certificate.

While each certificate has a slightly different set of core courses, a student is able to go into any certificate once they are complete. It is recommended that courses in the certificate be taken sequentially according to the Certificate Guides.

Prerequisites are courses that provide skills and learning outcomes necessary to progress to a higher level course. Most courses in the concentration levels have prerequisites. We strongly encourage you to abide by all listed prerequisites so that you can learn effectively and contribute to the class more productively.

All certificates have electives – courses the student is able to select independently of the requirements. You may take any course you wish to satisfy electives for your certificate program, allowing you the freedom to explore and gain new skills.

Advising

Students who wish to pursue a certificate are encouraged to enroll in a CE certificate program course. Our certificate programs are designed for adults, 18 years or older, and can be completed online, in-person or a combination of both. Certificate applications can be found on each of the specific Certificate Program pages and can be submitted at any time during the academic year. Students who take certificate courses with the intention of enrolling in a certificate program at a later date have a one-year grace period in which to apply.

While RISD CE certificate programs do not offer college credit, they prepare you for work in specific sectors or more advanced studies, and provide opportunities to create a portfolio of work in your area of interest.

In some cases, yes. Certificate students may request waivers for successful completion of a similar course taken at another institution (must include a transcript and course description), or for work experience or training (must include a job description or resume). Only Level I: Core courses may be waived. To waive courses, certificate students should submit a Certificate Program Course Waiver in their Student Portal under “My Applications,” along with the above required documentation. Students may waive up to four courses. A separate application must be submitted for each waiver requested. We will review the request and approve the waiver, if appropriate. Note: Waivers for Level II: Concentration courses are considered on an individual basis. For specific information, please see Certificate Program Policies.

Certificate students may request to substitute one certificate course for another, based on successful completion of a similar course taken at another institution (must include a transcript and course description), or for work experience or training (must include a job description or resume). To substitute courses, certificate students should submit a Course Substitution Request in their Student Portal under “My Applications,” along with the above required documentation. A separate application must be submitted for each substitution requested. There is a limit of two course substitutions allowed in any certificate program. We will review the request and approve the substitution, if appropriate. Note: Substitutions for Level II: Concentration courses are considered on an individual basis; no substitutions are allowed for Final Studio courses. For specific information, please see Certificate Program Policies.

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 Assistant Director, Academic Advising, kkelly@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, your status will become inactive and any changes to your certificate program that were made in your absence will then apply to you.

Students who do not take courses pertaining to their certificate program will be made inactive. This means that you will not receive notice of important updates to the certificate programs, messages to active certificate students, etc. Any changes to your certificate program that were made while you were inactive will then apply to you if you re-enter the program.

It is easy to be reinstated. Simply submit a new certificate program application in the Student Portal. Your Enrollment History + Transcript will be updated to reflect any changes to your program while you were inactive.

RISD CE does not offer an option to audit a course.

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.

Fees

The tuition for online courses is slightly higher than in-person courses. The average certificate program costs $7,420 to $8,570 to complete; Jewelry + Light Metals has a lower tuition of $5820 to $6280, due to fewer course requirements. Students pay per course – making the program both accessible and affordable.

Partial scholarships may be available for the fall and spring terms for students taking adult extension and young artist courses who demonstrate significant financial need. RISD CE programs do not qualify for federal or state financial aid through the FAFSA. Scholarship awards are limited and the amounts vary based on the quantity of qualified applications received. When granted, award amounts usually offset a portion of the tuition for a single course only. Applicants who have attended RISD CE courses or who have applied for scholarships in a/the previous semester(s) must be in good standing with RISD CE.

To apply, submit a Scholarship Application (available in the Student Portal during the fall and spring scholarship application windows) by the deadline specified on the RISD CE calendar. Late applications will not be processed.

Questions? Please contact the RISD CE Office at 401 454-6200 or risdce@risd.edu.

Some courses have additional special fees to cover the costs of lab facilities, teaching materials or models. These fees typically do not exceed $100 per course, and are specified in course description information. Students are responsible for purchasing their own supplies or software subscriptions. For most classes, the cost is under $100, but may be higher for specialized classes.

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.

Certificate students who plan to graduate must complete all required and elective courses in their program with a grade of C- or better; any outstanding account balance must be paid in full. Complete and submit the Petition to Graduate, which is sent to eligible certificate students in the Fall term.

Certificate students who anticipate fulfilling all requirements for graduation must submit a Petition to Graduate during the Fall semester of the academic year in which they intend to graduate. Information concerning graduation will be sent to eligible certificate students. Failure to submit a Petition by the deadline may jeopardize the student’s timely graduation. The assistant director, academic advising will review the certificate students’ transcripts and confirm their status.