Adult Certificate Programs Policies

Becoming a Certificate Student

Prospective certificate students may apply by submitting a completed Certificate Application to the Continuing Education (CE) Office at any time during the academic year. Students who wish to pursue a certificate must first enroll in a CE certificate program course. 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 possess a high school diploma or the equivalent in order to pursue a certificate.

Schedule for Certificate Programs

The Certificate Program Curriculum Guide for each program lists the courses required to earn a certificate. Certificate students must enroll in two courses per academic year, and follow the program requirements stated in the Certificate Program Curriculum Guide at the time they applied. Students should refer to the curriculum guide for the duration of their program. Students generally take approximately two years to complete a certificate. The pace is determined by the individual student’s needs and schedule, as well as course schedules and availability. Please note that most courses include homework assignments requiring significant time commitments. The course sequence shown on the curriculum guides is recommended; however, it may not always be possible to follow these exactly. Students may register for other relevant courses, provided prerequisites for those courses have been met. Note: All courses, prerequisites and schedules are subject to change without notice.

Leave of Absence

Certificate students unable to enroll in two courses per academic year may request a formal leave of absence, valid for one year. Written notification and an explanation of circumstances must be sent to the Associate Director for CE Enrollment + Operations. If written notice is not on file, the student is classified as inactive if no courses were taken for one year. Students taking a leave of absence for longer than one year, as well as inactive students, are subject to curriculum requirements as stated in the Certificate Program Curriculum Guide at the time of re-enrollment in the program.

Waiving Courses

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 Core level courses may be waived. To waive courses, certificate students should complete a Course Waiver/Substitution Form and submit it to the CE Office along with the above required documentation. Students may waive up to four courses. A separate form must be submitted for each waiver requested. We will review the request and grant a waiver if appropriate. Note: Concentration level courses cannot be waived.

Substituting Courses

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 complete a Course Waiver/Substitution Form and submit it to the CE Office, along with the above required documentation. A separate form must be submitted for each substitution requested. There is a limit of two course substitutions allowed in any certificate program. Note: Substitutions for Concentration level courses are considered on an individual basis; no substitutions are allowed for Final Studio courses.

Academic Requirements

To graduate, certificate students must complete all program requirements within six academic years, achieving a grade of C- or better (in each graded course) or Pass (in each Pass/Fail course) in order to maintain their certificate status. Certificate students who fail to achieve these grades must supplement or repeat courses to fulfill program requirements.

Petition to Graduate

Certificate students who anticipate fulfilling all requirements for graduation must submit a Petition to Graduate to CE during the Fall registration period of the academic year in which they intend to graduate. Information concerning graduation will be emailed to eligible certificate students. Failure to submit a Petition during these months may jeopardize the student’s timely graduation. The Assistant Director for Advising + Registration will review the certificate students’ transcripts and confirm their status.

Certificate Graduate Benefits

RISD|CE certificate graduates will receive the following benefits after graduation from certificate programs:

  • ID card issued by Continuing Education after graduation
  • Access to the RISD Library and borrowing privileges (in person only); membership fee is required.
  • Free admission to the RISD Museum
  • 10% discount at RISD Works, the RISD stores and CE non-credit Extension course tuition
  • Access to RISD Portfolios to post their portfolios online
  • Access to RISD Career Center programs (some may have a fee)

Note: Benefits are not transferable. RISD|CE certificate graduates are not eligible for RISD email, not eligible to participate in the art sale, and cannot sell at RISDWorks.

General Policies
Academic Policies
Financial Policies
Course Changes, Cancellations + Class Postponements
Inclement Weather + Storm Closing Procedures