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 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 Guide at the time they applied. Students should refer to the Certificate Guide for the duration of their program. Students generally take approximately 2.5 to 3 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 Certificate 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 may request a leave of absence for a period of one year. To take a leave of absence, please send a written request to the Assistant Director, Advising + Registration, 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, any changes to your certificate program that were made in your absence will then apply to you.

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 RISD 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 RISD 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 P (in each Pass/No Pass course, meeting less than 18 hours) 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 semester 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 RISD CE (must be requested on form sent 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.