Skip to Main Content
Navigated to Transfer Credit.

Transfer Credit Requirements (Undergraduate)

Transfer credit is awarded on the basis of credits earned at a regionally accredited, non-profit, college or university and is contingent upon the receipt of an official transcript. Credits are transferable only for courses in which a grade of “C” or better is earned. “P” in a pass/fail system, or other such notations, are interpreted as “C” or better. RISD does not accept credit for life experience, workforce, or military training. RISD does accept prior learning assessments (a maximum of 9 credits) for some Advanced Placement (AP) scores of 4 or 5 sent by the College Board; Advanced Level (A-Level) subject qualification with a grade of “C” or better; or International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level (HL) grades of 5, 6 and 7. Credit is not awarded for College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dante's Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), or workshops or programs approved by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Credits for transfer courses will be adjusted to match the credit system in effect at the Rhode Island School of Design. Credits from schools on the quarter system (rather than the semester system) will be converted as 5 quarter credits equal to 3-semester credits. Grades from transferred courses are not recorded on a student’s RISD transcript nor are they included in the calculation of the RISD GPA. Instead, like all other transfer credit, a grade of “T”, for transfer credit, is assigned. Credits earned at institutions outside the United States are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all factors deemed necessary, including appropriate national recognition of institutional quality.

The Registrar’s Office must receive official transcripts from each school attended.  Credits are transferable only from the institution where the credit was earned. Transfer credits must be approved for transfer by the student’s Department Head (for major courses or non-major studio electives) or by the Dean of Liberal Arts (for liberal arts courses). For studio credit, the course must also be considered equivalent in subject matter to professional/non-major electives offered or approved by the Rhode Island School of Design. The Registrar's office works with the departments evaluating credit to apply the transfer credit as appropriate.

The College’s policy on the transferability of credits after ten years allows such credits to be accepted by the College provided that: A) the institution from which credits are to be transferred was regionally accredited at the time the credits were earned, and B) the credit transfer is approved by the appropriate Rhode Island School of Design Department Head (for studio courses) or the Dean of Liberal Arts (for liberal arts courses).

Transfer Credit for Transfer Students

Prior college transcripts for transfer students are automatically reviewed for transferable credit in Foundation Studies and Liberal Arts. Transfer students desiring transfer credit in their major or in non-major studio electives must request consideration from their department head during the first semester of their entering year. Transfer credits are only evaluated for transferability towards RISD degree requirements.  Transfer credits are not added to a student’s RISD record if the credit is not applicable to a RISD degree requirement.  Students may transfer in as many credits as applicable to their RISD degree requirements from coursework taken elsewhere prior to RISD matriculation.

Transfer Credit Limitations after Initial Enrollment

After initial enrollment at RISD, undergraduates may only transfer in up to 12-semester credits from another accredited institution once matriculated. Students are eligible to take course credits during the summer or while on a leave of absence from the institution. Non-major studio electives and liberal arts courses intended for transfer back to RISD must be approved by the student’s Department Head (studios) or the Dean of Liberal Arts, respectively, before the course is taken. Students who take summer classes or take a leave from RISD and attend another college should keep this credit limitation in mind as they formulate their educational plans. RISD students attending RISD Global Exchange programs are considered enrolled at RISD and this 12-credit limitation does not apply to their semester at the exchange partner school.

Transfer Credit Requirements (Graduate)

At the graduate level, credits earned at other regionally accredited colleges or universities prior to enrollment at RISD are accepted only in the Departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Architecture, and within those departments, the credit may be applied only in limited circumstances as determined by the department.  Normally, a maximum of twelve credits may be transferred for these departments. The credit must be approved for transfer by the student’s Department Head, and the Division Dean, and a grade of “B” or better is required.

RISD may accept up to 12 credits earned toward fulfillment of MLA elective courses for MLA students concurrently enrolled in any of the relevant URI MMA required courses as outlined in the RISD|URI articulation agreement. No more than 3 credits may be transferred in any given semester of the relevant student's MLA program. MLA students must maintain full-time status while enrolled at RISD

In all other graduate-level programs, credit may not be transferred in, whether the course(s) was taken prior to enrollment at RISD or after. In certain circumstances, a student’s Department Head (or Graduate Program Director) and Division Dean may grant an exception to this policy, provided the exception is approved by the Provost, but usually no more than six credits may be transferred. Credit is never awarded based on portfolio reviews.

Grades from transferred courses are not recorded on a student’s RISD transcript nor are they included in the calculation of the RISD GPA. Residency requirements for the degree are not reduced on the basis of transferred credit.