Academics at RISD are based on a number of variables, two being what major you choose and whether you decide to “concentrate” in a liberal-arts field. The differences in majors have to do with departmental budgets and resources, individual faculty members, and overall departmental philosophy. Each major has a different number of required major credits, with some allowing students to take more classes outside their major and others almost taking up a student’s entire studio course load. Regardless of major, studio classes are almost always challenging and enriching, and they demand all of a student’s resources to complete them successfully.
The faculty is the driving force behind RISD’s strenuous and exciting classes. It is safe to say that while there may be the odd professor that does not meet what the high-standard students expect from their faculty, professors at RISD are professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated to their students and their field. When it comes to liberal arts, students may “concentrate,” which is similar to having a minor, in English, art history, or HPSS (history, philosophy,and social science). These concentrators, which put more effort into their liberal-arts experience, tend to produce students who come away more satisfied with their classes because their academic study interacts more with their studio study, bringing it to a higher level. While it’s true that some liberal-arts courses may not be as rigorous, nearly all seminar courses, among others, are just as challenging as an equivalent class at almost any liberal arts university.