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Liberal Arts master's programs at RISD

Two dynamic MA programs at Rhode Island School of Design challenge incoming students to make engaged interventions in the fields of Global Arts and Cultures and Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies. Emphasizing theoretical grounding, deep inquiry and self-directed research, these programs equip graduates to become hybrid thinkers who will bring critical perspectives to urgent issues in the humanities and social sciences.

Scholars in both of these 1.5-year liberal arts programs engage in intense, ongoing conversation and cross-disciplinary study in the context of a community of artists and designers. Working closely with one another and with mentors in multiple fields in the humanities and social sciences, they develop reciprocal frameworks for extending research and proposing vital new ideas.

Students also benefit from the interdisciplinary, highly collaborative nature of RISD’s approach to liberal arts, which sits alongside 19 art and design-based graduate programs.

Global Arts and Cultures

Develop a critical understanding of the power of the arts and the significance of cultural production in an increasingly globalized world.

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Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies

The Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies program is currently paused. It will relaunch in fall 2025.

Engage deeply with complex socioecological issues at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences and art and design.

Program overview