Global Arts and Cultures

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Application deadlines

The graduate application deadline is January 5.

Applicants interested in financial aid should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Application requirements

Academic transcripts

Initially you need to provide unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate study indicating satisfactory completion, or evidence of anticipated completion, of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited college or university. You can upload your unofficial transcripts via the RISD Applicant Portal. If your academic credentials are prepared in a language other than English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator before submitting. Enrolling students will be required to submit official transcripts later.

Statement of purpose

Applicants to the master’s program in Global Arts and Cultures must submit an academic statement of purpose. Since the object of your statement is to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee as a thinker, scholar and writer, you should address in detail your intellectual interests and proposed topic(s) of graduate study. Be as specific as possible in describing your prior college-level experience in areas encompassed by Global Arts and Cultures, indicating how this work has contributed to your professional and personal goals in pursuing a master’s degree. Your statement should also reflect your understanding of the contours and demands of graduate study in Global Arts and Cultures at RISD.

Writing sample

Applicants to the master’s program in Global Arts and Cultures are required to submit a writing sample. This writing sample should represent your strongest critical and/or analytical writing on a topic clearly related to Global Arts and Cultures.

Please indicate if your writing sample is excerpted from a longer work. If it is, please make sure it forms a coherent argument and is framed such that the Admissions Committee understands its function as part of a longer work.

Letters of recommendation

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. These letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your academic achievements and can comment on your potential for graduate study. You may invite your recommenders to upload their letters through your Applicant Portal. If the people writing letters of recommendation are unable to submit using this method, their letters may be emailed to or mailed to the Graduate Admissions Office, Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903 USA.

Graduate Record Examination

Results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are optional.

English as a second language

All applicants who speak English as a second language (including US citizens) must submit results from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or Duolingo (an online English test).

Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on either test. RISD requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL, 6.5 on IELTS or 115 on Duolingo. The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who are enrolled in an institution where English is the language of instruction.

Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take three weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD by the test agency. For Duolingo, it may take up to four days before RISD receives test results.


To be eligible for admission for the coming academic year, you must complete your undergraduate bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university prior to enrollment.

Who should apply

GAC is ideal for driven and inquisitive students with backgrounds in the liberal arts or in art and design fields, and who have a strong interest in critical contemporary issues and interdisciplinary research. An emphasis on self-directed research will inspire agile thinkers who want to further understand the complexity of the arts and cultural production on a global and historical scale. Individuals with professional backgrounds in related fields will also benefit from the rigorous intellectual grounding offered through the program.

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(Based on 2022–23 degree program costs)

Tuition and fees

Annual tuition: $56,435
Student activity fee: $270
Orientation fee: $200

Financing your education

We consider all admitted graduate students for fellowships and assistantships. There is no additional application process for consideration.

You can find detailed financial assistance information at, including overviews of RISD fellowships and assistantships.

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident, you may also apply for federal student loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you have further questions about financial aid, we encourage you to contact Student Financial Services.