Wintersession Term

The central purpose of the Wintersession program is to enrich the educational experience of RISD students and faculty by providing a period that offers opportunities which may not be available in a regular semester. Most courses are available to students without restriction and regardless of major, prior knowledge, or experience. Courses with restrictions are so indicated in the description of the course.

Enrollment Requirements: Every degree program student is required to enroll in at least one Wintersession course during the Wintersession period in order to retain full-time student status at RISD and to remain in good academic standing.


1. Brown/RISD Dual Degree students are exempt from Wintersession after their sophomore year, although encouraged to take a class if their Brown schedule permits.

2. Independent Study, Collaborative Study and Internship each count as a course for purposes of this requirement.

3. Students in EHP for Spring do not take a course in Wintersession because they are in Rome.

4. Students in EHP for Fall have the option to return for a Wintersession course.

In a very few situations, two courses are listed as “concurrent”, that is, they are taught as co-requisites, and enrollment in both is required at the time of registration. No more than six credits are permitted during Wintersession. Catalog descriptions will indicate these courses.

Registering For a Second Course

Enrollment in a second class is dependent upon course availability, and registration in two courses is not guaranteed.  The registration system is set up to give all students an opportunity to select one class before any student has an opportunity to select a second class. Enrollment in Wintersession is limited to no more than six credits.

Class Meeting Times for On-Campus Courses

Classes this Wintersession are generally five weeks in length. In order to have 12 class meetings for the term, three credit classes will meet twice a week during some weeks and three times a week during others. There are a few six credit studios which will meet more than that as will any intensive three week class (if any are offered this year), in which case the contact hours are doubled, and classes meet Monday through Friday or as listed on WebAdvisor or Student Planning.  See Wintersession Calendar, a visual display of meeting days.

SCHEDULE A: Every week on Monday and Tuesday, except for the Monday holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr when classes are not in session due. In addition, the “A” schedule meets on 3 Wednesdays for a total of 12 class sessions.

SCHEDULE B: Every week on Thursday and Friday. In addition, the “B” schedule meets on 2 Wednesdays for a total of 12 class sessions.

SCHEDULE AA: (Alternative to A) This is an alternative to Schedule A in order to provide at least one day off between most class meetings. Every week on Monday and Thursday. In addition, this schedule meets on 3 Wednesdays for a total of 12 class sessions.

SCHEDULE BB: (Alternative to B) This is an alternative to Schedule B in order to provide at least one day off between most class meetings. Every week on Tuesday and Friday. In addition, this schedule meets on 2 Wednesdays for a total of 12 class sessions.

If the class meeting time does not appear on Student Planning by November 1, check with the department offering the course. Dates and times for off-campus study courses (that is, travel courses) are listed for the days the course is held on RISD’s campus. Dates and times for the travel portion of the class are provided by the instructor or department offering the course.

Costs:  Wintersession tuition for full-time students is included in the tuition for Fall and/or Spring terms.

In addition, some courses require the purchase of materials. Estimates of material costs are provided if they have been submitted by the department. Material costs are out-of-pocket expenses and are not billed by the College.

Off-campus study courses have costs beyond tuition associated with travel, lodging and perhaps materials. The latest information on travel costs will be found in the course description on Student Planning or from the faculty offering the course.

Brown University students who are given permission to cross-register for the Wintersession are not charged tuition but must pay any course fees at the time of registration.

Special Students (non-degree) are charged tuition on a per-credit basis and are also responsible for course fees.  Payment is due at the time of registration which can be no sooner than the first day of class.

Note: Freshmen are not eligible for ISP/CSP or internships, and are restricted to only certain travel courses.

Wintersession Course Options:

Wintersession courses on campus: Students are free to request any course for which they are eligible. Most courses do not require any special prior approval or prerequisites. In some departments, students may be required to enroll in specific Wintersession courses. These special curriculum requirements are listed in the Course Announcement, and available from your department.

Wintersession courses off campus:

RISD offers a variety of off-campus study courses (also known as travel courses) which involve travel to locations worldwide. Courses are developed by individual faculty who create itineraries, program costs, schedules and so on. Off-campus study courses usually require the instructor’s permission prior to enrollment and registration takes place in mid to late October, prior to the regular registration for on campus Wintersession courses. Payment in full is due for travel courses at the time of enrollment. Wintersession off-campus study classes are expected to span the full Wintersession period (5 weeks) and usually include an on-campus period of study, either prior to travel, after travel, or both.

Travel courses and other relevant information are posted on the web site of the RISD Global  and are also listed on Student Planning.

Independent Study Projects (ISP): ISPs are described elsewhere on this website and in the course catalog. Enrollment requires an overall 3.00 GPA, a faculty tutor, and approval of the student’s and the tutor’s Department Head and  Division Dean, using the form available from the Registrar.  For Liberal Arts ISP information, please see the Checklist and Samples for Liberal Arts Independent Studies.

Internship: Enrollment in a three credit internship (or in a select few departments, a six credit internship) requires approval of the student’s Department Head and Division Dean, using the Art Works electronic registration available here.   The amount of course credit is linked to the content of the internship and number of hours on the job, e.g. full-time for six weeks is necessary for up to six credits, but may not, on its own, be sufficient to warrant six credits. Grading is Pass/Fail only.

Wintersession Internships:

Internship programs are rigorous.  Usually, the department identifies sponsors, matches student’s capabilities and aims with the sponsor’s requirements and opportunities, checks to see that the student is getting the experience expected, and gets proper evaluation from both sponsor and the student at the end of the Wintersession internship.  The six credit internship allowed in select departments should offer the student greater range or depth of experience than a three credit internship. Undergraduates are eligible for a Wintersession internship once they have successfully completed their freshman year.

Only six internship credits may be counted toward BFA credit requirements. Graduate students may take a maximum of three internship credits toward their graduate degree, except where departmental requirements require more.

Forms for evaluating the student’s work should be sent to the sponsor and shown to the student in advance of the actual internship period so that student and sponsor will know what the educational expectations are for the internship.

Students should submit a final report about their internship which includes an evaluation of the education gained from working with a particular sponsor. That evaluation should be submitted to their department head to aid faculty and students for planning future internships.