Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (or “RIZ-dee” for the acronym RISD) is one of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the U.S. Each year approximately 2,300 students from around the world pursue a creative, studio-based education at RISD, which offers rigorous bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 16 areas including architecture, design, fine arts and art education majors.

The Division of Continuing Education offers year-round part-time courses, workshops, institutes and lectures to more than 4,000 individual students per year. RISD|CE classes explore content across the art and design field and are taught by instructors with a variety of backgrounds; many are RISD alumni or graduate students, and most others include practicing professionals, renowned local artists and art educators – all with significant expertise in their field.


Our students have the opportunity to study with top art and design professors. RISD|CE classes help international students develop the skills they need to succeed at a top American design school.


A strong portfolio is a necessity to gain admission to a top art or design school. While studying with RIA-ELI and RISD|CE students can build a high quality portfolio that can be used to apply to top art schools and can serve as the foundation for future work.


Interactive learning experiences allow students to integrate their English language skills into real world design situations. Students also have the opportunity to learn and practice specialized vocabulary and language skills unique to art & design and expected by American universities.


Unlike a traditional classroom, RISD|CE uses a studio teaching style. This approach to learning is interactive, encouraging students to collaborate through group projects. The focus on discussion and self-expression helps international students practice their language with native English speaking students and understand the unique expectations of American art schools.


The strong personal relationships between our expert staff members and students is what sets our program apart from others. The RIA-ELI faculty provide personal mentorship and guidance that help students master language proficiency and develop as strong artists and designers.


The rigorous academic schedule at RIA-ELI ensures consistent improvement in language proficiency. Our program includes 20 hours of required ESL classes per week and is accredited by The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).

All classes are designed to incorporate diverse teaching practices: direct, differentiated, and scaffolded instruction, as well as independent-online, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning. In ESL classes, students will write and peer-edit essays; conduct research for group projects, debates, and written reports; write and record short movies; analyze and design resumes and portfolios; and advertise and interview for jobs.