Apply for Global Partnered Semester Studies

The entire application process will be completed using an online application portal. Apply the semester before you plan to attend.

The deadline for Global Partnered Semester Studies Fall 2023 has now passed.

Partner school application deadlines differ from RISD's deadlines. Both application must be submitted by their respective deadlines in order to be considered.

National Institute of Design (NID)
Ahmedabad, India 2017
Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA)
Tallinn, Estonia

How to Apply

The entire application process is completed using an online application portal. You will upload, request and submit all required documents there.

Infosessions & Advising

Prior to applying we require that you attend a 1:1 advising session with the RISD Global Program Advisor. We also recommend that you attend an information session.

You must also consult your Academic Advisor and Department Head to ensure that all required credits will be met prior to graduation. Approval from both faculty is required in order for the application to go forward.

Rolling deadlines for our Global Partners occur throughout the semester before you plan to do your semester abroad and can be found on each partner's page.

The deadline for Global Partnered Semester Studies Fall 2023 has now passed.

Am I eligible?

You can attend semester studies during the fall or spring term and you must meet the GPA requirements of the institution you are applying to.

Undergraduate students may participate during either their sophomore, junior or senior year with departmental approval. Transfer students are eligible as long as they fulfill the residency requirement for graduation – contact the Registrars’ Office at with any questions. Finally, you must remain in good standing at RISD, in terms of conduct and finances, up until and throughout your time on the program.

Follow all steps outlined below to complete a successful Global Partner Semester Studies Application!

Step 1: Research
Prior to starting your application, we recommend learning more about the program by attending an information session held on campus and scheduling a 1:1 advising session with the RISD Global Program Advisor.

Carefully research the partner schools you are interested in to make sure you find the best fit before applying. You are encouraged to select a first and second preference.

When considering different partner schools, keep the following in mind:

  • Major + Location: Check to see where you are eligible for exchange based upon your major.
  • Language: Check the language of instruction at your preferred partner school. If you don't speak the local language, check the availability of courses taught in English or another language that you speak.
  • Dates: Check the partner school's semester dates. Will you miss Wintersession? Will the semester studies period include some of your summer months? Make sure you meet with your Academic aAdvisor to make sure you are on track to get the credits you need, considering the months you will be away from RISD's campus.
  • Courses: Does the partner school allow visiting students to choose any course offered that semester or do they utilize a set course system? This will help you understand if your course load at the partner school can satisfy your RISD credit requirements.

Step 2: Advisor/Department Head Approval
You will be asked to request your Academic Advisor and Department Head’s approval through the online application portal, but it’s best to meet beforehand in person to discuss your intention to join the program and how your Exchange credits will complement your overall academic plan. Your Academic Advisor and Department Head can also assist you in deciding which semester is best for students from your department to attend an off-campus semester abroad.

RISD students attending a RISD Global Partnered program are considered enrolled at RISD and credits taken abroad do not count towards the 12 credit transfer limitation for regular transfer of credits from institutions outside RISD. Learn more – RISD Transfer Credit Policy

Step 3: Begin your online application to RISD Global and to your partner school

Applications are always submitted the semester before you plan to attend. Once you’re sure going abroad during the upcoming semester is right for you, read through the Application Materials list below, then open your online application on the Online Application Portal. In the portal you will find all required materials listed with instructions on how to submit each one. Carefully review all instructions before submitting, so you can ensure that your application will satisfy all requirements.

Global Partnered Semester Studies applicants may submit their application materials to the partner school, per their instructions. Typically these materials are the same materials required by RISD Global and require little, if any, tweaking before resubmission.

Please note, there are two parts to the application process: RISD Global Application + partner school Application. You must be accepted by both to participate in RISD's Global Partnered Semester Studies. It is your sole responsibility to submit your application materials to the partner school.

Applicants without both approvals will not be admitted to Global Partnered Semester Studies.

Step 4: Request Recommendations + Approvals
As soon as you open your application you should visit the References section and submit your requests for your Faculty Recommendation and Academic Advisor and Department Head approvals. Your faculty, Academic Advisor, and Department Head need time to submit their approval/recommendation through the portal, so by completing this step right away, you’re ensuring they have as much time as possible to submit before the deadline. Don’t leave this step until the last minute! Don’t even leave it until the last week.

Because application deadlines are different for each school, you should send your faculty recommenders, Academic Advisor, and Department Head a quick message giving them a heads up on your deadline to submit.

Step 5: Upload all materials and submit

Once your recommendations and approvals are requested, take your time to thoughtfully prepare the rest of your application materials, outlined below. Take proactive steps to ensure your materials are as strong as possible.

We recommend you visit the Center for Arts + Language to review your written materials with a peer tutor. They offer peer tutoring for all kinds of writing at any stage of the process including brainstorming ideas, outlining, drafting, restructuring, and practicing error correction. RISD Careers offers tips and examples for resume writing on their website.

When everything is ready, submit! You will receive updates from RISD Global by email on the status of your application and the review process.

Step 6: Scholarship

The application questions for the Global Travel Scholarship Funds are included as a part of your application. If you choose to answer these questions your application will be considered and your award decision will be included in your nomination decision letter.

You may also apply external (non-RISD) scholarship awards to your time on Global Exchange - this program qualifies for any scholarship awarded for “study abroad” as well as most scholarships awarded for undergraduate study, as you continue to pay your regular tuition to RISD. Visit the Scholarship page to learn more about recommended external scholarships. Begin your search now, as their deadlines may be fast approaching.

How do I get help preparing my application?

RISD Global holds several application prep sessions, check our events page for dates and times. You can also schedule a 1:1 advising session with RISD Global – we are happy to help! The Center for Arts and Language is also a great resource for help with your statement of purpose. You might also ask a trusted advisor or faculty to review your materials.

Are there students I can talk with about their experiences?

Throughout the pages on this website you’ll find quotes and testimonials from RISD students who have done Exchange. We also host infosessions and in-person/virtual events (such as student panels, Instagram live Q&A, etc.) that feature program alumni voices. You are also more than welcome to schedule a 1:1 advising appointment with our Global Learning Advisor who can connect you with returned exchange alumni who have agreed to share their experiences.

You will first submit all of your application materials, listed below, to RISD Global through our Online Application Portal:

Statement of purpose (max 500 words) This written statement prepared as if submitting to the partner school should be a concise and thoughtful discussion of how the proposed program of study at the partner school would benefit your artistic development and educational/career goals. Your essay should be tailored to your chosen partner school, just like an admissions essay, and should address the following:

  • Why you are a strong candidate for the Global Partnered Semester at their institution, based upon your academic performance, approach to art/design, and interest in the local cultural context
  • How you imagine your participation in the Global Partnered Semester will benefit your classmates and partner institution
  • Your interest in working within the cultural and historical/contemporary context of your destination city
  • Your ability to succeed within new and flexible studio environments, with site-specific resources

Approval from Department Head + Academic Advisor (requested and sent through Reference section). If your Department Head and Academic Advisor are the same person, both approvals will be sent as one.

One Faculty Letter of Recommendation (requested and sent through Reference section). Must be provided by a RISD faculty member who has instructed you within the last calendar year.

Unofficial Transcript PDF downloaded from Student Planning.

What is the deadline to submit?

Application deadlines are rolling throughout the Fall and Spring for our partner schools. On the page for each Global Partner School you will find their specific deadlines. April 14, 2023 is the deadline for the Fall 2023 Global Partnered Semester Studies due to RISD Global. Once your application is complete and deemed eligible, RISD Global admit you to the Global Partnered Semester Studies program pending your partner school's decision.

Please note, there are two parts to the application process: RISD Global Application + partner school Application. You must be accepted by both to participate in RISD's Global Partnered Semester Studies. It is your sole responsibility to submit your application materials to the partner school.

Applicants without both approvals will not be admitted to Global Partnered Semester Studies.

How is selection done, and who makes it?

RISD Global will review your application and ensure it is approved by your academic department.

Scholarship application review and selection is completed by Student Financial Services, and is kept completely separate from the academic review and selection process.

How many students apply? How many get in?

Selection is based on space available at your chosen partner school and the quality of your application.

If I’m rejected and I want to reapply, do I have to complete a new application?

If the deadline has passed or you do not have a second choice and would like to apply again for the following semester, you will have to complete a new application.

Once accepted, can I defer or withdraw?

Deferral is not possible through RISD, but you may reapply with the following semester if you are unable to confirm your acceptance. Read the “Withdrawing from a RISD Off-Campus Global Learning Program” policy to learn more about withdrawal after your acceptance.

Please note, deferring your partner school's acceptance will depend on their institutional policies. It is your sole responsibility to communicate with your partner school if you wish to defer your acceptance.

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

Schedule an Appointment

Next Steps for Accepted Students

Once you confirm your acceptance of a Global Partnered Semester Studies, RISD Global will guide you through the pre-departure processes. These processes include:

Don’t have a Passport?

US Citizens can visit to apply.

Passport expired or will expire shortly?
Begin the renewal process immediately! US Citizens can visit to renew. International Citizens, contact your local embassy or consulate to renew.

Don’t delay the process of checking your travel documents for validity. The visa application process is time consuming and has a very tight turnaround following your acceptance. Your failure to possess valid travel documents may jeopardize your ability to participate in a Global Partnered Semester.

It is important to begin the process of obtaining a visa as soon as you have confirmed your participation in a Global Partnered Semester Studies as it may take in excess of 4-8 weeks to obtain all of the proper documentation for a student visa.

Costs of visas vary from country to country, so please check with your partner school or the embassy/consulate for specific details. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to secure the correct visa in time for your program start date. Your partner school should give you instructions and documentation for the appropriate visa for which to apply. RISD Global can offer general guidance on this process.

Before you leave and upon your arrival, you will work with your RISD department to approve the courses you want to take for transfer. All studio courses need pre-approval from your Department Head and Academic Advisor. All Liberal Arts courses will need pre-approval from the Dean of Liberal Arts. RISD Global and the RISD Registrar’s Office can assist you in determining the type of credit offered at your partner institution and its equivalency to RISD credits.

Once you return home, your credit will be transferred to your RISD transcript. Your exchange credits will transfer as pass/fail and will not affect your RISD GPA.

You are responsible for checking the portal frequently and completing these tasks in a timely manner once accepted to a Global Partnered Semester Studies.


Increasing financial aid is a central pillar of RISD’s equity, inclusion and diversity commitment. Through partnership with other campus offices, we are working to provide greater support and access to students interested in pursuing global learning experiences at RISD.

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