Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

Wintersession Travel Courses have limited capacity, as the maximum enrollment per course is 12 – 14 students. The application and selection process is highly competitive.

Mexico: Color, Mestizaje & Design Futures
Oaxaca, Mexico 2020
Morocco: Crafting the City
Fez, Morocco 2018

How to Apply

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

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

Am I eligible?

If you are a RISD or Brown University student with a GPA of 2.5 and up, you are eligible to apply. Permission of the instructor is required and is based upon application and selection.

Unless otherwise noted on the course page, all Wintersession Travel Courses are open to students in any year of study. Please check the course pages on this website carefully to learn about any restrictions specific to your chosen travel course. In all cases, RISD first-year students enrolled in Experimental & Foundation Studies must provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications. Brown University students please note: priority in the application selection process will be given to RISD students.

GPA Requirement: Exception to Academic Policy

RISD students seeking an exception to the GPA requirement academic policy should follow the instructions set by the Registrars’ Office.

Step 1: Research

Prior to starting your application, read about each Wintersession Travel Course and attend infosessions.

**We recommend that all RISD students reach out to RISD Student Financial Services early on in the application process to ensure your account is in good standing. The time frame for travel payment is very short and extensions due to outstanding student account balances will not be possible.**

Step 2: Prepare your materials
Review the required application materials, below, and take your time to thoughtfully prepare your application. Take proactive steps to ensuring 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.

Review the portfolio pieces you plan to submit with your Advisor or another trusted faculty member or friend. Having another set of eyes on your materials can help you see your application better from an outside perspective, strengthening your application as a whole package.

Step 3: Enter the Online Application Portal
The entire application process is completed using an online application portal, linked above. You will upload and submit all required documents there.

Note: when you click on the Online Application Portal link above, you will be directed to the RISD application portal. Please login or create an account and you will be given the option to start or continue an application for Wintersession Travel Course. All RISD students should have an account from when they applied to RISD. If you don’t know your password, click “forgot password” to reset. If you are unsuccessful accessing your account, please contact Brown University students, please create a new account.

Tip: You will continue to revisit this portal often throughout your application process, and beyond your acceptance, so it’s a good idea to bookmark it for future use!

Step 4: Scholarship
If you’re a RISD student, you will notice that the application questions for the Wintersession Travel Course Scholarship Funds are included as a part of your application. Brown University students are not eligible to apply for RISD Travel Scholarship Funds.

You may also apply external (non-RISD) scholarship awards to your Wintersession Travel Course, which qualifies for any scholarship awarded for “study abroad” as well as most scholarships awarded for undergraduate study. Visit the External Scholarship page to learn more about recommended external scholarships. Begin your search now, as their deadlines may be fast approaching.

Step 5: Submit
When everything is just how you want it, you’re ready to submit!

Please Note: No travel reservations (such as flights or hotel bookings) should be purchased until you receive an official course confirmation email from RISD. Any cost incurred in such situations is the participant’s sole responsibility.

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 participated in our Wintersession Travel Courses. If you still have questions, you can schedule a 1:1 advising appointment with our Program Advisor.

The online application will require you to upload the following documents:

Statement of purpose (max 500 words). A key component of the application process, this statement should outline the following:

  • The statement should be a concise and thoughtful consideration of your goals and reasons for seeking to study off-campus. Discuss how the proposed program of study would benefit your artistic development and educational and career goals.

Please note: you may list any past travel experiences that may be applicable but this is not a requirement or consideration.

Portfolio A selection of 5 – 10 images of your work (JPEG, PDF, video files, or website links are accepted). The pieces you select should reflect your strongest, most recent major and non major-related, academic and/or personal work. Include titles and descriptive text for each portfolio piece in the appropriate spaces provided.

When do applications open?

Applications will open for all courses on September 4, 2023 at 7 PM.

Helpful tip: Between September 4 – October 1, course-specific infosessions will be led by individual Faculty.

What is the deadline to submit?

The application period is open from mid-September to early-October, prior to regular Wintersession registration. The deadline for Wintersession 2023 is October 1, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

How/When is selection done, and who makes it?

Academic application review and selection is completed by the Wintersession Travel Course faculty leading your preferred travel course. Scholarship application review and selection is completed by RISD Global and 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 and the quality of your application. Each year Wintersession Travel Course faculty receive many more applications than they can accept. Wintersession Travel Courses have limited capacity, as the maximum enrollment per course is 12–14 students. For this reason, the application and selection process is highly competitive.

Will there be a waitlist?

Typically, Wintersession Travel Courses have a formal waitlist, managed by the RISD Global, in the case that more students apply than there is space to accommodate.

Once accepted, can I defer or withdraw?

Deferral is not possible as Wintersession Travel Courses are different every academic year. Learn more – Withdrawing from a RISD Off-Campus Global Learning Program

If you are a Brown University student with a GPA of 2.5 and up, you are eligible to apply. Admission for Wintersession Travel Courses is highly selective and preference will be given to RISD students. Please read carefully through the application materials and steps above to make sure you are preparing your application to the best of your ability.

Please note, it is important to keep in mind that RISD Wintersession dates may overlap with the start of the spring semester at Brown.


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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Next Steps for Accepted Students

RISD Global will guide you through the pre-departure processes. These processes include:

Don’t have a Passport?

US Citizens can visit to apply. International Citizens, contact your local embassy or consulate to renew.

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.

Check the local embassy/consulate to see if this is required, based upon your nationality (some nationalities are exempt). You are responsible for maintaining your own legal status and applying for your visa (if applicable). Upon request, RISD Global will provide you with a registration letter in support of your visa application. Don’t delay the process of checking your travel documents for validity and applying for your visa. The visa application processing time can vary and your failure to possess valid travel documents may jeopardize your ability to participate in your Wintersession Travel Course.

Meeting days, times, and locations will be communicated to you upon 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