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RISD for graphic design vs. Washington U. visual communications

EarlyRiserEarlyRiser Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
D was accepted to both schools and just finished visiting WUSTL. She loved the WUSTL visual communication design program, the facilities and faculty, as well as the extremely bright students. She has not done the accepted student's day at RISD yet.

Can someone compare the two programs for us?
Post edited by EarlyRiser on

Replies to: RISD for graphic design vs. Washington U. visual communications

  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,561Registered User Senior Member
    WUSTL, at least two years ago, had two years of foundation and two years of visual communicaition. RISD has one year of foundation.

    RISD also has a minimester each year where you can take courses outside your major.

    Moreover, RISD is much more well known for art and design than Wash U.Note: I think Wash U has a great program,but it isn't as well known as that of RISD.


    A real possible plus for Wash U is that you will meet a LOT of smart kids outside of art majors. In addition, all of your liberal arts will probably be a bit stronger than that presented by RISD.
  • EarlyRiserEarlyRiser Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    I should add that D applied to the Brown/RISd dual degree program, but is currently waitlisted at Brown. I know this will alter the mix of kids if she is accepted, but just wanted to compare the two graphic design programs for now. Thanks, Taxguy. Any other input on the specifics of the two programs is greatly appreciated. Brown was originally her first choice school, but WUSTL flew her out and she really enjoyed her time with students and professors there.
  • amptron2xamptron2x Posts: 1,058Registered User Senior Member
    My son is a sophomore at Wash U majoring in Art (Illustration) and English (Creative Writing). Wash U is a phenomenal university and the art school there, judging from the work my son has done, is very, very good - the faculty is both knowledgeable and very caring, and the curriculum is rigorous. As taxguy mentioned, one of the advantages of Wash U is the opportunity to meet lots of very smart kids outside of art majors. My son's girlfriend is a bio-engineering major. One of his roommates is an English major, the other is a chemical engineering major, and his girl friend is a primatologist.

    I should add that my son chose the Wash U School of Art over the art school at Carnegie-Melon and some stand alone art schools, primarily because he wanted to go to a school that had both a top-notch art program and a superior, academically challenging, and diverse liberal arts curriculum. Wash U was, and is, the perfect match.

    Perhaps this could be the key to your daughter's decision. If she has academic interests outside of art, if she's looking for a school with both a strong art school and a strong liberal arts school, then Wash U's the place. If she wants art, art, art, and art, then it's RISD.

    By the way , I congratulate your daughter on getting into both Wash U and RISD. Quite a feat. Both are very, very difficult to get into. She must be one talented young lady.
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,561Registered User Senior Member
    EArlyRiser, I just rereviewed both the RISD program and Wash U's program.

    Wash U does give you a broader core education since it is two years in duration. The major is VERY graphics design oriented and is MUCH more limited in courses than that of RISD. They want you to double major in something outside of Communication Design. You certainly seem to get a very strong liberal arts education and probably a lot stronger liberal arts training than that of RISD.

    Bottom line: Pros for RISD:1. Much more intensive program in graphic design than that of Wash U and many more courses offered in the major. In fact, you can even get a 5 year Bachelors in Graphic Design that will REALLY give you an intensive understanding of the area.
    2. Minimesters allow for exposure to a number of other artistic areas such as metal smithing etc.
    3. Providence is a "Kick ass" city. I loved it. St Louis is...well... St Louis.
    4. Overall , I think RISD provides a much stronger program in graphic design at the cost of weaker and fewer liberal arts courses required and of associating solely with other art students unless you make friends with Brown Kids.

    Pros for Wash U.
    1. Strong and broad based foundation program over two years.
    2. Lots of exposure to kids other than art kids.
    3. Duel majors are highly encouraged and almost required due to the skimpy offerings in communication design.
    4. Very strong liberal arts.

    As an aside, I remember my daughter looking at it and decided that the art/design offerings were very skimpy compared to other art programs. We called up Wash U and was informed that this is because kids are encouraged to double major outside of whatever art major they have selected. Frankly, we didn't find this answer very satisfying.
    In fact, if you go to the Wash U web site, you will find it very hard to find the courses offered for visual communication. This is because I think they are trying to hide the fact that it is a rather skimpy offering of about seven courses.

    We did feel, however, that the courses offered were of top quality in everything.

    Also, for the record, the business manager and former ass't head of design, Melissa Cicozi at Carnegie Mellon graduated from Wash U.



    Hope this helps
  • syntheticcubesyntheticcube Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    S is applying to both RISD and WashU. Any advice on portfolios/ stats of those accepted?
  • MadaboutxMadaboutx Posts: 1,452Registered User Senior Member
    Tax guy is right unless your D gets into Brown also. Best of both worlds.
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