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Study for in Rhode Island, United States

State overview

Found in historic and picturesque New England, in the northeast of the United States, Rhode Island is sometimes known as the ‘Ocean State’ – due to its location on the edge of the Atlantic, its nautical connections and its large number of islands. Because of this, it is also a popular destination for both Americans and visitors to the country.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, but it still has an enviable reputation when it comes to higher education – both Brown University, a world leading research institution and one of the members of the Ivy League, and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) call the state home. If you are looking to pursue a postgraduate course in the United States, Rhode Island can provide you with an education that is undoubtedly world class.

The capital of Rhode Island is Providence, one of the first cities in the country to be established, and the state shares borders with Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut.

Education profile

The two best known higher education institutions in Rhode Island are both world famous – Brown University, which regularly rankings amongst the best universities in the world, and Rhode Island School of Design, arguably the best art school in the United States. Both universities are located in Providence, sharing certain facilities – in some faculties they offer joint programs. Brown and RISD both offer a large number of postgraduate courses.

Aside from the two most famous, there are a number of other universities offering graduate programs in Rhode Island. They include:

Although these institutions do offer graduate programs, with the exception of the University of Rhode Island, have relatively small postgraduate communities – generally less than a thousand students.

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study, whilst academic masters are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

Before travelling to the USA to study at one of Rhode Island’s universities, you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in Rhode Island, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in Rhode Island

Around one sixth of Rhode Island’s residents live in Providence, which as well as being the state’s capital is also its largest city. In recent years the area has undergone a transformation, and is now known as a capital of creativity.

Providence also has a large student community, due to its two best known universities. Its population, aside from students, is ethnically diverse – community enclaves within the city include Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Central American and Asian. The area has an extremely inclusive reputation.

Rhode Island is well known for its beaches and islands, which as a student can offer you some much needed relaxation time, especially in the summer months.

In Providence and extending further afield into the rest of Rhode Island, there is a public transport system  that is comprised of regular buses (including the Greyhound) and trains provided by Amtrak. There are good links to Boston, in nearby Massachusetts.

Working in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s location on the coast has always influenced the state’s industry, from its early days as a centre for fishing to today, when it has become a popular tourist destination both for those from the US and further afield.

Other important sectors that employ a large number of people include the health service, education and manufacturing. There are a number of Fortune 500 companies in the state, and Providence is home to Citizens Financial Group, one of the biggest banks in the country.


Whilst studying abroad on postgraduate courses many students choose to live on their university campus in halls of residence. Living in halls allows you to meet fellow students and settle into campus life. Many halls include gym facilities and recreational areas - you should check with your university whether they offer this type of accommodation for those on postgraduate courses.

In order to keep their independence, some students on postgraduate courses choose to live in private accommodation – where paying for utilities and bills will be your own responsibility. Your chosen university should be able to advise you on how to rent a private flat.
In Rhode Island, many students live in Providence as this is where Brown University and Rhode Island School of design are both situated. Accommodation close to the university campuses is usually easy to find. 

Weather and climate

Rhode Island has a humid continental climate, which means it experience warm but rainy summers and relatively cold winters. Its climate is in line with most other areas of New England.

What to do next

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