Colleges & Universities in Providence

Providence is known as an epicenter of higher education, with eight college and university campuses located in the city. This concentration of faculty and students adds energy to the city and makes an enduring impact on the creative and intellectual landscape of the community.

Brown University is a leading Ivy League institution with a distinctive undergraduate academic program, a world-class faculty, outstanding graduate and medical students, and a tradition of innovative and rigorous multidisciplinary study. Founded in 1764 in Warren, RI, Brown moved to Providence's East Side in 1770 and has been a dynamic force in the community ever since. Notable alumni include John F. Kennedy, Jr. and actress Laura Linney.

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) offers its students a unique blend of hands-on experience and classic academic instruction. The Downcity Campus, in the heart of the downtown area, houses The Hospitality College and the College of Business, while the Harborside Campus, on the edge of the city, is home to the College of Culinary Arts. J&W was founded in 1914 by two women - Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales - and continues to leave its mark on the city, most notably through its impact on the critically acclaimed restaurant scene. Notable alumni include celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Tyler Florence.

Part of Providence's Mount Pleasant neighborhood, Rhode Island College (RIC) is a public institution of higher education whose primary mission is to offer a quality, affordable education to all Rhode Islanders. Founded in 1854, RIC offers programs in the liberal arts and sciences and in a variety of professional fields. Its performing arts program is highly regarded and draws large audiences to its theater productions. Notable alumni include award-winning actress Viola Davis and Congressman James Langevin.

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, pronounce riz-dee) is one of the country's leading visual arts, design, architecture and art education institutions. Founded in 1877, RISD is an eclectic community of artists and designers that includes 2,200 students from around the world, approximately 350 faculty and curators, and 400 staff members. Notable alumni include film director Gus Van Sant and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane.

The University of Rhode Island has a vibrant Providence Campus located in the heart of downtown Providence. The campus houses the College of Continuing Education, which offers nine undergraduate degree and seven graduate-level programs, as well as multiple certificate programs. The campus is also home to an award-winning Child Development Center and the Urban Arts and Culture program, which is a member of Gallery Night.

Other Rhode Island Colleges & Universities

Rhode Island is home to several other notable colleges and universities, including:

Bryant University
Smithfield, RI

Community College of Rhode Island
Lincoln, Newport, Providence, Warwick & Westerly, RI

New England Institute of Technology
East Greenwich & Warwick, RI

Roger Williams University
Bristol, RI - Main Campus
Providence, RI - School of Continuing Studies

Salve Regina University 
Newport, RI

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI - Main Campus

College Graduation

With eight college and university campuses located in Providence, the city is bustling during graduation season. Check out the list of commencement dates below from across all of Rhode Island and start to plan your visit to cheer on your grad.