Graduate Schools and Programs in Rhode Island

Graduate schools in Rhode Island are part of this state’s rich higher education heritage. It may be the smallest state in the U.S., but Rhode Island is packed with colleges and universities – from an Ivy League university to excellent technology institutes and private colleges designed to help students set their sights on bright futures. Wondering what it’s like to live and study in this cozy, coastal state? Let’s learn more.

written by Shannon Fandler

Reasons For Graduate Students To Love Rhode Island

This tiny state packs a big punch when it comes to opportunities to live, learn, and enjoy life. Here’s our top reasons why grad students might love RI:

Diverse Colleges and Universities. Rhode Island is known for higher education. You’ll find small private colleges, the public land-grand institution University of Rhode Island, and a notable school for the arts: The Rhode Island School of Design. Brown University is another big name in this state and is particularly known for its extensive libraries and research facilities. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rhode Island colleges and universities worth considering for your graduate studies.

Resources for Students. RI offers a wealth of educational

and cultural institutions outside the higher ed community. These include many notable public and proprietary libraries, like the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, in Newport, and the Providence Athenaeum, in Providence. Museums and historical societies in RI may also be of interest to curious minds. Don’t miss the Rhode Island School of Design Museum or the Museum of Work and Culture, in Woonsocket.

Cities and Towns with Character. From the bustling, arts-friendly capital city of Providence to quaint Colonial villages by the sea, there’s something for everyone in Rhode Island. While Providence is home to the most colleges and universities, you’ll find college towns throughout the state, each with its own charms. We’ll explore some of RI’s higher education hubs in more depth, later!

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Fun. Though RI is one of the most densely-populated and industrialized states in the U.S., you wouldn’t know it to gaze on its rugged coastlines, pristine sand beaches, and deep pine forests. Whether you love swimming, sailing, biking, or simply relaxing on the beach with a good book, you should be able to find a recreation area in RI that’s ready-made for you.

A Unique Cuisine. Fresh seafood is this coastal state’s claim to fame. Take a short ferry ride from the mainland to visit Block Island for Restaurant Week, and don’t miss Rhode Island’s many annual festivals devoted to various delicacies from the sea, including oysters and chowder. The state is also a unique wine-producing region, and both vineyards and breweries abound.

Fun Fact: Rhode Island’s nicknames include “Little Rhody” and “the Ocean State.”

Brush Up on the History of Rhode Island

Whether you’re planning to pursue a graduate history program in Rhode Island or you’re simply hoping to choose a college town with a fascinating background, be prepared to delve into the past! Rhode Island is one of the original 13 states in the U.S., and its historic towns reflect the state’s Colonial roots.

Native Americans were present in the region now known as Rhode Island as far back as 9500 BC. After Europeans arrived in the early 16th century, tribes were struck by epidemics such as smallpox. In 1636, the Narragansett tribe sold the land that is now Providence to Roger Williams, a refugee from Massachusetts Bay Colony.

RI prized independence, particularly when it came to conducting seagoing commerce, and the state avidly supported the Revolutionary War. However, after the war the tides of industry turned to textiles, which remained central to Rhode Island’s economy until the 20th century. Today, Rhode Island is home to a diverse range of industries, with health services and tourism taking the lead.

Fun Fact: Rhode Island has more than 400 miles (640 km) of coastline, making it a great state for sailors and beach enthusiasts.

Rhode Island Today [i]

Rhode Island has a population of 1,059,639 as of a 2017 estimate, which is a 0.6% change from 2010. 32.5% of the residents of the state have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and the annual median household income is $58,387.

Top 7 Occupations in Rhode Island

Requiring a Post-Secondary Degree

Professions with the highest employment in Rhode Island

Whether you need help deciding what degree to pursue, or just want to get a feel for
professions with the highest employment in Rhode Island , the table below should be helpful.

  • Registered Nurses
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
  • Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
  • Management Analysts
  • Business Operations Specialists, All Other

These results were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information see the OES May 2017 State Data Report.

Residents of the state are primarily employed in service industries such as government, health services, business services, education, and tourism. Narragansett Bay, New England's largest estuary, has proved to be a rich resource for both commercial fishing and vacationers. However, threats to the environment remain a concern.

Did You Know? RI’s climate is humid continental, with warm summers and cold winter that tend to see snowfall.

Top Graduate Student College Towns in Rhode Island

Whether you plan to pursue traditional, hybrid, or graduate online degree programs in Rhode Island, it’s worth brushing up on the cities and towns that serve as educational hubs in this state. Let’s take a look at where you could potentially live and learn:

Providence – Known as the “Creative Capital,” Providence is a city that takes pride in fostering the arts and education. In fact, Brown University is a top employer in the city, and the Rhode Island School of Design plays a key role in Providence’s culture scene. Providence, Rhode Island colleges and universities are plentiful, and include Johnson and Wales University, Rhode Island College, Providence College, and more. And, grad students may find many diverse neighborhoods to consider, from the quirky to the historically significant!

Newport – Located by the sea on Aquidneck Island, Newport is a famous summer vacation spot packed with historic mansions and things to see and do. In fact, Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower chose Newport as the site of their “Summer White Houses.” But, this resort town is more than just a spot to enjoy sun and sailing; it’s also home to Newport Rhode Island colleges and universities such as Salve Regina University.

Kingston – A quaint village in the town of South Kingston, RI, Kingston is an important historical site and also home to the University of Rhode Island. Architecture buffs take note: the Kingston Historic District includes many historic buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

East Greenwich – This town might be the wealthiest municipality in the state of Rhode Island, but don’t be intimidated; it’s also the site of the New England Institute of Technology, so student life is important, here. This picturesque town is proud of its charming historical district and lovely coastal views.

Bristol – A seaport town with a striking harbor and a rich history, Bristol might be the perfect place for adventurous grad students to call home. Cyclists can start their ride down the East Bay Bike Path, here. And students may want to check out Roger Williams University, which calls Bristol home.

Smithfield – Home to Bryant University, this colonial town contains the historical villages of Esmond, Georgiaville, Mountaindale, Hanton City, Stillwater, and Greenville. It’s an important site of Quaker history, and a great place to live and study while preparing for your next step!

Cranston – The third largest city in Rhode Island, Cranston is part of the Providence metro area. While Cranston might not be home to any graduate schools, itself, it is well-situated to many colleges and universities in Rhode Island, such as New England Institute of Technology, Brown University, and Providence College. With highly livable vibes and a reputation for safety, Cranston just might be the perfect home base for grad students looking to reside outside of Providence.

Rhode Island Colleges and Universities Offering Graduate Programs

Rhode Island is home to colleges and universities with exciting academic offerings. Whether you wish to pursue a master’s, doctorate, professional degree, or a certificate program, you just might find the graduate school and program that’s perfect for you. Aren’t sure you want to leave home? Keep an eye out for graduate online degree programs in Rhode Island.

Here are five Rhode Island graduate schools worth checking out:

1. Brown University

2. University of Rhode Island Graduate School

3. Rhode Island College

4. Salve Regina University

5. Johnson & Wales University

Find Business Graduate Programs in Rhode Island

Seeking potential best business schools in Rhode Island? For all its natural beauty, this state is still a business capital, known for its financial and biotechnology companies. Some of the state’s major employers also include CVS Caremark, which have their corporate headquarters in Woonsocket, Stop & Shop Supermarket, Bank of America, and both state and federal governments.

Whether you’re hoping to pursue an MBA in Rhode Island or prepare to launch a new career path in some other area of business or leadership, you may find graduate programs designed to help you prepare for your goals. Here are just a few potential programs to consider:

  • Roger Williams University Construction Management Graduate Program
  • Johnson & Wales University MS Human Resource Management Program
  • Providence College Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program
  • Salve Regina University Management Graduate Program

Search Rhode Island Health and Medicine Graduate Programs

If your goal is to make a difference in the field of healthcare, Rhode Island may be the perfect state for your graduate studies. Lifespan Hospital Group, which includes several notable hospitals and healthcare organizations, is one of Rhode Island’s biggest employers. At graduate schools throughout RI, you may find programs in nursing, pharmacology, and other healthcare professions. Here are a few to check out:

  • University of Rhode Island Pharmacology Graduate Program
  • University of Rhode Island Nursing Graduate Program
  • Brown University Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Program

Explore Rhode Island Liberal Arts and Humanities Graduate Programs

A state steeped in the arts, Colonial villages, and seascapes worthy of poetry, Rhode Island might just be the perfect place to study subjects like the humanities, history, and English Literature. Why not explore RI graduate schools offering programs in the subject you love? Check out these:

  • Providence College Graduate History Program
  • Brown University Public Humanities Program
  • University of Rhode Island Graduate English Program

Pursue Fine Arts & Design Graduate Programs in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is proud of its creativity. The state is home to the widely-regarded Rhode Island School of Design, and artists both formally educated and self-taught may take inspiration from the landscape, seascape, and general arts appreciation New England is known for. Check out graduate arts programs in Rhode Island, like:

  • Rhode Island School of Design MA Interior Architecture Program
  • University of Rhode Island Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design
  • Brown University Graduate Program in Theatre, Speech and Dance

Find Education Graduate Programs in Rhode Island

Education is a major priority in Rhode Island, potentially making this state the ideal choice for educators hoping to hone their readiness for new goals. In addition to public schools, Rhode Island is known for its private preparatory schools, which may help prepare students to pursuit elite higher education paths. Could you be involved in inspiring the next generation to reach new heights? Explore graduate education programs in RI, like:

  • Rhode Island College Teaching English as a Second Language Program
  • Roger Williams University M.A. Literacy Education Program
  • Providence College Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics (MAT) Program
  • University of Rhode Island Physical Education Graduate Program

Discover Top Rhode Island Cities for a Graduate Program

  Population Median Household Income Median Gross Rent % of person having a bachelor's degree or higher
Providenceii 179,219 $37,366 $917 29.4%
Warwickiii 81,579 $66,602 $1,091 32.5%
Cranstoniv 81,034 $61,646 $988 30.6%

Sources: [i] | [ii] | [iii] | [iv] 

Top 343 Graduate Schools in Rhode Island:

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