About Public Policy

The public policy program at RIT explores the intersection of public policy, technology and our natural world. The program provides students with an opportunity to integrate their interests in science, technology, government, economics and other social science fields.

Students interested in the field of public policy can obtain a BS in Public Policy or a MS in Science, Technology, & Public Policy. Both degrees combine an understanding of public policy with the analytical tools needed to study the impact of public policy on society. Through the program, students acquire policy analysis skills, with particular attention placed on analyzing policies that emerge in a technology-based society.

The program has many key features, including:

  • Science and technology — Graduates are trained in the vernacular, methodologies and problem-solving approaches of the sciences and technologies relevant to their chosen policy study track, and they possess a well-grounded familiarity in that area. Policy tracks include environmental policy, information and communications policy, energy policy, biotechnology policy and others designed to meet the student’s interests. Students also have an option of tailoring a track to their interests.
  • Interdisciplinarity — To ensure interdisciplinarity, the program provides integration of diverse disciplines through a sequence of eight public policy courses. This sequence makes up the core of the curriculum and enables students to integrate diverse subjects and apply them to the analysis of public policy.
  • Integrated qualitative and quantitative skills — The program balances both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the analysis of public policy so that students are able to achieve a full systems-level grasp of policy issues.
  • Solid grounding in liberal arts — While our graduates will have quantitative and qualitative training, by the end of their academic career they also will have taken liberal arts courses with a broad disciplinary range. It is this grounding in humanistic values combined with technology and science that makes our program both balanced and unique.

The strategy of the curriculum design is to train students to think and analyze policy in terms of complex, interconnected systems. This training is in high demand in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.