BS/MS Dual Degree in BS in Science/Engineering and MS in Science, Technology and Public Policy

Some people play by the rules….others change them!                                                      



Throughout history, technology has been a major driver of social, political, and economic change. Societies around the globe employ public policies to solve problems and achieve their social, economic, and environmental objectives. The spheres of public policy and technology overlap as society is challenged to consider not only the role of new technologies in its quest for improved quality of life, but also how policies affect the development, emergence, and choice of new technologies. Because of the role engineers and scientists play in creating new technology, they increasingly have an important role in helping to shape public policy. Moreover, policies affecting how we as a society live and work—such as environmental, industrial, energy, and national security policy, to name a few—demand that scientists and engineers be prepared to integrate policy issues into their practice.

Yet the vast majority of engineers and scientists have little knowledge of public policy, and most policymakers have little firsthand knowledge about the many technologically-steeped decisions they make. This disparity was recently recognized by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the top engineering body in the country. The NAE has called for new curricula in engineering and public policy to bridge this gap.

In its recent report, Educating the Engineer of 2020, the NAE stated that engineering curricula that integrate public policy “could serve as a recruiting tool … [and] an optimum launch pad to challenging and rewarding professions – engineering first and foremost, but also medicine, law and business.” In noting the increased convergence between engineering and public policy, the NAE found:

This new level of interrelatedness necessitates that engineering, and engineers, develop a stronger sense of how technology and public policy interact. To date, engagement of engineers in public policy issues has been limited at best. It is both the responsibility of engineers and important to the image of the profession that engineers increase their ability to eloquently articulate the relevance of engineering to many public policy issues.

These dual degrees integrate scientific and technical knowhow with a public policy MS curriculum. The programs are supported by faculty in both the departments and on average take a total of five years to complete.  For engineers in 5 year programs, you add virtually no time for graduation.

This program is a natural fit that will enable qualified students enrolled in scientific and technical BS programs but interested in public policy issues to pursue a graduate level degree in a field that combines their technical and public policy interests.

The program is designed as an integrated dual degree program where qualified students begin taking MS courses in their fourth year. For most programs the students take a total of 150 credit hours.  A minimum of 120 undergraduate and 30 graduate credits are required by the state of New York.

A student will typically apply to the BS/MS degree program in their second year. Students are allowed to pursue the BS/MS option as long their GPA remains above a 2.5. 

Educational Benefits

RIT graduates are entering a competitive job market, one where research and development can and will increasingly be done in lower-cost countries. This degree provides the multi-disciplinary skills that can help a graduate differentiate themselves from their peers. This BS/MS degree is an educational opportunity for students seeking to become leaders at integrating engineering and science with government, policy, and the social sciences. 


Students who complete this BS/MS will be highly sought after by many public and private sector organizations. Government entities with science and technology program activities, such as the US Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Transportation, NASA, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will find our BS/MS students attractive because they can effectively maneuver in both the world of the engineer and the world of the policy analyst. Companies, particularly consulting firms, will find our BS/MS students desirable, as these students will be able to "bridge the gaps" between the engineering, scientific, policy, and business worlds. Graduates will be able to understand how policies shape product markets, and how policies can be developed that will lead to new scientific advances and markets for goods and services. Lastly, our BS/MS graduates will be uniquely prepared for continued training in professional schools, law and business, as well as Ph.D. programs.

Current Programs

We offer BS/MS dual degrees with the following programs.  More are in the process of being created.
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering