Degrees > MS in Science, Technology & Public Policy

Our department offers an innovative, interdisciplinary master of science degree in science, technology and public policy, with an emphasis on engineering, science and technology policy. The program builds on RIT’s strengths as a technological university, enabling students to interact with faculty members and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations.

The program is located in the College of Liberal Arts but draws significantly from disciplines and courses of study located in the other colleges, especially the E. Philip Saunders College of Business, the College of Science, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and the College of Applied Science and Technology. The program is geared toward graduates who will make significant contributions in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

All students take a set of policy core courses that emphasize analysis, problem solving and interdisciplinary approaches. Students work with an adviser to choose electives that focus their policy studies in a particular area, such as environmental policy, telecommunications policy or energy policy. Typical students include those with science or engineering backgrounds looking to broaden their career opportunities in government or business settings, as well as those with liberal arts undergraduate degrees (e.g., economics) interested in science, technology and policy issues. Full-time students can typically finish the program in one to two years. The program prides itself on working one-on-one with students to ensure that their educational needs and academic goals are attained.

Admission requirements

Two options are available to students interested in the MS degree in science, technology and public policy.

Students may enter the program from the public policy or mechanical engineering BS programs and earn a combined BS/MS in five years. To be admitted into the graduate portion of the BS/MS track, a student must receive permission of the department and meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of all requirements of the BS curriculum
  • A GPA of at least 3.0

Students seeking admission to the MS program from other RIT programs, or from outside the university, should meet the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of the baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.0 overall GPA
  • Two writing samples, one of which should be a statement of interest
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Calculus and statistics courses (students may be required to take a data analysis or statistics course and an introductory calculus course, if not taken previously)
  • Two formal letters of reference
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 570 (paper-based) or 230 (computer-based) for students whose primary language is not English
  • Fulfillment of general criteria for graduate admission as listed in this bulletin


A minimum of 48 quarter credit hours is required for completion of the MS in science, technology and public policy.

The BS/MS student may obtain 12 quarter credit hours of graduate work in the fourth year of the BS curriculum. Thus, a BS/MS student would need to take only 36 hours in the fifth year.

Students transferring into the MS program from other BS degree programs at RIT or from outside the university may be required to complete an additional three-course policy analysis sequence (Graduate Policy Analysis I, II and III) or demonstrate that they have equivalent skills for completion of the degree.

The graduate curriculum has a required five-course core: Readings in Public Policy (0521-700), Advanced Theory and Methods in Policy Analysis (0521-701), Evaluation Research (0521-702), Public Administration and Management (0521-709) and Science, Technology and Policy (0508-740). In addition, students will choose five courses within their area of specialization.

Students also are required to successfully complete a master’s thesis. The thesis allows students to work with a faculty adviser on an independent research project in their area of interest.

Course offerings

Required core courses:

0521-700 Seminar: Readings in Public Policy
0521-701 Seminar: Advanced Theory and Methods in Public Policy
0521-702 Seminar: Evaluation Research
0521-709 Public Administration and Management
0508-740 Science, Technology and Policy

Elective courses

Students choose five elective courses based on their interests and career goals. Courses may be offered in various colleges throughout the university, including the E. Philip Saunders Colleges of Business, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Applied Science and Technology. Course selection is done jointly with a faculty adviser and typically is aimed at developing a specialized area of interest for the student (e.g., biotechnology policy, environmental policy, energy policy, communications policy). Example elective courses include:

0521-708 Technological Innovation and Public Policy
0521-751 Energy Policy
0521-710 Information and Communications Policy
0521-706 Qualitative Policy Analysis
0521-749 Special Topics in Public Policy
0508-770 Graduate Environmental Studies Seminar
0508-790 Graduate Biodiversity and Society
0508-791 Graduate Sustainable Communities
0102-749 Introduction to Technology Management
0614-780 Telecommunication Policy and Issues
0508-484 Environmental Policy
4002-873 Information Technology and Strategic Opportunity
0630-770 Environmental Risk Assessment, Management and Communications
0307-772 Applied Survey Design and Analysis
0102-745 Social and Political Environment of Business
0511-711 Microeconomics for Graduate Students
0511-757 Applied Econometrics
0511-766 Health Care Policy
0511-781 Environmental Economics
0511-784 Natural Resource Economics

Work with international experts with vast experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Conduct cutting-edge research at the forefront of important science and technology policy areas.