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Color Science MS

Mark D. Fairchild, Graduate Program Director
(585) 475-2784, mdf@mail.rit.edu

http://www.rit.edu/cos/colorscience/

Program overview

Color science is broadly interdisciplinary, encompassing physics, chemistry, physiology, statistics, computer science, and psychology. The curriculum, leading to a master of science degree in color science, educates students using a broad interdisciplinary approach. This is the only graduate program in the country devoted to this discipline and it is designed for students whose undergraduate majors are in physics, chemistry, imaging science, computer science, electrical engineering, experimental psychology, physiology, or any discipline pertaining to the quantitative description of color.

Graduates are in high demand and have accepted industrial positions in electronic imaging, color instrumentation, colorant formulation, and basic and applied research. Companies that have hired graduates include Apple Inc., Benjamin Moore, Canon Corp., Dolby Laboratories, Eastman Kodak Co., Hallmark, Hewlett Packard Corp., Microsoft Corp., Pantone, Qualcomm Inc., Ricoh Innovations Inc., Samsung, and Xerox Corp.

The color science degree provides graduate-level study in both theory and practical application. The program gives students a broad exposure to the field of color and affords them the unique opportunity of specializing in an area appropriate for their background and interest. This objective will be accomplished through the program’s core courses, selection of electives, and completion of a thesis or graduate project.

The program revolves around the activities of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory within the College of Science. The Munsell Laboratory is the pre-eminent academic laboratory in the country devoted to color science. Research is currently under way in color appearance models; image-quality, data-visualization, and color-tolerance psychophysics; spectral-based image capture, archiving, and reproduction of artwork; analytical and empirical multi-ink printing models; spectral color rendering, color management, computer graphics; and material appearance.

Since the inauguration of the program in 1984, a number of conferences have drawn participants from around the world. Industrial seminars are held each summer on a wide range of color topics, including color perception and appearance, colorimetry, color-difference equations, instrumental tolerances, spectrophotometry, instrument-based color matching, color- and image-appearance models, color management, psychophysics, visualization and rendering, and spectral imaging. The Munsell Laboratory has many contacts that provide students with summer and full-time job opportunities across the United States and abroad.

Curriculum

Students must earn 30 semester credit hours as a graduate student to earn the master of science degree. For full-time students, the program requires three to four semesters of study. Part-time students generally require two to four years of study. The curriculum is a combination of required courses in color science, elective courses appropriate for the candidate’s background, and either a research thesis or graduate project. Students must indicate to the program director if they will complete a research thesis or graduate project at the conclusion of their degree.

Prerequisites: The foundation program

The color science program is designed for the candidate with an undergraduate degree in a scientific or nonscientific discipline. Candidates with adequate undergraduate work in related sciences start the program as matriculated graduate students.

Candidates without adequate undergraduate work in related sciences must take foundation courses prior to matriculation into the graduate program. A written agreement between the candidate and the program coordinator will identify the required foundation courses.

Foundation courses must be completed with an overall B average before a student can matriculate into the graduate program. A maximum of 9 graduate-level credit hours may be taken prior to matriculation into the graduate program.

The foundation courses, representative of those often required, are as follows: one year of calculus, one year of college physics (with laboratory), one course in computer programming, one course in matrix algebra, one course in statistics, and one course in introductory psychology.

Color science, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CLRS-601 Principles of Color Science 3
CLRS-720 Computational Vision Science 3
CLRS-750 Historical Research Perspectives 1
CLRS-602 Color Physics and Applications 3
CLRS-820 Modeling Visual Perception 3
CLRS-751 Research and Publication Methods 2
CLRS-820 Electives 6
Second Year
  Research 6
  Elective 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in color science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution,
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Submit two professional recommendations,
  • Complete an on-campus interview (when possible),
  • Have an average GPA of 3.0 or higher,
  • Have completed foundation course work with GPA of 3.0 or higher (if required), and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants who native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of of 587 (paper-based) or 94 (Internet-based) are required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will be accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 7.0. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit www.ielts.org.

Additional information

Scholarships and assistantships

Scholarships and assistantships are available for qualified color science applicants and include the Macbeth-Engel Fellowship, Grum Memorial Scholarship, Saltzman Memorial Scholarship, Munsell Color Science Laboratory Assistantship, and research assistantships associated with ongoing grants and contracts. Students receiving fully funded assistantships tend to have undergraduate cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 and higher and exceptional GRE scores. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL, TSEA, or IELTS scores. (Please see admission requirements for minimum scores.) Applicants seeking financial assistance from the center must submit all application documents to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services by January 15 for the next academic year.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

Color science is broadly interdisciplinary, encompassing physics, chemistry, physiology, statistics, computer science, and psychology. The curriculum, leading to a master of science degree in color science, educates students using a broad interdisciplinary approach. This is the only graduate program in the country devoted to this discipline and it is designed for students whose undergraduate majors are in physics, chemistry, imaging science, computer science, electrical engineering, experimental psychology, physiology, or any discipline pertaining to the quantitative description of color.

Graduates are in high demand and have accepted industrial positions in electronic imaging, color instrumentation, colorant formulation, and basic and applied research. Companies that have hired graduates include Apple Inc., Benjamin Moore, Canon Corp., Dolby Laboratories, Eastman Kodak Co., Hallmark, Hewlett Packard Corp., Microsoft Corp., Pantone, Qualcomm Inc., Ricoh Innovations Inc., Samsung, and Xerox Corp.

The color science degree provides graduate-level study in both theory and practical application. The program gives students a broad exposure to the field of color and affords them the unique opportunity of specializing in an area appropriate for their background and interest. This objective will be accomplished through the program’s core courses, selection of electives, and completion of a thesis or graduate project.

The degree program in color science revolves around the activities of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory within the Center for Imaging Science. The Munsell Laboratory is the pre-eminent academic laboratory in the country devoted to color science. Research is currently under way in color appearance models; image-quality, data-visualization, and color-tolerance psychophysics; spectral-based image capture, archiving, and reproduction of artwork; analytical and empirical multi-ink printing models; spectral color rendering, color management, computer graphics; and material appearance.

Since the inauguration of the program in 1984, a number of conferences have drawn participants from around the world. Industrial seminars are held each summer on a wide range of color topics, including color perception and appearance, colorimetry, color-difference equations, instrumental tolerances, spectrophotometry, instrument-based color matching, color- and image-appearance models, color management, psychophysics, visualization and rendering, and spectral imaging. The Munsell Laboratory has many contacts that provide students with summer and full-time job opportunities across the United States and abroad.

Curriculum

Students must earn 45 quarter credit hours as a graduate student, 36 of which must be taken at RIT, to earn the master of science degree. For full-time students, the program requires four to six quarters of study at the graduate level. Part-time students generally require two to four years of study at the graduate level. The curriculum is a combination of required courses in color science, elective courses appropriate for the candidate’s background, and either a research thesis or graduate project. Students must enroll in either the research thesis or graduate project option at least one year before completion of required course work.

Prerequisites: The foundation program

The color science program is designed for the candidate with an undergraduate degree in a scientific or nonscientific discipline. Candidates with adequate undergraduate work in related sciences start the program as matriculated graduate students.

Candidates without adequate undergraduate work in related sciences must take foundation courses prior to matriculation into the graduate program. Such students may be required to take as many as 36 quarter credit hours in these subjects. A written agreement between the candidate and the program coordinator will identify the required foundation courses.

Foundation courses must be completed with an overall B average before a student can matriculate into the graduate program. A maximum of nine graduate-level credit hours may be taken prior to matriculation into the graduate program.

The foundation courses, representative of those often required, are as follows: one year of calculus, one year of college physics (with laboratory), one course in computer programming, one course in matrix algebra, one course in statistics, and one course in introductory psychology.

Semester conversion
Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. Each program and its associated courses have been sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval of the semester plan. For reference, the following charts illustrate the typical course sequence for this program in both quarters and semesters. Students should consult their graduate program adviser with questions regarding planning and course selection.

Color science, MS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
1051-720 Human Visual System 4
1050-702 Applied Colorimetry 4
1050-801 Color Science Seminar 1
1050-703 Color Appearance 3
1050-721 Color Measurement Lab I 3
1050-801 Color Science Seminar 1
1050-722 Color Measurement Lab II 3
1050-813 Color Modeling 4
1050-801 Color Science Seminar 1
  Graduate Electives 12
  Research Thesis or Project 9
Total Quarter Credit Hours 45

Color science, MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
IMGS-620 Human Visual System 3
CLRS-700 Colorimetry 3
CLRS-710 Colorimetry Lab 1
CLRS-720 Computational Vision Science 3
CLRS-750 Historical Research Perspectives 1
CLRS-800 Color Systems Engineering 3
CLRS-820 Modeling Visual Perception 3
CLRS-711 Material Appearance Lab 2
CLRS-751 Research and Publication Methods 2
Second Year
  Research 6
  Elective 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

During the second year, full-time students enroll in research and thesis, to total 9 credits.

Elective courses

Appropriate elective courses should be selected to bring course work to 36 quarter credit hours for the research thesis option or 41 quarter credit hours for the graduate project option. Approval by the color science coordinator is required. (Some courses might require special permission for enrollment.)

Research thesis option

Students without research experience are encouraged to select the research thesis option (9 quarter credit hours). The thesis is performed during the second year of study. Topics are chosen that complement the candidate’s undergraduate education and career interests. The technical advisory board of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, as well as the program coordinator, can aid in the selection of a thesis topic. Full-time students receiving full-time assistantships are required to perform a research thesis.

Graduate project option

Students with research experience may select the graduate project option (4 quarter credit hours). The project has the same intellectual level as a research thesis but is less lengthy. It might take the form of an experiment, demonstration, research project, or critical review. The graduate project is normally performed during the last quarter of study. Part-time students often select this option.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in color science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution,
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Submit two professional recommendations,
  • Complete an on-campus interview (when possible),
  • Have an average GPA of 3.0 or higher,
  • Have completed foundation course work with GPA of 3.0 or higher (if required), and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants who native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of of 587 (paper-based), 240 (computer-based), or 94 (Internet-based) are required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will be accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 7.0. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit www.ielts.org.

Additional information

Scholarships and assistantships

The scholarships and assistantships available for qualified color science applicants include the Macbeth-Engel Fellowship, Grum Memorial Scholarship, Saltzman Memorial Scholarship, Munsell Color Science Laboratory Assistantship, and research assistantships associated with ongoing grants and contracts. Students receiving fully funded assistantships tend to have undergraduate cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 and higher and exceptional GRE scores. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL, TSEA, or IELTS scores. (Please see admission requirements for minimum scores.) Applicants seeking financial assistance from the center must submit all application documents to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services by January 15 for the next academic year.