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FAQ
Learn More About RIT Online By Exploring Our List Of Frequently Asked Questions.

Considering an online program at RIT and curious about things like course and program options, registration and admission, transfer credits, placement rates upon graduation, costs and financial aid, or how soon you can get started? Just contact our concierge. She’s ready to work with you to get everything done, best of all, she’s a real person and has been in your shoes, too.

Once you enroll, our concierge services continue so you are always connected.

  • Online Courses

    Are online courses more or less demanding than in-person courses? Online classes are just as demanding as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Many people find that it takes self-discipline to succeed in an online learning environment. Just like in a traditional class, you have to be in charge of your studies.

    Do I need to be online at a specific time and day to take part in my class? Faculty members establish a schedule of activities and assignments at the start of class. It is generally recommended that you log in four to five times per week, at times you find convenient. Many classes are “any time.” Other classes may use live chat or web conferencing. In some classes, live participation is optional but viewing the recording is required.

    Do I need to buy any textbooks or other course materials? As an online learning student, you may need to purchase certain course materials, such as texts or software. The faculty member determines the types of materials you will need. You may need to order only one type of item, or a combination of two or three.

    How do I contact a faculty member if I have a question? You can always send a message to a faculty member within the learning environment. Faculty will post their contact information in the course.

    How do I submit my homework? The methods used to submit homework assignments will vary from course to course. Some will ask you to submit assignments to an online dropbox. Other faculty may have you take exams under the supervision of a proctor, either on campus or at a location near you.

    What would a typical “day in the life” be like for me as an online student? As an online student, you would log in to your online course at a time that is convenient for you. You might take part in an online discussion thread with other students. You might post an assignment to the online dropbox. You might also check the course outline to see which assignments or course activities are coming up. Just as every classroom differs, so does the virtual classroom experience. Different courses will use different types of course materials and technologies.

    How much time should I expect to spend doing coursework per week? The total amount of student time on task for any RIT course should be about 45 hours per credit hour. For a 3-credit hour course, that works out to 135 total hours. Below is an estimate of the amount of time a student can expect to spend, per week, for the various course lengths. This includes all class activities, whether “in-class” or working on your own.

    Course LengthCoursework Per Week
    15 weeks9 Hours
    12 weeks11.3 Hours
    7 weeks19.3 Hours
    6 weeks22.5 Hours

    How do I get my grade for the course? The Office of the Registrar will mail you a final grade report approximately one week after the end of the academic term. You can also access your grades online through RIT’s Student Information System (SIS) with your RIT Computer Account.

    How do I take exams? If a faculty member decides to assess your learning through an exam, they may choose to use an online exam, a take-home exam, or a proctored exam. Online exams are timed exams administered through a special online testing system. A proctored exam requires that you make arrangements with a testing service or a professional individual in your area to administer the exam.

    Are there times when I need to be on-campus? Most RIT Online programs can be completed entirely online and do not require an on-campus component. If a program requires a campus visit, this will be noted in the program description. If you have questions about any program, please contact our concierge who will be happy to assist you.

  • Technical Requirements

    What computer skills do I need to have? To be a successful online learner, you need to be comfortable using your computer and working on the Internet. In the following, we list a few tasks you should be comfortable with. If the majority of the skills below are unfamiliar, consider a computing skills class to prepare you for an online course. Many libraries and computer stores offer such classes.

    General Requirements

    • Identify the operating system and version the computer is running (i.e. Windows 8.1)
    • Identify the size of the hard disk (MB)
    • Identify the amount of memory (RAM)
    • Be able to organize, rename, open, and close files on your hard drive
    • Be able to download and install files from the Internet or a CD/DVD
    • Perform routine maintenance on your computer such as updating anti-virus software
    • Open, compress and uncompressed ZIP archives

    Internet Requirements

    • Understand what a web address (URL) is and be able to visit a specific web site
    • Understand links and navigating web pages
    • Use search engines such as Google, Bing or others
    • Create and organize bookmarks or favorite websites
    • Identify the web browser and version you are using (i.e. Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 30, etc.)
    • Maintain your web browser by keeping its version up-to-date
    • Enable certain features of your browser, such as Javascript and Cookies

    Email Requirements

    • Send and receive email messages
    • Attach files to an email message

    Word Processing Requirements

    • Have access to a current word-processing program, and be able to open and run it
    • Create and format paragraphs and documents, cut and paste text, and change fonts
    • Be able to save documents as files
    • Save files in different formats such as Text Only (.txt) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) files

    Computer Hardware/Software Requirements Online learning students need to have access to a computer with an Internet connection. Although students may be able to access these resources on campus, at work, or through other means, we strongly recommend having your own computer and resources.

    Technical Requirements

    • Regular and frequent access to a computer that is less than 5 years old, with at least 1GB of RAM
    • Reliable high-speed internet access (broadband, cable, or fiber)
    • A current web browser (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox)
    • Microsoft Windows (Vista, 7+ or later) or Mac OS X
    • Ability to print
    • Additional requirements as noted in course syllabus or as specified by instructor
    • Speakers (or headphones) may be needed. Faculty are given resources to caption audio content.

    Course Specific Technical Requirements Online courses may have other course-specific requirements. Faculty members will state these on the course syllabus.

  • Online Student Support

    Whom should I contact for technical support? RIT is committed to helping students have a rewarding and successful online experience. RIT’s Teaching and Learning Services unit provides support to students Monday through Friday, and on weekends staff check-in and respond to both voice mail and email. For support you can contact Teaching and Learning Services by phone at (585) 475-2551 and by email at tlsupport@rit.edu. Please visit www.rit.edu/tls/contact for the most up-to-date listing of support hours.

    As an online learning student, will I have access to the on-campus library? Online learning students have the same access as campus-based students to the extensive resources of RIT’s Wallace Center. Wallace Center’s Information Delivery Services (IDS) includes overnight delivery of the library’s own books or articles to your home as well as digital delivery of course materials over the web. You may place requests, check status of requests, renew materials, and communicate with IDS through your web browser.

    Do online learning students have access to services for those with disabilities? RIT is committed to making all programs and services accessible to students with disabilities. The Disability Services Office is here to promote equal access by providing you with accommodations you need in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have a disability that impacts the way you learn or perform on exams, you can register for services by visiting the website for the Disability Services Office.

    Are orientation services available for new online students? Students who are registered in an online course 2 weeks prior to the first day of the semester receive an e-mail to their RIT account welcoming them to online learning at RIT and directing them to RIT’s course management system, myCourses. From there, they can access the RIT Online Practice course to review the RIT Online Student Orientation & Handbook and take a self-guided tour of myCourses.

    Are exam proctoring services available for online students? Online course exams are administered in a variety of ways, depending on the preference of the instructor. Exams can be online and/or scheduled proctor exams. Your instructor will inform you if proctored exams are a requirement for the course by posting this information in the course syllabus or outline.

  • Admissions

    Do I need to apply for admission to take online courses at RIT? Most academic programs allow you to take some courses without official admission to the program. Students are considered non-matriculated if they have not been admitted to an academic program. Most departments set a limit on the number of credits you can take without being officially admitted into a degree program. An academic advisor can inform you about the courses that are available to you as a non- matriculated student and discuss any future plans you may have for applying to a degree program.

    What does matriculated mean? Students who have been officially accepted into an academic program by RIT are generally referred to as matriculated students.

    Can I apply for admission online? If you are applying for a graduate program, the Graduate Application Form can be submitted online or printed and mailed to the Office of Graduate Enrollment. If you are applying for an undergraduate online program, an Undergraduate Part-Time Application Form is available online.

    What degree or educational requirements are required to apply to RIT’s degree and certificate programs? All applicants to RIT’s graduate programs must hold or currently be completing a four year baccalaureate degree, or the U.S. equivalent, granted by an accredited college or university. Applicants to undergraduate degree programs and certificate programs must have a high school degree or the equivalent. Each academic program has specific requirements and prerequisites. Check the program information for more details, or contact the concierge.

    How will I be notified of an admission decision, and when will I be notified? The Offices of Part-time and Graduate Enrollment Services will contact you to acknowledge receipt of your application, and tell you if any necessary items are missing from your file. As soon as a decision is made you will receive email notification. The length of time will vary by academic department, but once the application is complete it typically takes 2 to 6 weeks for a decision to be conveyed to you.

    How much does RIT cost? RIT Online offers discounted pricing on courses and programs delivered online (excluding Online Executive MBA, MS Product Development, MS Manufacturing Leadership, and Mechatronics Engineering Certificate). The graduate rate for the 2017/2018 academic year is $1,035 per credit hour and the undergraduate rate for the 2017/2018 academic year is $936 per credit hour. If you are applying for a program, there is also a $65 application fee. Non-degree seeking students do not need to pay an application fee. For more information about costs and tuition rates, please visit our tuition page or contact the concierge.

  • Academics

    When are classes offered? RIT follows a 15-week semester-based calendar and some online courses and programs are also offered in an accelerated 7-week format. Many of our programs offer multiple start times to best fit your schedule. The 15-week semester courses begin with the fall semester, which starts at the end of August, and with the spring semester, which starts at the end of January. Seven week courses have two start times in the fall, and two in the spring.

    How do I apply? To take a course, as a non-degree seeking student, select the online courses you wish to take and complete the enrollment form or call us and we’ll fill it out for you. The enrollment process usually takes 1-3 days.

    Program applications to RIT require submission of a $65 application fee and official transcripts. Graduate applicants are also required to submit a resume, personal statement, and 2 recommendation letters. Additional program specific requirements can be found on the specific program overview page.

    What courses and programs do you offer? RIT Online has partnered with several departments on campus to help provide a great experience in many academic fields. We offer a wide array of programs and courses in a diverse range of fields. For a list of the programs and courses available, please view the courses or programs sections on this website. If there is a specific program or course you are interested in but don’t see it listed, please let us know. We are always interested in hearing from prospective students about what they would like to study online from RIT. We will contact the appropriate department at RIT to see if it is something that may be in development for future online delivery.

    When can I start a program? Most of the programs offered through RIT Online have rolling enrollment periods, so you can start classes several times during the academic year. Programs consisting of 15-week courses can be started at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Programs consisting of 7-week courses can be started at the beginning of fall and spring semesters as well as half way through each semester.

    Can I get credit for prior experience? Students with substantial work experience in a specific field may receive academic credit for their life experience. Our process is designed to enable people who have acquired a significant amount of knowledge and skills, i.e., “experience,” in their life to earn college credit that can shorten the process of earning a Bachelor’s degree through RIT’s School of Individualized Study (SOIS). The experience considered for this process does not have to come from a formal educational experience, like a college course.

    Can I customize my degree? RIT offers bachelors and masters degrees that are fully customizable through the School of Individualized Study (SOIS). Students work one-on-one with an SOIS academic advisor to design their program. These programs allow you to select professional concentrations from a broad range of RIT programs and departments. For example, you might design a program that combines concentrations in project management, public policy, and general business. Or, you might design a program with concentrations in imaging science, color science, and software development. Each program can be as unique as the individual pursuing it and RIT Online will deliver a career-optimized degree.

    Will it be mentioned on my diploma that this is an online program? Your RIT diploma will not state that it was delivered online. On-campus classes and online classes are identical in every way except their delivery, so you are receiving the same credential.

    How would you justify online courses being equivalent to on-campus courses? All of the courses offered online are the same quality and rigor as their on-campus versions. The faculty members who teach these courses also teach on-campus and have worked with RIT’s Teaching and Learning Services to make sure online students receive the same engaging experience.

    What does non-degree seeking mean? “Non-Degree Seeking” is a term which applies to students who are taking courses, but have not applied to or been accepted into a degree or certificate program at RIT. Becoming a non-degree seeking student is a great way to acquire a variety of skills and competencies fast, without going through a full certificate or degree program.

    The online course enrollment process usually takes one to three days. Our concierge can assist you with exploring options, but if you already know what you want, just:

    • Select the online courses you wish to take
    • Complete the enrollment form or call us and we’ll fill it out for you
  • Financial Costs

    How much do courses cost? Tuition is based on the number of course credit hours you are taking and your student status (graduate, undergraduate, etc.). The tuition page provides additional information on financial costs and aid that may be available to you. Most online students are charged the RIT Online rate: however, students are assessed tuition based on the program they are enrolled in and the course level.

    As an online learning student, am I eligible for financial aid? Yes. To be considered eligible, you must be matriculated in a program and registered for at least six course credit hours. Counselors are available at the Office of Financial Aid to answer any questions you may have and assist you with the application process. Applications for aid are available online at their website. You can also contact them directly at finaid@rit.edu or by phone at (585) 475-2186(V) and (585) 475-6909(TTY). For a toll-free call, you can also use 1-800-CALL RIT.

    How much do course materials cost? The expense of course materials will vary from course to course since different instructors will use different course materials. If course materials such as software and textbooks or other lecture materials are required, the cost of materials on a per-course basis could vary from $100 to $250. Some courses may not even require purchased course materials at all, or the course may instead use free web-based resources. RIT students are eligible for discounts on select Microsoft, Adobe, and other software programs.