Further guidance on Graduate Degrees: To provide for clear-cut distinctions between graduate, academic, and professional degrees, the following policies have been established by NYSED:
Academic degrees: Graduate academic degree programs consist of advanced studies in an academic discipline. They must have as their purpose contributions to knowledge of the subject matter, rather than specific applications of knowledge to professional practices. Master’s degree programs of this type may be terminal in nature or may also provide an introduction to research and advanced study at the doctoral level. Such programs emphasize theory and are not primarily designed as preparation for professional careers. Graduate academic degree programs leading to the doctorate shall include research that prepares the graduate student for a life of scholarship in an academic discipline. The following RIT degrees may be conferred upon completion of an academic-oriented graduate program:
Master of Science (M.S.)
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Professional Degrees: Graduate professional degree programs must be comprised of advanced studies in professional or vocational fields. While they may have strong theoretical underpinnings, they must have as their primary purpose knowledge for application in professional practice. Master’s degree programs of this type are primarily terminal in nature. They may serve as preparation for advanced studies at the doctoral level, but they shall not be designed primarily for this purpose. The doctorate in such studies is likewise practical, insofar as it prepares the student to train or supervise others in the field, to discover new knowledge that has practical application in the field, or to prepare the student for a life of practice in the student’s particular profession.
The following RIT degrees may be conferred upon completion of a professionally-oriented graduate program:
Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
Masters of Engineering (M.E.)
Masters of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Masters of Science for Teachers (M.S.T.)
Masters of Science in Education (M.S. in Ed.)
Other requirements established by NYSED include assurance that:
All educational activities offered as part of a registered curriculum meet the requirements established by statute, and the rules and regulations of the Regents.
Whenever and wherever the institution offers courses as part of a registered curriculum it shall provide adequate support services.
Exceptions: To achieve particular objectives, an institution may depart from these standards with the prior written approval of the commissioner.