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Service Systems

Applied Technical Leadership


Linda Underhill, Service Systems Department Chair
(585) 475-7359,

The College of Applied Science and Technology’s (CAST), Department of Service Systems (DSS) is pleased to offer a new online bachelor of science degree in Applied Technical Leadership (ATL) aimed at experienced, working adult learners with a completed technical associate degree and work experience in their field of study.  ATL is focused on enhancing career advancement options for those working in a variety of fields including – but not limited to – technical/technology, public service (law enforcement, fire service) and medical (CNA, LPN). This degree is available exclusively online offering students a unique RIT online program that connects to their career field and career aspirations. The ATL degree is delivered in a manner that allows the learner to balance the demands of work, family and education as they complete their bachelor’s level work at RIT. 

Career focus is a cornerstone of RIT’s educational philosophy in teaching and learning.  Deeply embedded in RIT’s mission statement is the goal to support students with “a broad range of career-oriented educational programs with the goal of producing innovative creative graduates who are well-prepared for their chosen careers in a global society.” 

The Applied Technical Leadership degree supports this mission in several specific and unique ways. 

·         ATL provides adult learners holding earned associate degrees in technical fields a stepping stone to pursue a career relevant bachelor degree. 

·         Completing the ATL degree can also be a path to many RIT master of science degree programs. 

·         ATL courses provide conceptual and theoretical knowledge that can be immediately applied to a student’s current position. 

·         The ATL program is interdisciplinary building upon a variety of technical associate degrees and utilizes courses from a diverse number of academic programs across RIT to complete degree requirements.

·         ATL’s Senior Project is an applied research activity in which students address real-world issues in their own organizations or in teams.  This work also continues to enhance RIT’s connections with a various industries and organizations as well as scholarship, research and creativity. 

·         The ATL degree is completed fully online. Participants are not tied to traditionally delivered  courses or class times as they try to juggle work schedules and family obligations.

Entering students are required to have an earned associate degree in a technical field. Transfer credit in general education, math, lab science(s) and technical studies from the associate degree is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. It is anticipated that most students will enter with approximately third year status depending on grades and courses taken in their associate degree. Once transfer credit has been applied, remaining coursework is completed online at RIT.  A bachelor of science degree program requires 120 semester hours. In the ATL degree, for example, a student who transfers in 60 semester hours from their associate degree would then need 60 RIT credits to complete their ATL degree.

Program Goals:

  1. Students will analyze and articulate what leadership traits are prevalent and necessary to lead organizations and communities within their chosen professions and disciplines.
  2. Students will understand the concepts of learning,  training, and program design and evaluation and apply these concepts to developing the workforces in their specialized technical fields.
  3. Students will demonstrate their ability to apply concepts and principles of accounting, project management, assessment of service quality, occupational safety and health, policy development and planning in their specialized career field.
  4. Students will explore and analyze a variety of crisis issues common in their area of technical expertise and identify the fundamentals skills necessary to effectively use interpersonal interventions to work toward resolving those crisis situations.
  5. Students will communicate effectively as individuals, and as team members in both oral, written, and presentation formats.

Program Career Objectives:

Students will be able to;

  1. Apply the foundation principles of leadership development to cultivate a professional leadership style.
  2. Develop a skill set and advanced knowledge and techniques that can enhance their ability to make career changes, advancements, and transitions.
  3. Use the ATL bachelor of science degree as a stepping stone to advanced education, training and master degrees

The online upper level  ATL curriculum includes required courses from the RIT College of Applied Science and Technology: six from the Department of Service Systems and one course from Civil Engineering Technology/Environmental Management and Safety. The remaining courses will be provided by other academic programs within the University: Saunders College of Business, the School of Individualized Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts. The upper level ATL program requirements are:

1.      CAST HRDE 350 Leadership Development (3sch)

2.      CAST HRDE 355 Contemporary Problems in ATL (3sch)

3.      CAST HRDE 386 Human Resource Development  (3sch)

4.      CAST HRDE 400 Crisis Intervention in ATL (3sch)

5.      CAST ESHS 480 Environmental Health and Safety Law (3sch)

6.      CAST HRDE 490 Senior Project (3sch)

7.      CAST SERQ 420 Service Quality  (3sch)

8.      SCB ACCT 110 Financial Accounting (3sch)

9.      BUSI 409 Core Concepts of Project Management (3sch)

10.  CLA PUBL 101 Foundations of Public Policy (3sch)

11.  CLA  COMM 203 Effective Technical Communication  (3sch)

12.  Students will complete additional credits to meet their requirements in general studies for their Bachelor of Science degree – a general education immersion and, electives and/or any remaining lower level general education

13.  Approved non-business professional electives as needed depending on transfer credit.


Prospective students must submit an application through RIT Admissions and meet all RIT entrance requirements including:

1.      Earned associate degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.5 or higher in a technical/technology, public services, medical or related career fields is expected. the ATL degree is not open to students who have an earned associate degree in business and the content of any electives in the ATL program must be non-business content.

2.      Required pre-requisite coursework before admission.

a.       at least one lab science

b.      Mathematics and/or Statistics.

c.       Students missing required pre-requisite courses must complete the missing  courses prior to admission.  This may be done (with appropriate advising approvals) at any accredited community college or university, or at RIT on a non-matriculated basis. Grades must be at the C level or higher and an overall GPA of at least 2.5 is expected in these pre-requisite courses

3.      Recommended coursework prior to admission in the social sciences and humanities in Psychology, Economics, Ethics

4.      Submit a current resume as part of the admission process

5.      Faculty interview as needed

6.      Applicants must be currently employed in their technical/technology, public services, medical or related career fields at least 3 years or have a minimum of three  years’ experience in their career field within the last 5 years.

7.      International students: this is a full online program and all instruction is in English. No courses are offered in traditional format on the RIT campus and therefore the ATL program does not meet the typical visa and course registration requirements for international students studying in the United States.

International students outside the United States:

a.       All admission requirements must be met.

b.      As per RIT policy D2, ‘The U.S. Government expects international students to prove competency in the English language prior to their acceptance to an American college or university. In keeping with this expectation, students whose native language is not English and who’s secondary or higher education was completed in a non-native English speaking country must take a test of English language proficiency. Students must achieve the following minimum scores prior to consideration for admission: 550 paper-based or 79 internet-based on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 58 on the Pearson Test of English-Academic.’ 

c.       Note that TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson provide an overall score. The academic department will review individual scores received in the test sections to determine if your language skills in each area are strong enough for admission.