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Service Systems

Service Leadership & Innovation

M.S. in Service Leadership & Innovation


Linda Underhill, Graduate Program Chair
(585) 475-7359,

Transformation through leadership.
Success in today’s global economy requires organizations to have visionary leadership, a 360-degree view of customers, and the ability to formulate and execute strategic initiatives. Service Leadership & Innovation is a one-of-a-kind graduate program that prepares professionals to transform their organizations by using innovation to drive measurable outcomes. Our graduates anticipate the future and see opportunities to position their organizations—and themselves—to reach new levels of success in a constantly changing world.

Program Goal
Apply systematic thinking to problem situations and solutions to successfully design, plan, and accomplish innovation throughout service organizations using a systemic thinking approach.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Learners will apply systems thinking to solve problems described in future environments
  2. Use of selected design theories and processes to construct a customer co-created service system or process.
  3. Discuss, conceptualize and seek to foster innovation strategies from an individual perspective.
  4. To develop a framework of reference, to be superimposed on organizations which allow and actually promote innovation occurring in the workplace

Transform yourself, lead the way forward

The value proposition of the Service Leadership and Innovation Graduate program at RIT

  • Meet the needs of today’s learner-with a variety of educational delivery options;
  • Classroom ( 14 week semester)
  • On-line (14 week semester)
  • 8 week accelerated on-line class format
  • 5 day all day classes
  • Experienced faculty who the research in the promotion of innovation in the workforce
  • 36 credit program 
  • Accelerated Executive program allows for degree completion in a summer to summer learning format 
  • Financial Aid and scholarships available
  • No GRE or GMAT required
  • Advanced certificates* (* pending New York State approval) use system design fundamentals to provide focused learning in areas of;       
  •      Higher Education                                                                                                                                        
  •      Leading Innovation                                                                                                                                    
  •      Service Analytics and Data Mining

NO GRE OR GMAT required

SLI unique focus

  • Develop strategic leadership attributes to advance innovation and growth
  • Promote the creation of innovation in self and those you lead
  • Map, measure and analyze data
  • Design customer centric systems  

The degree requires completion of a minimum of 36 semester credit hours.

Students choose electives that best meet their career interests. Courses may be taken in other graduate-level programs at RIT, with permission. A limited number of credit hours (not counted toward another degree) may be considered for transfer credit from another college or university.

Upon matriculation, each student is assigned an advisor. Together, the student and adviser develop a plan of study. For specific questions about courses and a plan of study, the adviser or program chair should be consulted.

** This course selection applies to the traditional on-campus and on-line program. Cohort programs off-site do not have a choice of courses as they have defined plans of study arranged by the international location.**

Service Leadership and Innovation, MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

Course Number Course Name Sem. Cr. Hrs.
GRCS 700 Research Methods 3
SERQ 710 Service Design Fundamentals 3
SERQ 712 Breakthrough Thinking Creativity and Innovation 3
SERQ 720 Service Scenarios & Strategy Development 3
SERQ 723 Service Analytics 3
SERQ 740 Leading Innovation 3
  Concentration Courses (see conc. section below) 9
SERQ 790 Thesis 3
GRCS 702 Principles of Research Communication 3
SERQ 797 Capstone Project 3
SERQ 702 Principles of Research Communication 3
  Electives 3
SERQ 787 Service Design and Implementation3 3
SERQ 795 Comprehensive Examination 0


*A concentration consists of three required courses.  Customized concentrations can be developed from selected electives.


Course Number Course Name Sem. Cr. Hrs.
SERQ 750 Student Learning in Higher Education 3
SERQ 751 Critical Systems in Higher Education 3
SERQ 755 Organizational Systems and Leadership in Higher Education 3
Course Number Course Name Sem. Cr. Hrs.
SERQ 732 Accessing Service Quality 3
SERQ 745 Social Psychology of Service 3
SERQ 735 Leading NFP 3
SERQ 722 Customer Centricity 3
SERQ 730 Project Management Not-For-Profit (NFP) 3
SERQ 735 Data Mining in NFP 3

Prior to being admitted to the MS program, applicants must illustrate that their previous training, ability, practical experience, and education indicate a reasonable chance of success. The complete list of admission requirements includes the following:

  • Graduate application
  • Baccalaureate degree or equivalent from an accredited institution
  • Official undergraduate transcript(s) (in English)
  • Two professional recommendations
  • A resume
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above, or evidence of relevant professional performance.
  • Foundation course work with grades of 3.0 or higher (if required)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students. Applicants must achieve a minimum score of at least 570 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based), or 88-89 (Internet-based) to be considered for admission. Scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam will be accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. The absolute minimum score for an unconditional acceptance is 6.5.