Science, Technology and Public Policy MS

MS in Science, Technology & Public Policy

Franz A. Foltz, Graduate Program Director
(585) 475-5368,




Our department offers an innovative, interdisciplinary master of science degree in science, technology and public policy, with an emphasis on engineering, science and technology policy. The program builds on RIT’s strengths as a technological university, enabling students to interact with faculty members and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations.

The program is located in the College of Liberal Arts but draws significantly from disciplines and courses of study located in the other colleges, especially the E. Philip Saunders College of Business, the College of Science, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and the College of Applied Science and Technology. The program is geared toward graduates who will make significant contributions in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

All students take a set of policy core courses that emphasize analysis, problem solving and interdisciplinary approaches. Students work with an adviser to choose electives that focus their policy studies in a particular area, such as environmental policy, telecommunications policy or energy policy. Typical students include those with science or engineering backgrounds looking to broaden their career opportunities in government or business settings, as well as those with liberal arts undergraduate degrees (e.g., economics) interested in science, technology and policy issues. Full-time students can typically finish the program in one to two years. The program prides itself on working one-on-one with students to ensure that their educational needs and academic goals are attained.

RIT offers generous financial aid to our graduate students. Last year, the university provided $17 million in assistantships and scholarships to 2,100 graduate students.

Admission requirements

Two options are available to students interested in the MS degree in science, technology and public policy.

Students may enter the program through one of the approved dual degree options <link> and earn a combined BS/MS in five years. To be admitted into the graduate portion of the BS/MS track, a student must receive permission of the department and meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of all requirements of the BS curriculum
  • A GPA of at least 3.0

Students seeking admission to the MS program from other RIT programs, or from outside the university, should meet the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of the baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.0 overall GPA
  • Two writing samples, one of which should be a statement of interest
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Calculus and statistics courses (students may be required to take a data analysis or statistics course and an introductory calculus course, if not taken previously)
  • Two formal letters of reference
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 570 (paper-based) or 230 (computer-based) for students whose primary language is not English
  • Fulfillment of general criteria for graduate admission as listed in this bulletin


A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for completion of the MS in science, technology and public policy.

The BS/MS student may obtain 9 credit hours of graduate work in the fourth year of the BS curriculum. Thus, a BS/MS student would need to take only 21 hours in the fifth year.

The graduate curriculum has a required five-course core: Readings in Public Policy (PUBL-700), Graduate Policy Analysis (PUBL-701), Graduate Decision Analysis (PUBL-702), Program Evaluation and Research Design (PUBL-703) and Graduate Science, Technology and Policy (STSO-740). In addition, students will choose three courses within their area of specialization or from supporting methods.

Students also are required to successfully complete a master’s thesis. The thesis allows students to work with a faculty adviser on an independent research project in their area of interest.

Course offerings

Required core courses:

PUBL-700:  Seminar: Readings in Public Policy

PUBL-701:  Graduate Policy Analysis

PUBL-702:  Graduate Decision Analysis

PUBL-703:  Program Evaluation and Research Design

STSO-710:  Science, Technology and Policy

Elective courses

Students choose three elective courses based on their interests and career goals. Courses may be offered in various colleges throughout the university, including the E. Philip Saunders Colleges of Business, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Applied Science and Technology. Course selection is done jointly with a faculty adviser and typically is aimed at developing a specialized area of interest for the student (e.g., biotechnology policy, environmental policy, energy policy, communications policy). Example elective courses include:

PUBL-610:  Technological Innovation and Public Policy

PUBL-630:  Energy Policy

PUBL-620:  Information and Communications Policy

PUBL-705:  Seminar:  Advanced Methods

PUBL-709:  Public Administration and Management

PUBL-789:  Special Topics in Public Policy

PUBL-788:  Graduate Research Experience

PUBL-810:  Technology, Policy and Sustainability

STSO-621:  Graduate Biodiversity and Society

STSO-655:  Graduate Sustainable Communities

ECON-701:  Microeconomics for Graduate Students

ECON-620:  Environmental Economics

ECON-810:  Economics of Sustainability

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in science, technology and public policy, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university,
  • Have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA,
  • Submit two writing samples, one of which should be a statement of interest,
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Have completed course work in calculus and statistics (students may be required to take a data analysis or statistics course and an introductory calculus course, if not taken previously),
  • Submit two formal letters of reference, and
  • Complete a graduate application.

International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language TOEFL). Minimum scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (Internet-based) are required.