Today’s graphic communication professionals serve the robust marketing communications, publishing and packaging graphics industries by creating and producing integrated media across a range of platforms.
Graphic communications–including advertising, publications, packaging, and signage delivered through print and digital communications, package printing, and so much more–represents a vibrant industry that is ideal for students interested in applied technology with a creative flair. Brand owners, marketers, and content creators need to reach audiences to effectively communicate their information and messages. RIT’s media arts and technology degree prepares students to manage content from concept through distribution across multiple platforms, including print, web, mobile, and social media. In the media arts and technology major, a breadth of cross-channel graphic media production skills are taught, preparing students for leadership roles in graphic communications. Students who possess an interest in computer graphics, color science, imaging, and business will learn the skills necessary for success in a dynamic and robust industry.
Media arts and technology is a unique major that reflects the convergence of technologies that allow content to be created, formatted, stored, and then shared via computer-based publications, printed material, online services, and various forms of interactive media. This approach enables our students to build skills not only in traditional publishing but also in database management, new media production, networking, and mobile communications. The major is designed to provide students with the ability to use various content types across multiple output media.
The major also allows students to explore other areas of study, including advertising and media strategy, contemporary publishing, content management, digital imaging and pre-media, print production, print quality, and 3D computer graphics.
As part of the curriculum, students will participate in two cooperative education experiences with a related business, learning the ropes of the graphics and publishing industries. These full-time, paid work experiences within the industry assist students in their ultimate job search. Upon graduation, students are well-prepared to work with photographers, graphic designers, advertisers, and publishers to create cross-media communications that inform, entertain, and persuade. Graduates have found positions in advertising production, digital imaging, print production, and web design and development.
Accelerated 4+1 MBA
An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways enable you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study. Learn more how you can prepare for your future faster with a Combined Accelerated Pathway.
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Cooperative education, or co-op for short, is full-time, paid work experience in your field of study. And it sets RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. RIT co-op is designed for your success.
Students in the media arts and technology degree are required to complete two cooperative education experiences.
Media Arts and Technology, BS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Cross Media Foundations
This course introduces students to the graphic media industry by studying its history, culture, technologies, markets and workers. The course provides an orientation to production concepts, working environments, hardware and software tools, languages, working standards and cultures of the industry. Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Typography and Page Design
The course provides an introduction to the theoretical and practical foundations of typography and page design. Students study the history, aesthetics, and technology of typography, and current methods of page composition. Projects include design and production methods, using current software tools and fonts for typography in print and monitor display. Students will apply their acquired knowledge to make informed decisions in the practice of typography and page composition. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Spring).
This survey course introduces students to the technologies of print production, with a focus on the materials and processes used in conventional, digital, and functional printing methods. Hands-on lab experiences expose students to the underlying concepts while imparting knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the various methods. Quality, efficiency, economics, and sustainability are addressed. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
Webpage Production I
Students in this course will plan and implement publishing projects with a focus on usability, accessibility, and information design for the World Wide Web. Application of standard Web protocols such as HTML and CSS will be applied in the context of Web publishing as a part of a cross-media production strategy. (This course is restricted to students in the NMEP-BS or JOURNAL-BS programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Webpage Production II
In this advanced course, students will apply concepts and skills from previous study to determine optimal strategies for the development, deployment and evaluation of complex websites. Through a blend of research and practical application, students will evaluate and apply a range of methodologies for Web publishing. (Prerequisite: MAAT-271 or ISTE-105 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: College Algebra
This course provides the background for an introductory level, non-trigonometry based calculus course. The topics include a review of the fundamentals of algebra: solutions of linear, fractional, and quadratic equations, functions and their graphs, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational functions, and systems of linear equations. (Prerequisites: Students may not take and receive credit for MATH-101 and MATH-111. See the Math department with any questions.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – First Year Writing: FYW: Writing Seminar (WI)
Writing Seminar is a three-credit course limited to 19 students per section. The course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical and rhetorical reading and writing, and critical thinking. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of non-fiction texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. These texts are designed to challenge students intellectually and to stimulate their writing for a variety of contexts and purposes. Through inquiry-based assignment sequences, students will develop academic research and literacy practices that will be further strengthened throughout their academic careers. Particular attention will be given to the writing process, including an emphasis on teacher-student conferencing, critical self-assessment, class discussion, peer review, formal and informal writing, research, and revision. Small class size promotes frequent student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic integrity for both current academic and future professional writing. Lecture (Fall, Spring, Summer).
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Artistic Perspective
General Education – Electives
This course provides students with a venue for preparing for job searches and subsequent employment. Students learn how to access the RIT job search database, to prepare cover letters and resumes, to make efficient use of career fairs, and to participate in effective interviews through a mock interview process. (This course is restricted to students in the NMEP-BS program.) Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
This course covers skills and competencies necessary to create, manage and edit digital images. Students work with digital hardware, software, and learn relevant terminology. Various processes of image reproduction from acquisition to manipulation, and output of optimized files are addressed. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall).
This course focuses on planning and producing cross-media projects. Students gain hands-on experience with all phases of production through a series of print and new media projects. Concepts of content and production management are applied with an emphasis on creating quality outcomes that are delivered on-budget and on-time. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 4 (Spring).
This course introduces the fundamental design elements of databases constructed for activities that support the publishing process. This includes building databases comprised of information and digital assets. Projects may include composing publications, creating and distributing personalized documents through the web and in print. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 and MAAT-271 or ISTE-305 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
Professional and Technical Writing (WI)
This course prepares students to engage in a variety of written and oral communications necessary in academic and business environments with an emphasis on technical writing. Students are expected to produce appropriate audience-centered written materials that achieve a desired purpose based on techniques, organization, format, and style. Formal technical reports and presentations are required. Students must pass this course with a grade of B or higher prior to graduation or pass the Writing Competency Test. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used. (Prerequisite: MATH-101 or MATH-111 or NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or a math placement exam score of at least 35.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Elective: Introduction to Statistics II
This course is an elementary introduction to the topics of regression and analysis of variance. The statistical software package Minitab will be used to reinforce these techniques. The focus of this course is on business applications. This is a general introductory statistics course and is intended for a broad range of programs. (Prerequisites: STAT-145 or equivalent course.) Lecture 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Ethical Perspective
General Education – Global Perspective
General Education – Social Perspective
Information Architecture Publishing
In this course the students will research current and emerging publishing information technology trends and apply them in creating publishing solutions across a variety of platforms. Students will learn and apply digital asset management methods and practices in real-world scenarios. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 and MAAT-272 or ISTE-305 or equivalent courses.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Spring).
Media Business Management
This course introduces principles in core business areas, such as management, finance, accounting, operations, and marketing, which are key factors in developing, growing, and operating a media venture. Lecture 3 (Fall).
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective‡
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective‡
General Education – Immersion 1, 2
General Education – Elective‡
General Education – Elective
This course will engage students in a capstone production experience. Students will work in teams and interact with select industry clients to design, budget, and complete a multi-media project. (Prerequisites: MAAT-206 and MAAT-223 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
General Education – Immersion 3
General Education – Electives
Total Semester Credit Hours
Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 weeks of cooperative education. This may be completed as two summer terms or one academic semester and one summer term.
‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3 or 4 credit lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, students must take both the lecture and the lab portions to satisfy the requirement. The lecture section alone will not fulfill the requirement. Please see an adviser for a complete list of eligible courses.
Media Law offers an opportunity to investigate the philosophical and constitutional foundations of free expression as it relates to speech, writing, image making and publishing. First Amendment principles are studied with respect to personal protection boundaries. The course will provide a survey covering defamation issues. Students should be able to form educated opinions about libel and slander boundaries. Since the publication discipline involves the creation of original work, a study of copyright, patent and trademark law is emphasized. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Strategies in Multimedia
This course will examine the structure and channels of advertising, publishing, and packaging. It focuses on marketing communications across a range of graphic media. Mass media and customized technologies for effectively reaching consumers will be explored. Emphases are on the development of an optimized mix of marketing communications techniques for the goals of a particular project. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Media Distribution and Transmission
In this course students gain extensive knowledge of the various methods and techniques used to electronically and physically distribute information. Students will also study planning, scheduling, inventory management, and customer fulfillment. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Gravure and Flexography
Students will explore gravure and flexography technologies, and learn to evaluate applicable designs. Extensive hands-on experience is included. Students will create pressure sensitive label designs, take command of a flexo press, and print labels. Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
This course provides detailed fundamentals of the equipment and materials used in the lithographic process for both sheetfed and web presses. Topics include plates, blankets, press, inks, substrates, and pressroom management. There is an emphasis on process color printing, problem solving on press, and process variables that impact quality and productivity. Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Advanced Retouching and Restoration
This course demystifies the process for digitally enhancing, retouching, and restoring images with industry standard raster software, using best practices for image acquisition and specialized image manipulation techniques. Students should have a solid working knowledge of current industry standard raster software. (Prerequisites: MAAT-107 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
This class is an introduction to the concepts and methods of magazine design and production workflow, with the practical experience of producing a cross-media magazine for output to a digital device and print. Special attention is given to the use of images in integration with text, grids. The role of experimentation and innovation in the modern magazine is emphasized. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
Digital Print Processes
Students who take this course will understand how digital printing technologies work, what they are capable of doing, and how these technologies are used commercially. Students will analyze the factors driving the explosive growth of digital printing, including how the economics of digital and conventional printing compare. The concepts taught in the classroom are reinforced through hands-on labs and field trips to digital printers and equipment suppliers. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-641; students may receive credit for MAAT-541 or PPRT-641, not both. (Not if PPRT-641) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
Color Management Systems
This course addresses the science and technology of color management systems in achieving quality color reproduction across multiple capture and display devices, such as digital cameras, scanners, monitor displays and printed output. Students will study the role of color measurement for device calibration, device characterization, and building an ICC-based color management system. Students will perform color image rendering from digital capture to print, investigate digital proofing, as well as soft and remote proofing technologies, and evaluate color management system performance. Process control tools and analysis of control targets will be covered. Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology
Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology provides a platform for students to explore the most contemporary issues in the rapidly evolving fields of media arts, media sciences and media technologies. The content taught in this course will change frequently and the course may be repeated for credit, however each particular topic may have limits on repeatability. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Lab Topics Media Arts, Sciences & Technology
Lab Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology provides a lab-based platform for students to explore the most contemporary issues in the rapidly evolving fields of media arts, media sciences and media technologies. The content taught in this lab-based course will change frequently and the course may be repeated for credit, however each particular topic may have limits on repeatability. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
Students who take this course will understand how package-printing technologies work, and how they are used to print bags, labels, cartons, cans, boxes, and bottles. Students will apply a packaging printing workflow to produce labels and folding cartons of their own design. Finally, cost analyses of package printing using various technologies is discussed. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-688; students may receive credit for MAAT-558 or PPRT-688, not both. (Degree-seeking undergraduate students. Students may not take and receive credit for MAAT-558 and PPRT-688. If you have earned credit for MAAT-558 or you are currently enrolled in PPRT-688 you will not be permitted to enroll in MAAT-558.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
Building Profit into Media Projects
This course familiarizes students with costing, pricing and estimating practices in print media, website development, mobile media, and social media. It highlights areas of similarity in these media but more importantly focuses on those practices and customs that are unique to a specific medium. The course provides the necessary background for developing accurate media proposals that become contractual legal obligations and result in sustained profitability. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-653; students may receive credit for MAAT-563 or PPRT-653, not both. (Students may not take and receive credit for MAAT-563 and PPRT-653. If you have earned credit for MAAT-563 or you are currently enrolled in PPRT-653 you will not be permitted to enroll in MAAT-563.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Digital Asset Management
This course will focus on the development and application of digital asset management strategies for cross media production workflows. Project work will include the development of asset management strategies and the utilization of both small business and enterprise-level digital asset management (DAM) tools and systems. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lab 2, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
3 years of math required
Chemistry or physics required
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in liberal arts, college math, physics and chemistry, business
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Transfer from associate degree programs considered on an individual basis
As part of its ongoing efforts to engage students with the latest printing industry developments, RIT's Department of Graphic Media Science and Technology (GMST) recently sponsored a series of four presentations to the college community on automation in printing. The event was held on March 22, 2021, and coordinated and hosted by Dr. Barbara Birkett, the Paul and Louise Miller Endowed Chair.
Intersections: The RIT Podcast, Ep. 37: Printing, a storied industry, continues to see an evolution. RIT alumnus Henry Freedman and Professors Robert Eller and Bruce Myers discuss the strength of the industry, the rise of inkjet printing and the role RIT plays in developing professionals who can take the printing industry to the next level.