Department of Public Policy


Public policy explores the intersection of policy, technology, society, and the natural world. Analysis of these intersections plays a critical role in being able to address the many environmental, social, economic, and technological challenges facing society today and in the future. The programs and coursework in the Department of Public Policy allow you to combine your interests in science, technology, government, economics, and other social science fields and obtain the skills and knowledge needed to analyze and, ultimately, advocate for policy change in government or private organizations.


times faculty were published or cited in the news (2012-2018)


students in the undergraduate program with double majors


faculty involved in National Science Foundation-funded research

Latest News

Alumni Outcomes

  • Director, Social Research Center, Public Policy Consultant,
  • American University Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Project Manager, Armenia Sustainable Energy Finance Project, International Finance Corporation
  • Consultant to World Bank on Energy Issues
  • Energy Sector Analyst, Dragon Capital, Ukraine
  • Project Manager, Energy Solutions, Oakland, CA
  • Ph.D. in Communications at the University at Buffalo
  • Information Technology Risk and Audit Management Associate, Royal Bank of Scotland, Stamford, CT
  • Fulbright Visiting Scientist – Mechanical Engineering, Energy Studies Institute – National University of Singapore
  • Spacecraft Vehicle Engineer, The Boeing Company, Washington, DC
  • Energy Efficiency Analyst, Integral Analytics, Cincinnati, OH
  • Program Manager, ENERGY STAR Appliance Program, U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency
  • Ph.D. University of California – Davis, Transportation Policy
  • Ed.D. Executive Leadership, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY
  • Associate Staff Member, Dynamis, Washington, DC
  • Program Analyst, Department of Veterans Affairs, Rochester, NY
  • Dockets Analyst, Bloomberg, Skillman, NJ
  • Assistant Director Research Relations, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Project Manager, Magna Powertrain, Troy, MI
  • Training & Support for Deaf in Developing Countries, The Nippon Foundation, Tokyo, Japan
  • Assistant Director, Public Safety Initiatives Center, City of Rochester & RIT Collaborative
  • Ph.D. Candidate in Energy and Environmental Policy at University of Delaware
  • Project HOPE Director, DEAF, Inc., Boston, MA
  • Researcher, Data Analyst, GIS Specialist, Energy & Environmental Research Associates
  • Senior Crime Research Specialist, Rochester Police Department
  • International Program Manager, Center for Energy & Resource Development, American University at Kosovo, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Program Coordinator, Huther-Doyle Memorial Institute, Rochester, NY
  • Ph.D., Water Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation Advisor, U. S. Department of State, Washington, DC
  • Research Assistant, United States Senate, Washington, DC

Undergraduate Programs

The undergraduate major provides you with the opportunity to integrate your interests in science, technology, government, economics, and other social science fields. Along with quantitative and qualitative training in policy analysis, you will take courses that deepen your understanding of the ethical, political, and social dimensions of policy issues. Through an interdisciplinary core and customizable concentration, you will develop strong policy analysis skills along with expertise in a chosen specialty area such as biotechnology policy, computer crime policy, energy policy, environmental policy, or information and telecommunications policy.

Explore the intersection of public policy, technology, and our natural world. The major provides students with an opportunity to integrate their interests in science, technology, government, economics, and other social science fields while analyzing policy in terms of complex, interconnected systems.

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Graduate Programs

Our innovative graduate program emphasizes analysis of engineering, science, and technology policy and draws on coursework from a variety of relevant disciplines. Building on RIT’s strength as a technological university, you’ll interact directly with faculty members and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations.

The MS degree in science, technology, and public policy enables students to work at the intersection of engineering, science, technology, and public policy. The program builds on RIT’s strengths as a technological university, enabling students to interact with faculty and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations. The public policy masters is interdisciplinary and draws significantly from disciplines and courses throughout RIT. It is geared toward producing graduates who will make significant contributions in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.

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Minors and Immersions

The environmental studies immersion is an examination of the basic environmental problems we face, how environmental resource depletion and energy issues are related, and what kind of environmental ethics and/or values we have today and have had in the past. The immersion also explores the economic, legislative, and regulatory framework within which most environmental decisions are made. Since most technological areas are associated with significant environmental implications, it is essential that students have an understanding of and a well-thought-out value orientation about such environmental consequences.

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With an emphasis on sustainability and holistic thinking, the environmental studies minor provides students with opportunities for the in-depth analysis of global and regional environmental issues, their causes, and their potential solutions. In particular, a required 500-level seminar serves as a capstone experience, helping students to integrate knowledge from several disciplinary perspectives, including socio-cultural, historical, political, economic, ethical, scientific, and/or technological factors. Having completed the minor, students will possess a high level of environmental literacy, an important component of many professional fields within the sciences, engineering, law, journalism, and public affairs.

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This immersion provides students with a clear understanding of public policy, the policy process, and policy analysis. Students have the opportunity to develop perspectives on a variety of contemporary public policy issues, especially those that emerge from scientific and technological advancements. Policy Analysis (PUBL-301) and Decision Analysis (PUBL-302) are offered especially for students who are considering the MS in public policy or who have an interest in analytical tools. 

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The public policy minor provides students with a foundation in the field of public policy and allows them to make connections between public policy and other fields of study. The minor underscores the role of public policy on science and technology-based problems. Students obtain a deeper understanding of public policy and the policy making process, how policy analysis impacts policymaking, and how public policies operate within a number of specific science or technological domains. 

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The science and technology studies immersion examines some of the major impacts of science and technology in the contemporary world. Special preference is given to American concerns. Students gain an overall appreciation of the social nature of science and technology as they have developed in the past, as they exist today, and as they may affect society in the future under various scenarios. Science and technology have become social systems in their own right and have made possible increasing freedom, a fantastic variety of choice, and, paradoxically, the growing interdependence of all segments of world society. A new level of public awareness and concern is crucial to understanding and dealing successfully with these consequences.

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This minor integrates the studies of human society, science, and technology in their social content and context. The minor bridges the humanities and social sciences to provide better understanding of the ways in which science, technology, and society are mutually interacting forces in our world. Students learn how to analyze the social institutions, the built environment, and their role in creating them. This minor enhances a student’s ability to contribute to the development of science and technology in ways that are historically, culturally, and ethically informed.

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Student Resources

Here you will find additional resources for the Department of Public Policy, such as dual degree programs, accelerated majors, and forms and policies.

See Resources for the Department of Public Policy