Programs of Study / Minors

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree have the option of completing a minor, which can complement a student’s major, help them develop another area of professional expertise, or enable them to pursue an area of personal interest. Completion of a minor is formally designated on the baccalaureate transcript, which serves to highlight this accomplishment to employers and graduate schools. In contrast to the optional minor, as part of their bachelor's degree requirements, students must complete an immersion—a concentration of three courses in a particular area. View full list of RIT minors and immersions.

Please note: A minor is a related set of academic courses consisting of no fewer than 15 credit hours. The following parameters must be met in order to earn a minor:

  • At least nine credit hours of the minor must consist of courses not required by the student’s home major.
  • Students may pursue multiple minors. A minimum of nine credit hours must be designated towards each minor; these courses may not be counted towards other minors.
  • The residency requirement for a minor is a minimum of nine credit hours consisting of RIT courses (excluding “X” graded courses).

Not all minors are approved to fulfill general education requirements. Please check with an adviser in regards to minors approved to fulfill these requirements.

The advertising and public relations minor prepares students to analyze audiences, write advertising copy, prepare press releases, select media, and manage broad-scaled persuasive campaigns. Students are grounded in the basic theories of persuasive communication enabling them to create persuasive messages with a strong emphasis on ethical decision-making.

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This minor provides students with an opportunity to study the American arts in a variety of disciplines, including painting, architecture, film, photography, music, theatre, and the mass media. Courses present American art within the context of the broader current of American life, including its history, philosophy, social, and cultural traditions.

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The purpose of the American politics minor is to study the basic principles and institutions of the American political order and their implications for current political practice. The strengths and limitations of American constitutionalism are emphasized throughout and contemporary political and policy questions facing the country are examined.

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The American Sign Language and deaf cultural studies minor prepares students in the multidisciplinary study of American Sign Language and deaf culture. The minor is open to hearing and deaf students enrolled in all bachelor's degree programs. Courses in the minor address topics in the field of ASL and DCS including the study of ASL and its structure, ASL literature, literature in English pertaining to the D/deaf experience, the history of D/deaf people in America and around the world, Deaf art and cinema, the experience of D/deaf people from racial, ethnic, and other minority groups, oppression in the lives D/deaf people, and various political, legal, and educational issues affecting members of the D/deaf community. The minor complements majors in fields such as business, imaging arts and sciences, health sciences, policy studies, professional and technical communication, psychology, and numerous scientific and technical fields.

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The minor in anthropology and sociology offers disciplinary insights on understanding human social life, both from local and global perspectives. Through anthropology we discover and appreciate the diversity of other cultural systems on a global scale. Through sociology we discover how our own lives are influenced by social relationships around us. Careful selection of courses provides insights into a wide range of topics such as human history and prehistory through archaeology, gender and sexuality, race, ethnicity, social class, inequality, health, urban life and cities, cultural images and mass media, war and violence, social movements, social and cultural change, and globalization.

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Archaeology is the study of the human past, principally by means of the physical residue of past human behavior. Archaeological science is the application of techniques from the physical sciences to research problems in archaeology and related disciplines. Over the past six decades archaeological science has provided powerful tools for understanding the past, ranging from absolute dating to bone chemistry. It has become an established sub-field within the discipline of archaeology, which itself has grown during the same period from a discipline largely focused on cultural history (the use of artifacts to reconstruct regional cultural sequences) and the validation of documentary history to the explanation of the processes of cultural change in the past.

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The interdisciplinary minor in black studies examines the social construction of racial differences and its relation to the perpetuation of racism and racial domination. A key component of this minor is an investigation of the meanings and dimensions of blackness that reverberate from slavery and colonialism to the persistent political, social, and cultural implications in the 21st century. The minor emphasizes how blackness intersects with other ethnic identities and how it is shaped by gender, sexuality, and economic inequities. The aim is to refine and advance students’ knowledge of black life-worlds and experiences across the globe.

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The communication minor offers students a foundation in human communication theories, research, and skills. Students select courses in mass media analysis, communication in professional and organizational contexts, communication skills, and critical reflection of and on communication in society.

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The series of courses in the creative writing minor offers students a practical, theoretical, and historical understanding of the art and craft of writing nonfiction and fiction prose and poetry, as well as experimenting in digital storytelling and interactive media. The minor encourages students to use those skills and insights for interdisciplinary projects and the enrichment of their careers and personal lives.

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The criminal justice minor provides a foundation in the formal process of social control through the criminal justice system, how behavior is defined as criminal, how crime is measured, and how society responds to crime.

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The courses in the digital literatures and comparative media minor challenge students to think about how the digital in new comparative media affects the way we read, study, and understand literature: What happens to literature and the literary in an age of digital technology and new forms of media? Courses examine a varied collection of print genres and electronic literature in order to understand the current state of this new literary field and its relation to traditional concepts of literary study. The minor provides an entry point into investigating particular aspects of the general category of the digital and its comparative relation to the literary.

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An economics minor provides a systematic analysis of economic issues through the study of the allocation of scarce resources into production and the distribution of production among the members of society.

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The English minor allows students to explore literature and other cultural works, as well as linguistics, and creative writing. The minor familiarizes students with works composed or translated into English and provides them with the opportunity to explore a variety of historical periods and geographical regions. Courses in the minor explore literary genres such as science fiction and fantasy; literary forms such as the novel, the short story, poetry, and graphic storytelling; and literary practices across media and multimedia arts. The minor builds an awareness of methods, theories and technologies for both the creation and analysis of literary texts, and provides an introduction to critical or creative writing.

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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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The ethics minor provides students with the ability to recognize ethical issues and to think critically to resolve them, both generally and within their chosen discipline. Students also learn how ethical problems can result from complex social structures and how changing structural features may avoid ethical problems. Three courses in philosophy are required plus two electives from the approved list, at least one of which must be outside philosophy. Only one 100-level course may be counted as part of the minor.

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Film studies explores the role of cinema in our contemporary global culture. Using methodologies and perspectives from a variety of disciplines, such as English, anthropology, philosophy, fine arts/visual culture, political science, history, and modern languages, the film studies minor investigates cinema’s mass appeal as a form of entertainment, but also the power it wields as a disseminator of ideas, history, values, aesthetics, behavior, and cultural norms.

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The impact of global change is dramatic and far-reaching, altering the dynamics of everyday life on a planetary scale. The minor in globalization provides students with the opportunity to think creatively about a range of globalizing processes, theories, and practices (in cultural, political, social, biomedical, economic, and artistic contexts). Courses investigate issues pertinent to the phenomenon of globalization, including cultural exchange; multicultural communities; global governance; information transfer; and social, environmental, health, and labor issues. Accelerated by communication technologies, globalization redefines how individuals and communities experience and view the world.

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All societies have some cultural ideas and belief systems about health and wellness. Culture shapes our understanding of bodily processes. Because of the significant influence of culture on perceptions and experiences of health and wellness, this minor thematizes the shifting cultural configurations of health in a globalizing world. Culturally grounded health and illness concepts, including notions about bodily integrity or emotional well-being, cultural models of illness causation and diagnostic practices, and the experiences, expressions, and treatments of human ailments unfold in concrete socio-cultural contexts. The courses in this minor provide an enhanced cultural understanding about health experiences in different parts of the world.

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The health communication minor provides students with theoretical and applied knowledge about communication’s role in health care delivery, doctor-patient communication, health campaigns and public health, and other areas related to the dissemination of health information. This collaborative minor is designed for students interested in health care fields or health and risk communication.

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The history minor provides students with a foundation in the academic study of history. It serves as a complement to any professional degree, as historical study at the college level hones the skills that are important to any well-trained professional: namely, effective writing, critical analysis, engaged reading, and logical thinking. Students are free to shape the history minor to their liking, by choosing the geographic areas of historical study of most interest to them, such as American, European, or Asian, or by choosing the historical topic of most interest to them, such as transnational history, comparative history, war, business, race, or gender.

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The international relations minor helps students to make sense of the world through exploring ideas that have shaped it. Students explore the thoughts of various thinkers and approaches to international relations and use these perspectives to understand key themes in world politics. Important topics include democratization, globalization, terrorism, war and peace, human rights, and international law. Students reflect upon the interplay between domestic and international politics and how changes in the world order affect the internal politics of various countries.

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The journalism minor provides students with a foundation in the professional study and practice of journalism. Courses offer a broad perspective that includes historical, legal, and ethical issues of specific concern to journalism, as well as learning and practice writing in a journalistic style for delivery across multiple media platforms.

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The language science minor prepares students for the study and analysis of human language. The minor is directly applicable to students interested in computing and media, human-computer interaction, brain and cognition, language acquisition, human health, interpreting, relevant branches of engineering, and policy studies. Students can complete the minor requirements irrespective of their skills in languages other than English. Electives allow students to customize the minor to their interests and needs, with the support of a faculty adviser. The minor is an excellent complement to majors such as computer science, game design, information technology, psychology, sign language interpreting, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, science, or a foreign language.

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The Latino/Latina/Latin American studies minor provides at least two full years of instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor's five courses foster cultural, or linguistic and cultural, proficiency. Part of the minor requirements may be taken abroad.

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Recognizing the critical role that law plays in societies, the minor in legal studies provides students with courses that deepen and expand their understanding of law as practiced, especially its influence on social, political, and economic institutions.

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad.

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad.

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad.

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad. 

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The museum studies minor provides students with a foundation in the history and practice of the museum as an institution and in the history, theory, and practice of collecting, exhibiting, and preserving the cultural heritage that defines the purpose and function of the museum. Courses cover a wide range of topics that are relevant to contemporary museology: the history of museums and collecting, the technical study of art and materials, the history and theory of exhibitions, interactive design, public history, the rise of the museum profession, legal and ethical concerns, and conservation.

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The music and technology minor includes courses in music theory, music history, contemporary and historical musical instrument technology, acoustics, audio engineering, music for media, and music performance. This minor provides students with an avenue to integrate their technological interests and skills with music.

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The music performance minor combines courses in music theory, music history, and world music with practical application through ensemble participation and applied music study. This combination of the academic and the practical offers students a more profound understanding of the art of music, and in a broader sense, an introduction to cultural development and the communication of ideas. A total of 15 credit hours from the suggested list of courses must be earned for the minor, with three credits in music theory and three credits from ensemble participation, required. Students can substitute 3 credits of Applied Music for three credits of ensemble, upon approval from Performing and Visual Arts department.

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The philosophy minor provides students with the critical skill of philosophical analysis while they take courses on a wide variety of issues central to everyone’s existence. Students get a solid grasp of the major philosophers, movements, and topics of philosophical debate that continue to shape our lives and how we act.

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The political science minor emphasizes the interdependence of domestic politics and international relations in the age of globalization. The minor brings together components of American politics, international relations, and comparative politics to provide students with both national and global perspectives on politics. Perhaps most important, the political science minor seeks to help students make sense of the increasingly complicated political environment that confronts them in their role as citizens. 

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The minor in psychology provides the opportunity for students to take courses comprising the study of behavior. Students may select from among a variety of courses, which enables students to customize their minor while getting wide exposure to important concepts, issues, methods, and theories in psychology. 

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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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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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The theatre arts minor provides an iterative balance of theory and practice that engages students intellectually and creatively. This combination of critical thinking and experiential learning offers students an in-depth understanding of the art of theater, as well as an introduction to the role of theater as both a form of commentary on, and as a reflection of, society and culture. The minor includes student participation in a minimum of three department sponsored theater productions via Theater Ensemble (FNRT-230) and Dramatic Theory and Text Analysis (FNRT-207).

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Visual culture explores the role of visual media in everyday life and its critical function in the dissemination of ideas in the public sphere. Emphasizing comparative critical approaches to the convergence of art, popular media, science, and technology, the minor engages globalized visual media ranging from photography, television and film, to new media (the web, digital imaging, and social networks), architecture, design, and art (painting, sculpture, and multimedia forms) in the context of such social arenas, as art, news, science, advertising, and popular culture.

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The women’s and gender studies minor provides a critical framework to explore the significance of gender—as it intersects with racial, ethnic, religious, national, class, sexuality, and disability-based identities, past and present. Course builds knowledge about the personal, social, cultural, economic, and historical dynamics that inform gender and intersecting social categories. The minor builds fluency with critical analysis and knowledge-building methods drawn from women's and gender studies, feminist theories, critical race studies, queer studies, social justice work, and activism. The minor also provides valuable skills and experience applying these different lenses to real-world interactions with diverse individuals and communities to current social challenges that impact multiple parties, and with an eye to improving equity and fair outcomes for everyone concerned. Students will learn how to analyze and question power relations in all their rich complexities, locally, and globally.

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Discontinued Minors

Digital technologies are changing all aspects of how we read and analyze texts and how we access and conceptualize information. Through this minor, students read and analyze traditional texts produced in print, and non-traditional texts created specifically for online environments (e.g., electronic poetry, games, social media). This minor provides an entry point into investigating particular aspects of the digital and its relation to the literary. The minor examines the cultural and social impact of new technologies and offers students access to these technologies for application to new questions for study and new methods of creation.

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The global literatures and cultures minor offers a rich variety of courses for students curious about global literatures and the different forms they take across cultures, from epic poetry to contemporary film. Students examine aspects of globalization and the human condition through multiple cultural lenses, better preparing them for the complex global workplace of the 21st century. Given the diverse, international backgrounds of our faculty, students learn how literary imaginations of all types are transmitted across historical epochs and national boundaries using a range of old and new material technologies.

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This minor focuses on the interplay between urban issues and urban policy. Every metropolitan area must address such enduring issues as poverty, housing, homelessness, transportation, education, crime, safety, recreation, and economic development. Each urban community must do so with an understanding of its unique social mix and neighborhood relations, and with recognition of its place in wider regional, national, and global networks. Students identify and analyze central issues and social problems of urbanization and explore and assess various ways decision-makers respond to these issues. This minor is closed to students majoring in sociology and anthropology who have chosen the urban studies track.

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