RIT’s Computing College Offering Three New Master of Science Degrees

The B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, the most comprehensive computing college in the nation, is offering three new specialized master of science degrees in its efforts to meet the demands of the evolving computing industry. New York state recently approved degree programs in game design and development, networking and systems administration, and software engineering. RIT’s M.S. in software engineering is the only one in New York state. With the addition of these master’s programs, the Golisano College now offers eight master’s degrees, a Ph.D., and six undergraduate degrees.

Game Design and Development

The game design and development master’s degree will accept up to 30 students a year. “What sets this master’s degree apart from other gaming programs offered is its focus on the development and process of games in addition to their design,” says Andrew Phelps, director of game design and development in the Golisano College.

Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio. Matriculated students will take a series of core courses in such areas as business, law, electronic entertainment and history of games. Majors will be offered in game engine development and artificial intelligence for games. Students will also declare a minor in either art, design, or an area of computing that relates to gaming.

For the past several years, the Golisano College has offered a gaming concentration at the undergraduate and graduate levels for information technology, computer science and software engineering students. The M.S. degree will allow RIT undergraduates to take courses at the upper level and offer graduate students a more in-depth experience.

“We wanted to take a student’s undergraduate skills and integrate them into building games,” says Phelps. “Some of our alumni already work at the top-tier developers within the commercial game space including Electronic Arts, Microsoft Game Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment of America and Linden Labs. This degree program will allow them and other game developers to further their education.”

Chris Cascioli earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology from RIT and is currently pursuing the gaming master’s degree.

“The degree ends with a capstone project involving fellow game design and development master’s level students, where we create our own game using what we’ve learned,” says Cascioli. “Because each student may have chosen a different major and minor, we will each have our own areas of specialty to bring to the project.”

Networking and Systems Administration

The Golisano College also launched a master’s degree in networking and systems administration this fall. Students can pursue the degree online, on campus, part-time or full-time.

“It’s very specialized and targets people who want to study the organizational and technological issues involved in enterprise scale networks such as emerging network technologies, network design and performance and network processing,” says Luther Troell, chair of the networking, security and systems administration department in the Golisano College.

The master’s degree was developed primarily for RIT undergraduates who have earned degrees in applied networking and systems administration. The program will also accommodate graduates from other disciplines, providing them with a sequence of bridge courses. All upper-level students will take a series of core courses, including ones in project management and organizational behavior from RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.

“In any corporation, networking system administrators work closely with employees in business management, so it’s vital that our graduates understand how businesses operate,” says Troell. “With this advanced degree, they will be prepared to take on technological leadership roles in any organization dealing with emerging network technologies.”

Software Engineering

Starting in fall 2007, RIT will roll out a master’s degree in software engineering. RIT was the first university in the country to offer an undergraduate program in software engineering.

“Team projects are a key part of the undergraduate curriculum,” says J. Fernando Naveda, chair of the software engineering department in the Golisano College. “We’ve designed the master’s program to also be project centric. Few universities in the nation offer project-centric experience at the software engineering master’s level.”

Students will take courses in which they will learn theory, or register in a practicum course, where they will join a team-based ongoing software development project. The master’s candidates will be required to complete three of these practicums. Based on their experience, academic background and career objectives, students will play a different role each time they register in a practicum course.

Students will be able to tailor their master’s degree, choosing to pursue either a track in software quality or software design. They will also take three elective courses outside of the software engineering field, selecting an area of interest that will best suit their career goals.

“A master’s program that hits on software quality and design is prime for the job environment,” says Naveda. “We know there is a market for this degree because we’ve received numerous inquiries from people in industry. With so many corporations downsizing, skilled workers are looking to retrain themselves in other areas.”

For more information about RIT’s Golisano College degree programs call (585) 475-7203 or visit www.gccis.rit.edu.

NOTE: RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, the largest comprehensive computing college in the nation, was created in 2001 with a gift from B. Thomas Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc.

The Golisano College offers a Ph.D. program in computing and information sciences. At the graduate level, programs are offered in computer science, information technology, software development and management, computer security and information assurance, learning and knowledge management systems, networking and systems administration, game design and development, and software engineering. At the undergraduate level, degree programs are offered in computer science, information technology, applied network and systems administration, software engineering, new media and medical informatics.

Founded in 1829, RIT is internationally recognized as a leader in computing, engineering, imaging technology, fine and applied arts, and education for the deaf. RIT enrolls more than 15,500 students in more than 340 undergraduate and graduate programs.

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