Service Leadership and Innovation MS

Program Highlights

Design of service permeates every aspect of organizations today. The master of science in service leadership and innovation degree provides graduates with the capability to transform their service organizations through the application and design of management fundamentals to guide and grow their organizations. 

All students will take six required courses and nine credits of electives. All students must complete one of three culminating experiences:  

  • Thesis plus Principles of Research Communications 
  • Capstone project plus Principles of Research Communications 
  • Comprehensive exam plus one elective and Service Design Implementation 

Curriculum packed with high-demand skills

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Creativity and Innovation

Demand for design thinking skills is growing 112%.

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Demand for quality assurance and control is growing 39%.

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Salary Premium

Demand for onboarding skills is growing 56% and carries a salary premium in the employment market.

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Demand for customer experience improvement skills is growing 25%.


Credits 3
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
Credits 3
Service design is a holistic design process. It uses skills from a variety of disciplines (design, management and process engineering) to develop models to create new services or to improve existing services in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The emphasis of the process is to provide value to the customer; as a service differentiator or create unique experiences for the customer. Service design uses methods and tools from a variety of disciplines to assist with the analysis and creation of enhanced systems. These tools include; mapping, blueprinting, analysis of customer behavior, market analysis, service marketing, and service recovery. The outcome of this course is to provide students with the fundamentals of service design thinking to allow them to lead the efforts of systematic design in a variety of disciplines.
Credits 3
This is an introductory-level survey course on the dynamics of innovation. The course focuses on individual, team and organization-human and systems dynamics that impact organizational innovation. Students gain awareness in, understanding of and important skills in fostering multi-level organizational human ecologies conducive to the creation of innovation. Issues and challenges important to leaders at all levels in an organization, entrepreneurs and talent management practitioners will be examined and explored. There is a required fee for the class to pay for the administration of the ISPI and Meyers Briggs evaluation instruments. Students will develop in their understanding of innovation, their own personal innovation capabilities, preferences, and the human dynamics unique to innovation applied in an organizational context. This background is becoming increasingly critical to developing innovation capabilities in and across organizations in our increasingly competitive and complex world. This course will build awareness and improve competency in the application of overall course content and design principles particular to developing innovation-competent individuals, teams, and organizations.
Credits 3
The service world has many examples of once-successful companies that failed to accomplish the primary goal of every organization: consistently design, deliver value to customers and other key stakeholder groups in a highly competitive and ever-changing service environment. Today’s organizational leaders must be able to develop and implement strategies that ensure the continued competitiveness of their organizations, and identify and leverage opportunities for growth and innovation brought about by change. Firmly grounded in the fundamentals of strategy development this course prepares students to create and sustain competitive advantage; and to apply key foresight techniques including scenario planning to anticipate future opportunities.
Credits 3
Analytics in service organizations is based on four phases: analysis and determination of what data to collect, gathering the data, analyzing it, and communicating the findings to others. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of analytics to develop a measurement strategy for a given area of research and analysis. While this measurement process is used to ensure that operations function well and customer needs are met; the real power of measurement lies in using analytics predicatively to drive growth and service, to transform the organization and the value delivered to customers. Topics include big data, the role of measurement in growth and innovation, methodologies to measure quality, and other intangibles.
Credits 3
Achieving competitive advantage in today’s world demands that organizations know how to innovate, and do so not once, but repeatedly. Creativity, rapid learning through continuous improvement, and the ability to turn ideas into action, products, processes and services are crucial. How do leaders foster and sustain a culture of innovation? What unique competencies and skills do you need as a leader and what skills do your teams need? How is managing an innovation team different than managing other kinds of teams within an organization? Through this course, service leadership students will leverage and build on their growing knowledge about innovation, the individual and group skills required for innovating gained in SERQ-712. Students will gain deeper insights into innovation leadership requirements for creating, managing and curating a thriving environment in which cutting edge ideas are encouraged, born and grown. Open to students in the service leadership and innovation MS program and non-majors on a space available basis with department permission.
Elective Courses
Credits 9
Comprehensive Exam, Thesis or Capstone Completion Strategies
Credits 6


Credits 3
Managing public and private sector projects is a complex, demanding process involving ethical considerations, leadership, the ability to understand complex rules and regulations, the politics of the administration and the vagaries of the budget process. This conceptual framework will address planning, selection of team members, contracts and agreements, monitoring and adjusting the project progress and completion of the project through turnkey stages. The end result of this process is to contribute to establishment of trust of the stakeholders, minimize failure and maximize success.
Credits 3
The service sector encompasses a large and varied arena making the assessment of service quality challenging. This course will provide quality evaluation strategies which span a variety of service sectors. To build a comprehensive picture of public and private sector quality service indicators will be reviewed as well as strategies to assess service quality. Each of these approaches will be analyzed, discussed and evaluated for the output generated. To assist with this overview, the Serve/Qual model, including the identification of service standards to meet and exceed customer expectations, will be used to evaluate service quality.
Credits 3
To gather and analyze public/private service sector information to inform decisions is the goal of every public/private sector administration. Data can drive success of governments and organizations or lead to their downfall. This course will explore data mining used in the public/private sector, how to gather it and utilize the results of the data collections to inform decisions that reflect the needs and desires of the stakeholders in this sector.
Credits 3
A leader for a not-for-profit organization, whether private enterprises or government, requires an orientation for leadership based on a mission to achieve stability, growth and consumer satisfaction with outcomes. This course will deal with the realities of leadership in a not-for profit organization and how leadership skills are applied in this environment. The course will explore the nuances for collaboration and networking as a leadership strategy as well as achieving clarity in the mission, vision and goals of the organization. The unique aspects of leadership in this environment will be discussed as well as the role of stakeholders, whether they are board members or those in government charged with overseeing the use of public resources.
Credits 3
Service interactions are an increasing segment of human interactions in today’s society. This course will examine service relationships, encounters and experiences from the perspective of human motivation and relating existing theories of social psychology to the delivery of services. An analysis of the interactions of customers and employees will help the student restrain their use of intuition and overlay critical thinking skills with human dynamics. The areas to be included in this course include; emotional intelligence, reciprocity, persuasion, conflict and communication, motivation, diversity, retention, and other related theories.
Credits 3
The Customer Centricity course develops the learners ability to help their organization manage its interactions with its valued customers across multiple channels, maximize revenue opportunities, build foundations to increase customer satisfaction, and drive customer retention and loyalty.
Credits 3
Internally driven service businesses have been the norm for many years, at best, customer-compelled companies understand the value of co-creation and customer centricity. In this course, students research and select design theories and customer centric processes to construct a customer co-created service system/process. This future-oriented approach allows the learner to apply foundation principles of service design and innovation to invent strategies to resolve customer problems.

Completion Options

Credits 3
Credits 3
Credits 3

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher preferred
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Submit a current resume, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation
  • Submit a writing sample designated by the department.
  • A test of English Language aptitude (TOEFL) is required of all applicants and course registrants whose native language is not English. Applicants are exempt from submitting exams if they have worked or studied in the U.S. for the last two years or they are from countries and attended universities whose native language is English. 


The online MS in Service Leadership and Innovation requires 33 credits and costs $1,191 per credit hour (Academic Year 2020 – 2021). This tuition reflects the RIT Online discount of 43% off the campus-based program cost. 

Keep in mind that there are many options available that may help you lower your costs including: 

  • Military tuition benefits
  • Support from employers 
  • Private scholarships 
  • Financing 
  • Payment plans 

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