Technology has become a major driver, perhaps the most important driver, of social, political and economic change. It follows then that scientists and engineers will increasingly shape the direction of those changes, and it is important that scientists understand how their future actions directly and indirectly affect all of our lives.

Just as scientists have an important role in shaping public policy, scientific activities, careers, and the profession itself are greatly influenced by public policy choices. Moreover, policies affecting how we as a society live and work—such as environmental policy, industrial policy, energy policy, and national security policy, to name a few—demand that scientists be prepared to integrate policy questions into their research.

Yet the vast majority of scientists have little knowledge of public policy, and most policymakers have little firsthand knowledge about the many technologically-steeped decisions they make. 

The Physics BS + Science, Technology, and Public Policy MS program is an integrated dual degree program where qualified students begin taking MS courses in their fourth year (or earlier). A total of 151 credit hours are required. Students should typically apply to the BS/MS degree program in their second year or later.

Rochester Institute of Technology College of Science

The BS Physics degree is a 124 credit hour, four-year degree. The MS Science, Technology, and Public Policy degree is a 30 credit hour, 1-2 year degree. In the BS/MS program, students begin taking MS courses in their fourth year (or earlier) for a total of 151 credit hours are required.

Students who complete this BS/MS will be highly sought after by many public and private sector organizations. For example, government agencies that employ scientists, or interface with them, will find our BS/MS students adept at both the world of the scientist and the world of the policy analyst. Companies will also find our BS/MS students desirable, as these students will be able “bridge the gap” between the science and policy worlds. These students will be able to understand how policies can be developed that will lead to new scientific advances and new markets for goods and services. Lastly, our BS/MS students will be uniquely prepared for careers in law school, business school, or advanced graduate training. 

At the end of their second year in the Physics BS program, students who wish to enter the BS/MS program must notify their advisor of their interest.