Applied Arts and Sciences Associate in Applied Science Degree

Customize your education with an AAS program in Applied Arts and Sciences. Tailor your learning journey.


Outcome Rate for Program Graduates


Up to 40% Higher Salary


Median First-Year Salary of Graduates



Overview for Applied Arts and Sciences AAS

Jobs that require multidisciplinary, hybrid skills sets not traditionally associated with one occupation are growing at twice the rate of the overall job market, are higher paying than their more specialized counterparts, and are immune to the threat of automation.

RIT's online associate of science in applied arts and sciences is a customizable degree for students who would like to combine different disciplines or topic areas tailored to their career goals and interests. This program is also ideal for students who may have prior college learning or would like to change or expand their areas of expertise. In this program, you will work closely with an advisor to design your plan of study, all tailored around your career aspirations and goals.

While this associate degree is a stand-alone credential valued by employers, the course work may also be applied to RIT’s individualized program bachelor’s degree.

Applied Arts and Sciences Degree: Online or On-Campus

The applied arts and sciences AAS degrees offers you an opportunity to create an individualized undergraduate program of study. The degree requires you to complete at least 60 credit hours of course work comprised of general education courses along with course work in one or two professional concentration area. Each concentration is customized by you, with guidance and advice from your academic adviser, and crafted from courses that provide you with expertise in specific areas of study. Courses may be chosen from throughout RIT's nine colleges and from nearly all of our degree programs. A sampling of concentration areas include:

  • Business Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Graphics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Health Systems Administration
  • Leadership
  • Literature
  • Organizational Change and Leadership
  • Project Management
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Technical Communications
  • Web Design and Development
  • Women and Gender Studies

The applied arts and science degree may be completed on campus, online, or by combining on-campus and online course work.

This program is offered on-campus or online.

Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Applied Arts and Sciences AAS

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Applied Arts and Science, AAS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Individualized Study Seminar
The required gateway course for students enrolled in the School of Individualized Study. Course provides an opportunity for students to explore the nature and function of academic disciplines. Students will have opportunities to develop and refine their transversal, transferrable, and 21st century skill sets and their relationship to traditional curriculum and experiential learning. (APPLAS-BS, APPLAS-AAS) Lecture 1 (Fall or Spring).
 First Year Writing: FYW: Writing Seminar (WI) (General Education)
Writing Seminar is a three-credit course limited to 19 students per section. The course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical and rhetorical reading and writing, and critical thinking. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of non-fiction texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. These texts are designed to challenge students intellectually and to stimulate their writing for a variety of contexts and purposes. Through inquiry-based assignment sequences, students will develop academic research and literacy practices that will be further strengthened throughout their academic careers. Particular attention will be given to the writing process, including an emphasis on teacher-student conferencing, critical self-assessment, class discussion, peer review, formal and informal writing, research, and revision. Small class size promotes frequent student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic integrity for both current academic and future professional writing. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education - Artistic Perspective
General Education- Social Perspective
Open Electives
Professional Concentration Courses
Second Year
Paradigms & Worldviews (General Education)
This course examines how different paradigms and worldviews have shaped our understanding of the world and life, from antiquity to the present. This course is exploratory in nature. In other words, we will question who we are, how we fit into the world, and what ideas seem to define the world in which we live. How have different cultures, nations, and regions viewed the world differently? What are scientific paradigms? What is the Postmodern or the Posthuman? How can a cosmopolitan society reconcile different attitudes and belief systems? What happens when disparate worldviews or conceptual schemes collide or are threatened with cultural, economic, or political devastation? How should the individual relate to society? How should they relate to the environment? How have artists and writers addressed such questions? We will examine how these concepts have evolved in the modern era, especially, and how paradigms and worldviews have differed across the globe. Key authors and readings from the fields of cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, intellectual history, history of science, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and/or history of art will be discussed. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Individuals & Society (General Education)
This course examines how to understand the individual’s role and ethical responsibilities in civil society, the economy, and the globe. The course is exploratory, collaborative, and participatory. The course will involve reading, discussion, and reflection on notable texts about individualism from antiquity to the present, as well as discussion sessions with notable individuals in our community. In consultation with the faculty instructor, students will develop a research and action plan based on their own sense of individuality. Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education- Ethical Perspective
General Education- Global Perspective
General Education - Social Perspective
Professional Concentration Courses
Total Semester Credit Hours

Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing associate degrees are required to complete one Wellness course.

Note for online students

The frequency of required and elective course offerings in the online program will vary, semester by semester, and will not always match the information presented here. Online students are advised to seek guidance from the listed program contact when developing their individual program course schedule.

Admissions and Financial Aid

First-Year Admissions

This degree offers students the opportunity to create individualized undergraduate programs of technical and professional study. Applicants should speak directly to a first-year admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

Transfer Admissions

This program offers students the opportunity to create individualized undergraduate programs of technical and professional study through its applied arts and science program. The applied arts and science program is particularly appropriate for individuals who have prior college-level learning, are interested in changing majors, have unique ideas about how they want to design their academic areas of study, or want to prepare themselves for a career that requires skills and expertise from several disciplines. Applicants should speak directly to a transfer admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

Learn How to Apply

Financial Aid and Scholarships

100% of all incoming first-year and transfer students receive aid.

RIT’s personalized and comprehensive financial aid program includes scholarships, grants, loans, and campus employment programs. When all these are put to work, your actual cost may be much lower than the published estimated cost of attendance.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships

Additional Information

Online Study Restrictions for Some International Students

Certain countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes under US Export Controls, which prohibit virtually ALL exports, imports, and other transactions without a license or other US Government authorization. Learners from the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria may not register for RIT online courses. Nor may individuals on the United States Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the United States Commerce Department’s table of Deny Orders. By registering for RIT online courses, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list.

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