In this graphic communication major, you'll become a highly-skilled communication professional who will create robust marketing materials for the communication, publishing, and packaging graphics industries.
Graphic communications–including advertising, publications, packaging, and signage delivered through print and digital communications, package, and so much more–represents a vibrant industry that is ideal if you are interested in applied technology with a creative flair.
Brand owners, marketers, and content creators need to reach audiences to effectively communicate their information and messages. RIT’s print and graphic media technology degree prepares you to manage content from concept through distribution across multiple platforms, including print, web, mobile, and social media. You'll develop a breadth of cross-channel graphic media production skills, preparing you for leadership roles in a range of industries that rely on graphic communications. You will learn skills in computer graphics, color science, imaging, and business that will prepare you for success in these dynamic and robust industries.
Graphic Communications, Packaging Graphics, Digital Media, and So Much More
Print and graphic media technology is a unique major. It reflects the convergence of media technologies that allow content to be created, formatted, stored, and shared as digital assets, printed material, and various forms of interactive digital media. This approach enables you to build skills not only in traditional publishing but also in database management, new media production, networking, and mobile communications. You will gain flexibility in producing content across multiple types of traditional and digital media.
The major also allows you to explore other areas of study, including advertising and media strategy, contemporary publishing, content management, digital imaging and pre-media, print production, print quality, and 3D computer graphics.
As part of the curriculum, you will complete in two cooperative education experiences, where you will gain hands-on experience in the graphics, packaging, and publishing industries. These full-time, paid work experiences prepare you to work with photographers, graphic designers, advertisers, content creators, and publishers to create cross-media communications that inform, entertain, and persuade. Graduates of this graphic communications major have are employed in advertising production, digital imaging, print production, content creation, and web design and development.
Accelerated 4+1 MBA
An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degrees can help you prepare for your future faster by enabling you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study.
Act Sooner. Know Earlier.
Apply Early Decision by Jan. 1 to get an admissions and financial aid decision by mid-January.
What’s different about an RIT education? It’s the career experience you gain by completing cooperative education and internships with top companies in every single industry. You’ll earn more than a degree. You’ll gain real-world career experience that sets you apart. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries.
Co-ops and internships take your knowledge and turn it into know-how. Your engineering co-ops will provide hands-on experience that enables you to apply your engineering knowledge in professional settings while you make valuable connections between classwork and real-world applications.
Students in the print and graphic media technology degree are required to complete two cooperative education experiences.
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Nhung Paige Pham
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Curriculum Note: Along with an updated title, the program's curriculum (which goes into effect fall 2023) was redesigned to provide students with a deeper understanding of print and graphic production techniques and technologies. Several new courses have been developed under the guidance of our industrial advisory partners to enhance students' skills and knowledge in the areas of imaging, automation, production, and business practices. Further, breadth of learning has been introduced through the addition of core requirements in quality, supply chain logistics, and various technology-focused packaging, print and graphic topics.
Print and Graphic Media Technology, BS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Cross Media Foundations
This course introduces students to the graphic media industry by studying its history, culture, technologies, markets and workers. The course provides an orientation to production concepts, working environments, hardware and software tools, languages, working standards and cultures of the industry. Lab 3 (Fall, Spring).
Typography and Page Design
The course provides an introduction to the theoretical and practical foundations of typography and page design. Students study the history, aesthetics, and technology of typography, and current methods of page composition. Projects include design and production methods, using current software tools and fonts for typography in print and monitor display. Students will apply their acquired knowledge to make informed decisions in the practice of typography and page composition. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lab 2 (Spring).
This survey course introduces students to the technologies of print production, with a focus on the materials and processes used in conventional, digital, and functional printing methods. Hands-on lab experiences expose students to the underlying concepts while imparting knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the various methods. Quality, efficiency, economics, and sustainability are addressed. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Spring).
Webpage Production I
Students in this course will plan and implement publishing projects with a focus on usability, accessibility, and information design for the World Wide Web. Application of standard Web protocols such as HTML and CSS will be applied in the context of Web publishing as a part of a cross-media production strategy. (This course is restricted to students in the NMEP-BS or JOURNAL-BS programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Webpage Production II
In this advanced course, students will apply concepts and skills from previous study to determine optimal strategies for the development, deployment and evaluation of complex websites. Through a blend of research and practical application, students will evaluate and apply a range of methodologies for Web publishing. (Prerequisite: MAAT-271 or ISTE-105 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: College Algebra
This course provides the background for an introductory level, non-trigonometry based calculus course. The topics include a review of the fundamentals of algebra: solutions of linear, fractional, and quadratic equations, functions and their graphs, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational functions, and systems of linear equations. (Prerequisites: Students may not take and receive credit for MATH-101 and MATH-111. See the Math department with any questions.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – First Year Writing: FYW (WI)
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Artistic Perspective
General Education – Electives
This course provides students with a venue for preparing for job searches and subsequent employment. Students learn how to access the RIT job search database, to prepare cover letters and resumes, to make efficient use of career fairs, and to participate in effective interviews through a mock interview process. (This course is restricted to students in the NMEP-BS program.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
This course covers skills and competencies necessary to create, manage and edit digital images. Students work with digital hardware, software, and learn relevant terminology. Various processes of image reproduction from acquisition to manipulation, and output of optimized files are addressed. Lab 2 (Fall).
This course focuses on planning and producing cross-media projects. Students gain hands-on experience with all phases of production through a series of print and new media projects. Concepts of content and production management are applied with an emphasis on creating quality outcomes that are delivered on-budget and on-time. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 4 (Spring).
Database publishing is centered on personalized graphic communications: this entails customizing graphic messaging for individuals and specifically targeted audiences. The requisite competencies for database publishing, including managing and accessing databases and integrating digital assets for distribution using electronic and digitally-printed methods, form the core of this course. Learners work with the fundamental design elements of databases constructed for activities that support graphic communication processes. Topics include best practices for building, optimizing, and maintaining databases comprised of recipient information and the merging of data with managed digital assets. Projects include composing publications and creating personalized documents for distribution through the web and in print. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 and MAAT-271 or equivalent courses) Lab 2 (Spring).
Media Arts and Technology Co-op (summer)
Choose one of the following:
Professional and Technical Writing (WI-PR)
This course prepares students to engage in a variety of written and oral communications necessary in academic and business environments with an emphasis on technical writing. Students are expected to produce appropriate audience-centered written materials that achieve a desired purpose based on techniques, organization, format, and style. Formal technical reports and presentations are required. Students must pass this course with a grade of B or higher prior to graduation or pass the Writing Competency Test. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Technical Communications (WI-PR)
An introduction to the principles of effective written technical communication for professional environments. Topics include memos, business letters, summary activity reports, technical proposals, and research papers. (Pre-requisites: This course is restricted to PACK-BS or NMEP-BS students.
Co-requisites: First Year Writing (FYW).) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used. (Prerequisite: MATH-101 or MATH-111 or NMTH-260 or NMTH-272 or NMTH-275 or a math placement exam score of at least 35.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Elective: Introduction to Statistics II
This course is an elementary introduction to the topics of regression and analysis of variance. The statistical software package Minitab will be used to reinforce these techniques. The focus of this course is on business applications. This is a general introductory statistics course and is intended for a broad range of programs. (Prerequisites: STAT-145 or equivalent course.) Lecture 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Ethical Perspective
General Education – Global Perspective
General Education – Social Perspective
Information Architecture Publishing
In this course the students will research current and emerging publishing information technology trends and apply them in creating publishing solutions across a variety of platforms. Students will learn and apply digital asset management methods and practices in real-world scenarios. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 and MAAT-272 or ISTE-305 or equivalent courses.) Lab 2 (Spring).
Media Business Management
This course introduces principles in core business areas, such as management, finance, accounting, operations, and marketing, which are key factors in developing, growing, and operating a media venture. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Media Arts and Technology Co-op (summer)
The Media Arts and Technology Co-op provides students with the opportunity to work in a position related to their major field of study. Co-ops are typically paid work experiences. All co-ops should fall within an RIT term (fall, spring, summer) and require permission of instructor for enrollment. (Prerequisites: MAAT-10 or equivalent course.) CO OP (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective‡
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective‡
General Education – Immersion 1, 2
General Education – Electives
This course will engage students in a capstone production experience. Students will work in teams and interact with select industry clients to design, budget, and complete a multi-media project. (Prerequisites: MAAT-206 and MAAT-223 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Fall).
General Education – Immersion 3
General Education – Electives
Total Semester Credit Hours
Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
Media Law offers an opportunity to investigate the philosophical and constitutional foundations of free expression as it relates to speech, writing, image making and publishing. First Amendment principles are studied with respect to personal protection boundaries. The course will provide a survey covering defamation issues. Students should be able to form educated opinions about libel and slander boundaries. Since the publication discipline involves the creation of original work, a study of copyright, patent and trademark law is emphasized. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Strategies in Multimedia
This course will examine the structure and channels of advertising, publishing, and packaging. It focuses on marketing communications across a range of graphic media. Mass media and customized technologies for effectively reaching consumers will be explored. Emphases are on the development of an optimized mix of marketing communications techniques for the goals of a particular project. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Media Distribution and Transmission
In this course students gain extensive knowledge of the various methods and techniques used to electronically and physically distribute information. Students will also study planning, scheduling, inventory management, and customer fulfillment. (Prerequisites: MAAT-101 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Gravure and Flexography
Students will explore gravure and flexography technologies, and learn to evaluate applicable designs. Extensive hands-on experience is included. Students will create pressure sensitive label designs, take command of a flexo press, and print labels. Lab 3 (Spring).
This course provides detailed fundamentals of the equipment and materials used in the lithographic process for both sheetfed and web presses. Topics include plates, blankets, press, inks, substrates, and pressroom management. There is an emphasis on process color printing, problem solving on press, and process variables that impact quality and productivity. Lab 3 (Fall, Spring).
Advanced Retouching and Restoration
This course demystifies the process for digitally enhancing, retouching, and restoring images with industry standard raster software, using best practices for image acquisition and specialized image manipulation techniques. Students should have a solid working knowledge of current industry standard raster software. (Prerequisites: MAAT-107 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Fall).
This class is an introduction to the concepts and methods of magazine design and production workflow, with the practical experience of producing a cross-media magazine for output to a digital device and print. Special attention is given to the use of images in integration with text, grids. The role of experimentation and innovation in the modern magazine is emphasized. (Prerequisites: MAAT-106 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Fall).
Digital Print Processes
Students who take this course will understand how digital printing technologies work, what they are capable of doing, and how these technologies are used commercially. Students will analyze the factors driving the explosive growth of digital printing, including how the economics of digital and conventional printing compare. The concepts taught in the classroom are reinforced through hands-on labs and field trips to digital printers and equipment suppliers. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-641; students may receive credit for MAAT-541 or PPRT-641, not both. (Not if PPRT-641) Lab 3 (Fall).
Color Management Systems
This course covers fundamentals of color measurement, color management system, and color reproduction technology for color matching and color image reproduction. Emphases are placed on CIE colorimetry, device calibration and characterization, and color management systems. (Students cannot take and receive credit for this course if they have taken PPRT-602.) Lab 2 (Fall).
Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology
Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology provides a platform for students to explore the most contemporary issues in the rapidly evolving fields of media arts, media sciences and media technologies. The content taught in this course will change frequently and the course may be repeated for credit, however each particular topic may have limits on repeatability. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Lab Topics Media Arts, Sciences & Technology
Lab Topics in Media Arts, Sciences and Technology provides a lab-based platform for students to explore the most contemporary issues in the rapidly evolving fields of media arts, media sciences and media technologies. The content taught in this lab-based course will change frequently and the course may be repeated for credit, however each particular topic may have limits on repeatability. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lab 2 (Fall, Spring).
Students who take this course will understand how package-printing technologies work, and how they are used to print bags, labels, cartons, cans, boxes, and bottles. Students will apply a packaging printing workflow to produce labels and folding cartons of their own design. Finally, cost analyses of package printing using various technologies is discussed. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-688; students may receive credit for MAAT-558 or PPRT-688, not both. (Degree-seeking undergraduate students. Students may not take and receive credit for MAAT-558 and PPRT-688. If you have earned credit for MAAT-558 or you are currently enrolled in PPRT-688 you will not be permitted to enroll in MAAT-558.) Lab 3 (Spring).
Building Profit into Media Projects
This course familiarizes students with costing, pricing and estimating practices in print media, website development, mobile media, and social media. It highlights areas of similarity in these media but more importantly focuses on those practices and customs that are unique to a specific medium. The course provides the necessary background for developing accurate media proposals that become contractual legal obligations and result in sustained profitability. This course is cross-listed with PPRT-653; students may receive credit for MAAT-563 or PPRT-653, not both. (Students may not take and receive credit for MAAT-563 and PPRT-653. If you have earned credit for MAAT-563 or you are currently enrolled in PPRT-653 you will not be permitted to enroll in MAAT-563.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Digital Asset Management
This course will focus on the development and application of digital asset management strategies for cross media production workflows. Project work will include the development of asset management strategies and the utilization of both small business and enterprise-level digital asset management (DAM) tools and systems. (This course is available to RIT degree-seeking undergraduate students.) Lab 2 (Fall, Spring).
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
3 years of math required
Chemistry or physics required
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in liberal arts, college math, physics and chemistry, business
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Transfer from associate degree programs considered on an individual basis
Intersections: The RIT Podcast, Ep. 60: When people think of printing, they think of copiers, toners, or pamphlets, but the print industry is growing and new technologies are impacting how products are developed and printed. Alumna Stephanie Fallon, publishing leader at Wayfair, talks to Cecilia Savka and Emi Knape, students in the graphic media science and technology department, about the skills needed in today’s print industry.
This change comes about to further address the interdisciplinary trends and growth taking place in both the evolving print and packaging industries. It reflects the college and RIT’s focus on aligning programs to better provide a highly skilled workforce for each area.