Print Media Master of science degree

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This program is transitioning to the College of Engineering Technology, to be completed on July 1, 2019. The MS program in print media offers students an opportunity to explore new areas of research in the graphic communications field. The program's faculty and curriculum focus on establishing quality and efficiencies pertaining to business, technology, and processes in graphic communications. Recent student research includes 3D printing quality analysis, consumer preferences for printed textiles, user experience in digital publishing, and implementation of lean techniques in printing. Our faculty are experts in many different areas, including print, business, color management, web and IT, digital publishing, imaging, and typography. Students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience by working with faculty as graduate assistants either in the classroom or assisting with faculty research. Graduates are employed as industry leaders in advertising, publishing, business operations, communication processes, and product developments.

Plan of study

The program requires 36 credit hours of study and includes seven core courses, three electives, and a thesis. The thesis provides an opportunity for students to explore in-depth research and present their findings.


The program encourages cross-disciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration. Students may choose elective courses from a variety of courses offered in the School of Media Sciences or with other graduate departments and programs at RIT with approval of the graduate director.


All students are required to complete a research thesis that demonstrates original thinking and creativity in the search for new knowledge in the graphic communication industry. Students work with expert faculty and focus on a particular topic of thesis research in areas including content management, publishing workflows, typography and layout, business trends, color management, media processes, materials, and applications of printing.


  • Advertising, PR, and Marketing

  • Consumer Packaged Goods

  • Design

  • Journalism, Media, and Publishing

Typical Job Titles

Customer Management Representative Account Executive
Marketing and Communications Coordinator Graphics Coordinator
Application Specialist / Systems Engineer Media Producer
Technical Support Analyst Pre-Media
Digital Services Specialist Quality Management
Estimator Graphic Technician
Print Production Manager Pre-Press Technician
Media Job Planner Production Specialist
Publishing Coordinator Digital Pre-Press Artist

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Print media, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Materials and Processes in Printing
This course offers a survey of the materials and processes used in print reproduction. Students will learn the basic theory of image reproduction embodied in the available analog and digital printing processes, and learn to identify the process origins of print samples. Additionally, students will learn the chemical and physical properties associated with consumables in order to obtain an understanding necessary to make informed decisions about use and application.
Tone and Color Analysis
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.
Operations Management in Graphic Arts
An in-depth study of the factors affecting the efficiencies and effectiveness of print media organizations and ultimately their profitability. Includes consideration of both internal factors, such as quality level goals, training, scheduling, plant layout, and financial management, and external factors, such as environmental and legal issues and safety enforcement.
Cross Media Workflow
This course is designed to expose students to all elements needed to master a cross media publishing project. Concepts and tools necessary for the implementation of a cross media workflow will be discussed and reinforced through hands-on exercises. Content management and industry standards and practices will be studied and applied through the context of cross media publishing.
Research Methods and Trends in Graphic Media
This course provides a foundation for conducting scientific research in the graphic communications industry. Students will learn the scientific method, how to generate a hypothesis or research question, conduct secondary research, select the best research design to answer the research questions, and how to analyze basic survey data. The course will also introduce students to the current issues in the industry in preparation for them to identify a thesis or capstone project problem.
Statistical Analysis and Decision Making
This is a course in applied statistics emphasizing an understanding of variation and inference (estimation and testing). Topics to be covered include: review of descriptive statistics, normal distribution, sampling distributions, estimation, test of hypothesis for single and two populations, analysis of variance (ANOVA), linear regression, multiple regression and model building. Students will apply these concepts using mini-cases and problem sets that involve both structured and unstructured data sets. The application of appropriate tools will be required.
Thesis Seminar
This course will guide and monitor the progress of graduate students in the development of their written thesis proposal as defined in the SMS Thesis Manual. Students will review their work regularly throughout the semester, with the Graduate Director, SMS faculty, and their thesis committee. Students will be guided in the refinement of their thesis topic and structuring their methodology. Students will determine their thesis committee and create their thesis timeline, outline, and proposal culminating in a formal thesis proposal defense.
Free Elective
Second Year
To conduct research on a topic relevant to the graphic arts industry. Topic must be approved by a committee comprising graduate faculty and an advisor.
Continuation of Thesis
This course allows the student to continue thesis research on a topic relevant to the graphic arts industry. Topic must be approved by a committee compromising graduate faculty and an adviser.
Free Electives
Total Semester Credit Hours
Graduate electives
Digital Printing and Publishing
This course provides students with the opportunity to learn the concepts and applications of digital printing. The course examines the technology of several major digital print engines and compares digital printing to conventional print processes. The economics and application of specific digital printing processes are examined from a workflow perspective.
Industry Issues and Trends
Industry Issues and Trends presents a detailed analysis of the critical trends and issues related to the Graphic Communications industry. It provides an in-depth analysis of key technologies with a special emphasis on emerging, disruptive innovations as well as business, environmental and regulatory issues. This course emphasizes technological trends and is intended to provide students with a fuller understanding of changes in Graphic Communication constituencies and their role within the industry. By tracing historical roots, analyzing present issues and detailing future trends, students are prepared to develop insights into the nature and scope of the major challenges facing industry leaders and how to manage these challenges.
Advanced Color Management
This course embraces ICC-based color management practices by assessing color reproduction quality quantitatively and psychometrically. It also examines state-of-the-art tools, procedures, and techniques for device calibration and color control. Students are expected to work in a team environment, to plan, conduct experiments, and to publish a technical publication.
Typography Research
The course builds on fundamentals and skills taught in introductory and advanced typography courses by developing methods of investigation, research, and analysis, with the goal of enabling students to conduct independent research. Students will choose individual typographic topics to research (e.g. technology, psychology, history, aesthetics, imaging, writing systems, culture, and society). Course lectures will survey these topics. Students each give presentations on their topics and prepare a written a report. The course emphasizes individual initiative and seminar participation.
Contemporary Publishing
This course examines publishing’s evolution in response to changes in technology and social habits. Students will gain an understanding of various publishing structures and publication types through the analysis of audience and content. The course will consider various forms of the book and periodical and their role historically and in contemporary culture. Topics will include trend recognition, promotion and marketing, materials, processes, typography, copyright issues, and innovations in publishing.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA program in print media, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent). Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered, but are required to submit standard GRE scores.
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

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