The master of science in product development is a leadership program for experienced engineers and technical specialists who aspire to high-level positions associated with product innovation. The program integrates business and engineering management courses, delivering them in online or on-campus where students continue to work while taking classes.
New products and services are the lifeblood of today's high technology firms, and companies need more technically grounded leaders to drive the engine for business growth. The product development master's degree integrates business and engineering courses consistent with cross-functional, end-to-end product development and the systems perspective critical to conceive, create, launch, and support today’s complex product portfolios. Participants acquire the foundation skills and strategic perspective necessary to become future leaders and senior managers responsible for driving business growth through new products and services. In short, the product development program prepares today’s technical experts for successful careers as project leaders and technically grounded senior managers of their enterprises.
To stay on the cutting edge, the program was designed by academic and industry leaders to integrate formal education with state-of-the-art research and best practices from industry. It includes a year-long capstone project that generates significant return-on-investment to sponsoring organizations. Electives and the capstone project provide flexibility to tailor the program's content to specific learning objectives of students and sponsoring organizations. The program is offered fully online or as a blend of online and on-campus courses. Students may start any term (fall, spring, summer) and complete courses at their own pace.
Most students are sponsored by an employer who is committed to improving leadership capabilities in product development. Sponsorship includes financial support and a commitment to work with the student to provide clear expectations and a well-articulated career development plan that builds upon the program. Candidates are welcome to sponsor themselves. Students should contact Financial Aid and Scholarship for more information
Stout Risius Ross - Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
“My eyes have been opened to areas that our company can significantly improve, if we apply new ideas and are willing to change the way we do business. My participation in the MPD program has provided...
Panasonic Solutions Division – Director of Engineering & QA
“My MPD experience equipped me with necessary tools to handle broader aspects of product development, the importance of engineering and manufacturing to the health of the firm, and the challenges that...
To develop a leadership perspective and knowledge base of the total life cycle product development system, integrating management and (systems) engineering elements. To establish the foundation for the systems approach needed to conceive, create, launch, and support products and platforms. The program considers new product development in a larger framework: how a company’s business strategy, vision, and core capabilities coupled with the voice of the customer combine to determine product strategy and create best-in-class product portfolios.
Key capabilities of graduates
Leadership expertise of the product development process and of high-performing product development teams and organizations.
Improved leadership through structured systems thinking, design, and management.
A strategic, enterprise-wide and global perspective.
An innovative mindset receptive to changing markets, new technologies, and new opportunities.
Decision making in uncertain and fast-paced environments.
A market-oriented product development focus – i.e. the ability to transform customer problems, needs, and market opportunities into successful product portfolios.
Economic analysis and the application of sound business principles to effective management in the product development domain.
Project management: business and technical planning, relationship management and outsourcing, program control, structured decision making and risk management.
Enhanced ability to recognize barriers to success early, when corrective actions are less costly.
In-depth understanding and application of state-of-the-art tools for design, analysis, and management in the product development domain.
Embedded engineering competencies
The product development leader must apply engineering competencies to the development of strategic product architectures that relate to the business value chain of the corporation, to the integration of enabling technologies, and to the creation of realizable design concepts. These capabilities are supported by the abilities to:
Assess the merits and risks associated with emerging technologies.
Create products with acceptable product liability, life cycle cost, and environmental impact.
Create products consistent with manufacturing and supply chain capabilities.
Coordinate the product architecture with organizational structure.
Select which competencies are core to the business and which can be outsourced.
Create and implement an organization’s decision processes.
Identify and implement enabling technologies and tools.
The 30 semester-credit program consists of 9 business and engineering courses, including one elective, plus a capstone project (3 credits).
Product Development, MS degree
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Accounting for Decision Makers
A graduate-level introduction to the use of accounting information by decision makers. The focus of the course is on two subject areas: (1) financial reporting concepts/issues and the use of general-purpose financial statements by internal and external decision makers and (2) the development and use of special-purpose financial information intended to assist managers in planning and controlling an organization's activities. Generally accepted accounting principles and issues related to International Financial Reporting Standards are considered while studying the first subject area and ethical issues impacting accounting are considered throughout. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Operations and Supply Chain Management
Study of the management of operations and supply chain management. Encompasses both manufacturing and services. Topics include operations and supply chain strategy, ethical behavior, forecasting; work systems, inventory management, capacity and materials planning, lean operation, supply chain design and closed-loop supply chains, global operations, quality management, quality control, and quality improvement, project management; and current issues. (Prerequisites: DECS-782 or MGIS-650 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Decision and Risk Benefit Analysis
This course addresses decision making in the face of risk and uncertainty. Various methodologies will be introduced that are useful in describing and making decisions about risks, with particular emphasis on those associated with the design of products. Students will be exposed to issues related to balancing risks and benefits in situations involving human safety, product liability, environmental impact, and financial uncertainty. Presentations will be made of risk assessment studies, public decision processes, and methods for describing and making decisions about the societal risks associated with engineering projects. Topics include probabilistic risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, reliability and hazard analysis, decision analysis, portfolio analysis, and project risk management. (This course is restricted to students in MFLEAD-MS and PRODDEV-MS .) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Engineering of Systems I
The engineering of a system is focused on the identification of value and the value chain, requirements management and engineering, understanding the limitations of current systems, the development of the overall concept, and continually improving the robustness of the defined solution. EOS I & II is a 2-semester course sequence focused on the creation of systems that generate value for both the customer and the enterprise. Through systematic analysis and synthesis methods, novel solutions to problems are proposed and selected. This first course in the sequence focuses on the definition of the system requirements by systematic analysis of the existing problems, issues and solutions, to create an improved vision for a new system. Based on this new vision, new high-level solutions will be identified and selected for (hypothetical) further development. The focus is to learn systems engineering through a focus on an actual artifact (This course is restricted to students in the ISEE BS/MS, ISEE BS/ME, ISEE-MS, ISEE-ME, SUSTAIN-MS, SUSTAIN-ME, PRODEV-MS, MFLEAD-MS or ENGMGT-ME programs or those with 5th year standing in ISEE-BS or ISEEDU-BS.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Engineering of Systems II
The engineering of a system is focused on the identification of value and the value chain, requirements management and engineering, understanding the limitations of current systems, the development of the overall concept, and continually improving the robustness of the defined solution. EOS I & II is a 2-semester course sequence focused on the creation of systems that create value for both the customer and the enterprise. Through systematic analysis and synthesis methods, novel solutions to problems are proposed and selected. This second course in the sequence revisits the first sequence and views the engineering of a system through a lean perspective, as such the emphasis is on the system development process itself. (Prerequisites: ISEE-771 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Excellence in New Product Development
Success in today's competitive global economy depends substantially on a firm's ability to define, develop, and introduce outstanding new products more efficiently and effectively than its competitors. This course introduces students to best practices and attributes of world-class product development leaders and organizations. Critical success factors and inhibitors to the commercialization of complex products and systems are discussed, along with state-of-the-art methodologies, processes, and tools. Emphasis is placed on the role of the product development manager in leading product strategy, high performing product development teams, and transformational initiatives essential to competitiveness. (This course is restricted to students in MFLEAD-MS and PRODDEV-MS .) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Product Development Capstone II
For the MS in Product Development (MPD) program. Students in the program must demonstrate intellectual leadership in the field of new product development. The general intent of the Capstone is to demonstrate the students' knowledge of the integrative aspects of new product development in the context of a corporate-oriented problem solving research project. The project should address issues of significance to multiple functions or disciplines and should draw upon skills and knowledge acquired from various courses and experiences in the program. Students are encouraged to start work on the project in advance of receiving formal credit. Team-based projects are strongly recommended. (This class is restricted to PRODDEV-MS Major students.) Ind Study (Spring).
Marketing Concepts and Commercialization
An introduction to contemporary principles and practices of marketing. The course is structured around the process of marketing planning leading to the development of successful marketing strategies, including the commercialization of products and services in domestic and international environments. Focus is on environmental scanning techniques, setting and evaluating measurable objectives, innovating and controlling the interrelated components of product/service offering, planning and executing the marketing mix (channels of distribution, price, and promotion), and enhancing customer relationships through the delivery of customer value. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Choose one of the following:
To address complex problems, it is essential to explore how different disciplines talk to each other. By engaging in acts of “translation,” disciplinary boundaries can be crossed to collaboratively and responsibly connect the ways disciplines frame and engage problems. The Salon will provide a venue for exploring how to think, talk, and work successfully across disciplinary boundaries. In our global society, graduates must think critically and ethically to assess complex interconnected systems and processes, perform in a variety of situations, and continually adapt within rapidly evolving technological and social environments. We will explore different disciplinary cultures and develop the translational skills required to understand how various disciplines converge on a given research problem. Salon themes include: Disciplinary World Making; Nature of Cognition & Consciousness; Conceptions of Science and Technology; Roles of Religion and Culture; Constructions & Interpretations of Time, Space & other Fundamentals; Chaos Theory; Disruption and the Creation of New Knowledge; Nature of Translation; and others. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 2 (Spring).
Agile Project Management
Systems and Project Management
Systems and Project Management ensures progress toward objectives, proper deployment and conservation of human and financial resources, and achievement of cost and schedule targets. The focus of the course is on the utilization of a diverse set of project management methods and tools. Topics include strategic project management, project and organization learning, cost, schedule planning and control, structuring of performance measures and metrics, technical teams and project management, information technology support of teams, risk management, and process control. Course delivery consists of lectures, speakers, case studies, and experience sharing, and reinforces collaborative project-based learning and continuous improvement. (Prerequisites: ISEE-350 or equivalent course or graduate standing in ISEE BS/MS, ISEE BS/ME, ISEE-MS, ISEE-ME, SUSTAIN-MS, SUSTAIN-ME, ENGMGT-ME, PRODDEV-MS or MFLEAD-MS programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Engineering or Business Elective
Total Semester Credit Hours
An elective course offers students the opportunity to better meet personal and organizational needs. Students may select from a long list of courses. Recommended electives include such offerings as Managing Research and Innovation, Lean Six Sigma Fundamentals, Advanced or International Project Management, Breakthrough Thinking and Creativity, Customer Centricity, and others.
Students complete a project during the final academic year of the program, based on a real problem often identified in the companies where they work. The corporate-oriented capstone project encompasses the broad integrative aspects of new product development – it synthesizes, increases, and demonstrates the student’s understanding of previous program material and underscores the behaviors essential to product development leadership. The capstone project generates immediate benefits to sponsoring organizations. View our list of capstone projects for examples of projects past students have completed as part of the program.
Have at least two years of experience in product development or a related business environment.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to Additional Requirements for International Applicants to review waiver eligibility.
Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. No graduate entrance exam is required, although candidates are welcome to support their application with results from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and students may begin the program in any semester.
Students may start the program during any semester and complete the course work at their own pace. Classes are available online but several courses may be taken on campus for local or full-time students. Students may take up to three courses on a nonmatriculated basis. Credits earned while enrolled as a nonmatriculated student may be applied to the degree program following formal admission.
The program's tuition is calculated using the part-time graduate tuition rate (12 credits or less). For information on tuition, scholarships, and financial aid, please visit Financial Aid and Scholarships. Discounts are available for groups.
Professionals interested in advancing leadership skills in high-tech industries can learn about different degree options through an informational webinar hosted by Kate Gleason College of Engineering on Oct. 17 and Nov. 14.
You do what? From accountant to the stars to sustainable chocolate producer, RIT alumni have some pretty cool careers. Read about Margot Sandy ’08 (electrical mechanical engineering technology), ’12 MS (product development), a self-employed product development consultant.