An individualized studies degree that combines multiple areas of professional interest to create a customized graduate program tailored to your personal professional aspirations.
Design two or three concentration areas from graduate courses in more than 50+ master's degrees.
RIT's master's in professional studies enables you to create an individualized plan of study tailored around your personal and professional goals. The degree offers you the opportunity to draw upon graduate courses from more than 50 of RIT's master's degree to gain the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to respond successfully to new and emerging career opportunities.
What Can I Do with a Degree in Individualized Studies?
In short, anything you want. An individualized studies degree is the freedom to craft a master's degree around your interests, career goals, and professional aspirations. You'll work with dedicated, professional academic advisors that will help you develop a plan of study around the topics that interest you most. And your plan of study will be crafted toward the professional goals you set. You'll choose two to three concentration areas, that consist of four to five courses each, in topics that will provide you with the skills you need to further your career or launch a new professional endeavor.
The professional studies degree can be completed on campus or online.
RIT's Masters in Professional Studies
You'll begin your studies with Contexts and Trends, the program’s foundation course. You'll explore your personal career objectives and research RIT’s portfolio of graduate programs to identify courses that best match your professional and personal goals.
Once you decide upon the areas you want to study, you'll create two or three concentrations. These concentrations make up the required course work for the degree program. Each concentration is a selection of courses drawn from existing RIT graduate programs. Credit hours not required to fulfill a concentration area may be used as electives. All electives and transferred graduate courses need to be integrated into the proposed plan of study. With certain concentrations, the degree may be completed entirely through online learning.
Some common concentration areas may include:
Applied and Computational Mathematics
Business (Marketing, Management, etc.)
Communication and Media Technology
Education Learning Instruction
Environmental, Health and Safety Management
Health Systems Administration
Human Resource Development
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Information Sciences and Technologies
Microelectronics Manufacturing Engineering
Product Development and Design
Secondary Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
This individualized studies degree also includes a capstone project. This is an applied, hands-on project directly related to your customized plan of study.
The program can be completed through full- or part-time study.
Cooperative education and internships are work experience in your field of study. And they set RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. Cooperative education and internships are designed for your success.
Co-op is optional but strongly encouraged for graduate students in the MS in professional studies.
An Interdisciplinary Co-op with the Department of Defense
Eric Tong, who is pursing his master's degree in professional studies in the School of Individualized Study, completed a co-op at the U.S. Department of Defense.
Professional Studies, MS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Context and Trends
The gateway course for students enrolled in the MS in professional studies degree program. Course provides students with opportunities to interact about controversial issues while discovering foundational knowledge about interdisciplinary history, theory, along with applied problem-solving, research methods and professional ethics. Students use this course as a means of designing and receiving approval for individualized plans of study. (Department permission required). Students should consult their adviser before registering. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Concentration A courses
Concentration B courses
This course guides the student through preparation of the Capstone Proposal that is required for the applied final course of his/her MS in professional studies degree - the Capstone Project. Student will determine a Capstone Project concept, and articulate the methods for implementing the Capstone Project. The course concludes with a paper describing the Capstone Project, including background and description, methodology, anticipated outcomes, and probable Capstone Adviser. Student will meet regularly with the course facilitator. Upon successful completion of this course, student will be registered for the Capstone Project. (Pre-requisites: PROF-705 and core coursework; course restricted to MS in professional studies students) Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
The capstone course for students enrolled in the MS in professional studies degree program. With individualized advising from a faculty adviser, students participate in a real world problem solving project carried out in an organizational setting while also relating to a student’s professional concentrations. Course requirements involve completing a literature review, writing a project proposal, engaging in online discussion with faculty adviser and other SOIS capstone students, various kinds of field work, writing full draft and final academic report and making a (Powerpoint) presentation. Registration completed on behalf of students following faculty review of acceptable capstone project proposal. (Prof 770; Department approval) Project 3 (Fall, Spring).
Concentration A or elective course
Concentration B course
Concentration B or elective course
Total Semester Credit Hours
To be considered for the MS program in professional studies, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
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.
Before submitting an application, all applicants are encouraged to discuss their educational goals with a graduate advisor from the professional studies program.
Tyler Pugeda, a master’s student with concentrations in cell biology and healthcare entrepreneurship in RIT’s School of Individualized Study, will travel to Germany in September to fulfill the requirements of his Fulbright Research award. Using post-mortem human brains afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, Pugeda will investigate treatments to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Unique Fair-Smith and Tymoni Correa-Buntley are the first two recipients of the Mark and Maureen Davitt Graduate Education Endowed Scholarship and are both set to graduate with their master’s degrees this weekend.
RIT is teaming up with the nonprofit online learning platform edX to create a universal pathway to credit, making it easier and less expensive for people to earn a master’s degree. With this new model, RIT is the first university to enable edX learners to apply any of the 63 MicroMasters programs toward a Master of Science—specifically, RIT’s customizable professional studies master’s degree program.