The professional studies masters program enables students to create an individualized plan of study tailored to their personal and professional goals. The degree offers students the opportunity to draw on more than 50 of RIT's graduate programs to gain the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to respond successfully to new and emerging career opportunities.
For example, students interested in integrating sustainability into their career as a facilities manager might combine courses from the sustainability and facility management programs. Educators may be interested in combining courses from the school psychology and secondary education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing programs to improve their knowledge of special learning populations and the social issues students face in today's educational environments. There are a wide range of concentrations that can be created based on each student's professional career aspirations.
The degree also includes a capstone project. This applied, hands-on project is directly related to the student’s individualized plan of study.
The professional studies degree can be completed on campus or online.
Students create two or three concentrations with courses selected from a wide range of graduate programs at RIT. Some common concentration areas 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
Plan of study
Students begin their studies with Contexts and Trends (PROF-705), the program’s foundation course. Throughout this course students explore their personal career objectives and research RIT’s portfolio of graduate programs to identify courses that best match their professional and personal goals.
Students create two or three concentrations that make up their required course work for the degree program. Each concentration is a selection of courses drawn from existing RIT graduate programs and can range from 9 to 15 credit hours. Graduate credits earned in other programs may be used in completing a concentration, upon approval.
Credit hours not required to fulfill a concentration area may be used as electives. All elective 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.
The program can be completed through full- or part-time study.
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
Capstone Proposal Seminar
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:
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), or superior endorsements.
Submit a personal statement of educational objectives and career objectives.
Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
Submit letters of recommendation from two recent instructors or supervisors.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (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.
All applicants are urged to discuss their course ideas with a professional studies graduate adviser before submitting a formal application.
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.
Mona Harrington ’08 MS (professional studies) was appointed executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in June 2020. As leader of the EAC, Harrington has revamped the agency and spearheaded a series of initiatives to ensure COVID-19 and cybersecurity challenges don’t harm the election process.