Science, Technology and Public Policy Master of science degree

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A public policy master's degree that pairs theory with engineering, science, and technology to prepare you to make significant contributions to the creation of effective policy in areas that include the environment, transportation, science, and emerging technological and scientific developments.

The MS degree in science, technology, and public policy enables students to work at the intersection of engineering, science, technology, and public policy. The program builds on RIT’s strengths as a technological university, enabling students to interact with faculty and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations. This public policy masters is interdisciplinary and draws significantly from disciplines and courses throughout RIT. It is geared toward producing graduates who will make significant contributions in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.

All students in the program complete a set of policy core courses that emphasize analysis, problem solving, and interdisciplinary approaches. Students work with an advisor to choose electives that focus their policy studies in a particular area, such as environmental policy, climate change policy, health care policy, STEM education policy, telecommunications policy, or energy policy. Typical students include those with science or engineering backgrounds seeking to broaden their career opportunities in government or business settings, as well as those with undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts (e.g., economics) who are interested in science, technology, and policy issues. Full-time students can typically finish the program in one to two years. The program prides itself on working one-on-one with students to ensure that their educational needs and academic goals are attained.

Plan of study

The program consists of required core courses, elective courses, and the completion of a thesis or comprehensive exam. The thesis option allows students to work with a faculty advisor on an independent research project in their area of interest.


Students choose elective courses based on their interests and career goals. Courses may be offered in various colleges throughout the university, including the colleges of Business, Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Science. Course selection is completed jointly with a faculty advisor and typically aims to develop a specialized area of interest for the student (e.g., biotechnology policy, environmental policy, energy policy, communications policy, etc.).


  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Higher Education

  • Management Consulting

  • Non-Profit

  • Politics

Curriculum for Science, Technology and Public Policy MS

Science, Technology and Public Policy, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Readings in Public Policy
An in-depth inquiry into key contemporary public policy issues. Students will be exposed to a wide range of important public policy texts, and will learn how to write a literature review in a policy area of their choosing. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar (Fall).
Graduate Policy Analysis
This course provides graduate students with necessary tools to help them become effective policy analysts. The course places particular emphasis on understanding the policy process, the different approaches to policy analysis, and the application of quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluating public policies. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Lecture (Fall).
Graduate Decision Analysis
This course provides students with an introduction to decision science and analysis. The course focuses on several important tools for making good decisions, including decision trees, including forecasting, risk analysis, and multi-attribute decision making. Students will apply these tools to contemporary public policy decision making at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Lecture (Spring).
Evaluation and Research Design
The focus of this course is on evaluation of program outcomes and research design. Students will explore the questions and methodologies associated with meeting programmatic outcomes, secondary or unanticipated effects, and an analysis of alternative means for achieving program outcomes. Critique of evaluation research methodologies will also be considered. Seminar (Spring).
Graduate Science and Technology Policy Seminar
Examines how federal and international policies are developed to influence research and development, innovation, and the transfer of technology in the United States and other selected nations. Students in the course will apply basic policy skills, concepts, and methods to contemporary science and technology policy topics. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar (Fall).
Graduate Electives
Choose one of the following:
   Public Policy Thesis
The master's thesis in science, technology, and public policy requires the student to select a thesis topic, advisor and committee; prepare a written thesis proposal for approval by the faculty; present and defend the thesis before a thesis committee; and submit a bound copy of the thesis to the library and to the program chair. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   Comprehensive Exam plus 2 Graduate Electives
Total Semester Credit Hours

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in science, technology and public policy, 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).
  • Have completed course work in calculus and statistics. Students may be required to take a course in data analysis or statistics course and an introductory calculus course, if not taken previously.
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit two writing samples, one of which should be a statement of interest.
  • 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 88 (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.

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Latest News

  • April 1, 2019

    Side-by-side headshots of student and staff member.

    Bobby Moakley and James Myers to receive this year’s Alfred Davis awards

    A Rochester Institute of Technology graduating student leader who has been engaged in public service, Student Government and environmental stewardship, and a dedicated administrator who helped expand RIT’s global presence as well as being an active community volunteer locally and in Haiti, have been named winners of this year’s Alfred L. Davis Distinguished Public Service Awards.