Hybrid jobs pay up to 40% more than traditional roles
Graduate outcomes rate
Concentrations to choose from
Overview for Professional Studies MS
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. The World Economic Forum recommends that to prepare for the jobs of the future, workers must possess a broad, multidisciplinary skill set. RIT offers a wide variety of fields of study to combine for your customized degree. Your advisor will help customize your plan of study based upon your experience, interests, and academic and career goals.
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.
RIT’s Master’s in Professional Studies: On-Campus and Online
The master of science in professional studies degree is unique in that you will pursue two to three strategic areas of study, also known as concentrations, with faculty distinguished in those specialized fields. You’ll take courses along with other students who may be majoring in those subjects. You’ll get the benefit of acquiring substantial knowledge in multiple areas within one degree. The professional studies degree can be completed on campus or online, and through full- or part-time study.
You’ll begin your studies with Contexts and Trends, the program’s foundation course. You’ll explore your professional 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.
Here’s just a sampling of the concentrations you may choose:
Communication and Digital Media
Environmental, Health and Safety Management
Health Systems Administration
Human Computer Interaction
Human Resource Development
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Information Sciences and Technology
Lean Six Sigma
Service Leadership and Innovation
Supply Chain Management
User Experience Design
This individualized studies degree also includes a capstone project. This is an applied, hands-on project directly related to your customized plan of study.
What makes an RIT education exceptional? It’s the ability to complete relevant, hands-on career experience. At the graduate level, and paired with an advanced degree, cooperative education and internships give you the unparalleled credentials that truly set you apart. Learn more about graduate co-op and how it provides you with the career experience employers look for in their next top hires.
Co-op is optional but strongly encouraged for graduate students in the MS in professional studies.
Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Professional Studies MS
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
Note for online students
The frequency of required and elective course offerings in the online program will vary, semester by semester, and will not always match the information presented here. Online students are advised to seek guidance from the listed program contact when developing their individual program course schedule.
Admissions and Financial Aid
This program is available on-campus or
Fall or Spring
Fall or Spring
Fall or Spring
Fall or Spring
Full-time study is 9+ semester credit hours.
Part-time study is 1‑8 semester credit hours.
International students requiring a visa to study at the RIT Rochester campus must study full‑time.
To be considered for admission to the Professional Studies MS program, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following official English language test scores. Some international applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver.
International students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Each program requires balanced sub-scores when determining an applicant’s need for additional English language courses.
Applicants interested in leveraging their edx MicroMasters for credit, should send their edX MicroMasters program record to RIT using these instructions and we will add the credential to their application for review.
Online Degree Information
The online Professional Studies MS includes courses that are a blend of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Full-time students can take 3 to 4 courses each semester, allowing them to graduate in 1.5 years. Part-time students usually take one or two courses each semester and can graduate in 2.5 years. Students typically spend 10-12 hours per week per class, depending on the content and their background knowledge. For specific details about available concentration areas, delivery format and learning experience, or edX MicroMasters credit, contact the Program Contact listed on this page. The program culminates with a capstone project. RIT does not offer student visas for online study.
Online Tuition Eligibility
The online Professional Studies MS is a designated online degree program that is billed at a 43% discount from our on-campus rate. View the current online tuition rate.
Online Study Restrictions for Some International Students
Certain countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes under US Export Controls, which prohibit virtually ALL exports, imports, and other transactions without a license or other US Government authorization. Learners from the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria may not register for RIT online courses. Nor may individuals on the United States Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the United States Commerce Department’s table of Deny Orders. By registering for RIT online courses, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list.