by Rich Kiley
To help meet the rapidly changing needs facing the graphic communications industry, Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Media Sciences will offer a new master of science degree in media arts and technology this fall that will teach and demonstrate the latest technologies in print, web, mobile and social media workflows.
Students in the one-year applied science and technology program at RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences will learn how to address the real-world challenges facing industries related to publishing, graphic communications, print and media. The program is two semesters, 30 credit hours of study, and culminates with a capstone project, which will enable students to develop and demonstrate in-depth knowledge in a particular topic.
“We believe there is a strong need for an accelerated option for advanced study in graphic communications,” said Christine Heusner, graduate director of RIT’s School of Media Sciences. “Many people are looking for advanced-education opportunities to expand their professional or undergraduate skill set that do not require the two- or three-year commitment of more traditional graduate programs.”
Heusner noted that RIT’s plans to introduce the new program have received wide industry backing, drawing enthusiastic letters of support from professionals—including many RIT alumni—at Adobe, Canon U.S.A., Inc., and Konica Minolta.
RIT has received approval for the new program from the New York State Department of Education, and nearly a dozen prospective students—and scores more over email—expressed interested in the master’s degree at an information session in early February.
“This program is future-focused, examining technology, trends, processes and operations in the cross media, digital and growth areas of packaging and functional printing,” Heusner said.
RIT faculty and staff reached out to many industry alumni seeking insights for career employment and tailored the new program’s curriculum to preparing students for high-level positions in the industry, according to Heusner.
“Our industry partners enthusiastically cited the curriculum for the way it will educate our students on trends and new technology and prepare them to manage change and innovation,” she said. “The capstone project will also give students an experience where they will build secondary research skills and focused study in a particular concentration.”
Heusner added that graduates will be able to take advantage of strong employment opportunities, with established proficiencies in graphic communications business practices, cooperative task management, and knowledge of the trends that impact the industry.
According to industry experts, the U.S. graphic communications industry employs over 900,000 people at approximately 45,000 organizations, generating more than $155 billion in annual sales.