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Rochester Institute of Technology

College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

Rochester, NY


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College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology

The College of Art and Design is RIT’s creative hub, where art, design & technology intersect, and one of the nation's leading universities in film & photography.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Established in 1829, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a private, coeducational university located in Rochester, New York in the northeastern region of the United States. 

A leader in preparing students for careers in the dynamic global environment, the university has a diverse range of programs from engineering, science, and technology to the arts, business, education, humanities, and social sciences. It consists of 9 colleges that provide career-oriented programs and experiential learning. 


The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology

The College of Art and Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is one of the nation's leading universities in art, design, film, photography, and crafts. Formally known as the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences until 2018, the College of Art and Design consists of five schools, 17 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and seven minors.

The student body is made up of 1,600 undergraduate students and 323 graduate students. The student to faculty ratio is 14:1. Students in the College of Art and Design have access to specialized studios, 25 computer labs, four galleries, and specialized equipment, making RIT among the most complete and current of any university in the world. 

 RIT ranked 10th in Design and Applied Arts and 17th in Film, Video and Photographic Arts by College Factual, which provides data for “USA Today College Guide 2018”.

The College of Art and Design consists of five schools: 

School for American Crafts 

The School for American Crafts provides small classes that enable students to receive individualized attention. Students master their material of choice, whether its clay, wood, glass, or metals. They have access to world-class facilities including a glass hot shop; woodworking studio; flameworking and glass studios; and buffing, casting, and welding rooms.

School of Art

3D printers, charcoal and a sketch pad, or a pottery wheel, are just some of the methods student-artists in the use in the School of Art to produce stunning work that culminates with a gallery exhibition in their senior year. With a maximum class size of 16, students receive the attention required to help them succeed.

School of Design

The School of Design is ranked among the best, with “Business Week” naming it one of the top 10 design schools in the country. An innovative blend of technology and theoretical components assists students in solving modern design problems. 

School of Film and Animation

The School of Film and Animation is where the art of filmmaking meets innovative technology. Students can explore their talents in the art of filmmaking, or the science and technologies used in the motion picture industry. RIT’s School of Film and Animation ranked as the No. 10 animation school in the nation by “Animation Career Review” in both 2018 and 2019.

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences 

The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences provides education in both the creative and technical aspects of photography, allowing students to pursue areas of special interest. Students are prepared for success in a variety of fields, including biomedical photography, photojournalism, advertising, media design, moving media, with a job placement rate of over 93% from graduates. RIT was fourth nationally among graduate schools offering the fine arts specialty of photography in “U.S. News & World Report” rankings retained from 2016.

College of Art and Design portfolio requirements

The BFA and MFA programs in the Schools of American Crafts, Art, Design, and Film and Animation, as well as the School of Art’s MST program, require a portfolio. Prospective students interested in RIT’s College of Art and Design have the opportunity to meet directly with faculty who are nationally-renowned artists, photographers, designers and filmmakers. There are various ways for prospective students to receive an evaluation of their artistic skills. Learn more by visiting Admissions and Aid.

Faculty and Research at the College of Art and Design

The College of Art and Design at RIT is home to a recognized world leader in preservation  research, archived collections of dozens of eminent designers, sponsored research by faculty and staff, and collaborations with esteemed industry partners.  


RIT’s Image Permanence Institute (IPI) — housed in the College of Art and Design — is a nonprofit, academic research center renowned for its development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural heritage. IPI provides information, consulting services, practical tools, and preservation technology to libraries, archives, and museums on a global scale.


Graphics Atlas is a resource operated by Image Permanence Institute. Graphics Atlas is a unique, object-based approach for the identification and characterization of prints and photographs. The underlying goal of this research is to better understand the relationship between photographic materials, process, and aesthetic characteristics using primarily visual examination techniques. This approach provides the foundation for preservation and care of image collections.


The archives at RIT serve the prevalent role of being dynamic and didactic research and educational tools. Between RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies and Cary Graphic Arts Collection, more than 85 prominent designers’ work is accessible for study by students, faculty, staff, scholars, and researchers everywhere.


RIT’s Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC) — housed within the state-of-the-art MAGIC Spell Studios — supports research and entrepreneurial activities within RIT and in Western New York. Faculty and students from various departments partner to work on sponsored research and independent study projects focused in film, games, AR/VR, and interactive experiences. Dedicated laboratory space is available for faculty, research assistants, and independent student teams to work throughout the year. 


Faculty from all College of Art and Design schools are immersed in research, and their partnerships with industry enhance student learning opportunities. A recent example is Christye Sisson, associate professor and program chair of Photographic Sciences, being the principal investigator of a government-funded project. Sisson, other faculty, and students were part of a world-class group of researchers working to develop an algorithmic-based platform that can identify image, audio, and video manipulation.

Experiential Learning at Rochester Institute of Technology

The College of Art and Design offers opportunities to learn outside the classroom through cooperative education, internships, study abroad, international experiences and industry partnerships.

Rochester Institute of Technology has one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world, annually placing more than 4,500 students in more than 6,200 co-op assignments with more than 2,200 employing organizations. A co-op gives students real-world job experience to help inform future career decisions. Co-op education at RIT is full-time (35 hours or more per week) paid employment. Students do not pay tuition while on co-op.

Since the summer of 2013, more than 1,350 College of Art and Design students have completed co-ops at companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Dolby, DreamWorks Animation, and Google. 

Future employment for Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) graduates

Students and faculty exhibit their work in the immaculate galleries housed in or run by the College of Art and Design. Around 70 companies including Google and The Mill  attend Creative Industry Day each year, where students meet with professionals about employment opportunities and portfolio reviews. 


Nine alumni of Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Art and Design have won a combined total of 13 Pulitzer Prizes. Luxury jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. has employed more than 50 metals and jewelry design graduates. 

College of Art and Design alumni

College of Art and Design graduates are part of a dynamic network of nearly 135,000 RIT alumni that are making an impact around the globe. Notable alumni include:

Eric Avar ‘90

Vice president of Design Innovation at Nike. Creator of some of Nike’s most innovative and award-winning designs including the Kobe Bryant series of footwear.


Brittany Lee ‘06 

Visual development artist on Disney’s Frozen. Lee helped bring the snow queen’s magic to life and is behind the interior of the ice palace Elsa builds while singing “Let It Go.” She designed the snowflake that emits from Elsa’s foot and the columns, ceiling, balcony and chandelier of the palace.


Ignacio Barrios ‘12

Founder and principal designer of Chicago-based MINIMAL, a studio creating brand-building products and experiences that connect emotionally with users producing brand icons and new ecosystems for companies like Xbox, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Nike, and Apple. Former global creative director at Nike, and former design leader in organizations such as IDEO, Thomson Consumer Electronics, Fortune Brands and Motorola.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
(Advanced Certificate)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Science in Teaching (MST)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 78
Other Advanced Degrees 4

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? Yes


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline February 15th February 15th Yes

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 (recommended), portfolio (for some programs)

Tuition & Fees

Calculator icon

Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Teaching Assistantships
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 2.61%
Black or African American 0.75%
White or Caucasian 22%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 2.61%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2.61%
Unknown 1.49%


Male (33%)
Female (66%)


Focus of faculty research: User centered design; cross-media publishing and digital content management, computer-aided design; virtual reality; motion graphics for design and interaction
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 55 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY  14623
United States
Contact Dr. Robin Cass
Interim Dean
Phone: 585-475-2683

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Rochester Institute of Technology
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