Public Interest Technology, MS
Assessment, Emerging Technologies, Environmental Impact, Ethical, Future, Global, Innovation, Interdisciplinary Studies, Management, Public Sector, Social Justice, Social Responsibility, Technology, government, sustainability
Do you have a passion for ensuring technology and innovation benefit society? Join this unique program and become a leader in examining and using technology for social good, whether in the public or private sector or in nonprofit organizations.
The MS program in public interest technology asks this fundamental question: How can technology be used for good? When studying the public interest, it is vital to understand how new technologies pose new challenges and opportunities for society.
Students in this program acquire the ability to work in cross-disciplinary teams and gain a fluency that permeates technology and society issues and solutions. Students learn to think analytically, design new systems and processes, and will gain exposure to emerging technologies that can make a difference in how government agencies, nongovernment organizations, nonprofits and private companies emphasize social impact. People working in this space ask communities what their needs are first, using a co-design approach to innovation, with cultural awareness and values top of mind.
Public interest technology expertise is relevant to all entities who seek to embed the goals of technology assessment, fairness, sustainability and environmental justice in their products and processes.
Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
30 credit hours including the required applied project course (PIT 593)
Required Core (12 credit hours) Electives (15 credit hours) Culminating Experience (3 credit hours) Additional Curriculum Information
PIT 501 Principles of Public Interest Technology (3)
PIT 502 Co-designing the Future (3)
PIT 503 Technology Impact Assessments (3)
PIT 504 Public Engagement Strategies (3)
PIT 593 Applied Project (3)
Students should see the academic unit for the current elective course list. The elective list may change over time as new courses become available. Students must meet any prerequisites for the course in order to register for it or receive permission from the Master of Science in public interest technology degree program chair and the instructor of the course.
Required Core (12 credit hours)
Electives (15 credit hours)
Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
Additional Curriculum Information
Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the College of Global Futures.
Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, public administration, engineering, business, marketing, science, social science, humanities or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.
Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.
All applicants must submit:
- graduate admission application and application fee
- official transcripts
- professional resume
- written statement
- three letters of recommendation
- proof of English proficiency
Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.
ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program’s ASU Online page for program descriptions and to request more information.
Program learning outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. This program has the following program outcomes:
- Think critically and evaluate the success or failure of existing sociotechnical systems and make recommendations on how to overcome systemic problems related to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and fairness, among other human rights dimensions.
- Create and disseminate the results of their public engagements using different forms of communication such as professional report writing and oral communications, employing creative strategies through traditional and emerging online platforms.
- Students will be able to apply a transdisciplinary approach in the creation of a public interest technology design or development process, and analyze existing public interest technology solutions by applying fundamental principles, theoretical and conceptual frameworks (e.g., co-design) to real-world cases.
Study abroad is possible for graduate students. There are more than 50 program opportunities, with programs on every continent.
Faculty-directed programs tend to be the best fit for graduate students; taking courses over the summer or during academic breaks with ASU professors offers close mentorship and professional network growth in many fields of study while earning ASU credit. Exchange program participation is also possible with careful planning.
Students can find more information on the Global Education Office website.
Graduates have the ability to enact change within their workplace and to develop ideas for new for-profit and nonprofit startups that are user-centric, collective and community-driven. They are public interest technologists, an emerging domain of expertise.
Generally, graduates become:
- advisors (solutions, technology impact)
- analysts (policy, data privacy, systems)
- assessors (public interest technology, public health)
- consultants (content strategist, business, safety, user experience)
- coordinators (advocacy, standards)
- managers (data governance, cybersecurity, data privacy, environmental affairs, executive)
- policymakers (human rights, emerging technology)
Other career fields include telecommunications, information technology, biotechnology, government, education, energy, transport, health care and medicine, standards setting, accountability, oversight and ombudsperson service.