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Public Interest Technology, MS

Public Interest Technology, MS

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Public Interest Technology, MS

Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technologies, Ethical, Future, Global, Innovation, Interdisciplinary Studies, Management, Policy, Social Justice, Social Responsibility, cyber, digital, government, sustainability

Do you have a passion for ensuring technology and innovation benefit society? Join this distinct program and become a leader in examining and using technology for social good, whether in the public or private sector or in nonprofit organizations.

Program description
Degree awarded: MS  Public Interest Technology

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 and use a codesign 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.

At a glance

Accelerated program options
This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years. It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's plus master's degree with:

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.

Degree requirements

30 credit hours including the required applied project course (PIT 593)

Required Core (12 credit hours)
PIT 501 Principles of Public Interest Technology (3)
PIT 502 Codesigning the Future (3)
PIT 503 Technology Impact Assessments (3)
PIT 504 Public Engagement Strategies (3)

Electives (15 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
PIT 593 Applied Project (3)

Additional Curriculum Information
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.

Admission requirements

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 a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. professional resume
  4. written statement
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. 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.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Attend online
ASU Online

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.

Application deadlines
Session A/COnline Rolling
Session A/COnline Rolling
Program learning outcomes

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.
Global opportunities
Global experience

Studying abroad is encouraged for graduate students. Nearly all of the College of Global Futures faculty-directed programs offer graduate credit. In addition, the Global Education Office offers more than 50 program opportunities, with programs on every continent.

Faculty-directed programs tend to be the best fit for graduate students; taking courses with ASU professors over the summer or during academic breaks offers students close mentorship and professional network growth in many fields of study while they earn ASU credit. Exchange program participation is also possible with careful planning.

Students can find programs specific to their interests on the College of Global Futures Study Abroad webpage, and additional opportunities and information on the ASU Global Education Office website. These sites also include additional information about applying for funding to support global travel.

Graduate students are also encouraged to apply for funding for international research, study and professional development through ASU's Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement.

Career opportunities

Graduates have the ability to enact change within their workplace and to develop ideas for nonprofit and for-profit 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, standard-setting, accountability, oversight and ombudsperson service.

Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. 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.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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