RMU Announces Academic Restructuring

Robert Morris University is reorganizing its academic programs in order to foster more interdisciplinary collaboration and demonstrate best practices in higher education.

RMU currently offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and none of them are being eliminated under this reorganization plan. The plan will result in the university having four schools: The School of Business; The School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science; The School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences; and The School of Nursing, Education and Human Studies. The plan is effective as of June 1, 2019.

The new academic configuration is consistent with the university’s RMU 100 strategic plan and reflects the real-world intersection of disciplines that once were regarded as distinct. The university’s strategic plan aims to help the Pittsburgh region address critical shortages in the professional workforce identified in the seminal 2016 Inflection Point report by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. 

"Historically, colleges and universities have often formed schools and academic departments in a rather ad-hoc fashion. But we must be strategic and focused, and our new academic structure represents the best way to serve our students and respond to the demands of the higher education market," said RMU President Chris Howard.  

Highlights of the plan include:

  • All programs that require professional licensure will be housed in the School of Nursing, Education and Human Studies, which is in line with best practices. Among that school’s degree programs will be all health care, teaching certification, and psychology programs, including counseling licensure.
  • Information systems, humanities, social sciences, and media and communication degrees will live in the School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences. This school will reflect the number of ways in which professionals in all these fields collaborate with one another and the increasing number of careers that will require graduates to draw on skills in all those subjects. The first new degree program representing a collaboration between disciplines in the new schools will be a master’s degree in cyber investigations and intelligence, which will be offered starting in the fall of 2019.
  • The Health Service Administration programs will move to the School of Business over a two-year period in response to the exponential growth of the health care industry in the Pittsburgh region and increasing demand for administrative services in health care systems. 

An emphasis on career outcomes has long been a hallmark of RMU’s degree programs, and this is reflected in the university’s academic reorganization. Ninety-five percent of RMU students are employed or enrolled in graduate school within one year of commencement, and Gallup surveys show that RMU alumni are more likely to be engaged in their work, to be employed in their field of choice, and to hold management positions than graduates of comparable universities nationwide.

"RMU has always adapted its curriculum to keep pace with the changing needs of the professional workforce. Today that means providing students with an environment in which they can learn and collaborate with peers in different disciplines, much as they will throughout their careers," said Mary Ann Rafoth, interim provost and professor of education at RMU. 

RMU’s academic reorganization is one part of a larger university-wide restructuring intended to reduce administrative costs and keep RMU affordable to students and their families. A staff reorganization plan will have been completed by the end the current fiscal year, with cost savings achieved largely through attrition and voluntary separation agreements. 

Academic Departments by School

School of Nursing, Education and Human Studies

  • Nursing
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Health Services Administration (will transition to School of Business over next two years)

School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Communication
  • Computer Information Systems
  • English                                                  
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Media Arts
  • Social Sciences

School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science

  • Engineering
  • Math/Actuarial Science
  • Science

School of Business

  • Accounting, Taxation, and Legal Studies
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Sport Management and Hospitality
  • Health Services Administration (will transition to School of Business over next two years)
Frequently Asked Questions

Why is RMU reorganizing its academic schools?
Robert Morris University is reorganizing its academic programs in order to foster more interdisciplinary collaboration and demonstrate best practices in higher education. Having four schools will also reduce administrative costs without impacting instruction or academic services. No degree programs are being eliminated as part of this plan.

How will these changes affect currently enrolled students?
The organizational changes of the schools will not change the requirements students are expected to fulfill in our various degree programs or eliminate any major or degree programs.

Why is Robert Morris University planning to eliminate staff positions?
Like other colleges and universities in western Pennsylvania, RMU is facing a challenging enrollment market, with fewer college-bound high school graduates. Other factors beyond the university’s control include declining international enrollment, which is part of a nationwide trend. The administrative restructuring will allow the university to remain affordable and become even more responsive to the needs of the Pittsburgh region’s workforce.

Will these plans impact accreditations?
Current program accreditations will not be impacted.

If the university needs to eliminate staff positions, why is it building the UPMC Events Center?
The UPMC Events Center is funded entirely through sponsorships and donations, largely from donors who have not previously supported the university. RMU has engaged a professional venue management firm to attract events and generate revenues that will bolster the university’s finances.