VCU Bulletins

Product Innovation, Master of (M.P.I.)

Graduate program director
Frank Franzak, Ph.D.
Associate professor, School of Business
(804) 828-7090

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Apply online at

Product Innovation, Master of (M.P.I.)
Semester(s) of entry:
Deadline dates:
May 31
Test requirements:
GRE, GMAT or portfolio depending on area of specialization

International students TOEFL required
Special requirements:

At the time of application, an applicant declares an area of specialization: arts, business or engineering. The arts specialization requires the submission of a portfolio comprising 20 to 30 examples of representative work; the business specialization requires either the GMAT or GRE; and the engineering specialization requires the GRE.

A personal interview may be requested.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university
  2. Except in very unusual cases approved by the graduate dean, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for at least the last two years of undergraduate work
  3. For applicants whose native language is not English, satisfactory scores from a standardized test commonly used and deemed appropriate for evaluation of English language proficiency, such as the TOEFL
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Applicant’s written statement of intent for pursuing graduate study in the product innovation discipline

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program mission and objectives

The Master of Product Innovation is administered by VCU’s da Vinci Center, which is a collaboration of VCU’s School of the Arts, College of Humanities and Sciences, School of Business and School of Engineering. Integrating arts, business and engineering principles, students will learn advanced product innovation topics pertaining to conceptualization, development and commercialization of new products. Through unique instruction and experiential learning that culminates with a year-long master’s project, students will have a real product innovation experience that could result in true business creation and economic development opportunities. M.P.I. graduates will reflect product innovation and team-working skills that will enable them to serve in key leadership roles to stimulate the creation, development and management of new products and services.

Student learning outcomes

The M.P.I. program hones competency in the area of product innovation. Students will:

  1. Gain an in-depth understanding of and appreciation for cross-disciplinary innovation
  2. Develop advanced product innovation skills
  3. Hone teamwork and team management skills

Degree requirements

The Master of Product Innovation requires a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours for completion. In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must:

  1. Complete the boot camp experience prior to the first semester of study in the program
  2. Complete the required core curriculum courses (12 or 15 credit hours of specified course work depending on undergraduate degree)
  3. Complete two elective courses (6 credit hours) with one of these courses at the 600 level
  4. Complete the master’s project courses (12 credit hours) (The master’s project is mandatory for all students.)

The program can be taken either on a full-time or part-time basis.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
Core requirements  12 or 15
Students must take at least two of the following courses, depending on which ones do not correspond to the undergraduate degree. If the student does not have an undergraduate degree in an arts, business or engineering discipline, all three courses must be taken. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to take all three courses regardless of undergraduate degree.  
INNO 501 Arts Principles for Product Innovation 3
INNO 502 Business Principles for Product Innovation 3
INNO 503 Technology Principles for Product Innovation 3
All students will enroll in:  
INNO 590 da Vinci Project 3
INNO 600 Integrative Design Studio 3
Technical electives 6
Students will take technical elective course work which includes the following. All technical electives must be at the graduate level, with at least three credit hours at the 600 level.  
INNO 691 Topics in Product Innovation  
INNO 697 Guided Study  
Other approved graduate-level course (Specific courses will be determined by the student with approval by the M.P.I. faculty committee.)  
Master’s project 12
INNO 651 Master’s Project in Product Innovation I 6
INNO 652 Master’s Project in Product Innovation II 6
Total number of graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Sample full-time enrollment plan of study

Courses Credit hours
First year, fall semester  
INNO 501 Arts Principles for Product Innovation 3
INNO 502 Business Principles for Product Innovation 3
INNO 503 Technology Principles for Product Innovation 3
INNO 600 Integrative Design Studio 3
First year, spring semester
INNO 590 da Vinci Project 3
Technical electives 6
Second year, fall semester  
INNO 651 Master’s Project in Product Innovation I 6
Optional elective 3
Second year, spring semester  
INNO 652 Master’s Project in Product Innovation II 6
Optional elective 3
Total number of graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

Other information

All students will be given information on policies and regulations during the first day of the M.P.I. boot camp experience.



Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us:

Last update: 11/21/2014

Created by VCU University Relations

The VCU Bulletin is in transition! As we move from this first iteration of our online Bulletin to a new product and process, what you find on this website is information for the 2014-15 academic year.

While much of the curricular information remains the same, changes that were approved with the effective date of fall 2015 will not be reflected on this website. Prospective students may wish to contact the school or department that administers their program of interest in order to discuss the most current curriculum and concentration options.

Enrolled students who are completing their studies under an effective Bulletin may continue to access the archives at, where past Bulletins are available to reference or download.

Our anticipated launch of the new VCU Bulletin is July 2015. To follow our progress, visit the new Bulletin blog.