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January 2021

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RIT Offers Three New Engineering Doctoral Programs

Srikanthan Ramesh is one of 90 Ph.D. students in RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering. The college will offer three new doctoral programs starting in Fall 2021. Credit: A. Sue Weisler/RIT

Three new engineering doctoral degree programs at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) were approved by the New York State Department of Education and will be prepared for new students in Fall 2021. The three programs combine engineering disciplines-electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and industrial engineering, and biomedical and chemical engineering-and are focused on using multidisciplinary approaches to solving today's global challenges.

The new programs will focus on the broad fields of manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications, health care and energy. They will provide the same disciplinary depth that traditional discipline specific degrees would achieve. Also included in the new programs are courses titled "Interdisciplinary Research Methods" and "Translating Discovery into Practice," which provide skills in professional communication, research ethics, policy and entrepreneurship. "The latter areas are not often found in doctoral degree programs," said Edward Hensel, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, in RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

"That was our number one goal, solve problems in those five areas. If we are addressing globally significant problems, it is not just about the technology, it is also about the policy," he added. "No one discipline could solve multidisciplinary problems of global and national significance without involving engineering, science, social sciences and medical disciplines."

The three new doctoral programs are an evolution and replacement of the Ph.D. in engineering, a degree program established by the college in 2014. The novelty of the program was its multidisciplinary look at problem solving and its emphasis in meeting demands based on national initiatives from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Energy, Transportation and Health and Human Services.

"We found that this multidisciplinary engineering Ph.D. program was exceptionally appealing to students, so we have gotten phenomenal interest in the program from students who might not have considered RIT otherwise," said Hensel.

The multidisciplinary concept remains the basis of the new engineering programs but with a more concentrated emphasis on the engineering disciplinary areas.

"We are trying to preserve the best of what we had as well as energize growth for the future. We feel that there will be an opportunity with three breakout programs that can meet the level of research that is coming up in the college," said Hensel.

For more information contact:

Rochester Institute of Technology

One Lomb Memorial Drive

Rochester, NY 14623-5608


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