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Imaging Science Ph.D.

Program overview

The doctor of philosophy degree in imaging science signifies high achievement in scholarship and independent investigation in the diverse aspects of imaging science. Graduates will contribute to an increase in the fundamental body of knowledge associated with imaging science. They will acquire the capabilities, skills, and experience to continue to expand the limits of the discipline, and to meet future scholarly, industrial, and government demands on the field.

Candidates for the doctoral degree must demonstrate proficiency by:


All students must complete a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of course work and research. The core curriculum includes courses that span and integrate a common body of knowledge essential to an understanding of imaging processes and applications. Courses are defined by the studentís study plan and must include the core sequences plus a sequence in a topical area such as remote sensing, digital image processing, color imaging, digital graphics, electro-optical imaging systems, medical imaging, and microlithographic imaging technologies.

Students may take a limited number of credit hours in other departments, must complete research credits, including two credits of research associated with the research seminar course, Graduate Seminar (IMGS-606, 607).

Graduate elective courses offered by the Center for Imaging Science (and other RIT academic departments in fields closely allied with imaging science) allow students to concentrate their studies in a range of imaging science research and imaging application areas, including electro-optical imaging, digital image processing, color science, perception and vision, electrophotography, lithography, remote sensing, medical diagnostic imaging, electronic printing, and machine vision.

Imaging science, Ph.D. degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
IMGS-616 Fourier Methods for Imaging 3
IMGS-619 Radiometry 3
IMGS-620 The Human Visual System 3
IMGS-609 Graduate Laboratory I 1
IMGS-606 Graduate Seminar I 1
IMGS-682 Digital Image Processing 3
IMGS-633 Optics for Imaging 3
  Specialty Track Course 1 3
IMGS-610 Graduate Laboratory II 1
IMGS-607 Graduate Seminar II 1
Second Year
IMGS-613 Probability, Noise and System Modeling 3
  Specialty Track Course 2 3
  Graduate Electives 6
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 1
Third Year
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 5
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 5
Fourth Year
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 5
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 5
Fifth Year
IMGS-890 Research and Thesis 5
Total Semester Credit Hours 60

Advancement to candidacy

Advancement to candidacy will proceed through the following steps:

Following the comprehensive exam, faculty will decide whether a student will continue on the doctoral track or if the pursuit of an MS degree or other options are more acceptable. For students who continue in the doctoral track, the student's will be revised, a research committee is appointed, candidacy/proposal exams are scheduled, and, finally, a dissertation defense is presented.

Research committee

Prior to the candidacy exam, the student, in consultation with the adviser, must present a request to the graduate program coordinator for the appointment of a research committee. The committee will be composed of at least four people: the adviser, at least one faculty member who is tenured (or tenure-track) and whose primary affiliation is the Carlson Center for Imaging Science (excluding research faculty), a person competent in the field of research who is an RIT faculty member or affiliated with industry or another university and has a doctorate degree, and the external chair. The external chair must be a tenured member of the RIT faculty who is not a faculty member of the center and who is appointed by the dean of graduate studies. The committee will supervise the studentís research, beginning with a review of the research proposal and concluding with the dissertation defense.

Research proposal

The student and the research adviser select a research topic for the dissertation. The proposed research must be original and publishable. Although the topic may deal with any aspect of imaging, the research is usually concentrated in an area of current interest within the center. The research proposal is presented to the student's research committee during the candidacy exam at least six months prior to the dissertation defense.

Final examination of the dissertation

The research adviser, on behalf of the student and the student's research committee, must notify the graduate program coordinator of the scheduling of the final examination of the dissertation by forwarding to the graduate program coordinator the title and abstract of the dissertation and the scheduled date, time, and location of the examination. The final examination of the dissertation may not be scheduled within six months of the date on which the student passed the candidacy exam (at which the thesis proposal was presented and approved).

Barring exceptional circumstances (requiring permission from the graduate program coordinator), the examination may not be scheduled sooner than four weeks after formal announcement (i.e. center-wide hallway postings and email broadcast) has been made of the dissertation title and abstract, and the defense date, time, and location.

The final examination of the dissertation is open to the public and is primarily a defense of the dissertation research. The examination consists of an oral presentation by the student, followed by questions from the audience. The research committee may also elect to privately question the candidate following the presentation. The research committee will immediately notify the candidate and the graduate program coordinator of the examination result.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in imaging science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

Imaging science encompasses a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Exceptional candidates from other fields and with diverse backgrounds are accepted into the program.

Admissions decisions are made by a committee comprised of graduate faculty of the Center for Imaging Science.

Students with an MS degree in a related field may be granted credit toward the doctoral degree after successful completion of the comprehensive examination and approval of their study plan. (Students should consult their academic adviser for more information.) The required research credits may not be waived by experience or examination.

Additional information


All students in the program must spend at least two consecutive semesters (summer excluded) as resident full-time students to be eligible to receive the doctoral degree. If circumstances warrant, the residency requirement may be waived via petition to the graduate program coordinator, who will decide on the studentís petition in consultation with the adviser and graduate faculty. The request must be submitted at least nine months prior to the thesis defense.

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

All candidates must maintain continuous enrollment during the research phase of the program. Such enrollment is not limited by the maximum number of research credits that apply to the degree. Normally, full-time students complete the course of study for the doctorate in approximately three to five years. A total of seven years is allowed to complete the degree after passing the comprehensive exam.

Financial aid, scholarships, and assistantships

Graduate assistantships and tuition remission scholarships are available to qualified students. Applicants seeking financial assistance from the center must have all application documents submitted to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services by January 15 for the next academic year. Students whose native language is not English are advised to obtain as high a TOEFL or IELTS score as possible if they wish to apply for a teaching or research assistantship. These candidates also are encouraged to take the Test of Spoken English in order to be considered for financial assistance.

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Imaging scientist, color scientist, chemist, design engineer, optical engineer, R&D engineer, software engineer, process engineer


Image analysis, sensitizing dyes & chemicals, optical instrumentation, governmental and industrial research

Recent Employers

Applied Science Fiction, Eastman Kodak Co., GDE Systems, Harris Corp., Hewlett Packard, Lockheed Martin, Polaroid, Xerox

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