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RIT moves forward with development of two new Ph.D. programs

A $465,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will be used to create an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in sustainability. It would be RIT’s fourth Ph.D. program.

The proposed Ph.D. program would integrate research and coursework in engineering and science with economics and public policy, particularly environmental policy, and management. The program would be one of the first in the world dedicated to the study of sustainability.

The Henry Luce Foundation is a non-profit, private foundation that supports a wide variety of programs in higher education, international affairs, art, public policy, the environment and theology.

“We fully expect this program to advance the development of environmentally and socially sound industrial system design while also educating engineers and policy makers around the world on the importance of sustainable principles,” says Nabil Nasr, director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. “The ultimate goal is to produce graduates at the highest educational level, who are equipped to become leaders in creating a more sustainable society both in their own communities and around the world.”

RIT will augment the Luce Foundation grant with university funding and will convene a team to begin curriculum development over two years.
Meanwhile, New York state has approved RIT’s third Ph.D. program, in computing and information sciences. Focusing on use-driven domain computing, it will be offered through the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Twelve students per year will be accepted into the program. Classes begin this fall.

The Golisano College has established the Center for Advancing the Study of Cyberinfrastructure to serve as the research facility for the Ph.D. students and faculty. Faculty members from several RIT colleges are conducting interdisciplinary research within the center’s 14 laboratories.

“The Ph.D. program is the crown jewel of the college,” says Jorge Diaz-Herrera, dean of the Golisano College. “This is a very comprehensive college with state-of-the-art facilities, and the Ph.D. program will allow us to put our advanced research into perspective.”

RIT also offers doctoral degrees in imaging science and microsystems engineering.