Doctoral degrees continue to expand

Carlos Ortiz

From left, doctoral student Cindy Okoh brainstorms with Clyde Eirikur Hull, professor of management; Ph.D. students Negin Haghi and Biju B. Varghese; and Rich DeJordy, chair of the Department of Management.

When Biju B. Varghese discovered that Saunders College of Business was offering a new Ph.D. in business administration this past fall, he knew he’d found a program tailor-made for him with the business college’s theme: “At the intersection of business and technology.”

By the numbers

RIT enrolls more than 450 doctoral students, including a record 112 new Ph.D. students who started last fall.

“This theme largely aligns with my background of computer engineering and management—particularly human resource management—and motivated me to apply,” Varghese said. “The business programs at Saunders College are rigorous and strongly infused with technology.”

The India native was among the first cohort of students admitted into Saunders College’s new Ph.D. in business administration, which marked the university’s inaugural social sciences doctoral program.

RIT’s Ph.D. programs continue to grow. Today, RIT enrolls more than 450 doctoral students, including a record 112 new Ph.D. students who started last fall.

Other Ph.D. programs include astrophysical sciences and technology, biomedical and chemical engineering, color science, computing and information sciences, electrical and computer engineering, imaging science, mathematical modeling, mechanical and industrial engineering, microsystems engineering, and sustainability.

More doctoral programs are on the way, with the university launching a new Ph.D. in physics this fall. Also in 2024, the College of Liberal Arts will introduce a new doctoral degree in cognitive science, a joint program with four other colleges on campus.

The Saunders College program is unlike traditional Ph.D. programs in business administration because it leverages RIT’s strong reputation as an innovative technology institute.

The program is designed to inspire and train scholars like Varghese to identify, investigate, and solve unique business challenges that influence business and society—particularly those that are brought on by today’s ever-changing technological changes.

The program pushes the boundaries by integrating technology and innovation as contextual underpinnings for each of the program’s areas of specialization: digital transformation, strategy and innovation, and finance and accounting.

Varghese said he also was drawn to the new doctoral program being built upon an apprenticeship model, which will enable him to work with expert faculty mentors on research projects that address unique business challenges.

Saunders College faculty are engaged in researching emergent trends such as the effect of technological innovation on industry dynamics, adopting block chain in auditing and fraud detection, e-commerce and consumer behavior, algorithmic trading, algorithmic decision support, and information systems development—all of which lie at the intersection of technology and business.

Upon graduation, Varghese said he aspires to teach in a top-tier business school.

“I am very happy to have discovered Saunders College,” he said. “It feels like I am part of a family here.”

Graduate Showcase April 11

RIT graduate students will share their scholarship with the RIT community during the Graduate Showcase, an all-day event on April 11 in the Student Alumni Union.

The Graduate School hosts the annual event to highlight RIT master’s and Ph.D. students’ scholarship. The showcase will run from 8:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and include:

  • Oral presentations, beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the Campus Center, rooms 2610 and 2650, and Student Alumni room 1500;
  • A panel of accelerated scholars will discuss the transition from undergraduate to graduate status in their BS/MS programs at noon in the Student Alumni Union, Ingle Auditorium;
  • Poster sessions and visual exhibitions will take place from 1-3 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge and in the Student Alumni, room 1829; and
  • A keynote talk and awards ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Ingle Auditorium.

Keynote speaker and RIT alumnus Sal Pellingra, vice president of Global Package Design, Applications and Business Development at ProAmpac, will present “Navigating the Future: Insights and Innovations for Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Pellingra holds a BS in packaging design and an executive MBA from RIT.

The Graduate Showcase will conclude with a reception in the 1829 room.

Registration for the event is requested. For more information, contact the Graduate School at

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