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The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program is a transformative approach to enhancing higher education by engaging undergraduate and graduate students in ambitious, long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams, led by faculty. The program has been rigorously evaluated and refined over more than two decades.

RIT joined the VIP consortium in the summer of 2023.

The VIP Model

The VIP Program engages both undergraduate and graduate students in faculty-led multidisciplinary project teams. Students earn academic credits, while faculty and graduate students benefit from the design/discovery efforts of their teams. 

The VIP model has eight essential elements:

  1. Projects are embedded in faculty mentor’s scholarship and exploration.
  2. Projects are long-term and large-scale, continuing for many years, even decades.
  3. Program is curricular and all participating students are graded.
  4. Students can participate and earn credits toward their degrees for at least two years.
  5. Learning outcomes focus on the development of both disciplinary and professional skills.
  6. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged but not required.
  7. Dedicated classroom and meeting spaces.
  8. Faculty/student participation is based on mutual interest

Active teams

Computational Tools for Live Performance

Explore the use of computational tools, technologies, and methodologies in the process of the production of live theatrical and dance performances. Sample technologies on which we focus include virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, facial and body motion capture, volumetric video capture, projection mapping, audio synthesis and analysis, lighting and special effects.

Learn more about the Computational Tools for Live Performance project

Cultural Heritage Imaging, Preservation, and Research

Student and faculty researchers will work together to develop, enhance, and deploy methods to advance imaging techniques, related research, and applications that can impact the research, scholarship, and practice of scholars in humanities and arts as well as practitioners in cultural heritage and memory institutions, such as libraries, archives, and museums. 

Learn more about the Cultural Heritage Imaging project

Medical Technologies: Dialysis Design and Patient Perspectives

Explore patient perspectives about their life-sustaining medical technologies, specifically dialysis. Around the world, dialysis patients who opt for at-home dialysis often have better outcomes. Yet, in the United States, and Rochester specifically, most patients choose in center dialysis. We will explore the factors that influence this modality choice.

Learn more about the Dialysis Design project

Interactive Chapbooks

Students will work in cross-functional teams to design and develop small games inspired by/in collaboration with poets, artists, family members, etc. -- people whose work and stories hold meaning that the students want to share. Similar to poetry chapbooks, each semester’s games will be published as a web-based collection to be shared with the broader RIT and Rochester community.

Learn more about the Interactive Chapbooks project

Cybersecurity Clinic

For decades, schools of law and medicine have operated “clinics,” where students work with real-world clients with limited resources and gain valuable hands-on experience. These projects give students a “clinical” experience where they work on real-world problems and systems under the supervision of faculty and help to strengthen the digital defenses of under-resourced organizations.

Learn more about the Cybersecurity Clinic project

Frequently Asked Questions for students

VIPs provide a unique opportunity to gain academic credit to participate on a team working on a faculty led research or personal project. In addition to subject knowledge, students will gain experience in working on diverse and interdisciplinary teams with students from all academic levels. If you are looking for an experiential learning experience on a project for which you have a particular passion, it is a great way to follow that passion and get credits for doing so.

This will depend on both the VIP and the program in which a student is enrolled. VIP courses are intended as free electives, though may fulfill other course requirements for specific programs. Please see the description of individuals VIP and be sure to consult with your academic advisor to determine how VIPs can fit within your program of study.

Unlike other courses, students do not enroll directly into VIP courses via SIS. Instead, students will apply to a given VIP (links to application forms are provided in the description of each VIP) and when accepted students will be enrolled into the appropriate course and section by a representative in the student’s departmental or college office.

Yes, that is our hope. For the fall of 2024, we are running a pilot program with five VIP projects in the College of Liberal Arts and the Golisano College of Computing and Information Science. Based on what we learn during this pilot, we hope to be adding additional VIPs (from additional colleges) in the future.

VIP courses can be repeated for credit and the number of credits a student earns in any one semester can range from 1-3 depending on the workload required. Students should consult with their academic advisors as well as the VIP sponsor to iron out specific details. Students are limited to a maximum total of 12 VIP credits that can be taken throughout their academic entire career at RIT.

Frequently Asked Questions for faculty

This depends on the college and department of which the faculty member is a part. Some faculty count VIP as part of their fractional credit load, others will need to include it as part of their regular course load.   If you are interested in running a VIP, please discuss this with your supervisor or chair to see how the VIP can fit with your existing teaching load.

If you have an idea for a VIP, please contact us at vip@rit.edu and we can help you get started.

For the Fall 2024 pilot, VIP courses have been approved for the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Golisano College of Computing and Information Science (GCCIS).   Moving forward, we are hoping to expand to additional colleges. If you are interested in acting as an advocate for VIPs in your college, please contact us at vip@rit.edu.


Joe Geigel
Department of Computer Science
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences