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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Interdisciplinary Programs
Rensselaer is interdisciplinary.

Meaning that the lines dividing departments and curricula are blurred and intersecting. Faculty, students, and even the programs themselves integrate and cooperate. In today’s world, computer science graduates need to know about business. Engineers need the ability to communicate effectively. Architects must master new tools of information technology. At Rensselaer, students can focus on a preferred major while exploring other interests and acquiring complementary knowledge and skills.

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* Applied Science *
Applied Science
The Master of Science degree traditionally has been in a single subject matter, e.g. chemistry, physics, or mathematics. However, the working environment that college graduates face today and will face in the future is one in which their jobs increasingly bridge more than one area of specialization. The M.S. in Applied Science program is based upon Rensselaer ‘s belief that science graduates of the past few decades and most current graduates are not educated adequately for today’s interdisciplinary world. Options exist in many areas of science.
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* Biochemistry and Biophysics *
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Biochemical and biophysical research is advancing the frontiers of research in the basic life sciences and making possible advances in more applied fields such as medicine and agriculture. Rensselaer’s B.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics provides exceptional preparation for graduate school and/or employment in various sectors of the rapidly developing biotechnology industry. An M.S. degree is also available in this interdisciplinary field and is ideal preparation for jobs in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and other related industry sectors.
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* Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology *
Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology
Biotechnology and information technology are emerging new fields that are changing the world. Anticipating the demand for graduates with a range of skills covering mathematics, chemistry, and physics, Rensselaer developed a B.S. degree program that provides solid background in all of these disciplines. At the program’s core are courses in the theory and practice of bioinformatics that deal with topics such as database design and search algorithms, sequence alignment, sequence analysis, and molecular modeling. This core includes a molecular biology sequence and training in drug discovery.
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* Design, Innovation, and Society *
Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS)
Design, Innovation, and Society merges the technical with the creative and stimulates originality. The DIS major combines engineering courses, STS courses, and design studios. The Design, Innovation, and Society degree is offered by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. This program offers a B.S. degree in DIS as well as the opportunity to dual major in Mechanical Engineering, Management, and other curriculums.
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* Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy *
Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy (EEVP)
The professional master’s program is aimed at early and mid-career professionals in state and local government, secondary education, business, and the nonprofit sector who are looking to upgrade their skills and advance their careers. The program helps students to acquire the skills they will need to address the complex multidisciplinary problems any society faces in such areas as environment and health and sustainable development.
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* Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication *
Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC)
One of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in the United States, the EMAC degree combines communication theory and practice with electronic media arts studio and theory. This program combines offerings in the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication and the Arts Department.
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* Environmental Science *
Environmental Science
The challenge of keeping the Earth safely inhabitable while still providing for an ever increasing population and its expanding needs ensures an ongoing demand for environmental scientists. Meeting this challenge requires broader perspective than any single discipline affords. In fact, expertise is necessary beyond just the sciences. Rensselaer’s B.S. in Environmental Science addresses these challenges with a multifaceted program.
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* Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences *
Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
The Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program is a comprehensive B.S. that also offers an opportunity for a dual major. GSAS stresses acquiring both fundamental principles and skills in a range of disciplines and also obtaining some depth in a single area of concentration in game studies. The curriculum provides many team experiences and cycles of design, analysis, and iteration, as well as a formal research component.
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* Information Technology *
Information Technology and Web Science
Rensselaer’s unique cross-disciplinary degrees in Information Technology and Web Science allow our students to explore the World Wide Web and other IT technologies from the algorithmic, engineering and social perspective. Students in the program learn about the physical science underlying the Web and the social science of its impact, as well as the skills involved in running large-scale information systems, developing Web applications, or dealing with the social and policy implications of IT and Web deployments.
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* Interdisciplinary Science *
Interdisciplinary Science
Always encouraging of students’ interests outside the traditional disciplines and career paths, Rensselaer offers this B.S. program that allows for the combination of sciences in innovative ways. In addition it provides the opportunity to combine science with more humanistic studies such as management, law, education, communication, public service, economics, policymaking, or community affairs.
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* Interschool Minor in Energy *
Interschool Minor in Energy
Rensselaer offers this interschool minor as an opportunity for students in any undergraduate major to learn about a wide variety of issues involved in understanding energy. It includes fundamental courses in architecture, engineering, management, science, and the humanities and social sciences.
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* Minds and Machines *
Minds & Machines (M&M)
Rensselaer students who enter the Minds & Machines program perform cutting-edge scientific research. They explore the nature of reasoning, perception, and learning, develop computational cognitive models, create intelligent artificial agents, engineer cognitive technology, and address philosophical questions about the fundamental nature of the human mind. Students in the undergraduate Minds & Machines program must select a dual major — one major reflecting the 'Minds' part of the program, the other the 'Machines' part.
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* Multidisciplinary Science *
Multidisciplinary Science
Increasingly, college graduates with traditional discipline oriented backgrounds are discovering that their jobs ar bridging more than one area of specialization. Rensselaer’s M.S. and Ph.D programs in multidisciplinary science are designed to help such individuals function more effectively in such multidisciplinary environments. Through these programs, students interact with faculty representing a variety of disciplines and participate in interdisciplinary research programs that bridge not only science disciplines but also science and engineering.
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* Product Design and Innovation *
Product Design and Innovation (PDI)
The dual major program in Product Design and Innovation is jointly offered by the Schools of Engineering, Architecture, and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Built around a Design Studio every semester, PDI combines the sophistication of Rensselaer’s building science curriculum with the vision of the humanities, arts, and social sciences disciplines. These studios help students to explore and develop their creativity while building a portfolio of design experiences continuously throughout all four years.
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* Sustainability Studies *
Sustainability Studies
The Sustainability Studies major is designed so that it works as a stand-alone major with enough flexibility for students to pursue areas of interest beyond the sustainability studies core. It is also designed to accommodate dual-major combinations with related degree programs across the Institute. Sustainability Studies prepares graduates for careers in environmental policy, management, and research—in industry, in government, or in non-profit organizations. Rigorous and creative teaching of social science methods is a signature aspect of the program, providing a strong base from which students launch their careers or advance into graduate programs.
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* Systems Engineering and Technology Management *
Systems Engineering and Technology Management (SETM)
The School of Engineering and the Lally School of Management jointly offer a unique Master of Engineering program in Systems Engineering and Technology Management (SETM) through the Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems. This is a 30-credit-hour program leading to the Master of Engineering degree that is open to qualified undergraduates from other institutions, but is primarily intended as a co-terminal degree option for Rensselaer engineering undergraduates.
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Page updated: 12/17/10, 6:59 PM
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