Apr 22, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 [Archived Catalog]

Interdisciplinary Studies

In its efforts to shape tomorrow’s leaders, Rensselaer’s faculty has created innovative interdisciplinary curricula. Students are encouraged to work in inter- and cross-disciplinary programs that allow them to combine scholarly work from several departments or schools.

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 need different types of preparation for today’s interdisciplinary world. Options exist in many areas of science.

Biochemistry and Biophysics 
Two such closely related fields as biochemistry and biophysics are a logical choice for combination into an interdisciplinary degree program. 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. It also provides an excellent background for students planning careers in medicine. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are also available in this interdisciplinary field and is ideal preparation for jobs in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and other areas of fundamental research related to medicine.

Biochemistry/Biophysics Minor for Chemistry Majors 
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.

Design, Innovation and Society 
Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS) 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, Arts, 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.

Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy (Professional Master’s) 
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.

Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC) 
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.

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.

Games & Simulation Arts and Sciences 
The GSAS 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. This core curriculum will help ensure that graduates can develop as leaders in the game industry as well as in other fields that make use of highly interactive media, e.g. training and simulation applications found in business, education, and government; business management in emerging new media fields.

Information Technology 
Rensselaer’s unique cross-disciplinary degrees in Information Technology combine an innovative information technology curriculum with courses in other disciplines to give students the broad base of skills that industry is seeking. The program offers dual competencies: a grounding in information technology and expertise in a concentration such as management, the arts, engineering, architecture, science, and medicine. At Rensselaer, IT is understood in the broadest sense to incorporate the computing and communications industries, including hardware and software; the information, communications, and entertainment services; and the research and application of IT in and to all fields. The program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a Master of Science in Information Technology.

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 non-science disciplines such as management, law, education, communication, public service, economics, policymaking, or community affairs.

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.

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 today’s graduates function more effectively in such multidisciplinary environments. Through these programs, students interact with facult representing a variety of disciplines and participate in interdisciplinary research programs that bridge multiple science disciplines and also science and engineering.

Master of Engineering Program in 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.Ã’ 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. It is designed to provide engineering students with an opportunity to extend their technical depth within their disciplines while providing fundamental background in technical decision making methods and technology management. The program will introduce the metrics of business performance, the analytical modeling tools for applying these metrics in organizational and technical decision making systems, and the critical challenges associated with new models of value creation and business growth across different industries. Graduates of the program will have technical depth in the engineering discipline beyond the Bachelor’s level and be prepared to assume management responsibilities sooner upon entering the professional workforce.