Jul 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools

Dean: Mary H. Simoni
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Brett Fajen
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies: Kenneth Simons
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Home Page: hass.rpi.edu

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) offers research and educational opportunities aligned with Rensselaer’s vision of the New Polytechnic Institute. The School’s five departments offer innovative and interdisciplinary programs of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate programs include majors in humanities, social science, and arts disciplines; collaborations and dual majors for students of all schools; and a core curriculum (the HASS Core) that is a common element in the course of study for all Rensselaer students. Graduate programs in HASS offer unique opportunities for the study of the technological world, its impact on society, and its potential contributions to social, cultural, and artistic goals. All HASS students have a broad choice of electives representing Rensselaer’s global vision and commitment to personal excellence through studies in arts, communications, and culture, as well as to the traditional areas of liberal arts and social sciences.

HASS programs at Rensselaer give every student close contact with outstanding faculty members. Those faculty—scholars and practitioners themselves—create programs that are distinctive for research applications at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students also have access to fieldwork and studio experiences; internships and professional co-op opportunities; maker spaces, multimedia studios and laboratories, game development and computer facilities; traditional and experimental musical ensembles; and opportunities to cross boundaries and to develop interdisciplinary projects. These programs integrate the intellectual depth and the practical experience needed for leadership careers in business, non-profit corporations, government and government-related organizations, higher education, arts, and more. HASS students not only participate in the technological world—they create it; they shape it.

HASS is home to five academic departments—Arts; Cognitive Science; Communication and Media; Economics; and Science and Technology Studies (STS); and an interdisciplinary program in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences—each of which combines a unique breadth and depth of scholarly expertise to create innovative educational programs and pursue interdisciplinary research. 

Departments and Degrees Offered

B.S. Electronic Arts
B.S. Music
Ph.D. Electronic Arts

B.S. Cognitive Science
M.S. Cognitive Science (internal applicants only)
Ph.D. Cognitive Science
B.S. Philosophy
B.S. Psychological Science

B.S. Communication, Media, and Design
M.S. Communication and Rhetoric (internal applicants only)
Ph.D. Communication and Rhetoric

B.S. Economics
B.S. Biotechnology and Health Economics
M.S. Economics

B.S. Science, Technology, and Society
B.S. Sustainability Studies
B.S. Design, Innovation, and Society
M.S. Science and Technology Studies (internal applicants only)
Ph.D. Science and Technology Studies 

B.S. Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences
M.S. Critical Game Design
Ph.D. Critical Game Design

Overview of Graduate Programs

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences offers both master’s and doctoral level programs. 

Master’s Programs

HASS offers master’s degrees (M.S.) within the departments of Communication and Media, Cognitive Science, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies and an interdisciplinary program in Critical Game Design. The master’s programs in Cognitive Science, Communication and Rhetoric, and Science and Technology Studies limit the application to internal students only.

Co-terminal Degree Opportunities

Rensselaer’s co-terminal program provides Rensselaer undergraduates the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree while maintaining their undergraduate funding. HASS offers co-terminal opportunities in Critical Game Design, Cognitive Science, Economics, and Science Technology Studies. Co-terminal students can pursue a master’s degree in the same academic discipline as their bachelor’s degree or take an interdisciplinary approach, applying to a graduate program outside of their undergraduate department. Applications to HASS co-terminal programs are due by January 30th of a student’s junior year. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to begin talking with their undergraduate advisers during their sophomore or fall semester of their junior year. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Education Website for the current co-terminal admission criteria.

Doctoral Programs

Programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) are offered in Electronic Arts, Critical Game Design, Cognitive Science, Science and Technology Studies, and Communication and Rhetoric. Individual courses and opportunities for directed study are also available in other areas.



Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools