Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — Doctoral Programs


The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer has spaces available for a limited number of exceptional students to begin their PhD or MS/PhD studies in August 2018.

  • The PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer grew from what is generally considered to be the first integrated electronic arts program within a research university in the United States.  During the past ten years, the character of graduate education in the arts has been changing. The most visible new features are the prominence of the electronic arts, the development of interdisciplinary approaches, and, related in part to the previous two factors, Ph.D.s in interdisciplinary arts. Information about Arts faculty research can be found at
  • The Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric centers on the study of diverse communication practices and media environments. Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized scholars in design, visual art and culture, media studies, digital rhetoric, technical communication, ethnography, game studies, HCI, mixed reality, communication, and composition. Information about our research clusters, can be found on our website at Information about previous and current doctoral students and their research interests and dissertations, can be found at A current list of faculty and their biographies can also be found on our website at
  • The PhD in Science and Technology Studies builds on the diverse backgrounds and interests of internationally prominent faculty in a Department known for its global reach, theoretical breadth, and ethical engagement, enabling research into questions and problems that extend beyond the boundaries of any single discipline. Our graduates produce new understandings of science and technology that can be translated into improved scientific and technological practices and policy outcomes, with a focus on social justice and sustainable living. Information about STS faculty research can be found at
  • The PhD in Cognitive Science was launched in 2003 with the aim of training the next generation of world-class cognitive scientists, and making seminal contributions to the field.  In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science, this program trains students to integrate theories, methods, and tools from a variety of fields. Students become engaged in research from the beginning of their first semester working closely with individual faculty as well as teams of faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. Information about faculty research in Cognitive Science can be found at

Students should apply through the Institute’s portal at Applications must be submitted by January 2, 2018 to be considered for Fall 2018 admission. It is recommended that prospective PhD candidates identify potential advisors and discuss their ideas for their research with them before submitting an application. In addition to the application form, applicants for the PhD have departmental-specific admissions requirements list at along with general admissions requirements listed at

Informal inquiries can be directed to the Graduate Program Director in each department:

or the Senior Student Services Administrator, Jennifer Mumby (

Graduate Funding
There are both teaching assistantship and fellowship opportunities for our Ph.D. applicants in Arts and Communication. This funding is very competitive and both covers full tuition and offers a stipend. Applicants who gain admission and who wish to enroll are responsible for covering the costs of the additional fees associated with enrolling at Rensselaer. Applicants must check off “Yes” to the financial aid question on the application to be considered for funding. Funding is not guaranteed.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s oldest technological university. Under the leadership of President Shirley Ann Jackson, study in the arts, media and communication at Rensselaer are situated integrally with programs in science and technology within her vision of a “New Polytechnic.” Rensselaer is located in Troy, NY, the heart of the “Tech Valley” region of the Hudson River Valley. The university’s Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) offers scholars and students opportunities for creative interdisciplinary research in the arts, performance technologies, science, and engineering.

We strongly encourage candidates who will bring diverse intellectual, geographical, gender and ethnic perspectives to Rensselaer’s graduate community. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is committed to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunities for all.