Undergraduates, graduates, and working professionals around the world are served by Rensselaer. Many first year students have come from not only around the nation but around the world to receive an education at this institution. The school boasts over 145 programs combined at all levels—including doctoral. Students that attend the college are encouraged to work through interdisciplinary programs— this allows them to combine the scholarly work that they receive from multiple departments or schools. Rensselaer provides learning environments that are interactive, engaging, and rigorous as well as opportunities all over campus for students to practice leadership, creativity, and collaboration. Collectively, the institute has 34 research centers, and has grown this research 176% since before the millennium. It is propelled by dedicated, talented, and progressive faculty that has expanded their research enterprise through leveraging existing strengths and focusing on various areas of research.
The institute is most known for its success regarding the transmission of technology from the lab right to the marketplace so that new inventions and discoveries can benefit human life, strengthen economic development, and protect the environment. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has made an unerasable mark on the 19th and 20th centuries, and today it is among the world's preeminent research universities, offering students an interdisciplinary and interactive education—along with a chance to be among those who are shaping the 21st century in all things sciences, technology, arts, and media related. It can be said that the Institute provides a new paradigm for learning, teaching, and research.
The curriculum for Communication and Media is able to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the study of vital communication within today's information society. This program will provide not only a theoretical foundation for basic communication principles, but also a unique hands on education through the application of those principles through communication in a world that is driven by technology and new media. The Communications and Media program can give students various tracks of study that will target areas of expertise inside the department and give a coherent set of courses to provide students with the breadth and depth necessary for a particular subject area. Each track is recommended for all electives courses that fit well together—they are not requirements. All that is required of the student for the program is 4 core courses and also 28 credit hours of electives chosen from within the department. This will equal out to a total of 44 credit hours.
This department also offers a handful of programs of study that are more specialized than the overall Communications degree. They also have requirements that are more extensive and more specific. Within the degree for Communications, students are able to choose a concentration in graphic design, a certificate in communication design, or a dual major in design innovation and society and communication. The tracks of study for the BS in Communications are: Human-Computer Interaction, Media and Culture, Professional Writing and Presentation, Design Studio, and Literature and Expression. The track should be chosen in accordance with the student's desired career path.
As time goes on, the integration of the internet and computer systems into the home life and working world of individuals has underlined the need for experts that are able to design human-computer interfaces that are able to allow individuals to work in a more intuitive way in a broader range of contexts than before. This MS in HCI program brings together coursework in HCI with theory in related areas like information design, technical communication, and cognitive science. This will help the next generation of researchers and designers to meet the challenges that these new contexts present. The institute's approach to HCI is different from other programs in that it is centered around communication rather than computer science. The program does teach skills for implementing HCI but the focus is aimed at understanding as well as addressing the most basic problems related to human-technology interaction. Students will learn about things such as HCI research through incredible advanced seminars and will complete the program having a final project that displays the integration of all skills that they acquired from the program.
Those who graduate are prepared to work as information architects, usability engineers, interface designers, and lots of other professions depending on the course selections that the student has made. To complete the program, students are required to complete 10 courses, and 7 of those must be chosen from those offered by the Communications and Media department, while the remainder may be chosen from that same program or a different one.