Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Preparing for a New Era in Graduate Education at the LRC
By Keith Toomey
Graduate education at the LRC
Grad students work hands-on with lighting technologies and demonstrations at the LRC.

The Lighting Research Center has expanded its graduate education programs to offer a much wider range of degree options, including a new Ph.D. degree. This fall, the LRC will enroll students in three advanced degree programs. In addition to the highly successful, two-year Master of Science in lighting, which has become a leading degree program in the field of lighting, the LRC will offer two new graduate degrees: a nine-month master's degree and a doctoral degree in architectural sciences with a concentration in lighting.

Concentrated master's degree for lighting professionals

The Master of Science in architectural sciences with a concentration in lighting allows people with experience in the lighting industry or lighting design profession to attend a concentrated, multidisciplinary program in lighting research and design. This new two-semester, 30-credit program will open the door to higher education in lighting to more people.

Graduate student at the LRC
LRC grad students get real-world experience to take to their professional careers.

“Many people can’t leave their jobs for an extended period of time, so enrolling in our two-year program is not an option,” said Dan Frering, the LRC’s manager of education. “Now, with just a nine-month commitment, students will gain advanced knowledge and cutting-edge research experience in lighting in a concentrated period.” This concentrated program, said Frering, is a welcome companion to the traditional MS in Lighting program.

Ph.D. program for advanced studies

Increasing interest in a program that offers the highest academic credential in lighting inspired the LRC to create a Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. in architectural sciences with a concentration in lighting is one of the first interdisciplinary doctoral degrees to be offered by a major university in the field of architecture.

This degree will include formal courses in such areas as the physics of light, lighting technology, design, research design, and human factors of lighting. It also will allow students to concentrate their research in a particular area of interest. It will allow students more time to concentrate on in-depth research in lighting.

The LRC is accepting applications for the Ph.D. program and hopes to enroll its first candidates this fall. Candidates will be able to enroll from a variety of backgrounds including architecture, engineering, science and other related disciplines. Most students will first enroll in the two-year master's program and then continue on to the Ph.D. if they qualify and desire the higher degree. However, according to Frering, students with existing master's degrees in related fields could be accepted directly into the Ph.D. program.

“The Ph.D. program will help to provide lighting experts with the credentials needed to teach in colleges and universities and to work in leading research facilities around the world,” said Frering.

Master of Science in lighting – still the premier master’s degree

For 15 years, the LRC has offered the world’s premier Master of Science in lighting degree. More than a hundred of today’s top lighting professionals have graduated from this two-year, 48-credit program that immerses students in lighting research and design. It culminates with an original thesis project under the guidance of a faculty member.

The development of the new graduate programs in lighting was made possible by the generous support of the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, an endowment fund supporting college-level programs that further the understanding of light in architecture.

The LRC is now accepting applications for all three programs. For more information, visit the LRC Graduate Education Web site. For more information about the LRC's Graduate Education program, please contact Dan Frering, manager of education, at or telephone him at 518-687-7149.

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute