Graduate Studies in Imaging Science

CIS at RIT has offered the masters and PhD in Imaging Science for over twenty years, and is still the only PhD program in the United States in this field.  What is Imaging Science and why would you study it?

Imaging was named one of the top twenty engineering achievements of the 20th Century by the National Academies ( and for good reason.  In the last twenty years imaging has made dramatic advances, transforming our ability as humans to see and understand a range of phenomenon, keeping us healthy, protecting our security, monitoring our earth, exploring our universe, uncovering and preserving our heritage, enhancing communication, and facilitating our every day lives.

Imaging Science encompasses the development, optimization, and application of imaging systems. Today, imaging systems use not only the visible light our eyes can see, but the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays through infrared and on down to the lowest radio frequencies.  Modern ultrasound and electron microscopic imaging techniques transcend the realm of electromagnetic waves. Video and three-dimensional imaging further enhance our capabilities, and computers allow development of algorithms to extract information from databases of images as well as visualizations techniques to display information so humans can utilize it.

Thus the science and engineering of imaging encompasses a very wide range of subject areas, from the physics of energy sources to the psychophysics of high-level visual perception, from the engineering of optics and sensing systems to the design of algorithms.  From how light is generated to how the world is perceived, imaging science addresses questions about every aspect of systems and techniques used to create, perceive, analyze, and optimize images.  Application areas of imaging are equally diverse, including remote sensing, earth observation and monitoring, vision and perception, biomedical systems, astronomy, security, emergency response, video systems and printers, document reconstruction, data mining, to name some of the active areas of research within the Center. Thus, Imaging Science is both truly interdisciplinary in its content and multi-disciplinary in its applications. 

Every year ~10 students graduate from CIS with Ph.D.s in Imaging Science and 15 with masters degrees.  These students will have carried out research theses and be ready to work in any number of applications areas.  We offer stipends and tuition coverage for admitted PhD students and top masters students.  Last year CIS was supported by ~7 Million dollars expended from external grants and contracts from the Federal and State agencies and Corporate America. We have over 40 faculty actively engaged with our students and programs.

You can explore active areas of research where you might pursue your thesis research here. Areas of active research within CIS where you might pursue your thesis research include:

  • Remote Sensing - the use of satellite, airborne, or distributed sensor systems for purposes ranging from environmental science to national security.
  • Biomedical Imaging – where imaging is used to non-invasively diagnose disease, to develop therapies and to track the success of treatment.
  • Vision and visual perception – where imaging science study how humans use our own imaging system --- our eyes and brain --- to perceive the world around us.
  • Imaging algorithms, data fusion and visualization – to allow full exploitation of imaging data.
  • Video and 3-D Imaging
  • Space Weather Alert Technologies and Ionospheric Monitoring
  • Ancient Document Reconstruction - application of imaging techniques to the reading and reconstruction of ancient documents, such as the Archimedes Palimpsest.
  • Imaging on the smallest scales – nano-imaging.
  • Detector and sensor system development (hardware).
  • Astronomical Imaging System Development.
  • Emergency Response – where integrated imaging systems are developed to monitor and aide in critical response to natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and hurricanes as well as man made disasters.
  • Novel Optical System development
  • Applications of Imaging Science to Green Energy, including use of lasers, optical techniques, and nano-materials research to develop improved fuel sources.

For more details, visit the specific pages for the Masters or Doctoral programs. Or Apply Right Now!

A complete list of past Ph.D. dissertation titles is available.

Last Modified: 4:18pm 06 Jan 13