IAC Graduate Programs Recalibrate to Stay Ahead

Academics are ever-evolving and graduate programs within the Ivan Allen College have been created, modified, and expanded to reflect student interests, market opportunities, and innovations in research since the College’s founding in 1990.

The College is now home to twelve masters and doctoral programs, including joint degrees with the College of Computing, the School of Psychology, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

The first liberal arts degree at Georgia Tech was a one-year master’s in Technology and Science Policy. Originating in the School of Social Sciences, the program became what is now the two-year M.S. in Public Policy, initially directed by David Roessner. A decade later, in 1990, the Ivan Allen College was formed after a proposal of reorganization by the newly appointed Georgia Tech president John Patrick Crecine. The School of Social Sciences was split into what are now the Schools of Public Policy, International Affairs, and History, Technology, and Society.

The School of Public Policy graduate programs grew to include a PhD. in Public Policy and a joint PhD. with Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Public Policy. The School’s focus has expanded beyond science and technology to encompass research in energy and the environment, information/communications policy, health, and economic development, but still retain a strong link to the technological aspects of those fields.

Other schools aligned with the new college identity to begin graduate programs of their own. The School of History, Technology, and Society (HTS) enrolled its first master’s and doctoral students in 1992. In 2003, HTS revised its graduate degree titles from “History of Technology” to “History and Sociology of Technology and Science” to reflect the School’s commitment to sociology. HTS offers a genuinely integrative education, melding specialized study of the history and organizational structures of science and technology with traditional disciplinary training.

The School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) has offered an M.S. in Digital Media (formerly named Information Design and Technology), since its founding in 1993 under the direction of Peter McGuire. In 2006, the program was realigned with the newly created PhD. in Digital Media and optimized the connection between the programs. One of the earliest graduate programs in the country to investigate digital media theory and production, the DM program is acclaimed in the fields of game design and production. A five-year bachelor’s/master’s offers a fast track into industry for undergraduate students in computational media. LMC also offers the interdisciplinary master’s in Human-Computer Interaction in collaboration with the Schools of Industrial Design, Interactive Computing, and Psychology.

The School of Economics created its Master of Science with a major in economics in 2001, under the direction of Thomas "Danny" Boston, and a PhD in Economics in 2010. The first PhD candidate with a major in economics graduated from a unique individualized doctoral program in 1980 and was joined by the first graduate of the PhD in Economics in May, 2014. The School is currently in the process of changing the name of the M..S program to Master of Science in Economics to better emphasize a focus in the field. Unlike other graduate programs at traditional liberal arts universities, the economics programs at Georgia Tech focus heavily on quantitative coursework, econometrics, modeling, and forecasting.

The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs offers a master’s degree, created in 1995 by William Long, that invites students to tailor the program to fit their individual interests through elective offerings and interdisciplinary work in economics, management, public policy, computer science, and engineering. The PhD program, which also graduated its first doctoral candidate this May, provides an opportunity for students with backgrounds in politics or science and technology to deepen their understanding through the advanced study of sub-fields ranging from international security to comparative politics. A new five-year bachelor’s/master’s programs began enrolling students this fall.

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts coordinates innovative, rigorous degree preparation that puts graduating students at the front of the pack in competitive job markets in industry, government, non-profit organizations, and academia.


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