Ryerson PhD gets stamp of approval

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By Mike Anthony

As improbable as it may seem, a handful of Ryerson students will soon graduate with doctorates.

A new PhD program and a master’s degree have been approved by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) and will be offered starting as soon as next year.

These programs have been in the works since Ryerson became a university in 1993.

‘These are just a few of the many steps to make Ryerson a thriving graduate and post-graduate institution,” Rena Mendelson, Ryerson’s associate v.p. academic, said.

In the summer, the OCGS approved both a master’s and PhD degree in communication and culture, which Ryerson will offer in partnership with York University.

However, the master’s program, starting next fall, will accept only 10 full-time and five part-time students. The PhD degree doesn’t start for another two years and will only have five spots available.

Students in the program will look at how electronic communication affects society and culture.

Eight faculties at Ryerson — business and technology, radio and television arts, image arts, English, philosophy, politics, sociology and information and technology management — will help create the new program.

“It will provide another intellectual experience for those graduates who are interested in communications,” image arts professor Donald Gilles said.

Communications and culture was the first of three programs approved by the OCGS.

The other two, environmental applied science and management and spatial analysis, are awaiting approval.

“We’re expecting a decision within the next few weeks,” environmental health professor Ron Pushchak said.

Students in the environmental science will study how industry and government deal with environmental issues such as waste management and pollution prevention.

The program is targeted at chemical, environmental and civil engineers, and graduates of physical and natural sciences and other environmentally related programs.

Spatial analysis, developed with the University of Toronto, tracks the movement of different types of business and residential buildings. It will look at the effect the movement of these buildings has on the area, said geography professor Phillip Coppack.

He hopes the OCGS approves the program by Dec. 1.

These master’s and PhD degrees that Ryerson is offering is a bonus for students, Cory Wright, RyeSAC v.p. education, said.

“Now, students have something to go on to after they finish their undergraduate degrees,” he said. “A graduate degree is much more specialized here than at a place like U of T.”

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