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The Holistic Problem Solving Sector is introduced during the third year. In these two courses (ISAT 390 and 391), students practice the holistic problem-solving approaches to analyze and propose solutions for complex problem case studies that involve a mix of scientific, technological, and societal elements. 

Also during the third year, students choose any two of the five strategic sectors for more in-depth study. The strategic sectors, developed from national critical technologies lists, represent areas of current strategic importance in the world economy. The sectors are

  • Applied Biotechnology
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Production Systems
  • Information and Knowledge Management 

Taking two sets of sector courses along with the problem-solving sector allows ISAT majors the opportunity to sample different interest areas while still maintaining a broad technical knowledge base.  Any two sectors can be combined, providing maximum flexibility and customization for each student. 

Applied Biotechnology

The Applied Biotechnology Sector provides a comprehensive understanding of living systems in the context of the following applications: improving medical biotechnology, enhancing agricultural yields, improving industrial and environmental applications, and developing clean-burning, renewable biofuels. Courses focusing on federal regulations, legal issues, and social, moral, and ethical considerations are offered in addition to those emphasizing technical scientific principles.

Many of our faculty are actively pursuing research initiatives in these areas - this provides many undergraduate research opportunities. We also support a variety of student clubs and organizations in Applied Biotechnology.


The Energy Team supports a curriculum designed to provide our students with a broad set of skills and knowledge pertaining to energy and the role of energy in society. Student learning encompasses the scientific, technical, environmental, policy, and business aspects of energy production, distribution, and consumption. Our focus is on the development of analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and sound judgment. 

Many opportunities exist for hands-on energy project experiences within study abroad programs and faculty research on energy management, energy efficiency and conservation, wind power, solar photovoltaic systems, and bio-fuels. 


The Environment Sector of the Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) Program prepares students to apply an integrated understanding of environmental science and technology to practical, real-world problems. Graduates comprehend the technical and social aspects of environmental issues, take a systems approach to the analysis of particular environmental management problems, and select and apply the appropriate information, procedures, and tools for each environmental challenge they encounter. The Environment teaching team includes many faculty members from the ISAT Department representing diverse backgrounds and research interests.

ISAT Environment graduates have many career possibilities in government and industry, and also have very diverse graduate study opportunities.

Production Systems

Students in the Production Systems Sector learn to plan manufacturing operations and control production resources. These tasks involve personnel and equipment utilization, inventory control, scheduling, and resource allocation. Students learn how to design, operate, and improve manufacturing systems, particularly how to use information technology and computing tools for automating design and manufacturing tasks and processes, as well as integrating various parts of the industrial enterprise into a lean synchronized whole. Students learn green product design and sustainable materials and manufacturing process selection. Timely student projects and thoughtful hands-on experiments are woven into each Production Systems course to expose students to critical technologies and processes required for competing in the global market.

Information & Knowledge Management

You use computers every day. You may be carrying three or more computers with you right now—cell phone, tablet, and laptop. Information about you is stored in countless databases across the web. Given that you are constantly surrounded – and in some senses controlled – by computers, wouldn’t it be empowering to be able to design and create the programs that you use? The Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) sector in ISAT is designed to develop exactly those skills in our students. We believe that everybody should be able to design and implement basic solutions to problems involving software, networks, and databases.

The IKM concentration prepares students to bring to bear the power of such computer-based tools as: simulation and modeling, intelligent systems, object-oriented software engineering, GUI programming, multimedia, and web development.

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