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Sustainable Engineering MS

Program overview

Sustainable engineering refers to the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into product, process, and energy system design methods. Additionally, sustainable engineering encourages the consideration of the complete product and process lifecycle during the design effort. The intent is to minimize environmental impacts across the entire lifecycle while simultaneously maximizing the benefits to social and economic stakeholders. The MS in sustainable engineering is multidisciplinary and managed by the industrial and systems engineering department.

The program builds on RITís work in sustainability research and education and offers students the flexibility to develop tracks in areas such as renewable energy systems, systems modeling and analysis, product design, and engineering policy and management. Course work for is offered on campus, and available on a full- or part-time basis.

Educational objectives

The program is designed to accomplish the following educational objectives:


Technical in nature, the program will equip engineers with the tools they need to meet the challenges associated with delivering goods, energy, and services through sustainable means. In addition to basic course work in engineering and classes in public policy and environmental management, students are required to complete a capstone project or thesis directly related to sustainable design challenges impacting society. Many of these projects can be incorporated into sustainable research by RIT faculty in the areas of fuel-cell development, life-cycle engineering, and sustainable process implementation.

Students must successfully complete a total of 33 semester credit hours of course work, participate in two semesters of Graduate Seminar I, II (ISEE-795, 796), select two social context or environmental technology electives, and complete a thesis. This research-oriented program is designed to be completed in two years.

Core Courses

Students complete five required core courses.

Engineering electives 

Students select two graduate engineering electives in an area of interest such as energy, modeling, manufacturing and materials, transportation and logistics, and product design and development.

Contextual electives

Students choose one elective from each of the following groups.

Social context:

Environmental technology:

Sustainable engineering seminars

Two semesters of graduate seminar in sustainable engineering.


Students complete 6 semester credit hours of thesis.

Sustainable engineering, MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ISEE-785 Fundamentals of Sustainable Engineering 3
ISEE-771 Engineering of Systems I 3
MECE-629 Renewable Energy Systems 3
ISEE-795 Graduate Seminar I 0
ISEE-786 Lifecycle Assessment 3
ISEE-787 Design for the Environment 3
  Engineering Elective 3
ISEE-796 Graduate Seminar II
Second Year
  Engineering Elective 3
  Social Context or Environmental Technology Electives 6
ISEE-790 Research and Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 33

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in sustainable engineering, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

Applicants who have a bachelor's degree in a field outside of engineering may be considered for admission; however, additional bridge course work may be required before full admission into the program.

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