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Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of combined coursework and capstone. This includes a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours capstone (thesis or project with paper). The core course requirements are:

  • ISUS-702 Fundamentals of Sustainability Science
  • ISUS-704 Industrial Ecology
  • ISUS-708 Sustainability Practice
  • ECON-701 Microeconomics for Graduate Students or approved substitute
  • ISUS-805 Technology Policy and Sustainability or approved substitute
  • ISUS-806 Risk Analysis

Elective courses are selected in consultation with the student's advisor from a wide variety of courses offered by GIS or one of RIT's colleges.

Curriculum

Sustainable systems, MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters)

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ISUS-702
Fundamentals of Sustainability Science
This course prepares students to conduct original research related to sustainable production and consumption systems and apply the scientific method in an integrative, team-based approach to graduate research. This course introduces the fundamental concepts of industrial ecology, ecological economics, ecosystem health and social ecology that are essential to understanding the interaction of industrial and ecological systems. Successful students will understand multiple perspectives on sustainability such as strong and weak formulations, the importance of sustainability as an ethical concept and a life-cycle approach to organizing research related to sustainability. It is a core course within the Sustainability Ph.D. program.
3
ISUS-704
Industrial Ecology
Industrial ecology is the study of the interaction between industrial and ecological systems. Students in this course learn to assess the impact and interrelations of production systems on the natural environment by mastering fundamental concepts of ecology as a metaphor for industrial systems and the resultant tools from industrial ecology, including life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, and energy and greenhouse gas accounting. This is a core course within the Sustainability Ph.D. program.
3
ISUS-706
Economics of Sustainable Systems
The goal of this course is to introduce students to economic concepts and analysis pertaining to sustainable systems. This course offers a nontechnical introduction, but based on rigorous economic reasoning. Additionally, a thorough treatment of models relevant to each topic is provided. The over-arching goal is for students to gain an appreciation for the logic of economic reasoning while teaching economics as it pertains to sustainable systems.
3
ISUS-806
Risk Analysis
This course examines risk identification, quantification, and management from the standpoint of the three key components of sustainability science (economics, environment, and society). Economic subjects include cost-benefit analysis, value of information, time value of money, basic decision analysis, value functions, monetizing challenges for ecosystem services, and sustainability risk management. Environmental subjects include toxicological perspectives such as fate and transport and dose-response relationships including an overview of EPA's current practice. Policy and societal subjects include utility theory and lotteries, risk perception, ethical issues in risk quantification, and impact statements.
3
ISUS-708
Sustainability Practice
This course covers theoretical and practical issues associated with analysis and progress towards sustainability. Methods and concepts covered include optimization, stochastic analysis, multicriteria decision-making and resource economics. Societal perception and response to sustainability is covered sector by sector (industry, government, academia and civil society) and through integrative case studies of particular sustainability issues (e.g. natural gas fracking). Emerging sustainability governance mechanisms are explored, in particular environmental certifications and standards (e.g. LEED, EnergyStar) and multilateral agreements.
3
 
Electives
6
ISUS-705
Technology Policy and Sustainability*
Public policy is a multidisciplinary field aimed at understanding how policy andregulation can be used to achieve certain social goals. These goals may include the notion of sustainability, whereby societys present needs are met without compromising the ability to meet societys future needs. This course introduces students to public policy and its role in building a sustainable society. The course places particular emphasis on the policy process; the relationship among technology, policy, and the environment; and policy mechanisms for addressing market and government failures that threaten sustainability.
3
Choose one of the following: 6
   ISUS-780
   Capstone
 
   ISUS-790
   Thesis
 
Total Semester Credit Hours 30
Fundamentals of Sustainability Science (ISUS-702)

This course prepares students to conduct original research related to sustainable production and consumption systems and apply the scientific method in an integrative, team-based approach to graduate research. This course introduces the fundamental concepts of industrial ecology, ecological economics, ecosystem 11 health and social ecology that are essential to understanding the interaction of industrial and ecological systems. Successful students will understand multiple perspectives on sustainability such as strong and weak formulations, the importance of sustainability as an ethical concept and a life-cycle approach to organizing research related to sustainability. It is a core course within the Sustainability Ph.D. program.

Industrial Ecology (ISUS-704)

Industrial ecology is the study of the interaction between industrial and ecological systems. Students in this course learn to assess the impact and interrelations of production systems on the natural environment by mastering fundamental concepts of ecology as a metaphor for industrial systems and the resultant tools from industrial ecology, including life-cycle assessment, material flow analysis, and energy and greenhouse gas accounting. This is a core course within the Sustainability Ph.D. program.

Risk Analysis (ISUS-806)

This course examines risk identification, quantification, and management from the standpoint of the three key components of sustainability science (economics, environment, and society). Economic subjects include cost-benefit analysis, value of information, time value of money, basic decision analysis, value functions, monetizing challenges for ecosystem services, and sustainability risk management. Environmental subjects include toxicological perspectives such as fate and transport and dose-response relationships including an overview of EPA’s current practice. Policy and societal subjects include utility theory and lotteries, risk perception, ethical issues in risk quantification, and impact statements. It is a core course within the Sustainability Ph.D. and Master’s programs.

Sustainability Practice (ISUS-708)

This course covers theoretical and practical issues associated with analysis and progress towards sustainability. Methods and concepts covered include optimization, stochastic analysis, multicriteria decision-making and resource economics. Societal perception and response to sustainability is covered sector by sector (industry, government, academia and civil society) and through integrative case studies of particular sustainability issues (e.g., natural gas fracking). Emerging sustainability governance mechanisms are explored, in particular environmental certifications and standards (e.g., LEED, EnergyStar) and multilateral agreements.

Technology Policy and Sustainability (ISUS-705)

Public policy is a multidisciplinary field aimed at understanding how policy and regulation can be used to achieve certain social goals. These goals may include the notion of sustainability, whereby society’s present needs are met without compromising the ability to meet society’s future needs. This course introduces students to public policy and its role in building a sustainable society. The course places particular emphasis on: the policy process; the relationship among technology, policy, and the environment; and policy mechanisms for addressing market and government failures that threaten sustainability. 

Capstone (ISUS-780)

An independent project in sustainability serving as a capstone experience for students completing the non-thesis option. This course requires a formal proposal and a faculty sponsor.