RIT Launches New Sustainable-Systems Master’s Degree

Graduates will promote sustainable development throughout the life cycle of a product

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A. Sue Weisler

Nabil Nasr

Rochester Institute of Technology seeks to further the education of next-generation professionals in the sustainability area through a new master’s degree in sustainable systems. The program, recently approved by the state of New York, will promote sustainable development throughout the life cycle of a product from the extraction of raw materials to manufacture, use and disposal.

“The development of sustainable systems refers to processes that are designed to optimize resources and minimize environmental impacts,” says Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, where the program will be housed. “Through this new master’s degree we hope to further leverage RIT’s leading work in sustainability education and scholarship to assist in making sustainable systems a reality in all areas of society.”

The degree will focus on the fundamentals underlying the development of sustainable systems including sustainability science, industrial ecology, the economics of sustainability and environmental management. The program tracks include sustainable energy systems, sustainable production, sustainable mobility and eco-IT.

The program complements and strengthens RIT’s portfolio of sustainability-related programs by leveraging the Golisano Institute’s doctoral program in sustainability and its six research and development centers, as well as complementary graduate programs throughout the university.

“RIT is clearly positioned to be a leader in the development of sustainability programming while also assisting in producing our next generation of product designers, chief executives and policy makers,” says RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner.

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was formed in 2007 thanks to a $10 million gift from Paychex founder and chairman B. Thomas Golisano. The institute hosts cutting-edge research and education programs in nanotechnology, alternative-energy development and pollution prevention and works with a host of businesses and state and federal agencies including Xerox, Kodak, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.