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The Master of Science in Sustainable Systems degree at RIT is designed to help you create and maintain a more efficient and sustainable world through innovation and intelligence. You’ll learn to apply sustainability science principles to any field to help solve the world’s grand challenges—including pollution, food scarcity, public health crises, and more.

Program Overview

Sustainable Systems encompasses a wide range of interdisciplinary studies in sustainability science. Here, you won’t be restricted to one sustainability topic or methodology. You will comprehensively learn and experience the methods that lead to environmental, social, technological, and business success.

You’ll start with a broad foundation of knowledge in environmental life cycle assessment, sustainable decision making, economic and policy strategies, and more. Then, you will work one-on-one with an accomplished research faculty member who shares your interests so you can customize your degree in areas that suit your interests and career goals—such as renewable energy or mobility—as well as get the hands-on experience that employers are seeking. No matter what educational background you possess, in as little as one year of study you will be prepared to make sustainability decisions that you can apply to any career.

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True innovation is born from diverse backgrounds and ideas.

You don’t need a background in sustainability to join this program; you just need a desire to create positive change in the world. We bring in students of all ages, from all backgrounds—from mechanical engineering to political science—and from all over the world so that your learning experience comes not just from the classroom, but from the different perspectives of fellow students.

What Our Students Say

What Our Students Say

  • What Our Students Say

    I received an extremely well-rounded graduate education in sustainability from an excellent, highly respected research and teaching faculty.

    David Frank
    Sustainability Director, Aramark
  • Ricardo Dias

    What Our Students Say

    GIS really expanded the ways in which I am empowered to positively impact the world. The things I learned and experienced in the MS program led me to successfully start my own energy management business back home in Brazil. I will never forget how my instructors cared about my personal and academic achievements – that means a lot when you are eight thousand miles away from your family.

    Ricardo Dias
    Founder & Operations Planner, CUBi Energia
  • What Our Students Say

    The GIS program is rigorous. I think that going through the GIS program both as a student and graduate research assistant has increased not only technical skillsets but also soft skills such as resourcefulness, perseverance and steadfastness. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be in this program.

    Kim Bawden
    Pollution Prevention Engineer, New York Pollution Prevention Institute

Gain applicable skills employers are seeking.

Our approach to learning pushes boundaries and rejects constraints. Not only will be able to focus on an area that interests you, but you will be able to get hands-on in your projects with the use of one of our many labs or through design modelling tools.

This degree allows you the flexibility to adapt your career over time and in response to the ever-changing developments in sustainability. Our M.S. graduates have a 100% placement rate, in part because of RIT’s dedication to career counseling and ongoing relationships with employers. This means that all of our graduates go on to get a job or further their education shortly after graduating.

Graduates from the Master’s degree in Sustainable Systems are employed at high-level jobs at companies around the world in areas such as:

  • Pollution prevention
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Energy systems engineering
  • Environmental resource management
  • Sustainable product design
  • Sustainability education

If you’re interested in pursuing a career more focused in academia or research, the master’s degree is also an excellent stepping stone to a doctoral program, such as RIT’s Ph.D. in Sustainability, if you take the route of completing a thesis while here.

This is the place where virtually any idea can become reality.

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is dedicated to groundbreaking sustainability research and its business applications. Our research facilities are second to none, including Sustainability Institute Hall, a 75,000 sq. ft. LEED Platinum certified research building and multiple state-of-the-art research centers.

The faculty are well-known industry experts and active researchers who not only bring their knowledge into the classroom, but also directly involve students in their scholarship.

Community is at the heart of what we do.

Rochester, NY location on map of USA

Rochester, NY, is a hub for sustainability professionals and entrepreneurship. Students in the Sustainable Systems degree program connect regularly with local companies and organizations, from teaching about sustainability practices at inner city high schools to completing a capstone project for Rochester Regional Health or Wegmans’ corporate headquarters.