Sustainability Doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree

052465d9-338f-4d50-b670-7d379bdf36f7 | 128831

Overview

The doctorate program in sustainability is the first program in the world to focus on sustainable production systems. It seeks to advance research and education in alternative-energy development, sustainable production, sustainable mobility, and eco-IT.

The program’s curriculum emphasizes sustainable production systems, which create goods and services using processes that are non-polluting; conservation of energy and natural resources; economic viability; and safety for workers, communities, and consumers. Course work and research take a systems level and interdisciplinary approach to solving seemingly intractable sustainability problems.

Students have the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary faculty and researchers in numerous RIT research centers, including the Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, the Center for Sustainable Manufacturing, the Center for Sustainable Mobility, the Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute—all of which are housed in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability.

Plan of study

Students must complete 60 semester credit hours of course work and research.

Industries


  • Oil and Gas

  • Manufacturing

  • Utilities and Renewable Energy

  • Research

Latest News

  • May 10, 2019

    GIS Commencement honors Class of 2018-19 grads

    GIS Commencement honors Class of 2018-19 grads

    Twenty-three advanced degree candidates were honored by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability during commencement ceremonies held on Friday, May 10, in Sustainability Institute Hall on the RIT campus. This year's degree candidates included six Ph.D. in Sustainability, five MS in Sustainable Systems, and ten Master of Architecture students.

    See photos ›

  • November 12, 2018

    RIT researchers take a bite out of food waste

    The Golisano Institute for Sustainability is employing food waste treatment technology and equipment in its new food waste utilization testbed—the goal of which is to share results with businesses—by using excess food from RIT’s dining halls.
  • October 24, 2018

    Four men sitting at a table and speaking on a panel at the Japanese National Press Club.

    RIT’s Nasr releases U.N. report on circular economies

    Rethinking how industrial products are manufactured and dealing with them at the end of their useful life could provide breakthrough environmental, social and economic benefits, according to new research from the International Resource Panel.

Curriculum

Sustainability, Ph.D. degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ISUS-600
Graduate Seminar
This is a required course for students admitted to the Sustainability Ph.D. program. Students will learn about current research in sustainable production systems from faculty and guest speakers. Topics pertaining to the development of plans of study and research preposals, and as well as teaching skills, will also be covered.
2
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-808
Multicriteria Sustainable Systems Analysis
This class will explore how decisions are made when confronted with multiple, often conflicting, criteria or constraints. The focus will be on the following analytical methods: linear and stochastic programming, optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation. Case studies will focus on sustainability multi-criteria problems such as energy planning, sustainable development, resource management, and recycling. Students will apply methods learned to a project involving their dissertation research.
3
 
Elective
3
Second Year
ISUS-600
Graduate Seminar
This is a required course for students admitted to the Sustainability Ph.D. program. Students will learn about current research in sustainable production systems from faculty and guest speakers. Topics pertaining to the development of plans of study and research preposals, and as well as teaching skills, will also be covered.
2
ISUS-705
Technology Policy and Sustainability or Approved Substitute
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.
3
 
Elective
3
Choose one of the following:
8
  ISUS-890
   Dissertation Research
Research fulfillment of Sustainability Ph.D. dissertation requirements.
 
  ISUS-807
   Research
Research in fulfillment of Sustainability Ph.D. dissertation or M.S. capstone requirements.
 
 
   Electives
 
Third Year
ISUS-600
Graduate Seminar
This is a required course for students admitted to the Sustainability Ph.D. program. Students will learn about current research in sustainable production systems from faculty and guest speakers. Topics pertaining to the development of plans of study and research preposals, and as well as teaching skills, will also be covered.
4
Choose one of the following:
8
  ISUS-890
   Dissertation Research
Research fulfillment of Sustainability Ph.D. dissertation requirements.
 
  ISUS-807
   Research
Research in fulfillment of Sustainability Ph.D. dissertation or M.S. capstone requirements.
 
 
   Elective
 
Fourth Year
ISUS-600
Graduate Seminar
This is a required course for students admitted to the Sustainability Ph.D. program. Students will learn about current research in sustainable production systems from faculty and guest speakers. Topics pertaining to the development of plans of study and research preposals, and as well as teaching skills, will also be covered.
2
ISUS-890
Dissertation Research
Research fulfillment of Sustainability Ph.D. dissertation requirements.
10
Total Semester Credit Hours
60

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in sustainability, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college from an accredited institution. Course work must include at least one year of college science and one year of college mathematics, including calculus and statistics.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit at least two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources. Letters should be submitted directly to RIT and must be confidential.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

Learn about admissions and financial aid