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Sustainable engineering refers to the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into the design of product, process, and energy systems. 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 of a product or process while simultaneously maximizing the benefits to social and economic stakeholders. This environmental engineering degree builds on RIT’s 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.
The program is designed to accomplish the following educational objectives:
Heighten awareness of issues in areas of sustainability (e.g., global warming, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, pollution, ethical issues, fair trade, gender equity, etc.).
Establish a clear understanding of the role and impact of various aspects of engineering (design, technology, etc.) and engineering decisions on environmental, societal, and economic problems. Particular emphasis is placed on the potential trade-offs between environmental, social, and economic objectives.
Strong ability to apply engineering and decision-making tools and methodologies to sustainability-related problems.
Demonstrate a capacity to distinguish the professional and ethical responsibilities associated with the practice of engineering.
Plan of study
The MS in sustainable engineering builds on RIT’s 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 is offered on campus and available on a full- or part-time basis. Technical in nature, the program equips 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 research thesis directly related to sustainable design challenges impacting society. Many of these thesis projects support the sustainability-themed research being conducted by RIT faculty in the areas of fuel-cell development, life-cycle engineering, and sustainable process implementation.
Students must successfully complete a total of 30 credit hours of course work comprised of four required core courses; two graduate engineering electives in an area of interest such as energy, modeling, manufacturing, and materials, transportation and logistics, or product design and development; one social context elective; one environmental technology elective; two semesters of Graduate Seminar I, II (ISEE-795, 796); and a thesis. This research-oriented program is designed to be completed in two years.
Oil and Gas
Utilities and Renewable Energy
Sustainable engineering, MS degree, typical course sequence
ISEE-785 Fundamentals of Sustainable Engineering
ISEE-771 Engineering of Systems I
MECE-629 Renewable Energy Systems
ISEE-795 Graduate Seminar I
ISEE-786 Lifecycle Assessment
ISEE-796 Graduate Seminar II
ISEE-790 Research and Thesis
Social Context Elective
To be considered for admission to the MS program in sustainable engineering, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
Complete a graduate application.
Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in engineering, mathematics, or science.
Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
Submit scores from the GRE.
Submit a statement of purpose.
Submit three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 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.