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Rochester Institute of Technology

Golisano Institute for Sustainability

Rochester, NY


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Golisano Institute for Sustainability | GIS | RIT

Golisano Institute for Sustainability houses 9 applied research labs and 6 technology testbeds with some of the most advanced sustainability equipment in NY.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Established in 1829, the Rochester Institute of Technology is a private, coeducational university located in Rochester, New York in the northeastern region of the United States. 

A leader in preparing students for careers in the dynamic global environment, the university has a diverse range of programs from engineering, science, and technology to the arts, business, education, humanities, and social sciences. It consists of 9 colleges that provide career-oriented programs and experiential learning. 

"U.S. News & World Report” has ranked RIT 104th among national universities and is again included in "Princeton Review's" list of Best Graduate Business Schools and is home to the #1 Student Innovation Center in the nation as ranked by "Best Colleges Online."

Golisano Institute for Sustainability Overview

Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) was established in 2007 with a $10 million gift from B. Thomas Golisano. It consists of nine applied research labs and six technology testbeds with some of the most advanced sustainability equipment in New York state. 

Facilities cover multiple locations on the RIT campus and include large industrial high bays, labs, testbeds, classrooms, and conference spaces. The primary building encompasses 75,000 square feet and is LEED Platinum certified. It’s designed to demonstrate sustainable building technologies and energy systems, with features including a rainwater collection system and a microgrid with advanced sensors, as well as fuel cells, photovoltaics, and wind turbines that generate 100% of their energy.

Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology offers the following degrees:

Master of Architecture

RIT’s Master of Architecture program teaches students how to design with context and substance in areas such as positive energy, performance building, climate-responsive designs, passive resiliency, and more. Courses explore integrated building systems, urban planning, industrial ecology, and more. Students have the flexibility to choose electives in other subject areas based on talents and career goals, such as business, engineering, energy, or additional design skills.

 Sustainable Systems MS

The sustainable systems program accepts students from any academic background and encompasses a wide range of interdisciplinary studies in sustainability science. The sustainable systems MS begins with a broad foundation of knowledge in environmental life cycle assessment, sustainable decision making, economic and policy strategies, and more. Students have the opportunity to customize their degree in areas that suit their interests and career goals, such as renewable energy or mobility.

Sustainability Ph.D.

The sustainability Ph.D. program helps students to think about how sustainability can positively impact systems all over the world through big-picture solutions, from training future business leaders to maximizing natural resources. Students do not need a background in sustainability to join this program. 

The program integrates a foundation in sustainability science, sustainable systems, risk analysis, among other areas. Students can choose electives from across colleges at RIT—from Computational Modeling and Simulation to Principles of Statistical Data Mining—to tailor their degree and create interdisciplinary relationships throughout the university.

Applied research in the Golisano Institute of Sustainability

Applied research in the Golisano Institute of Sustainability happens when a sustainable industrial future meets the advanced technology to make it a reality. The diverse perspectives brought to a problem reflect the expertise of GIS across a broad variety of industries.

Resource Recovery

New technologies are emerging that can be used to recover and recapture the embedded value typically lost when products reach the end of their life cycle. A large focus of the research explores this area, where digital data technologies can be leveraged to inform smooth production, recovery, and remanufacturing of common consumer goods. 

Focus areas:

  • Sustainable design 
  • Digital integration of design and manufacturing
  • Intelligent product support or process data collection
  • Lifecycle engineering, management, and remanufacturing
  • Intelligent product support or process data collection
  • Design for re-X

Sustainable Manufacturing

Advanced technology and intelligent decision-making can realize new efficiencies and reduced risk within a production process, resulting in more cost-effective, less wasteful manufacturing. This research approach to manufacturing is scalable, considering systems-level decisions on the one hand and product design and materials on the other.

Focus areas: 

  • Resource management, energy, and efficiency
  • Environmentally-friendly production, materials, and suppliers
  • Analytics, machine learning, and decision analysis
  • Smart and connected factories
  • Autonomous systems
  • System-wide monitoring

Energy Systems

Industry consumes vast amounts of energy. Research in this area seeks to counter this trend by applying methods to reduce the energy consumed in the production, distribution, use, and disposal of products and industrial materials. Technologies include intelligent sensing and control, optimization, and modelling techniques for buildings and energy systems. 

Focus areas: 

  • New technology commercialization
  • Microgrid control and integration
  • Building and process energy analytics
  • Advanced energy conversion and storage systems
  • Waste-to-X technologies
  • Alternative and renewable fuels and power systems

Transportation and Mobility

The rise of smart cities and increasingly connected transport networks demand new technology platforms, like autonomous vehicles, sensors and components, software, and communication tools. The exploration of practical applications of these will enable more intelligent and effective mobility systems. 

Focus areas: 

  • Intelligent or smart transportation technologies and systems
  • Vehicle health monitoring technologies
  • Fleet logistics systems
  • Autonomous transport for people and goods

Research Centers of the Golisano Institute of Sustainability include:

Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing

Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery

Center for Sustainable Energy Systems

Center for Sustainable Mobility

NanoPower Research Laboratories

New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Architecture (M Arch)
Master of Science (MS)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 9
Doctoral Degrees 1

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline February 15th February 15th Yes
Spring deadline December 15th December 15th Yes

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 (recommended)
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE
Doctoral Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 (recommended)

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Research Assistantships
Teaching Assistantships
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 3.61%
Black or African American Not Reported
White or Caucasian 32%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 1.2%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races 1.2%
Unknown Not Reported


Male (48%)
Female (51%)


Focus of faculty research: Environmentally responsive architecture and passive/natural building design and systems; renewable energy; advanced manufacturing technology; built environments; eco-friendly electronics and e-waste; energy generation, storage, and systems; pollution prevention; transportation and interconnected smart city systems
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 111 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY  14623-5603
United States
Contact Dr. Nabil Nasr
Associate Provost and Director
Phone: 585-475-5101

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Rochester Institute of Technology
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