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Mankind Redefined— motto of the Institute

The Institute is an elusive scientific society based in the Commonwealth. Founded in 2110 by survivors from the Commonwealth Institute of Technology and their descendants, the Institute considers itself a bastion of knowledge and prosperity amid a dying world, and by 2287 has developed numerous revolutionary and advanced technologies such as teleportation and synthetic humans.

Disdainful of the outside world, they aim to monitor and control the Commonwealth through both subterfuge and brute force, to ensure their work is not disrupted. This secretive and hostile attitude has turned the Institute into a "boogeyman" in the wasteland, and its presence is a major cause of paranoia for the people of the Commonwealth.[1]

The Fallout TV series implies the Institute was destroyed by the Sole Survivor in the canon of the series since the Prydwen still exists, suggesting the Institute was annihilated by either the Commonwealth Minutemen or the Brotherhood of Steel, but not the Railroad.



The Commonwealth Institute of Technology in Boston

The Institute was built upon the site of the former Commonwealth Institute of Technology, or C.I.T.[2] While the college itself laid in ruins for more than two centuries, at the time of the Great War, those present took refuge underground.[2] The Institute was formally founded by the children of the original survivors, who dug into the earth and built increasingly sophisticated residential facilities and laboratories, starting an ongoing process of infrastructure expansion.[3]

Isolated from the outside world, the scientists continued their work, disregarding the mayhem and destruction occurring outside of its grounds. As they worked on creating synths, they attempted to work peacefully with the people of the Commonwealth using first generation synths as well as help create a new stabilized government, but mutual mistrust and infighting ended that relationship quickly and they returned to isolation.[4][5] Eventually, the scientists have utterly put ubiquitous pre-War technology to shame,[6] to the point where they believed that wastelanders would be unlikely to understand the sheer scope of the Institute's achievement,[7] such as the creation of the molecular relay (teleporter) in the 2180s,[8] which resulted in the Institute sealing itself off from the surface permanently,[9] and the development of synths. For decades, the first and second generation synths were the most visible part of the Institute's operations, scavenging for materials and performing experiments on the wasteland. The scientists did not concern themselves with the effect their actions had on the surface, sometimes resulting in entire settlements being destroyed.[10][11][12]

However, the Institute eventually reached the limits of the synth technology that underpinned their society. Although powerful, the second generation synth was an inherently limited, mechanical platform. To overcome the limitations of metal synthetic materials, the Institute endeavored to create synthetic flesh, with the first research initiative beginning in 2178. Under the auspices of Doctor Frederick, FEV samples served as the starting point for the new, organic synthetic program despite the objections of some members of BioScience.[13][14] Research slowed in March 2224, as the research team concluded that the organic synth project could not proceed despite perfecting two FEV strains for the project. Radiation-induced hereditary damage proved too much of an obstacle.[15]

Kells meeting

Conrad Kellogg being recruited into the Institute

The solution came in 2227, with the acquisition of a baby named Shaun who had an undamaged pre-War genetic code. Shaun was abducted from his parents in Vault 111 by Institute mercenary Conrad Kellogg. The organic synth project was spun off from the FEV research initiative,[16][17] and his DNA became the basis of the third generation synths. The infant Shaun became "Father" to a whole family of engineered synthetic beings.

Two incidents caused the Institute to have a negative perception by the surface dwellers. In 2229, a defective synth caused the Broken Mask Incident in Diamond City, vilifying the Institute in the eyes of the Commonwealth,[18] and causing no small amount of internal problems for the Institute, as he was sent out without proper testing or approval.[19] During the 2230s, the Massacre of the CPG occurred in which the Institute killed people trying to create a stable Commonwealth government.

By 2266, the Institute had learned about the Railroad, an organization dedicated to helping escaped synths. The Institute raided and massacred the Railroad's headquarters, and murdered their leader Wyatt in 2273.

Institute FEV Lab

Abandoned super mutants and FEV research in the old FEV lab

The FEV research effort continued for several more decades, despite producing no useful data; except for manufacturing more super mutants for the surface to contend with.[20][21] When Brian Virgil succeeded Dr. Syverson as head of the project in April 2286, it became evident that FEV experimentation ran its course and served no useful purpose, not with the availability of third generation synths.[22] The Institute's experiments with the Forced Evolutionary Virus, or FEV, ended when Doctor Virgil went rogue and fled into the Commonwealth.[23]

The Institute is constantly facing shortages in its power budget, in no small part due to the fact that the molecular de-materializer (the only way in and out of the facility) requires immense amounts of power for each use.[24] Moreover, despite the luster of the Institute's facilities, a lot of the crucial facilities (particularly the reactor) are pre-War technology and despite continued maintenance requires increasing amounts of resources to keep running after two centuries of expansion.[25] The technology still holds up, as it was built to last.[26]

To overcome at least one problem, the ultimate goal of the Institute is energy independence, which they believe can be achieved by restarting the ancient nuclear reactor once used by the C.I.T. to perform experiments and providing the Institute with near limitless power.[27] The design has been revised and the reactor itself extensively upgraded and improved, turning it from a testing reactor into a proper source of electricity.[28] Activating it would free the Institute from the need to compromise and sacrifice,[29] and especially drawing power from above-ground installations.[30]


Institute Concourse

The headquarters of the Institute.

The Institute allows humans to live in a clean, safe, comfortable environment deep underground, free from the strife and environmental hazards present on the surface.[31] Their headquarters is located underneath the C.I.T. ruins.


The logos of Robotics (red), SRB (white), BioScience (green) and Advanced Systems (blue) representing erythrocytes (red blood cells), neurons (nerve cells), plant cells and the atom, respectively.

Over the decades of isolation and development, the Institute has developed a very effective system that maximizes efficiency and promotes individual development and research. The leadership over the Institute is in the hands of the directorate, made up of the individual heads of each division, and one specially-appointed director.[32] The divisions of the Institute are fairly autonomous, perfectly capable of functioning without intervention. Where those divisions interact, however, problems can arise. As such, the director is appointed to set policy, resolve disputes, and otherwise act as an intermediary.[33]

Each director heads a division that is instrumental to the Institute's continued existence. On the other hand, despite the pressing need for cooperation, knowledge is heavily compartmentalized and the divisions are often kept in the dark by each other or by Father regarding important information.[34][35] Inconvenient facts are routinely buried under pretenses, especially when it comes to high-profile members fleeing the organization, like Dr. Brian Virgil.[36]

Due to the fact that the Institute exists in isolation from sunlight, there is an artificial time cycle implemented to simulate a day-night cycle. "Quiet time" for resting runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.[37]

Advanced Systems

Institute Advanced Systems 2

Advanced Systems testing weapons.

Headed by Madison Li, the Advanced Systems division works on applied physics (plasma weaponry and teleportation), as well as special projects currently classified.[Non-game 1] They are also responsible for the advanced weapons and armor that the synths and Institute members wear on their trips to the surface. They run the Robotics lab, which produces new synths. Their primary focus is the implementation of Phase Three, an upgrade to the Instute's massive fusion reactor that would completely solve their power needs for the foreseeable future.[38]


Main article: Institute BioScience
FO4 gorilla synth

Synthetic gorillas created by the Institute.

Headed by Clayton Holdren, the BioScience division specializes in fields of study such as botany, genetics and medicine. They are also responsible for all biotech advancements, including crop production, pharmaceuticals and genetic engineering. They also hold samples of the Forced Evolutionary Virus, which was responsible for creating super mutants. Rumor has it that they are working on a way to reverse engineer the virus to create a cure. Their most important directive is to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in the Institute. To that end, they cultivate highly specialized breeds of flora for use in food and medicine, providing the majority of the Institute's food.[39] They have even started to explore the idea of synthetic animal life. Currently experimenting with replicated gorillas, the synthanimal initiative is just a pet project, but the potential is considered exciting.[40]


A thoroughly underappreciated branch of the Institute, the Facilities division under Allie Filmore is responsible for keeping the Institute in operation on a day-to-day basis. It performs daily tasks like servicing the life support systems, ventilation, and the power network. All the old technology that forms the foundation of the Institute's efforts requires constant maintenance to prevent blackouts, which can have lethal consequences for the sequestered society.[25] In a nutshell, they keep the Institute's mechanical and electrical systems running smoothly. They maintain and upgrade all of the systems that make it possible to live and work in a place like the Institute's underground habitat: Crucial apparatus that recycles the air and water and provides power to the laboratories and quarters. The work they do might not be as exciting as some of the other departments, but it's at least as important.[41] They have a large number of first generation synths used for maintenance duties. They are simple, but effective tools for keeping the Institute in operation.[42]

Members of the division include the aforementioned Allie Filmore, division head (or chief engineer, as some would call her), Doctor Lawrence Higgs, a mechanical engineer overseeing the major life support and security systems, Doctor Evan Watson in power distribution, and Doctor Newton Oberly, responsible for food and housing. He liaisons with BioScience to ensure that meals are balanced for optimal nutrition.[43]


Main article: Institute Robotics

Synths being created in Robotics.

Headed by Alan Binet, Robotics is a branch of the Institute responsible for the manufacture of synths. Currently focused on mass production and induction of third generation synths,[44] it is also responsible for processing upgrades that ensure synths remain functional at optimal capacity. Currently, the division is implementing existing upgrades.[45]

Synth Retention Bureau

FO4 Synth Retention nifskope render

Headed by Justin Ayo, the SRB was designed to perform one task: it tracks down and returns rogue synths to the Institute. To do this, the Institute created a specific synth model called the Courser. Coursers have their personality levels tweaked to ensure they won't rebel, while their combat abilities have been vastly improved over other models. Other divisions within the Institute fear the SRB, as they have a hit squad of Coursers under their command and they are very effective in their role. The SRB also works to hunt down Railroad members so they can shut down the rebel organization once and for all. The SRB also employs a murder, or flock, of "Watchers," synthetic crows with built-in monitoring devices. Synths are the primary labor force of the Institute,[46] but the more advanced their processing becomes, the more inevitable that the synth will attain consciousness and attempt escape.[47] As third generation synths are indistinguishable from normal biological humans,[48] the Synth Retention Bureau specializes in the capture of runaways.[49][50]

The primary instrument of the SRB is the Courser, a third-generation synth assigned to operate on the surface. Coursers hunt down and reclaim synths that have escaped the Institute. They are highly self-sufficient, trained in combat, infiltration, and tracking. In a word, Coursers are relentless.[51] Coursers are selected from the general third generation synth population. Due to the variability of the manufacturing process, the SRB constantly monitors the third generation population looking for tenacity, fearlessness, and independence. Synths selected to undergo a rigorous training regimen. They are taught armed and unarmed combat, investigative techniques, psychology, and mechanical skills. Those who pass a final evaluation become Coursers, re-registered as X synths (eg. X6-88). The rest have their memories wiped and return to their former duties.[52]

Synths are usually recovered by using a recall code to wipe their memories and render it inert. Once returned to the Institute, the delicate process of restoring the neural pathways to their original configuration begins. In those cases where the procedure is successful, the synth returns to duty with no memory of its time on the surface. All too often, the SRB staff is unable to repair the damage and is forced to dispose of the unit entirely.[53]

Another priority of the SRB is surveillance, achieved by using watchers to monitor the surface remotely and covertly.[54][55]


Formed by the descendants of teachers and students from the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, the Institute reflects generations of devotion to technological achievement and vision. The survivors and their descendants built an impressive underground fortress, complete with virtually all the material abundance they could need, even exceeding pre-War conditions in some respects. As time progressed, they coalesced around a small ruling body made up of the division heads (Facilities, Robotics, Advanced Systems, Synth Retention, and BioScience) chaired by the Director, an official who sets the near-term vision and strategy of the institute.

However, this exterior of safety and abundance belies the organization's absolute self-interest: to protect their secrecy, autonomy, and technology at all costs. As such, society in the institute reflects generations of isolation, elitism, and moral hypocrisy. The current director, "Father," claims that the surface is a lost cause and so they ruthlessly scavenge resources, siphon power, and relentlessly pursue escaped synths for their own benefit. When confronted, most Institute members will rationalize that the ends justify the means: individual raids and minor pilfering of the Commonwealth are necessary for the development of the Institute. This philosophy echoes their vision that one day the Institute will emerge from seclusion to reclaim the Commonwealth, if not the surface as a whole, after its current residents die out.

Despite the Institute's prowess, there are a limited amount of scientists at its disposal, with a small team working with each division and several auxiliary scientists elsewhere. As a result, the Institute requires relatively little housing space and has apartments to accommodate all scientists and their families. Scientists interact regularly and often spend time inside the cafeteria and main chamber, supplemented by the numerous Gen 1, 2, and 3 synths who perform any and all maintenance tasks required to preserve the Institute facilities and infrastructure.

Due to the generational nature of the Institute, their existing scientists show considerable intelligence and motivation for technical achievement -- "geniuses" in the truest sense. Members of each division have continued pursuits in their fields, having met or exceeded the pre-War status of those professions. However, they are deeply mistrustful of outsiders (that is, anyone physically outside of the Institute) and lack a firm grasp of societal nuances outside the institute; as such, they employ a limited number of specialists to handle outside jobs, such as escort of Institute scientists, recruitment, and assassination, since the sheltered life and devotion to science have made them less capable of physical confrontation and negotiation necessary to survive.

In spite of the Institute's relative abundance compared to the outside world, its inhabitants are frequently pushy and demanding, particularly to the Gen 1 and Gen 2 synths who perform menial labor throughout the Institute. Passing conversation is often filled with verbal abuse, with inhabitants condescending to the problem-solving skills of Gen 1s or threatening to shut down Gen 2s for sub-par performance. Scientists freely use Gen 3 synths as test subjects for dangerous experiments, since they are nearly identical to humans in most regards.

Despite its secrecy, the Institute has both adopted and recruited outsiders to join their ranks. The current director, Father, was adopted as an infant and raised within the Institute. Others, like Dr. Madison Li, are recruited due to their intellect, achievements, and similar views on pursuing independent research without interference. With those they have accepted, the Institute maintains a friendly and welcoming demeanor.

While the Institute does have a working economy, there is little buying and trading taking place outside of designated areas and products from the outside world are limited. There appear to be no strict work hours for most scientists, as they often take many hours off and come and go as they please from meals; even so, the scientists are remarkably productive, with several working tirelessly for the next big "breakthrough" in their research.

Outside relations

The Institute is very secretive of the projects occurring within its organization and seeks to keep as much information internally as possible. This leads to it limiting outside contact as much as possible without compromising the security of the facility.[56] Of course, security is an exception and the Institute's SRB operates a network of informants in the entire Commonwealth, monitoring developments to ensure they cannot threaten the Institute.[57]

Another exception is its scientific experiments. While it seeks to minimize direct contact, the Institute has no reservations about using the surface for its experiments and as a source of readily available raw materials. All research initiatives are meticulously documented with academic precision, from hypothesis to the conclusions. For example: Warwick homestead was targeted to test genetically-modified seeds in the unique climate of the Commonwealth, in order to ascertain whether ambient radiation, soil acidity and its fertility found there could provide an accelerated growth rate and a two-fold increase in size and thus yield.[58] Though ostensibly harmless, the research initiative involved abducting Roger Warwick and processing him to gain intelligence, then using Roger's replica to oversee the experiment, collect research data and eventually eliminate all evidence of the research initiative on the surface.[59] The Institute's activities on the surface go beyond agricultural research. Past projects also involved other bioengineered experiments, including diseases and FEV-induced mutations. Abductions remain a routine element of these research activities.[60]

Finally, anyone who holds anything of value to the Institute, especially technology and research data, are vulnerable. University Point was an example of this: When Jacqueline Spencer uncovered pre-War research on reactor efficiency and tried to find a buyer via a caravan, the Institute picked up the trail and a synth representative demanded that the town hand it over. When the settlement failed to comply, due to the chaos that broke out and Spencer being separated from the drive by her well-intentioned father, the SRB wiped the town out.[61] The Institute also attempts to procure data from rival polities, like the Brotherhood, whenever it can, in order to maintain its technological advantage.[62]


As an organization, the Institute fears discovery, loss of power, and the theft of their technology. This combination of hubris and fear directly impacted the way that they addressed perceived threats, preferring infiltration, subterfuge, and sabotage to direct confrontation.

Prior to 2287, the Institute sabotaged efforts by the Commonwealth Minutemen to create a provisional government; while not a direct threat, a stronger Commonwealth would be more difficult to manipulate and would inevitably attempt to locate them and their technology.[63] This was not their original intention: at the start, the Institute had actually supported the provisional government, but their attitude changed over time as progress stagnated amidst political infighting.[64] Nevertheless, many settlements have remained small and disconnected afterwards, particularly with the waning influence of the Minutemen, making them vulnerable both to external threats and Institute infiltration.

The principal foe of the Institute in 2287 is the Brotherhood of Steel, which is ideologically opposed to the activities of the Institute. The Institute seeks ways to counter the Brotherhood without forcing a decisive confrontation unless the outcome is assured in their favor.

The Railroad is a threat of secondary importance, targeted mostly to minimize the disruption of Institute operations and preserve the secrecy of its activities. While Railroad sympathizers are suspected to operate within the Institute, internal security doesn't devote much resources to rooting them out, as they are considered a minor nuisance in general despite their ideological opposition to the Institute.[65] However, this has not reduced their ruthlessness or relentlessness in pursuing the Railroad, its agents, or escaped synths, at one point committing to a full-frontal assault of the Switchboard, the Railroad's headquarters prior to 2287 and defunct national intelligence hub.[66]

Threats such as super mutants or raider gangs are of a tertiary nature, usually given a wide berth by Institute operatives, rather than confronted directly. Contrary to Father's claims of the Institute's desire to improve the Commonwealth, the Institute has not directly addressed these threats to the people, only direct threats to the Institute itself; further, the Institute frequently siphoned power off of successful settlements to supplement their own flagging generators. As such, the Institute generally only addresses threats to their interests, rationalizing that they can only be benefactors to the Commonwealth if they remain secret, powerful, and in possession of their own resources.


The Institute see themselves as the inheritors of mankind's legacy of technological development, and seek not just to preserve old technology like the Brotherhood, but actively pursue the advancement of new-technology in the post-war era. Examples of their technological development include their own laser-weapon design, the invention of teleportation technology, and creation of synths. Synths are seen both within and by outsiders as the purest distillation of the Institute. The initial idea was that the human body represented the most advanced creature produced by nature, and therefore the most advanced robot that could be created would completely mirror the human body. However, synths are considered a robotic slave race by the Institute that lacks free will, and any evidence that contradicts this is swiftly dismissed.

Despite espousing altruistic ideas of saving mankind, this does not mean they have any care for surface dwellers. To them the Institute alone are the only elements of humanity that deserve to be saved, anyone else can be easily used as fodder for experiments or killed to acquire their resources. They are willing to slaughter wholesale settlements on the surface, sometimes for reasons as trivial as experimenting with soil production. They frequently murder individuals with the intent of replacing them with Synths to act as surface dwellers. Even those within the Institute are not free from the lack of ethical morals that come with the Institute's experiments, such as Swanson a Janitor that was caught stealing cigars and subjected to FEV treatments following a trial. The experiments they focus on also frequently have dubious utility to them in benefiting either the Wasteland or the Institute such as the development of synthetic gorillas. The Institute also uses the Commonwealth as a dumping ground for their experiments that no longer serve a use, such as their Gen-1 Synths, and the Institute variant Super Mutants. All this combined has installed a massive paranoia, fear, and animosity of the Institute in the Commonwealth.

The Institute highly values their secrecy, ensuring that any escaped Synths have little to no memory of their time in the Institute, and installing Synth sleeper agents in factions they deem a risk to them. As an extension of this paranoia they sent a Synth infiltrator to the meeting of the Commonwealth Provisional Government that was meant to start talks on possible unification, where the Institute slaughtered all of the delegates destroying any hopes of a post-war government in the Commonwealth. However they largely dismiss the Railroad, the faction most dedicated to opposing the Institute as 'fighting for toaster rights'.

Despite preferring to operate from the shadows, over the course of their war with the Brotherhood they can be convinced to start acting in the open, and taking charge over the Commonwealth area in an official capacity.


While the Institute is primarily a scientific group, it has a powerful army at its disposal: synths. Inside the main HQ of the Institute, the Robotics division can produce very large numbers of synthetic organisms, which can be very efficient foot soldiers with enhanced strength and resilience. This, coupled with the advanced technology at their disposal, makes the Institute's synths a serious threat to anyone who dares to oppose them. Generation 1 and 2 synths serve as the backbone of forces, equipped with variants of the Institute laser gun, shock batons, and synth armor.

Coursers are a particular type of Generation 3 synth with higher military capability, used as special agents to pursue and recover lost synths, and as special forces. They are trained and deployed by the Synth Retention Bureau. Coursers are equipped with variants of the Institute laser gun, the signature Courser coat, and synth relay grenades that allow them to teleport Generation 1 synths to help them in combat. They commonly utilize Stealth Boys.

They maintain an information network to assist them in strategy. The Synth Retention Bureau maintains a fleet of watchers, synth crows with internal cameras. From the SRB, scientists monitor live feeds from locations all across the Commonwealth with these. The SRB also inserts synth agents into positions of importance (such as the mayor of Diamond City and the leader of a successful homestead) and maintains a network of paid informants, such as merchants and bartenders.

They are the only faction in the Commonwealth with access to teleportation, and this is a military advantage. They can attack a location with zero warning at any time and leave before backup arrives. For this reason, they excel at hit-and-run tactics. Grenade-like devices can be used by field-agents to call in squads of synths to the surface.

Though not used extensively, the Institute can also produce plasma weapons and developed a polymerized casting for the X-01 power armor.


The Institute is one of the most technologically advanced factions in the wasteland. Their primary and most notable achievement is the ability to field an army of synthetic entities and eliminate the need for menial labor, with the latest third generation models being not only indistinguishable from humans, but also immune to disease, able to subsist on minimal energy intake without loss of performance, and do not require sleep.[67] Moreover, the Institute can assemble them at a rapid pace within its Robotics laboratory, from scratch.[68] The Institute has constructed an entire subterranean habitat after the Great War when most humans struggle and get by with shacks and tents. Not only that, but it can also manufacture its own energy weapons and advanced armor in numbers large enough to outfit all of its security forces.[69] Furthermore, it uses genetically modified crops to provide sustenance for its researchers.[70] As a result, safe, pure water and food is also commonly available to all members of the Institute. Food synthesizers help provide a balanced diet, with additional luxury goods scavenged by synths from the topside, such as Nuka-Cola, Gwinnett beer and coffee among others.[71][72]

The Institute had a large advantage, having emerged out of the ashes of one of the most advanced centers of research and development in the world. Most of its achievements are still deeply rooted in the C.I.T. For example, its security system architecture is derived from the C.I.T. Code Defender, a revolutionary intrusion countermeasure system developed before the Great War. Terminals running the original version of the system still remain in the Institute's inventory, despite advances made by the SRB.[73]

Another impressive achievement of the Institute is its development of teleportation technology. The only other factions known to possess similar technology are the Think Tank and the Zetan aliens.[74] Unlike the Think Tank, however, the Institute is able to teleport multiple individuals in rapid succession.

In the past, the Institute has also worked on cybernetics and artificial prolongation of the human lifespan. Its only test subject was Conrad Kellogg, as the program was abandoned and forgotten, save for the jealousy the grizzled mercenary inspired in Institute scientists due to his life span.[75] Father terminated the project as he believed that the Institute was about preserving humanity rather than the fusion of biology and technology that cybernetics was poised to create.[76]

Another 'dead-end' project was the Institute's experiments with FEV. No known innovations or discoveries were made before the research into the field was ended, with the resulting armies of Super Mutants simply dumped on the Commonwealth alongside Mutant Hounds and the occasional Behemoth.


The Institute's iconography mostly focuses on the symbol of the Vitruvian Man in red upon a white background. This symbolizes their intent to move past old limitations and advance humanity as a whole.

Interactions with the player character

Fallout 3

Fallout 4

  • The Institute, as one of the major factions of the game, offers multiple quests to the Sole Survivor. Their objective is to secure power and autonomy within the Commonwealth.
  • During Institutionalized, Dr. Madison Li installs a chip in the Sole Survivor's Pip-Boy which grants them unrestricted access to the teleporter, allowing them to enter or leave the institute at will (provided they do nothing to be banished). According to Li, this is a unique privilege granted the Sole Survivor by Father.
  • Upon gaining rank inside the Institute, the Sole Survivor is rewarded with a special signal grenade, which summons a Gen 1 synth to attack any hostiles nearby. These grenades can also be found on the corpses of synth coursers or purchased from the synth vendors within the Institute's headquarters.
  • To complete the Institute questline, the Sole Survivor must clear out the Railroad's headquarters under the Old North Church and eject the Brotherhood of Steel from the Commonwealth by destroying the Prydwen.
  • The Institute's questline will not cause the Railroad to become hostile towards the Sole Survivor until they begin End of the Line.
  • If the Sole Survivor completes the Institute's questline, they become the new director and can undertake quests for other members of the faction. Groups of synths will begin to patrol the Commonwealth and will assist the player character in combat.
  • If the Institute is destroyed during The Nuclear Option, Classical Radio will be shut down and unavailable to listen to. However, jukeboxes built in settlements will still work.

Notable members


After becoming the director, various members of the Institute will remark on how the player should approve new policies, make some reforms and reconsider priorities. However, none of those are available in the game and at best suggest what the player could be doing in the future.


The Institute makes a small appearance in Fallout 3 in the form of two of their members during The Replicated Man. In Fallout 4, the Institute makes a full appearance as one of the major factions in the game. It is also mentioned in the Fallout 4 add-ons Far Harbor and Nuka-World.

Behind the scenes



  1. Fallout 4 loading screens: "Many people in the Commonwealth view the Institute as the "boogeyman," living in the shadows, striking out anywhere, at any time."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fallout 4 loading screens: "According to local history, the Institute formed from the remains of C.I.T., the Commonwealth Institute of Technology. But the college itself has lain in ruins for more than two centuries."
  3. Sole Survivor: "Who built this place, originally? Has it been here long?"
    Allie Filmore: "The construction of the Institute is the work of generations of scientists. The original survivors of the war, our progenitors, took refuge in the basement of the old Commonwealth Institute of Technology. Over time, their sons and daughters dug deeper into the earth and built increasingly sophisticated habitats and laboratories. It's a process that's still going on today. Even now, we're digging out tunnels for new facilities and infrastructure. Just think what this place will look like a hundred years from now. I hope I'm there to see it."
    (Allie Filmore's dialogue)
  4. Fallout 4 loading screens: "Long ago, when the Institute created their first synths, they attempted to work peacefully with the people of the Commonwealth. Mutual mistrust ended that relationship quickly."
  5. The Sole Survivor: "They need your help, Shaun. It's rough up there, to say the least."
    Shaun: "Oh, we've tried that. Surprised? The Institute once tried to help create a stabilized Commonwealth government. It ended in bickering, infighting... it was a disaster. No, we look after our own now."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  6. The Lone Wanderer: "What do you know about the Commonwealth?"
    Horace Pinkerton: "Most of it's a blasted nothing, just like here. But there's talk. Rumors, mostly. About a place called the Institute. That's where Zimmer and that android came from. God knows what else they got goin' on in there, but it puts our tech to shame, that's for damn sure."
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  7. The Lone Wanderer: "So tell me about the Commonwealth."
    Zimmer: "The Commonwealth itself is nothing but a war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair. Inside the sealed environment of the Institute, however... But... the Institute's affairs are none of your concern. Your undeveloped mind couldn’t even begin to comprehend what we’ve accomplished."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  8. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Advanced Systems division is responsible for developing the original Molecular Relay, nearly one hundred years ago."
  9. Fallout 4 loading screens: "After developing the Molecular Relay, an advanced teleportation device, the Institute sealed off access to the surface and began their campaign of underground expansion."
  10. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Institute often sends its synths to the surface to scavenge for usable materials. The affect this has on the Commonwealth, or its people, is not a priority..."
  11. Fallout 4 loading screens: "Institute scientists rarely leave the safety and comfort of their underground utopia. If there are experiments to be conducted on the surface, they are generally carried out by synths."
  12. Nick Valentine's dialogue: "Easy to see why. Those early model synths of theirs strip whole towns for parts, killing everything in their way."
  13. FEV research notes (2178)
  14. FEV lab terminal entries; terminal, Subject CM-153
  15. FEV research notes (2224)
  16. The Sole Survivor: "Human synths? Really?"
    Shaun: "Human-like synths. A great distinction. The Institute endeavored to create synthetic organics. The most logical starting point, of course, was human DNA. Plenty of that was available, of course, but it had all become corrupted. In this... wasteland... radiation affected everyone. Even in their attempts to shield themselves from the world above, members of the Institute had been exposed. Another source was necessary. But then the Institute found me, after discovering records from Vault 111. An infant, frozen in time, protected from the radiation-induced mutations that had crept into every other human cell in the Commonwealth. I was exactly what they needed. And so it was my DNA that became the basis of the synthetic organics used to create every human-like synth you see today. I am their Father. Through Science, we are family. The synths, me... and you."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  17. Out of Time
  18. Fear the Future?
  19. Director's recordings
  20. FEV lab terminal entries; terminal, 2287.2.10
  21. FEV lab terminal entries; terminal, 2277.7.10
  22. FEV lab terminal entries; terminal, 2286.4.10
  23. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Institute's experiments with the Forced Evolutionary Virus, or FEV, ended when Doctor Virgil went rogue and fled into the Commonwealth."
  24. Allie Filmore: "We scratch and scrape for every precious ounce of voltage that we can. Over the years, we've learned a few tricks that help supplement our power budget. When necessary, we can tap into select sources on the surface. We take only what we need, of course. Fortunately, Advanced Systems is always working on new solutions to generate more energy. It's a good thing, too, because the demand is always increasing. You don't even want to know what a single use of the molecular de-materializer consumes."
    (Allie Filmore's dialogue)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Enrico Thompson: "It's a real juggling act, trying to keep all the systems down here operating in the green. This place might look shiny and new, but there's a lot of old technology in these walls. I lose sleep worrying about when the next blackout's going to hit."
    The Sole Survivor: "How old are we talking about?"
    Enrico Thompson: "Well, the reactor and a lot of the related systems - you know, cooling, monitoring, power distribution - that's all pre-war tech. Most of the superstructure down here was built later, by the people who survived the war. I guess each generation's been tinkering with the place, adding labs, making upgrades and so on. There's some stuff I need to check on. See you around, yeah?"
    (Enrico Thompson's dialogue)
  26. The Sole Survivor: "So basically, this place is a sham. Great."
    Enrico Thompson: "I wouldn't say that. I mean, even the older tech has held up for decades, some even for centuries. It's pretty amazing, when you think about it. Our ancestors built things to last. Of course, that was before they blew everything up in the war. There's some stuff I need to check on. See you around, yeah?"
    (Enrico Thompson's dialogue)
  27. Fallout 4 loading screens: "Before the war, C.I.T. conducted experiments in its underground nuclear reactor. Today, it has been repurposed, and once activated will provide the Institute with nearly limitless power."
  28. The Sole Survivor: "Can you tell me more about this reactor?"
    Shaun: "Certainly. It was originally built for the Commonwealth Institute of Technology before the war, but was only for testing. Over the years we've advanced the technology, made a great many improvements, and are finally nearly ready to activate it. The reactor is close to ready, but recent tests have determined we have a few tasks ahead of us. Thus, we come to Phase Three. And to how you will help."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  29. The Sole Survivor: "What's Phase Three?"
    Shaun: "It's very important to us. Power is, as I'm sure you've seen above ground, a very valuable commodity. I'm not talking about some abstract concept of control, I mean real tangible power. The kind that keeps the lights on. With every advance the Institute makes, our need for raw power increases. Many compromises and sacrifices have been made over the years to allow progress to continue."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  30. The Sole Survivor: "What kind of compromises?"
    Shaun: "We have, at times, had to rely on drawing power from above-ground installations. It risks personnel and equipment. But no longer. Phase Three is, simply, the activation of a nuclear reactor that can provide enough power to the Institute now and forever. It will ensure not just our survival, but our prosperity."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  31. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Institute allows humans to live in a clean, safe, comfortable environment, free from the strife and environmental hazards that have rendered the surface nearly uninhabitable."
  32. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Institute is ruled by a Directorate, made up of the individual heads of each division, and one specially-appointed Director."
  33. The Sole Survivor: "What would it mean to be in charge?"
    Shaun: "Most divisions of the Institute are fairly autonomous, perfectly capable of functioning without intervention. Where those divisions interact, however, problems can arise. You'd lead the Directorate in setting policy, resolving disputes, and the like. There's no question that some of the Directorate, and the Institute at large, will need reassurances about your appointment. That's why I'd like you to take charge of this latest operation. Doctor Filmore can fill you in on the details. There are hard decisions ahead. For all of us, but for you especially. I know that you'll do the right thing."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  34. The Sole Survivor: "Are you happy here?"
    Madison Li: "You'd think being surrounded by cutting edge laboratory equipment and some of the greatest minds the world's ever known would be enough. Only problem is the lack of transparency. I don't think we get the full story on everything that occurs down here. What does that have to do with why we're talking?"
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  35. The Sole Survivor: "Father trusts me, and so should you."
    Madison Li: "I am getting a bit tired of all the secrets here. Sometimes I feel like Father isn't being straight with me... like there are things I'm not supposed to know about. I don't like that. But still, how can I turn my back on all of this?"
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  36. The Sole Survivor: "The Institute is decieving you."
    Madison Li: "That's the smartest thing I've heard you say yet. I had a colleague down here... a Doctor Virgil. Several months ago, there was an accident in his lab, and he was killed. I wanted to help with the investigation, but Father had the laboratory sealed saying that it was contaminated. The incident never sat right with me. The more I asked about it, the more I felt like Father was deflecting my questions. If you bring me solid information on what killed him, I'll take it as a favor from the Brotherhood, and consider your offer. Do we have a deal?"
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  37. Evan: "In case anyone didn't mention it, quiet time runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m."
    (Evan Watson's dialogue)
  38. Institute Advanced Systems terminal entries; Terminal, Phase Three
  39. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The BioScience division produces the majority of the Institute's food, but also carries out a number of other, sometimes secret, projects."
  40. Clayton Holdren: "Welcome! So good to have you here. Good to see you again. Did you need something? Something I can do for you? Anything I can help you with?"
    The Sole Survivor: "I look forward to learning more about it."
    Clayton Holdren: "In that case, let me give you a brief overview of what we do here. As the name implies, the BioScience division specializes in fields of study such as botany, genetics and medicine. Our most important directive is to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in the Institute. To that end, we cultivate highly specialized breeds of flora for use in food and medicine. We've even started to explore the idea of synthetic animal life. You probably saw the gorillas... they're really just a pet project at this point, but the potential is exciting nonetheless."
    (Clayton Holdren's dialogue)
  41. Allie Filmore: "They weren't kidding. You really are here. Well, all right. I'm Allie... Allie Filmore. You can think of me as the Institute's Chief Engineer. When Father told us about you, I could hardly believe it. You've been through so much, I think most people would have just given up. If you don't mind my asking, what was it that kept you going all that time?"
    The Sole Survivor: "I just wanted to find my son and keep him safe."
    Allie Filmore: "Now that you've found him, I hope you're proud of the great man he grew up to be. Now, I'll give you a quick run-down of the Facilities division, and then I'll answer any questions you might have afterward. As you might guess, we keep the Institute's mechanical and electrical systems running smoothly. We maintain and upgrade all of the systems that make it possible to live and work in a place like this. There's a lot of machinery behind these walls that recycles the air and water and provides power to the laboratories and quarters. The work we do might not be as exciting as some of the other departments, but it's at least as important. So, now that you're here and you've spoken to Father, does that mean you're on board?"
    (Allie Filmore's dialogue)
  42. Enrico Thompson: "Remember to keep unnecessary power consumption to a minimum. Don't recharge unless your primary levels are below two percent. Also, if you haven't patched your navigation software, do so after this meeting. The last thing we need is more synths bumping into walls. Alright, that's all for now. You can resume your duties."
    (Enrico Thompson's dialogue) Note: Enrico Thompson is seen briefing three first gens on operations they need to perform during the player character's first visit there.
  43. The Sole Survivor: "I'd like to know about the people in your division."
    Allie Filmore: "Of course. Doctor Lawrence Higgs is our mechanical engineer. He oversees the major life support and security systems. Power distribution is Doctor Evan Watson's area of expertise, and Doctor Newton Oberly is in charge of food and housing. He coordinates with BioScience to ensure that our meals are balanced for optimal nutrition. We also make use of a number of synth units for low-priority maintenance and labor."
    (Allie Filmore's dialogue)
  44. Institute Robotics terminal entries; Terminal, Status Reports
  45. Institute Robotics terminal entries; Robotics terminal, Planned System Upgrades
  46. The Lone Wanderer: "Sounds like slavery to me. You sure they don't "wander off" on purpose?"
    Dr. Zimmer: "Nonsense! This is a machine we're talking about. Can you enslave a generator, or a water purifier? Of course not. The same principle applies. But let's get back to your mission. You are to find this missing android. I've tracked him to somewhere here in the Capital Wasteland. He must have done something drastic, like facial surgery and a mind wipe, or else I would have found him by now. It will be no easy task. He may not even realize he's an android. Don't upset him by talking with him. Just come get me immediately. I'll handle it."
    (Dr. Zimmer's dialogue)
  47. The Lone Wanderer: "Why would an android feel guilt? Come on, Zimmer, what aren't you telling me?"
    Dr. Zimmer: "By God, you're as annoying as you are clever. Very well. I'll tell you what you want to know, if it helps you locate my property. The duty of this particular unit was the hunting and capturing of other escaped androids. Yes, others have escaped. It's one of the side effects of having such an advanced A.I. Machines start to think for themselves. Fool themselves into believing they have rights. And so... this particular android may have believed he'd done something... wrong. Immoral. And wanted to forget those deeds. Satisfied now?"
    (Dr. Zimmer's dialogue)
  48. The Lone Wanderer: "I need to know more about what I'm dealing with. What is an android exactly?"
    Dr. Zimmer: "Forget everything you know about robots. Those buckets are mere children's toys compared to the real thing. Androids have fake skin, and blood, and are programmed to simulate human behavior, like breathing. They can even eat and digest food realistically."
    (Dr. Zimmer's dialogue)
  49. Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Synth Retention Bureau is tasked with the retrieval of "escaped" Gen 3 synths - malfunctioning units whose self-aware AI has convinced them that they are, in fact, alive."
  50. The Lone Wanderer: "I've found your android. It's Harkness, Rivet City's security chief!"
    Zimmer: "Harkness, you say? Yes... Yes, that makes sense. He used to work for a special branch of the Commonwealth Police, after all... And he's right here in Rivet City! Excellent! I must wait... find an opportune moment to confront him... Thank you for your discreet assistance, and continued discretion regarding this matter. And now for your payment. This combat module will directly affect your central nervous system. I think you will find it quite beneficial."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  51. Justin Ayo: "So, here you are. Justin Ayo, acting director of the Synth Retention Bureau. I'll be up front with you. We're going to be keeping a close eye on you for the near future. Despite your relation to Father, you're a bit of an unknown quantity. I'm sure you understand. There won't be any... issues, will there?"
    The Sole Survivor: "Why don't you trust me?"
    Justin Ayo: "I'll be honest, you're an outsider. The first outsider to be allowed access to the Institute in quite a long time, in fact. There's little precedent for this situation, so it's only natural to take extra precautions. It's nothing personal, I assure you. Now, Father has asked that I provide you with a brief overview of the Synth Retention Bureau. Our primary responsibility is the recovery of escaped synths that are hiding among the human population on the surface."
    (Justin Ayo's dialogue)
  52. The Sole Survivor: "You mentioned that Coursers undergo special training. Tell me more about it."
    Justin Ayo: "The SRB constantly monitors our gen-3 synth population, looking for specific traits. Those who show tenacity, fearlessness and independence undergo a rigorous training regimen. We teach them armed and unarmed combat, investigative techniques, psychology and mechanical skills. Those who pass a final evaluation become Coursers. The rest have their memories wiped and return to their former duties."
    (Justin Ayo's dialogue)
  53. The Sole Survivor: "I'd like to know more about the synth reclamation process."
    Justin Ayo: "Fine. Once a Courser has located a rogue synth, it uses that synth's recall code to wipe its memories and render it inert. We then begin the delicate process of restoring the neural pathways to their original configuration. In those cases where the procedure is successful, the synth returns to duty with no memory of its time on the surface. All too often, we're unable to repair the damage and are forced to dispose of the unit entirely."
    (Justin Ayo's dialogue)
  54. Watcher Initiative testing log
  55. Alana Secord: "Oh, yes. Uhh... Watchers have not shown any additional threats at this time."
    (Alana Secord's dialogue)
    Spoken during the Directorate meeting
  56. The Lone Wanderer: "There are rumors... about a secret Commonwealth artificial intelligence project?"
    Dr. Zimmer: "Yes well, there are reasons we don't want our technology leaking into the Wasteland. Which is why I've asked you to retrieve it. Which is what you should be doing right now! The longer you wait, the colder the trail becomes."
    (Dr. Zimmer's dialogue)
  57. Institute SRB terminal entries; SRB terminal, List of Informants
  58. Institute BioScience terminal entries; BioScience terminal, Warwick Homestead Initiative, Mission Statement
  59. Institute BioScience terminal entries; BioScience terminal, Warwick Homestead Initiative, Project Implementation
  60. The Sole Survivor: "What harm has the Institute actually done to people?"
    Deacon: "Starting with ancient history, they tried to take over the Commonwealth. Came a hair away from succeeding with their synth army. So there's that. But in the "what have you done for me lately" category - kidnappings, wiped out a settlement or two, and nasty bioengineering experiments. Diseases, FEV, the usual. So you willing to fight them?"
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  61. See University Point for details.
  62. Appropriation
  63. The Sole Survivor: "Massacre of the CPG? What's that?"Nick Valentine: "The Commonwealth Provisional Government. Years back a group of settlements tried to get together and form a coalition. Every settlement with even a hint of clout sent representatives to try and hash out an agreement. Only the Institute sent a representative of their own, a Synth. The man killed every rep at the talks. The Commonwealth Provisional Government was over before it even got off the ground. I took up in town not long after. I was damn lucky they didn't just tell me to scram right then and there."
    (Nick Valentine's dialogue)
  64. Director's recording #52
  65. Shaun: "Ah, hello father/mother. Tell me, then. Under what righteous pretense have you justified this atrocity?"
    The Sole Survivor: "That's a loaded question. What's been stolen from you?"
    Shaun: "Institute property is not often taken from us. We cannot react lightly when it happens. The group that calls themselves "The Railroad" has acquired several synths from the Institute, synths that had gone missing in recent months. They no doubt mean to "free" these synths, in their delusion that synths are somehow sentient beings. You've been in contact with the Railroad, so you're aware of their misguided beliefs."
    The Sole Survivor: "They mean well; they're only doing what they think is right."
    Shaun: "You dealt with Libertalia. That's the result of their selfish, short-sighted plan. Usually they are a minor nuisance, but lately they have become more emboldened. I'm afraid we've reached a point where a response is necessary. We have learned the current location of these synths, and need to re-acquire them before the Railroad can hide them."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  66. See also, Tradecraft.
  67. Max Loken: "The list of improvements is exhaustive. I can talk for an hour and still not cover all of it. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could live without fear of hunger or disease. Imagine what you could create if you could use every waking moment of your life as you saw fit, with no need of sleep?"
    (Max Loken's dialogue)
  68. Assembly process at Robotics.
  69. Institute pistol, rifle, and synth armor.
  70. Clayton Holdren "Doctor Karlin's doing some amazing things with our genetically-engineered crops."
    (Clayton Holdren's dialogue)
  71. Institute bottled water and Institute food packets are the basic food items issued.
  72. The commissary in the concourse features a pair of synthesizers, Nuka-Cola, Gwinnett ales and coffee tins.
  73. Liam Binet: "Just a few high security doors, right? Controlled by cutting-edge SRB security tech. Yeah. A head on hack is the sucker play. So we go at them sideways. You're willing to help, right? I can't do this alone. Player Default: Of course I'll help you."
    The Sole Survivor: "What do you need help with?"
    Liam Binet: "Our core security architecture hasn't fundamentally changed from the old CIT days. The original security program was called Code Defender. Revolutionary stuff. We still have terminals running version 1 mothballed in storage. With some persuasion, I can get an old terminal to interface with the new security terminals. Enough to open doors, at least. Problem is I can't even crack version 1. So I need a good old fashion username and password, and that's nowhere to be found in the Institute. But if you could get me a pre-war admin password from the surface, I could log right in."
    The Sole Survivor: "Where would I find that?"
    Liam Binet: "Unfortunately, I don't know. The obvious place won't work. The CIT Ruins were picked clean years ago. But some of the admins had to live off campus. Ask your friends in the Railroad. I need those login credentials."
    (Liam Binet's dialogue)
  74. Teleportation matrix.
  75. Institute concourse terminal entries; terminal, Kellogg, Conrad - Enhanced Life Expectancy
  76. Institute concourse terminal entries; terminal, Personal Notes


  1. Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide[clarification needed]
  2. The Art of Fallout 4: "Inspired by a Logan's Run-like utopian society, the Institute has a completely unique design language that's far removed from anything else in the world."
The Institute
Institute flag
Fo4 Institute Seal