The Institute (location)

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Icon disambig
For the organization of the same name, see The Institute.

The Institute is a location in the Commonwealth in 2287. It is the secret headquarters of the organization known as the Institute, and is located deep beneath the C.I.T. ruins.


The Institute is a large cylindrical-shaped subterranean city with three floors. Hallways wrap the outskirts of the cylinder leaving the middle section open for a large atrium of trees and fountains, with a helix-shaped elevator going to the surface levels where the teleporter is located. The upper two stories of the cylinder are residential and meeting rooms. The majority of activity takes place on the bottom floor.

Along the outer circumference of the lower floor are the four labs. Bioscience is the lab to the northeast. Robotics is to the southeast. Synth Retention is to the Southwest. Advanced systems is to the Northwest. There are also supply rooms next to each of the labs in the lower section. Some of these are locked via terminals.

Towards the hub of the bottom floor are four recreational/common areas. To the north is the cafeteria, to the east is supplies/outfitting, to the south is a break/lounge area, and to the west is medical.


One of the larger labs, bioscience is filled with plants, and even some synthetic gorillas. Most notably, however, is a series of connected labs that have been closed off and abandoned. The quest Building a Better Crop can be found here from Isaac Karlin, and also Hypothesis can be started with Clayton Holdren.

FEV LabEdit

The FEV lab is the source of the majority of super mutants found in the Commonwealth. Many years of experimentation with the Forced Evolutionary Virus took place here on the people of the wasteland. It's also speculated that this was where mutant hounds were created.

To access the lab one must either hack a master level terminal in the main Bioscience lab which provides direct access to the FEV lab. Or, pick a novice locked door in the back hallways of the Bioscience division which requires dealing with an Assaultron guard, seven laser turrets and further hacking to open locked doors, with the option to disable some of the turrets.

Going through the storage room the Sole Survivor will enter what a long room filled with observation cells. They are oddly filled with children's toys, most-likely to test the intelligence and cognitive abilities of super mutants. Past that there's a small room with a dead synth and another door access terminal, the dead synth indicates there was a conflict of some kind which left the lab in a state of disarray.

The player will then find the main research room, with three large glass cylinders in the middle, two of which contain super mutant specimens. The third cylinder looks to have been smashed with a chair. The rest of the room is filled with lab equipment and machinery. One can find another terminal that is filled with test subject information and progress reports. The player character can also find the serum that Virgil asks to retrieve to cure his mutation and the holotape "Brian Virgil personal log 0176" which explains why he left the Institute. One can give this holotape to Madison Li to convince her to leave the Institute during the quest From Within.


Robotics is the smallest of the four labs by accessible areas, consisting of a single large room containing the Institute's synth assembler. A constant stream of synths are being produced here, being assembled in a pool in the middle before climbing out and walking through into the inaccessible Processing section.

Synth RetentionEdit

Icon disambig
For more on the division, see Synth Retention Bureau.

Advanced SystemsEdit

A small lab area with multiple work stations and a firing range used to test new weaponry. This where Institute weapons are developed, tested, and innovated to arm the Institute's vast army of synth foot soldiers and coursers. This is also where they created the experimental synth relay grenades, which will automatically teleport in multiple synths to fight for the player where thrown.

  • The advanced systems laboratory contains the entrance to the Reactor Room.
  • Madison Li can be found here.
  • Evan Watson, who begins the quest Appropriation, can be found here.
  • Shaun can be found here after meeting with Father.


Institute Reactor and PWMA map

The reactor room is only accessible through the Advanced Systems division after completing the quest Mass Fusion for the Institute or in The Nuclear Option quest for the the Brotherhood of Steel, Minutemen, or Railroad. Upon entering there is a long sloped hallway that leads to a larger room with the reactor in the middle, accessible by catwalk. Depending on which faction the Sole Survivor choses will determine the events that take place here.

Enemied Institute

If the player decides to destroy the Institute they will be greeted by three hostile laser turrets upon entering the sloped hallway. In the main reactor room there are multiple synths, Institute scientists, and two more laser turrets. Three legendary synths, Z4K-97B, XPN-20A and A-2018 are present. The player needs to plant the fusion pulse charge in the reactor to sabotage it, which leads to completely erasing the Institute off the face of the Earth with a massive nuclear explosion. Once the agitator is planted the player is teleported out and can't return.

Allied Institute

If the player decides to join the Institute they will be called to the reactor room to insert the beryllium agitator into the reactor, no turrets will be hostile and the room with be filled with scientists. By doing this the Institute will be propelled into the future with enough power to sustain them indefinitely.

Old RoboticsEdit

Institute Old Robotics map

An old and rundown section of the Institute that appears to have been sealed off for many years. The player will only travel through this area when progressing through the quest The Nuclear Option. It's inhabited by many hostile synths and four laser turrets, which can be deactivated using a terminal. There are multiple conveyor belts and pieces of machinery that appear to have been used to assemble protectrons. On the main assembly floor there's a prototype sentry bot which can be activated with the robotics terminal. It will fight the synths that are on the assembly floor, but will also be hostile to the player. The exit is through a circular hatch in the back of the main assembly floor, which will lead to the Bioscience division.

Sublevel 21-DEdit

Institute Sublevel 21-D map

A very small area accessible only by an elevator in the main atrium. It contains a storage room and heavy construction equipment being used to expand the Institute's infrastructure.

Notable lootEdit

  • WARNING: This loot will become unavailable after completing the Nuclear Option for any of the three factions (The Brotherhood, The Railroad, The Minutemen).
  • Every Institute-unique junk item contains at least some Aluminum, and dozens if not hundreds of items can be found throughout the facility.
  • Astoundingly Awesome Tales #09 (-10% damage Dogmeat receives) in Holdren's room at the top of the north spiral staircase. Out on the left balcony on a table to the right. If hostile with the Institute, it can be obtained only with a jetpack.
  • 3 Ice cold Nuka-Colas in the cafeteria on the bottom floor. These can be taken without stealing.
  • Holotape Director's recording 108 found in the Director's Quarters. On the upper level opposite the globe and radio, inside an opened white cardboard box on the floor itself resting on two unopened white boxes. Eastside.
  • Holotape Advanced system notes found on a table in Li's room, at the top of the west spiral staircase.
  • Collectible baseball in a room on one of the spiral stairways (south side, first floor, right hand door (Thompson), in the bedroom).
  • Holotape Director's recording 52 on a side table in the board room on the top level (East Side).
  • Holotape Join the Railroad can be found in a some trash cans in Holdren's living quarters, e.g. under the bathroom sink on the right side of the room, on the top floor (there are two balconies attached to this room; North Side).
  • Experiment 18-A, a unique automatic plasma rifle, is sold by the synth vendor.
  • Shaun's terminal password - in an office desk in Shaun's quarters during The Nuclear Option quests. Gives access to his terminal.
  • Reactor terminal password - On Z4K-97B and A-2018 during The Nuclear Option quests. Gives access to terminals in the Institute's reactor.
  • Hydroponics key - Taken from Max Loken if he dies after opening the gorilla doors during A House Divided.

Sublevel 21-DEdit

  • Holotape Implant update session 7 located in Sublevel 21-D, which appears to be an expansion of the Institute, as it is filled with several pieces of heavy machinery. The section must be accessed via a dilapidated elevator off of the ground floor storage room on the South side of the Institute. The elevator room is the door on the left. The recording itself is on the right side of the leftmost shelf when coming from the elevator, at ground level.

FEV LabEdit

  • A hooked pipe wrench mod on a shelf in the storage area of the FEV lab.
  • Holotape Brian Virgil personal log 0176 can be found in the FEV lab with the super mutants, on the table next to the accessible terminal.
  • Holotape FEV research notes (InstituteHolotapeFEVLab01) on a console in front of the super mutant test tubes in the FEV lab.
  • Holotape FEV research notes (InstituteHolotapeFEVLab02, same name but different recording) on another console in front of the super mutant test tubes in the FEV lab.
  • A puncturing pipe wrench mod on the shelf in the storage area of the FEV lab.

Advanced SystemsEdit

Old RoboticsEdit

  • Fusion core in the room beneath the circular hatch that leads to the Bioscience division.


  • Unlike all other locations in the game, fast traveling to or from this location only passes one minute of in-game time regardless of distance traveled. This can make the Institute a very useful fast-travel slingshot when doing quests that are time-sensitive. In addition, a teleport effect will be visible after arrival.
  • Companions will not be able to travel with you to the Institute, with the sole exception of X6-88.
  • The residents name is on each door. If it is slid open (hidden) just close the doors to reveal the name of the occupant.
  • Father will remain in the same area as you have found him.
  • X6-88 will on occasion be bugged, and you may find it difficult to find him. Check along the shores of Libertalia, as he seems to favor staying there even when he says that he will be returning to the Institute.
  • Based on the player's decisions, Institute Scientists will have varied dialogue.
  • Bioscience holds the location of the only two synthetic gorillas. These gorillas may be teleported to assist in the fight against the Brotherhood in the quest Airship Down.
  • When entering the Institute with the Railroad, one may have trouble finding the Network Scanner, which is currently an unsolvable bug. Console commands can bring the item into the player's inventory.
  • After becoming enemies with the Institute you cannot obtain Astoundingly Awesome Tales #09.
  • If the player completes the Institute ending there will be a memorial of Shaun in front of the robotics lab which the player can interact with.
  • Binet quarters terminal mentions synths liking Fancy Lads Snack Cakes, and the danger this could pose to them. This could be a joke about some advertisments, where the hero defeats the villain by offering him similar products -Hostess Fruit Pies is one such example.


The Institute only appears in Fallout 4. The location is mentioned several times in Fallout 3 and in Mr. House's obituary in Fallout: New Vegas.


  • pcIcon pc ps4Icon ps4 xboxoneIcon xboxone Before and even after the player has become the director, if they are caught using Madison Li's terminal, all the institute NPCs will become hostile, including X6-88. [verification overdue]


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