Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has undergone what can only be described as a
“renaissance.” From its roots as the oldest technological research university in the English-speaking
world, RPI has launched an ambitious agenda of renewal and growth. The university
has transformed itself through expanding research initiatives, massive campus
building projects, and growing academic programs. Breathtaking new facilities, such as the
Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, have set the tone for a new vision for
Rensselaer as a premier research university in the twenty-first century.
RPI is located in New York State’s Hudson-Mohawk Valley, just a few miles north of
the capital city of Albany. The university sits on a 275-acre hilltop in the city of Troy, overlooking
the Hudson River. Troy provides easy driving access to New York, Boston, and
Montreal, as well as the beauty and recreation of the nearby Adirondack Mountains. The
campus community is one of intellectual discovery, research, and bold exploration; from
engineers and scientists to artists and entrepreneurs. Students at RPI are ambitious, original,
fun, and intelligent with a global perspective and sense of citizenship. The university
offers academic programs across a wide range of disciplines: engineering, the sciences,
business, architecture, information technology, humanities, social sciences, and the arts.
RPI was founded in 1824 as “The Rensselaer School,” the first academic institution
of its kind. Stephen Van Rensselaer, visionary of the Erie Canal, created the school for the
instruction of “the application of science to the common purposes of life.” That mantra has
propelled Rensselaer forward as a unique institution of higher education for more than 180
years. Over time, RPI graduates have done amazing things, from building the Brooklyn
Bridge to masterminding the first moon landing. They have established and led successful
enterprises, from Texas Instruments (inventors of the first silicon transistor) to Vicarious
Visions (creators of Guitar Hero). At Rensselaer, students walk in the footsteps of pioneers—
and become pioneers themselves.
If you have those kinds of ambitions, you will find great satisfaction at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. You will enjoy access to world-class research facilities, and work
alongside exceptionally talented researchers on challenges that range from eradicating
cholera to combating global warming. Whether you study mechanical engineering or music,
bioinformatics or business, Rensselaer is a place for those who yearn to fulfill their dreams,
and change the world in the process.
As a top-tier research university, Rensselaer
has produced some of the foremost entrepreneurs,
innovators, and visionaries in the world. The undergraduate experience provides our
students with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our distinguished graduates, and
equips them to be driving forces behind the world’s next great innovations.
Our campus culture supports an environment that encourages discovery, creativity,
innovation, and diversity. Students learn and grow inside and outside the classroom
through myriad opportunities to explore new interests and passions while forming lifelong
friendships and social connections with their peers. The robust living-learning experience
students find at Rensselaer prepares them for academic achievement, entrepreneurship,
creative expression, and global leadership. This is where great adventures begin.
The research leaders who work, study, and innovate at Rensselaer share a common focus:
unearthing new opportunities for solving the world’s most challenging problems. As our
society becomes more interconnected and independent, solving complex problems requires
the skills, drive, and imagination needed to approach life’s puzzles in more innovative ways.
Tackling those problems requires both exceptional resources and curious minds.
The university offers programs across our five schools; the School of Engineering, the
School of Science, the School of Architecture, the School of Humanities, Arts, and
Social Sciences, and Rensselaer’s business school, the Lally School of Management and
Technology. The university was also one of the first in the nation to offer an interdisciplinary
degree in Information Technology, offered across all five schools. Rensselaer operates
an environment with “low walls,” meaning students are free to change majors and participate
in classes across the breadth of the university’s offerings.
In recent years, Rensselaer has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build worldclass
facilities that allow our research leaders to advance the frontiers of human possibility.
For example, at our Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, students
and faculty members collaborate to make breakthrough discoveries in the life sciences.
One team at the center is conducting pioneering research on peptide imbalances that could
help unlock the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease.
Rensselaer’s extraordinary Experimental
Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) incorporates
a range of art and performance spaces under
one roof, including a concert hall with a “tunable”
ceiling and a studio containing one of the world’s
only 360-degree projection screens for virtual environments.
In addition to serving as a world-class performance
venue, EMPAC also functions as a platform
for simulation and visualization research.
At the Computational Center for Nanotechnology
Innovations, researchers perform simulations
at speeds approaching two trillion calculations per
second using one of the world’s most powerful university-
based supercomputers. Our Geotechnical
Centrifuge Center can produce a force 200 times the
force of gravity for earthquake engineering simulation,
and our engineering students also study the
unique properties of atomic particles at the
Gaerttner Linear Accelerator Laboratory on campus.
Rensselaer also structures research activities in
ways that help spark new and dazzling insights.
As the name implies, our research constellations
bring together some of the brightest stars in academia
in teams that include undergraduates as well as faculty members and graduate students.
The Tetherless World Research Constellation, for example, focuses on radically
expanding the capabilities of the World Wide Web. Other constellations, organized around
topics such as “future chips” and “biocomputation and bioinformatics,” pursue—and realize—equally heady goals in areas that range from unleashing the awesome curative powers
of stem cells to transforming organic diodes into light-emitting “wallpaper.”
I’ve been involved in research at RPI since my freshman year, working
in a lab in the biology department. It’s great because I get the opportunity to
learn, firsthand, techniques that are only taught in upper-level or graduate
courses. —Katie Mahoney ’07
Projects like these reflect key facets of the Rensselaer philosophy: embracing discovery,
creativity, and imagination for its own sake, while always keeping an eye toward how
ideas can serve humanity. From creating a synthetic replacement for the blood-thinner
Heparin to examining the design of the New Orleans levees, our researchers and students
continue to honor the vision of our founders.
RPI has the resources available to give you what you want and need
from the college experience. —Amanda Feather ’07
New Research Platforms
- Center for Biotechnology and
Completed in 2004
The spirit of exploration and discovery
is alive in the multidisciplinary
research underway in this 218,000-
square-foot center. Research lies at
the intersection of the life sciences,
information sciences, engineering,
mathematics, and physical sciences.
- Experimental Media and Performing
Completed in 2008
This 220,000-square-foot research and
performance center showcases our
distinctive programs in the electronic
arts, while providing facilities that
broaden campus discourse and allow
us to fully engage the larger community
in unique and experimental arts
- Computational Center for
Completed in 2007
Rensselaer, IBM, and New York State
joined together in a $100 million partnership
to create one of the world’s
most powerful university-based computing
centers to advan
Maintaining a global perspective is a critical component of the Rensselaer mission.
Every undergraduate can participate in an overseas program such as REACH;
Rensselaer Engineering Education Across Cultural Horizons. Through this program, students
study at locations ranging from Denmark to Singapore. The School of Architecture
maintains a robust study abroad requirement that can include trips to Italy, China, and
Turkey. Other students choose to participate in their own study abroad programs, that are
coordinated with and facilitated by the Rensselaer Office of Undergraduate Education.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is unique in its study options. For one thing, the university has a Accelerated Program, Cross-Registration, Distance Learning, Double Major, Dual Enrollment of High School Students, ESL, Honors Program, Independent Study, Internships, Liberal Arts/Career Combination, ROTC, Air Force, ROTC, Army, ROTC, Navy, Student-Designed Major, Study Abroad and Visiting/Exchange Student Program. Again, when any student is looking for some counseling or other types of support, Alcohol/Substance Abuse Counseling, Campus Ministries/Chaplain, Career Counseling, Economically Disadvantaged Student Services, Employment Service, Financial Aid Counseling, Freshman Orientation Program, Health Services, Legal Services, Minority Student Services, Personal Counseling, Placement Service and Women’s Services can help. There’s never a reason to feel alone in your studies either, since there are academic support services like Extensive Undergraduate Evening or Early Morning Classes, Learning Center, Pre-Admission Summer Program, Reduced Course Load, Study Skills Assistance, Tutoring and Writing Center. The university has disability services as well, so be sure to inquire about them if needed.
The following are the types of degrees and majors offered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- Foreign Language and Literature:
- Multiple or Interdisciplinary:
- Biological/Physical Sciences, technology & society
- Health and Clinical Sciences:
- Predentistry, Premedicine
- Communications & Journalism:
- Communications/Rhetoric, Digital Communications/Multimedia
- Physical Sciences:
- Chemistry, Geology, HydrologyWater Resources, Physics
- Mathematics Education, Science Teacher Education
- Philosphy and Religion:
- Business, Management, & Marketing:
- Business Administration/Management
- School of Visual and Performing Arts:
- Fine/Studio Arts
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences:
- Biochemistry, Biology, Biophysics
- Social Sciences:
- Psychology – General
- Computer Science:
- Computer Science, Computer/Information Sciences – General, Information Technology
- Mathematics – General
- Popular majors:
- fifty percent engineering, nineteen percent computer and information sciences, nine percent business per marketing, five percent communications per journalism
The cost per credit hour (overall) was $905 Cost & Savings Calculator Financial Aid International students eligible for non-need-based aid last fall. In addition, for international students, the application fee is 70. Are you an international student? The Fall application deadline for international students is the 1st of January.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students may apply to Rensselaer using one of three applications—the Common
Application, the Universal College Application, or the Candidate’s Choice, Rensselaer’s official
application. Students using the Common Application or Universal College Application
should submit the required supplemental form.
I chose RPI because I was looking for an academically challenging
school, and because I knew the student body was diverse enough for me to find a
group of people who shared my interests. —Patrick Heider ’07
For the 2009–2010 academic year, Rensselaer received more than 12,000 applications,
which represents a jump of nearly one hundred percent over three years. Most applicants
are top students who excel in mathematics and the sciences; many (but not all) apply
with Advanced Placement credit or credit from an International baccalaureate program.
Rensselaer accepts scores from AP exams and Higher Level IB exams, which can allow students
to place out of as many classes as they are eligible for.
Rensselaer has so many things available to its students because of its
location in the Capital Region as well as activities offered on campus. I always
feel that I can join a group of friends and easily find something to do.”
The applicants who are best suited for Rensselaer will have completed four years of
English, four years of mathematics through pre-calculus, three years of science, and three
years of social studies and/or history. Additionally, the admissions committee pays particular
attention to candidates who demonstrate qualities and talents that will contribute to
the richness of the Rensselaer community.
Standardized Test Requirements
All standardized tests for Rensselaer must be taken by December 31. Students are
required to submit official scores from the SAT (critical reading, math, and writing) or
ACT (which must include the optional writing component). SAT Subject Tests in a math
and a science are required only for applicants to accelerated programs (or ACT, which must
include the optional writing component, in lieu of SAT and SAT Subject Tests). The TOEFL
is required for international applicants (minimum 230 CBT/88 iBT/570 PBT).
Rensselaer offers three application deadlines—Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and
Regular Decision. Early Decision I and II offer students the opportunity to apply earlier
and hear back from Rensselaer one month later, but are binding decisions (they require the
student to attend the university if admitted, barring financial considerations). The Early
Decision I deadline is November 1, and decisions are released December 5. The Early Decision
II deadline is December 15, with decisions being released on January 16. The Regular Decision
deadline is January 15, with admissions decisions becoming available on March 14.
Rensselaer offers a comprehensive
and robust financial aid program
with more than ninety-five
percent of students receiving some
form of assistance. More than $135
million in aid is distributed to undergraduates each year. The university has committed $80
million of its resources for need-based and merit scholarships, including the $60,000
Rensselaer Medal Scholarship for superior high school achievements in math and science.
To simplify the financial aid process, Rensselaer also provides each student/family
with a financial aid counselor to provide guidance and assistance. All applicants for admission
are given full consideration for all of the merit awards available at Rensselaer.
Selection of awards is made after a thorough review of the information that has been
included as part of the admissions application. No separate application is required for
merit scholarship consideration. Entering freshmen must complete the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile to
apply for institutional and federal need-based aid. More information on these applications
is available on the Rensselaer Financial Aid Web site.
Student Financial Aid Details
The Rensselaer Student Experience
The Rensselaer First-Year Experience program, recognized as one of the best in the
nation, is rich in resources and activities that help students make a successful transition
to college life. A variety of campus living choices are available, including special-interest
theme housing options such as Leadership House and a living and learning community
focused on earth, energy, and the environment.
Rensselaer will provide you with the ability to benefit fully from your
undergraduate experience in a place where your individual contribution truly
matters. The people of Rensselaer are exceptional bridge builders; our graduates
masterminded the bridges going in and out of Manhattan and completed the
Panama Canal. That tradition is embodied in the Rensselaer undergraduate
experience, where students’ academic pursuits are fully integrated with residential,
athletic, arts, and student activity programs.
RPI students put as much passion and drive into extracurricular pursuits as they do
into their academics. We encourage students to lead fulfilled and balanced lives by exploring
interests ranging from ballroom dancing and improvisational comedy to playing in our
pep band or writing for the school newspaper, The Rensselaer Polytechnic. There are 164
student-run clubs and organizations—from Habitat for Humanity to the ski club—help foster
teamwork and leadership skills. The fraternity and sorority community at Rensselaer,
which dates back to 1853, provides opportunities for both leadership development and service
programming in more than thirty Greek-letter organizations.
This school features the Suburban setting, Small city (50,000 – 249,999) and Residential campus. Besides, the university has many unique facilities such as center for terahertz research, nanoscale science and engineering center, linear accelerator laboratory, observatory, incubator center, fresh water institute, lighting research center, social and behavioral research laboratory, center for biotechnology and interdisciplinary studies. After all, the school is located 10 miles from Albany, 150 miles from New York City.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
More than seventy percent of Rensselaer students participate in some form of athletics.
In addition to our NCAA Division I women’s and men’s ice hockey teams, students
can choose from among twenty-one other varsity teams and fifty intramural and club sports.
The scholar-athletes at Rensselaer are among the best in the nation, with a record number
of National Academic All-Americans. Rensselaer continues to elevate our athletic opportunities with the construction of the
East Campus Athletic Village, adding
a new football stadium, basketball
arena, and sports medicine facility to
our athletics complex.
Rensselaer is an NCAA Division III school with two NCAA
Division I teams:
Men’s Varsity Sports
- Cross Country
- Ice Hockey (Division I)
- Indoor Track and Field
- Track and Field
Women’s Varsity Sports
- Cross Country
- Field Hockey
- Ice Hockey (Division I)
- Indoor Track and Field
- Track and Field
The Rensselaer Medal
For more than ninety years, the university has awarded the Rensselaer Medal in conjunction
with high schools around the world. It was first presented in 1916 with two
purposes: to recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women,
and to motivate students toward careers in science, engineering, and technology. The Rensselaer Medal is awarded to promising secondary school juniors who have distinguished
themselves in mathematics and science. Responsibility for selecting the Rensselaer
Medalist belongs to faculty and staff within the participating secondary school. This
$15,000 per year merit scholarship is guaranteed for four years (five years for the School of
Architecture program) to be applied to the tuition for each medalist who is accepted and
chooses to enroll at Rensselaer.
Entrepreneurial thinking lies at the heart of Rensselaer’s philosophy. As a result, the
university has helped our graduates launch many successful businesses including Union
Carbide, Texas Instruments, Level 3 Communications, and NVIDIA. The video game giant
Vicarious Visions once operated out of a Rensselaer residence hall. Drawing one-third of its
employees from Rensselaer’s graduate pool, the company creates such successful video
games as Guitar Hero III, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, and Spider-Man 3.
The faculty and course work at Rensselaer have taught me to take on
problems from many different angles, and to continually strive for success. I feel
confident and ready to join the global workforce after I graduate. —Will Manning ’07, Information Technology/Finance
Rensselaer alumni have also launched dozens of businesses in engineering and the
sciences. Osborn Engineering, which has designed more than 100 U.S. sports stadiums,
including the original Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, was established by a Rensselaer
alumnus. Gary Burrell ’63 co-founded Garmin International, a world-class manufacturer of
GPS navigation systems.
On average, more than seventy percent of Rensselaer graduates report that they have
secured a job by graduation, and another twenty percent go on to attend top graduate
schools for advanced degrees. The top employers of Rensselaer graduates annually include
General Electric, Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Company, Accenture, Deloitte Consulting,
BAE Systems, and IBM.
The Rensselaer alumni network consists of
90,000+ alumni from Switzerland to Venezuela,
and from Florida to California. The Rensselaer
Alumni Association operates dozens of local
groups to assist alumni in connecting and networking,
as well as providing special lectures and
unique events, such as a “behind the scenes” tour
of the North American Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD) in Colorado. Rensselaer
alumni are always willing to assist recent graduates
with job opportunities and contacts, and
understand the tremendous rigor and thoroughness
of a Rensselaer education.
- Myles Brand ’64, President of the NCAA
- Claire Fraser ’77, President of the
Institute for Genomic Research
- John E. Kelly III ’78, Senior Vice
President and Director of Research, IBM
- Mark Little ’82, Senior Vice President
and Director of GE Global Research
- Don McMurtry ’86, Former Vice
President at Research In Motion
(creators of the Blackberry)
- Richard Sipllane, Jr. ’72, Executive
Vice President for Fidelity Investment
- Jackson Tai ’72, Retired Chief Executive
Officer of DBS Bank, Singapore’s
- Albert Lownethal ’67, Chairman and
CEO of Oppenheimer
- Ed Zander ’68, Former Chairman of