Jul 16, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2007-2008 
Rensselaer Catalog 2007-2008 [Archived Catalog]


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Undergraduate Admissions


Director, Undergraduate Enrollment Programs: Karen S. Long

Office of Admissions
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590
Phone: (518) 276-6216
E-mail: admissions@rpi.edu
World Wide Web: http://admissions.rpi.edu

Admissions information is subject to change from year to year. For the most up-to-date information on requirements, application process, deadlines, testing, and other relevant topics, please refer to the admissions pages on the web at http://admissions.rpi.edu.

Undergraduate admission to Rensselaer is outlined briefly below. Detailed information is provided with freshman or transfer application forms available from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Rensselaer accepts the Common Application in lieu of its own form and gives equal consideration to both. Students may also apply electronically via The Princeton Review or via the Common Application. Both websites can be accessed on the Rensselaer Admissions website noted above. If you apply via the Common Application, Rensselaer also requires you to submit the Common Application Supplemental Form.

Rensselaer admits qualified students without regard to gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, or disability.

Freshman Admission

Admission to Rensselaer is competitive. The Committee on Admissions, in evaluating the qualifications of each applicant, pays particular attention to (1) academic performance throughout secondary school; (2) results of the College Entrance Examination Board (SAT) or results of the ACT Assessment (ACT); (3) the recommendation from the applicant’s school; and (4) character and extracurricular achievements.

Students interested in Rensselaer have the option of applying to one of the five schools or as undeclared candidates. Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a creative portfolio. Architecture candidates are asked to submit a creative portfolio by January 15. Architecture applicants with unusually strong academic profiles may be reviewed without the portfolio.

Applications for freshman admission should be addressed to Rensselaer Admissions and filed by January 15 of the year in which the applicant expects to begin his or her college program. The nonrefundable application processing fee for electronically submitted applications is $50. The nonrefundable application processing fee for paper-based applications submitted via mail is $70.

Accelerated Programs Applicants to our accelerated physician-scientist and law programs must apply by November 1. Special requirements apply to this process. Please contact the Office of Admissions for further detail, or access Rensselaer’s undergraduate website under the appropriate heading.

Early Decision Rensselaer offers an early decision opportunity to students who have decided definitely that Rensselaer is their first choice. An Early Decision application must be received by November 1 of the candidate’s senior year in secondary school. Students may expect to receive notification of the admissions decision by the end of December. Early Decision is not available to students applying to the accelerated programs.

Early Admission Rensselaer considers candidates who have completed all admission requirements and who wish to enter the university after the junior year of high school. Midyear Admission Rensselaer does enroll students beginning in January. A full range of freshman courses is available during the spring semester, and the midyear entrant may pursue a degree through the traditional eight-semester timetable or accelerate through summer work. Students interested in January admission should file applications by November 1 of the preceding year.

Midyear admission is not possible for the accelerated programs in medicine, law, or for the School of Architecture. Midyear admission does have some special challenges, and we cannot guarantee class availability if the fall class is a large one.

Applying to Rensselaer

Academic Preparation

All applications are reviewed individually by the admissions committee. It is important to note that some differences in preparation and academic background may be considered. The applicants who are best suited for Rensselaer will have completed four years of English, four years of mathematics through precalculus, three years of science, and two 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 Rensselaer community.

Note to international applicants: Official transcripts must be translated into English. The international financial statement should be completed and mailed with the application.

Standardized Test Requirements

  • SAT with writing or ACT with writing
  • SAT Subject Tests in Math (level 1C or 2C) and Science (biology, chemistry, or physics) for accelerated program applicants only (or ACT in lieu of SAT and SAT Subject Tests).
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (international applicants only). Applicants must have a minimum score of 570 on the paper-based test (PBT), a minimum score of 230 on the computer-based test (CBT), or a minimum of 86 on the internet-based test (iBT).

Portfolio Requirements

  • Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a creative portfolio.
  • Architecture candidates are asked to submit a creative portfolio by January 1. Students with unusually strong academic profiles may be reviewed without the portfolio.

Entrance Tests Candidates for freshman entrance are expected to take the College Entrance Examination Board’s SAT with writing or the ACT with writing. Students applying for January 2007 should contact the admissions office.

These examinations may be taken at the student’s convenience, but not later than the December test date for ACT or the January test date for College Board sponsored tests in the senior year. Early Decision applicants must complete the tests by the December test date. The Admissions Committee cannot assure full consideration if tests are taken later than these dates. The student is responsible for having all test results sent directly to Rensselaer by the testing service.

SAT Subject Tests in Level 1C or Level 2C and a Science will continue to be required only for applicants to our accelerated programs in medicine or law.

Note: Please include Rensselaer’s institutional code of 2757 for the SAT and TOEFL exams, and include the college code of 2866 for the ACT Assessment. This will ensure that your scores arrive at Rensselaer’s Admissions Office.

Accelerated Program Requirements The SAT with writing and SAT Subject Tests or the ACT with writing will be accepted in fulfillment of test requirements for students applying for the seven-year accelerated physician-scientist and six-year law programs. These students must complete the tests by the December test date. The SAT Subject Tests are required in Mathematics (Level 1C or 2C) and Science (biology, chemistry, or physics).

Application Fee and Admission Deposit A nonrefundable fee ($50 for applications submitted electronically and $70 for paper applications submitted via U.S. mail) is required with every application to a baccalaureate program at Rensselaer. A candidate who accepts Rensselaer’s offer of admission reserves his or her place in the class by making a $300 deposit by May 1. These funds are credited toward the student’s first semester charges. If the student does not enroll, the deposit is forfeited.

Undergraduate Transfer Admission/Special Programs

Transfer students are an important part of the university community. Each year, Rensselaer enrolls more than 200 transfer students from accredited two-and four-year colleges in the United States and many other countries. Rensselaer accepts transfer students for all programs except the accelerated programs in medicine and law.

To be considered for transfer admission, a student should have earned at least 12 credit hours in the appropriate course work at another accredited college or university. Admissions requirements vary from department to department and school to school.

Transfer applicants should submit an application by June 1 for fall entrance, November 1 for spring entrance, and by March 1 for entrance to the School of Architecture. In addition to the application form, students should submit a nonrefundable $50 application fee, official transcripts from all previously attended colleges, and a faculty letter of recommendation from the major department. Applicants to the School of Architecture and the Electronic Arts program must also submit a creative portfolio with their applications. Students with less than four semesters of full-time college work should also submit a complete high school record. A high school record consists of an official transcript, results of standardized tests, and a recommendation from a high school official.

Transfer admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Files are reviewed when they become complete and notification is sent to the student. Once a student has been admitted, the faculty will review all previous course work to determine transfer of credit. Each student will be mailed an evaluation of all previous course work. Students must send a syllabus or catalog description for all previous course work.

In order to earn a Rensselaer undergraduate degree, a student must be registered full-time for a minimum of four semesters. Two semesters of part-time study at Rensselaer will be considered equivalent to one semester of full-time study. In addition, the student must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours at Rensselaer, all of which will be applied to the baccalaureate degree. If a transfer student elects to study abroad or enroll in the co-op program, no more than 12 such credits may apply to the 48 needed for the bachelor’s degree. The student’s plan of study at Rensselaer must include at least 16 credits of courses above the 1000 level in the major field or in an approved concentration.

The Institute requires a degree candidate to earn the last 30 credits in courses completed on this campus or through a program formally recognized by the Institute. Transfer courses are limited to two courses or eight credits counting towards the student’s last 30 credits and require the approval of the director of the Advising and Learning Assistance Center.

Rensselaer offers transfer students a wide range of aid options and a staff of financial aid professionals who will work with them to devise the best solutions. Students who wish to be considered for federal financial aid should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Rensselaer’s FAFSA code is 002803.

For further information on our financial aid programs, please contact the Financial Aid office at (518) 276-6813, or e-mail them at financial_aid@rpi.edu.

Two-Year College Affiliated Program Students graduating with an A.S. degree from a two-year or community college affiliated with Rensselaer may transfer at the end of two years with full junior status if accepted for admission to Rensselaer.

(The schools listed below have agreements for programs in the School of Engineering. Some schools also have agreements for programs in Science (SCI), Management (MGT), and Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS).)

Adirondack Community College, N.Y.
Anne Arundel Community College, Md. (SCI)
Berkshire Community College, Mass. (MGT)
Broome Community College, N.Y.
California Community College System, all 107 campuses (SCI, MGT)
Canton College of Technology, N.Y.
Cayuga County Community College, N.Y.
Corning Community College, N.Y. (SCI, MGT, H&SS)
County College of Morris, N.J. (SCI)
Dutchess Community College, N.Y.
Erie Community College, N.Y. (MGT)
Fulton-Montgomery Community College, N.Y.
Greenfield Community College, Mass.
Holyoke Community College, Mass. (MGT)
Hudson Valley Community College, N.Y. (SCI, MGT, H&SS)
Jamestown Community College, N.Y.
Jefferson Community College, N.Y.
Miami-Dade Community College, Fla.
Mohawk Valley Community College, N.Y. (SCI, MGT, H&SS)
Monroe Community College, N.Y.
Montgomery Community College, Md. (SCI)
Morrisville Agricultural and Technical College, N.Y.
Nassau Community College, N.Y.
Niagara Community College, N.Y.
North Shore Community College, Mass.
Norwalk Community College, Conn.
Onondaga Community College, N.Y.
Orange County Community College, N.Y.
Rockland Community College, N.Y.
St. Louis Community College, Mo.
Springfield Tech Community College, Mass.
Suffolk County Community College, N.Y.
SUNY Agricultural and Technical College at Alfred, N.Y.
SUNY Agricultural and Technical College at Delhi, N.Y.
Tompkins-Cortland Community College, N.Y.
Ulster Community College, N.Y.
Westchester Community College, N.Y.

Program in Science only:
Schenectady County Community College, N.Y.

Four-Year Affiliated College Engineering Program The Affiliated College Program combines the resources of Rensselaer and a select group of affiliated liberal arts colleges and universities. This program is designed especially for students who decide during their college careers to enter the field of engineering. Students transfer to Rensselaer after completing three years of liberal arts study, including extensive and advanced course work in mathematics and science. After two or three years of concentrated study in engineering and applied science at Rensselaer, these students receive degrees from both the liberal arts college and Rensselaer.

Interested students apply for the program during the fall of their junior year on the recommendation of the liberal arts college’s pre-engineering committee. Applications are available from Rensselaer’s Office of Admissions. An official college transcript is required in addition to a letter of recommendation from the liberal arts college’s pre-engineering committee. Most students accepted for the Affiliated College Program have achieved at least a B average with grades of A or B in calculus, calculus-based physics, and chemistry courses.

A 3-2 program is offered in which a student completes three years (through the junior year) at the liberal arts college, then transfers to Rensselaer’s School of Engineering. Two years of carefully planned study complete the requirements for the bachelor’s program of the liberal arts college and the B.S. degree with a major in engineering at Rensselaer.

Institutions participating in this program are:

Amherst College, Mass.
Atlanta University Center, Ga.: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College,
Morris Brown College, Spelman College
Bates College, Maine
Beloit College, Wis.
Benedict College, S.C.
The Claremont Colleges, Calif.: Claremont-McKenna College,
Pitzer College, Scripps College
Colgate University, N.Y.
College of William & Mary, Va.
The College of Saint Rose, N.Y.
Colorado College, Colo.
Denison University, Ohio
Dickinson College, Penn.
Earlham College, Ind.
Fairfield University, Conn.
Franklin & Marshall College, Penn.
Gettysburg College, Penn.
Grinnell College, Iowa
Hamilton College, N.Y.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, N.Y.
Hope College, Mich.
Ithaca College, N.Y.
Kenyon College, Ohio
Knox College, Ill.
Lawrence University, Wis.
Lincoln University, Penn.
Middlebury College , Vt.
Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio
Pace University, N.Y., all campuses
Reed College, Ore.
Ripon College, Wis.
Roberts Wesleyan College, N.Y.
Russell Sage College, N.Y.
St. John Fisher College, N.Y.
St. Lawrence University, N.Y.
Siena College, N.Y.
State University of New York College at Fredonia, N.Y.
State University of New York College at Oneonta, N.Y.
The University at Albany, N.Y.
University of the South, Tenn.
Washington & Lee University, Va.

Part-Time Matriculated Undergraduates

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute accepts a limited number of part-time matriculated undergraduate students. Students seeking admission must meet the same academic standards (SAT scores and previous scholastic records) as full-time entering transfer students and freshmen.

Prospective part-time students from outside the Institute and currently enrolled nonmatriculated students should apply to the Office of Admissions.

Part-time undergraduates will be assigned an academic adviser in the department of their major and must select courses from the regular day or evening course offerings at the Institute. Part-time students must pay a continuing registration fee and are subject to changing requirements given in the Rensselaer Catalog.

Part-Time Nondegree Students

Rensselaer welcomes students who wish to take one or more courses on a nonmatriculated basis for personal enrichment or professional development. Such students should contact the Office of Admissions in order to complete the necessary application procedure at least one week prior to the last day of registration before each semester. An official transcript of former academic work is required. The admissions decision is based on the student’s demonstrated academic ability, the appropriateness of the course(s) requested, and the availability of space in the course(s). Nonmatriculated students receive transcripts and full academic credit for courses successfully completed. However, only 12 hours of such credit may be applied toward a Rensselaer degree should the student later apply and be accepted for degree-seeking status.

Rensselaer also accepts a limited number of qualified secondary school students who wish to enroll in appropriate courses in conjunction with their secondary school programs. All course work receives full credit, which may be applied toward degrees at Rensselaer or other universities. For application forms please visit http://admissions.rpi.edu and click on the printable application link, also feel free to contact the Rensselaer Admissions office.

International Students

More than 1000 international students representing 69 nations are enrolled at Rensselaer. Through the Offices of Admissions and International Services for Students and Scholars, Rensselaer provides special services to ensure that international students make a seamless entrance into Rensselaer’s academic community and are geared to success in their endeavors. Freshman and transfer international applicants should begin planning at least a year in advance of application deadlines.

Freshman International Applicants Submit a completed application with official copies of all academic transcripts for secondary school, with English translations; official results of SAT exam; and results of the TOEFL. For students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa, evidence of financial support to cover educational and living expenses is also required. Please also refer to the Freshman Admission section on general admission, standardized test, and portfolio requirements.

Transfer International Applicants Submit a completed application with official copies of all academic transcripts with English translations; results of the TOEFL; and a letter of recommendation from a college official. Students with less than four semesters of post-secondary study must also submit official transcripts of secondary school studies and SAT results. For students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa, evidence of financial support to cover educational and living expenses is also required. Architecture and Electronic Arts applicants are required to submit a portfolio.

English Language Requirement There are two options for international students to demonstrate their English language proficiency. These options include achieving minimum scores on one of the following testing options: 580 (SAT Critical Reading); 86 (TOEFL iBT); or 230 (TOEFL CBT).

Financial aid Rensselaer does not offer need-based financial assistance to international students.

Graduate Admissions


Acting Dean of Enrollment Management: (vacant)

Contacting Rensselaer Admissions
Information and application forms are available by contacting:

Rensselaer Admissions
Graduate Programs
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street
Troy, New York 12180-3590
Phone: (518) 276-6216
E-mail: admissions@rpi.edu

Admission to all graduate courses and degree programs at Rensselaer is based on the electronic submission of a formal and competitive application. The applicant’s prior academic records as well as references and test scores, where required, are examined for evidence of ability to meet Rensselaer’s graduate standards and degree requirements as outlined under individual program and course description sections of this catalog.

For admission to graduate studies, a student must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent prior to enrollment. Degree-seeking applicants may sometimes be admitted with conditions. Admission and/or continued enrollment depends on the satisfactory fulfillment of the conditions. Rensselaer admits qualified students without regard to gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, or disability.

Graduate Student Classification

Full-Time Degree-Seeking Status The applicant who intends to complete a graduate degree on a full-time basis is considered for regular, degree-seeking status. Only full-time degree-seeking graduate students are eligible for financial support from Rensselaer in the form of research or teaching assistantship or institutionally supported fellowship.

Part-Time Degree-Seeking Status Students wishing to pursue degrees on a part-time basis may do so in most departments. Admission procedures are the same as for full-time, degree-seeking applicants. This pathway is mainly for students who wish to pursue their advanced education concurrent with full-time employment or other pursuits.

Nonmatriculated Status The applicant who wishes to undertake graduate course work to improve his or her knowledge in a specific area, but not follow a degree program, is considered for nonmatriculated status. A minimum B average must be maintained to continue enrollment. The Rensselaer Admissions Office coordinates advisement and approvals for registration. However, should the student later apply for and be accepted into degree-seeking status, the number of credit hours taken as a nonmatriculated student that can ever be credited toward a degree varies by department, usually from a low of six to a university-wide maximum of 12 credit hours. Time limit to completion of degree begins with the first course taken as a nonmatriculated student. The Rensselaer Admissions Office provides additional information and applications.

Admission Procedures

For application forms and program information, visit http://gradadmissions.rpi.edu or contact the Rensselaer Admissions Office.

Prospective applicants should indicate their preferred academic area and whether they are interested in full-time, part-time, or nonmatriculated status when they inquire about admission. Applicants must submit a completed official application form and a nonrefundable $75 application fee. An applicant holding a bachelor’s degree and wishing to register for university courses as a part-time or nonmatriculated student also must apply according to these procedures.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required by most departments and is strongly recommended for applicants whose prior academic records are not clearly competitive. Submission of GRE results is especially important for applicants requesting financial aid. Complete information on individual departments requiring the GRE is available with the admission application. Department-specific requirements are available in the admissions application and on-line at http://gradadmissions.rpi.edu.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required of all applicants to the Master of Business Administration. Applicants for the Ph.D. degree in Management may take either the GMAT or the GRE General Test.

Applicants whose native language is not English must have scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) submitted directly by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J. A minimum score of 230 CBT 570 PBT is required. An IELTS score of 7 or higher may be substituted for the TOEFL requirement. Some departments require a higher TOEFL score and evidence of spoken proficiency. Please see the department-specific requirements in the graduate admissions application.

Reapplication for Graduate Admission

Reapplication for graduate admission is available only to those applicants who applied to Rensselaer for graduate school within the past two years.

A student whose previous application to Rensselaer occurred more than two years ago must complete a new graduate application and submit all new documentation.

Early Admission to Graduate Studies

Rensselaer undergraduates with strong academic records may apply to the Admissions Office for graduate studies as early as the junior year. If they are considered academically qualified by the department and the Admissions Office, Rensselaer students may be admitted and pursue both the undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously. The bachelor’s degree must be completed concurrently with, or prior to, the master’s degree.

Dual degrees

Many programs now offer dual degree options, especially the combination of technological master’s and the MBA degree. Please see department-specific information for dual degree opportunities. Prospective students must complete two applications, one for each department, each for a different term. The Statement of Background and Goals must clearly outline the interest in, preparation for, and intersection of the degree programs to which the student is applying. Letters of recommendation must also support the dual degree intent of the student. Two application fees are required as are two sets of supporting materials.

Eighteen-Hour Rule

A Rensselaer undergraduate who is within 18 credit hours of the bachelor’s degree and is considered academically qualified by the department and the Rensselaer Admissions Office may be admitted to the Graduate School and begin work toward a graduate degree under the supervision of a graduate adviser. Such work will be undertaken simultaneously with the work required for the bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree must be completed concurrently with or prior to the master’s degree. Students admitted under the 18-Hour Rule who wish to be billed as graduate students should contact the Rensselaer Admissions Office. If the billing change is approved, any undergraduate financial aid is discontinued.