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Programs and Host Institutions : Brochure

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  • Locations: Troy, NY, United States;
  • Program Terms: Fall / Academic Year, Spring
  • The online application is currently closed. Please see the announcements for information on when the next application cycle will open.
Fact Sheet:
Disciplines Available (engineering or related field):
Aeronautical, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electric Power, Electrical, Engineering Physics, Engineering Science, Environmental, Industrial Management, Materials, Mechanical, Nuclear, Systems
Graduate Students Accepted?:
Program Description:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY

Important Links

University Info   |   Rensselaer Information System   |   School of Engineering Info     


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was established in 1824 as the first technological university in the English-speaking world. The Institute was organized around a concept considered quite innovative for the time: that students should actively engage with their studies by performing experiments and exploring other participatory forms of learning, rather than sitting passively in lectures.

Today, Rensselaer is a technological university of approximately 5300 undergraduate and 3000 graduate students; a diverse community of dreamers and doers who share several characteristics. They are drawn to the sciences and technology, and to disciplines ranging from architecture and business to literature. They love to tackle complex problems, challenge themselves, and they have a sincere desire to improve the world. Yet the people of Rensselaer are true individuals: everyone who comes here seeks a pathway to greatness that is uniquely his or her own.

The university offers degrees from five schools: Engineering, Science, Architecture, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and the Lally School of Management, as well as an interdisciplinary degree in Information Technology. The School of Engineering is highly ranked by the U.S. News and World Report. It offers 14 undergraduate and 18 graduate engineering degree programs leading to the doctoral level. Students are encouraged to work in interdisciplinary programs that allow them to combine scholarly work from several departments or schools. The university provides rigorous, engaging, interactive learning environments and campus-wide opportunities for leadership, collaboration, and creativity.


Study Level

  • Undergraduate Engineering Students : Accepted
  • Graduate Students: NOT Accepted
  • Computer Science Undergraduate Majors : Accepted


Fall, Spring, or Academic Year


English Proficiency:

Minimum TOEFL scores:

  • Paper-based - 570
  • Computer-based - 230
  • Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) - 88

Minimum IELTS score (academic format only) - 7.0

Disciplines Available (Undergraduate)

  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer and Systems Engineering
  • Electric Power Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Engineering Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Management Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering

Additional application materials:

DS2019 for visa purposes:

  • Copy of identity page of passport
  • Proof of financial support in the amount of USD$9610 per semester to cover living expenses during the period of the exchange. This amount includes room, board and basic living expenses; required Rensselaer health insurance; health center fee; student activities fee; and administrative fee.. It does not include international travel or extensive travel within the US, nor does it require the laptop computer that each student is required to have. Acceptable financial proof would be either:
    • A letter from the applicant's bank verifying that this amount is available in your account; or
    • A letter from the bank of the applicant's parent or other sponsor verifying that this amount is available, accompanied by a letter from the parent/sponsor which states that the funds are available for support while on the exchange program.
  • Proof of English Proficiency -- Rensselaer's English Language Proficiency Verification form with one of the following: 
    • English Language Proficiency Test
    • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school

Accommodation and Meal Plan:

  • Upon acceptance, students will receive instruction on how to appy for housing and/or a meal plan. Further information on on/off-campus housing is available under our “Accommodations” section below.

Health Form

All incoming students are required to complete and submit a Medical History Form directly to the Student Health Center.  This form can be accessed via the Student Health Center Portal .  You will still need to send paper verification of immunization signed by your family physician.  Please refer to the Student Health Center website for more information.

When will students receive their acceptance package?

Two weeks after official acceptance at Rensselaer


At the beginning of the semester, exchange students will receive the names of contact people in each academic department who can answer questions about the academic programs offered at Rensselaer.  Prior to arrival, exchange students are asked to contact the Office of International Programs staff with any questions pertaining to academic matters.

Course registration for exchange students will take place on-line prior to arrival.  Detailed instructions will be e-mailed to applicants once acceptance confirmation has been received. An additional registration information session will take place prior to the start of classes.  All students may change their course selections during the first two weeks of the semester.

Semester Dates

Typical Semester Dates:

  2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16    
Fall Classes Begin August 27 August 26 August 25 August 31
Semester Break Begins December 19 December 18 December 17 December 23
Spring Classes Begin January 21 January 21 January 26 January 25
Final Exams End May 16 May 16 May 22 May 20

Academic Calendar

Course Contents

Course descriptions   |   Class Hours Schedule

The Rensselaer catalog should be used for course descriptions only. Students should refer to the Class Hours Schedule link to see what courses are actually being offered.

Workload per semester

The normal academic load for undergraduates is 14 to 18 credit hours. The minimum requirement for a full-time undergraduate is 12 credit hours.

Grading System

Letter Grade Meaning Quality Points
A Excellent 4.00
A- Excellent 3.67
B+ Good 3.33
B Good 3.00
B- Good 2.67
C+ Average 2.33
C Average 2.00
C- Average 1.67
D+ Passed 1.33
D Passed 1.00
F Failed 0.00

Academic Transcripts

Rensselaer will automatically send a transcript to the home institution upon completion of the semester. Should a student want an additional transcript, they can be requested online. 


Is on-campus accommodation available to exchange students?

On campus housing is assigned on a space-available basis and is not guaranteed. Exchange students may apply for campus housing through the Office of Residence Life. Students will receive housing application instructions and fee schedule with their acceptance materials.

Please complete the online housing application as soon as possible. If you are interested in being assigned to a specific area/building, be sure to indicate this. Please note that the housing contract is a binding legal document that students are expected to honor.  Students may not break the contract in order to move into non-university housing.  Students who sign up for campus housing are expected to remain there for the duration of their stay at Rensselaer.

Students who wish to investigate off-campus housing, please follow the links to Off Campus Housing found at the Office of Residence Life website.

When can exchange students move in to the Hall of Residence?

Dorms typically open up 3-4 business days before the start of the semester. Students may move into their halls of residence anytime during this period.


Entry Visa

Exchange students receive a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors (DS-2019) to apply for a J-1 visa. This document was created in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). To obtain a J-1 visa the applicant must present the following documents to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy:

  • Form DS-2019, issued by Rensselaer
  • Acceptance letter from Rensselaer
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of sufficient financial support
  • Proof of payment for the SEVIS I-901 fee

Health Insurance & Immunizations

Current U.S. regulations require all individuals in J status (J-1 or J-2) to carry health insurance meeting certain minimum levels. Travel insurance purchased abroad is not widely accepted in the United States. Beginning with the spring 2015 semester, travel insurance will no longer meet the requirements to waive the Rensselaer Student Health Plan, known as the RPI/CDPHP plan. Students should not purchase or renew a Travel Insurance Plan. In order to meet Rensselaer health insurance requirements, all students must enroll in the RPI/CDPHP plan. The cost of the insurance plan for 2015-2016 is $544 per semester and will be billed to the Rensselaer student account. Note that this cost is separate from the required Health Center fee. The health center fee is for on-campus health care services, while health insurance is for off-campus health care services. Exceptions will be considered only for students who have comparable health insurance from a U.S. based insurance company.

New York state law requires all students to provide the Student Health Center with physician-certified evidence of immunity to various diseases.


When should I arrive?

All new exchange students must attend international orientation, which is held the week before the start of classes. Information regaurding when and where to check in with the Office of International Programs will be sent along with other pre-arrival information.

Is airport reception available?

Rensselaer does not have a formal shuttle service from the Albany Airport or Amtrak train station. Once you arrive in Albany, we recommend that you take a taxi to our campus. Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminal or train station.

If you arrive on campus during regular business hours – between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm – Have the taxi take you to the Public Safety Office on 15th Street. You may leave your luggage there while you check in with ISSS Office or Residence Life.

If you arrive in the area after office hours, it is advisable to have your taxi take you to any of the nearby hotels for the night. (Please refer to “Temporary Accommodation” in the article on Housing for local hotel information.

Is there any bank on campus?

Upon your arrival at Rensselaer, you may want to open a bank account at one of the several U.S. banks in Troy. The most convenient bank is a branch of SEFCU on the Rensselaer campus (15th Street, Troy, New York 12180). All banks in Troy have procedures for handling funds from overseas.

Also, check your home bank's procedures for transferring money to a U.S. bank. Keep in mind that personal or bank checks from abroad may require up to four weeks to clear in your U.S. account.


Cost of attendance

Room & Board

  • Food/meals - information on dining options and meal plans.
  • Housing - information on housing options and rates.

Local Transportation

A free Rensselaer shuttle bus operates year round and can take you around the campus.  The public bus system, called CDTA, serves the entire Albany/Troy area.  You are able to ride some CDTA bus routes for free with your Rensselaer student I.D. card.


  • Health Insurance US$544 per semester/US$1088 per year
  • Health Center Fee US$292 per semester/US$583 per year
  • Activity Fee US$329 per semester/US$658 per academic year
  • Administrative Fee US$30


Office Responsible for International Exchange Students

Office of International Programs


Jamie Obst, Sr. Program Administrator- Office of International Programs (


Rensselaer is in the heart of New York’s Capital Region, putting a world of cultural and recreational opportunities within reach.

The history, entertainment, culture, shopping, and festivals in and around Troy and New York State’s Capital of Albany are minutes away from the Rensselaer campus. Drive a few more minutes and you’re in Saratoga Springs for horseracing in the summer and a happening nightlife year-round. Famous havens like Cooperstown and Woodstock are a quick drive away. A trip to Manhattan can be a scenic Hudson River ride on Amtrak or explore downtown Boston — both are equidistant from Troy, less than three hours away. Just a bit farther are Niagara Falls near Buffalo, or cosmopolitan Montreal, Canada.

The Capital region offers myriad trails for skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and mountain-bikers. The Adirondack Mountains of New York, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, Vermont’s Green Mountains, and New York’s Catskills are all within an hour of Troy, and offer hundreds of areas for camping, hiking, and skiing. Many clubs sponsored by the Rensselaer Union take full advantage of these natural resources. For closer access to nature, Grafton Lakes State Park is minutes from campus. Only a little farther is swimming, boating, or sightseeing at gorgeous Lake George.

Arts organizations of every description are also found in the area. The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, considered by many experts to have the finest acoustics in America, is a short walk from campus as is a new downtown arts center. Nearby Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is the summer home to the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. is also close by and the summer venue for the Boston Pops. Albany’s Times Union Center hosts a wide array of top-name musical groups, sporting events, and other entertainment options.

Learn more about the Capital District

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The online application is currently closed. Please see the announcements for information on when the next application cycle will open.