Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
University Info | School of Engineering Info | Exchange Student 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.
Terms of Exchange
- Undergraduate students: Accepted
- Graduate students: NOT Accepted
- Computer Science majors: Accepted
English Proficiency Requirements
- Minimum TOEFL iBT score – 88
- Minimum IELTS score (academic format only) – 7.0
Fall, Spring, or Academic Year
Academic Calendar | Semester Dates (including exam period)
- Fall: late January to mid-May
- Spring: late August to late December
- 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
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.
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.
Course Descriptions | Class Hours Schedule
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.
Additional Application Materials
Students nominated by IIE to RPI must also complete the following. Students will receive their acceptance packet two weeks after official acceptance at Rensselaer.
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:
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 “Housing” section below.
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.
Recommendation letter from a professor or academic staff:
- Optional for Global E3 Application. Letter of recommendation may be required by host university as part of the host university application process.
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.
Estimated Cost of Living
Cost of Attendance
Room & Board
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.