Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you offer the degree (or research) I
want? Over 100 graduate programs in more than 50
disciplines attract top students, researchers and professors.
Fueled by significant support from government, industry, and
private donors, Rensselaer promises a truly unique experience,
a world-class education, in an environment tailored to the
To see all the programs click here.
Do I have to apply for the Ph.D. or can I apply for
a Master’s degree? Applicants may apply for the Master
degree only, the M.S. and Ph.D., or the Ph.D. only.Master of
Architecture, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Business
Administration degrees are also available.
How is RPI ranked? Rensselaer's rankings
show it as a leading, top-tier research university in the
United States and the world. This includes the sustained rise
of Rensselaer in the top 50 of U.S. News and World Report’s
annual ranking of national universities. During the last 10
years, Rensselaer has risen steadily from being ranked 49th in
1999 to 42nd last year. Other more recent rankings include
Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s “Best Business Programs by Specialty
2010” ranking of the Institute’s undergraduate program at the
Lally School of Management & Technology as first in the
area of “Top Schools for Strategy,” one of 12 areas analyzed by
the annual study. Of the 139 programs analyzed in the Best
Undergraduate Business Schools study, Lally at Rensselaer
ranked 34th overall, up from 36th last year. In addition, The
Princeton Review recently named Rensselaer as one of the
nation’s most environmentally conscious colleges or
universities, and ranked the Institute’s video game design
program as fifth among the best programs in the United
How big is the student body? Is it diverse?
In the fall 2010 there were 1,215 Resident Graduate Students;
Full-time: 1,091 Part-time: 124. For more quick
facts click here.
What is the campus like? Rensselaer’s
275-acre campus is a blend of modern style and classic design.
Built into a hillside, it overlooks the historic city of Troy
and the Hudson River.
What are my chances of being admitted?
Admission is very competitive and every year the applicant pool
is a little different from the year before. It is not possible
to predict if a student is going to be admitted based on just
test scores. For doctoral study, it is often about making a
research match with faculty in the programs. Prospective
students are welcome to contact faculty to find a fit between
their goals and research interests.
My GPA is below 3.0. Should I still apply?
Yes. While your GPA is important, it is not the sole
determinant of admissibility. Factors such
as compatibility between your area of interest; the research
efforts of your department; prior research experiences and
activities, test scores, recommendations are evaluated. In
other words, the competitiveness of your complete application
package when compared to all applicants for the same term and
discipline along with the needs of your department determine
admission. You should contact your
department to find out the profile of admitted students.
What do you look for in a “Statement of Background
& Goals”? In addition to providing insight into
factors, attributes, and skills/potential that makes you a good
candidate for graduate study in your chosen field, the
Statement of Background and Goals (SOBG) provides information
that cannot not be found in or gleaned from transcripts and
test scores. Additionally, the SOBG is a vehicle for evaluating
applicants’ writing ability to organize and present
What are my chances of getting financial
aid? The major determinants in awarding financial aid
are the competitiveness of your application, the needs of the
department and the value-added you bring to the department’s
research efforts. Applicants are considered for all available
Will I be funded until I finish my degree?
In general, students who receive an award from RPI will have
the funding continued depending upon performance and progress
towards completion of degree program. You should discuss this
in detail once you have been made an award by your
If I do not get financial aid from RPI, are there
other ways to fund the degree? Applicants are
encouraged to seek and apply for non-Rensselaer funding such as
national fellowships. Visit
this link for details on external graduate fellowships.
Additionally, low interest loans may be available. Information
concerning funding can be found by visiting Source
When is the application deadline? Can I apply after
that date? The deadline for the fall and summer terms
is in January if you want to be fully considered for admission
and financial aid. The deadline for the spring term is August.
Applications may be accepted after this date if the department
approves. Some programs such as the MS in Information
Technology and the MBA will accept applications on a rolling
basis and have accepted students as late as Jly for the fall
What admissions tests do I need to take?
You may submit copies of the GRE/TOEFL/IELTS/GMAT scores for
review with your application packet, but official scores are
required to finalize admission. Please check the specific
requirements for your department.
Visit this link for details on specific requirements for your
What are the average test scores? The
average GRE scores of admitted applicants for Fall 2010 were
Verbal 600, Quantitative 770, and Analytical 4.5. However,
applicants should not place too much importance on these
numbers and should keep in mind the following points:
•Most applicants to our program have outstanding GRE scores,
but only a small percentage are admitted.
•We receive applications from many different countries. Trends
in GRE scores vary from country to country, so we try to
compare an applicant's GRE scores with others from the same
country, rather than to the entire pool of applicants.
•Strong scores and grades do not guarantee admission.
Applicants must also show research potential.
In the case of non-native English speakers who are exempt from
the TOEFL requirement because they have been studying in the
US, phone interviews may be required at the discretion of the
department Graduate Program Director.
What else do I need to submit in order to
apply? Submit official transcripts (or official copies
of them) of all university level studies, including all
diplomas awarded if the degree is not noted on your course
transcripts. Even if you only took one
course in a university, you still need to submit that
transcript, even if you did not earn a degree from that
When and how should I schedule a campus
visit? Prospective students are encouraged to visit
campus anytime during the year. Typically, prospective graduate
students schedule their visits during the summer and fall of
the year they intend to enter graduate school.More information
can found by linking to Campus
How do I get to RPI? The Albany International
Airport is located about 20 minutes from the Rensselaer
campus by car. The Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak rail station is
located approximately 20 minutes from RPI in the town of
Rensselaer, NY. The Greyhound bus station is
also located approximately 20 minutes away in Albany.
What extra-curricular opportunities are
available? Rensselaer has more than 160 clubs, sports,
and organizations to choose from — everything you’ll find at
most universities, and quite a few clubs you may not see
anywhere else. The Mueller Fitness
Center contains treadmills, cross-training machines, free
weights, aerobics, kickboxing, and more. It is located right
next to the Alumni Sports & Recreation Center (AS&RC),
which has an indoor track, basketball and tennis courts, and
the Robison Pool. In fact, The Princeton Review ranked
Rensselaer #2 on their 2007 edition “More to Do on Campus”
list. And on October 3, 2009, the Institute officially unveiled
the new East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV) a multipurpose
lighted stadium with field turf and seating for 5,200 and a
1,200 seat basketball arena and a fully equipped 4,800 square
foot strength and conditioning center connects to a
professional-caliber sports medicine suite, and within the
arena are offices for athletics administrators and coaches,
numerous meeting spaces, a new Athletics Hall of Fame, a pro
shop and a café. A additional phase that is still being
developed will feature an indoor pool, outdoor tennis courts,
and an indoor sports facility complete with a track and tennis
Is the campus safe? Because Rensselaer is
an open campus, we recognize the importance of addressing the
safety of our students. Our Public Safety professionals take a
proactive approach to safety, teaching students what they can
do to minimize safety risks.The Office of Public
Safety has 58 emergency call boxes throughout campus and
provides walking as well as riding escorts for students 24
hours a day, 365 days a year.
Do I need a car? A car is often unnecessary
since many shopping areas and services are within walking
distance of student housing areas near campus. Many students
however do bring a car to campus or purchase one when they
Where is Troy, New York? What is the city
like? Troy is located in the heart of New York's
Capital Region. Our location is central to cultural,
historical, and outdoor attractions. The Troy Savings Bank
Music Hall, a two hundred-year-old theater, offers musical
venue located right in downtown Troy. The antiques district,
boutique shops, and the local farmers market contribute to the
spirit of Troy’s community. The local region offers a perfect
trail mix for skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and mountain
bikers. We're about an hour from the Adirondack Mountains of
New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Grafton Lakes
State Park is a quick 30-minute drive from campus, and gorgeous
Lake George is only 45 minutes away.
What is the cost of living in Troy? In
general, it is relatively inexpensive to live in Troy. The cost
of housing is the lowest in the region. Troy is home to
thousands of college students who keep the prices
How do I find out about housing? Rensselaer
graduate students have the opportunity to live either on campus
or in housing off-campus.
On-Campus Graduate Housing Option: is
available to matriculated full-time students only and is
available for single graduate students as well as married
students with families, as space permits. This alternative is
attractive to students who value the convenience of amenities
such as utilities, maintenance, local telephone service, cable
television, and high speed internet included in their rent.
Students interested in on-campus alternatives should contact
Residence Life at (518) 276-6284 or
Visit the Residence Life Web site to learn about the
availability of on-campus housing units and confirm check-in
for housing assignments or contact the Residence Life Office at
Off-Campus Graduate Housing Option - College Suites
at City Station: is a new apartment complex on the
corner of our campus in Troy, New York. It will provide 184
graduate students apartment living.
Each spacious apartment comes fully furnished, with
kitchens, washers and dryers, and most important to you, a
private bedroom and a private bathroom. Additional features
include internet and cable hook up, 24-hour security
monitoring, street level restaurants and retail stores, common
areas, dishwashers, air conditioning, and study areas.
Should you decide to live at City Station you will also have
all of your utilities paid for throughout the year. Cable,
Internet, Heat and Air Conditioning are included in the
This new community is just steps from the Rensselaer campus,
located on the southwestern corner of campus in a new mixed-use
development that promises to bring exciting new growth to Troy
for years to come.
Rensselaer’s Office of Graduate Education is working closely
with The United Group (owner, developer, and manager of College
Suites @ City Station) to ensure a dynamic experience for all
the students living at City Station. The Office of Graduate
Education will be receiving application materials for College
Suites at City Station apartments and will be coordinating a
review of academic standing of all applicants. Approved
applications will be forwarded to The United Group, a
nationally recognized and award-winning corporation with over
35 years of successful experience in development, financing,
acquisitions, repositioning, and professional management of a
wide variety of real estate assets, who are responsible College
Suites at City Station apartments.
Suites at City Station web site.
Off-Campus Graduate Housing Option:
Students may also search the Off-Campus Housing
Database, which not only provides access to available
housing units near campus, but also allows students to search
for apartments by rent, number of bedrooms, furniture, etc.
What is the weather like? Troy weather
varies greatly through the four seasons of the year.
Temperature ranges from 60 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18
degrees to 29 degrees Celsius) in the summer to 0 degrees to 38
degrees F (-17 degrees to 3 degrees C) in the winter.
Are there daycare facilities for children?
Some options include: Rensselaer Cooperative Children's
Playschool Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bryckwyck Entry E,
518-276-6102 Samaritan/Rensselaer Children Center Samaritan
Hospital, 518-271-3748 YWCA Daycare Center, 518-274-7100 The
Campus Playschool at Rensselaer, 518-276-6102.
What are the most recent Tuition and Living
Visit this link for updated cost information.