Summer HERE. The World AWAY.
Get all of your questions answered about The Arch.
Mark your calendar with important dates to guide you through The Arch at Rensselaer. Frequently asked questions, contacts, and additional information on various departments, divisions, and offices are also included.
Have questions? E-mail us at The Arch.
Regardless of your current year at Rensselaer, please consult the academic calendar for the most up-to-date information regarding academic deadlines.
Students are eligible to participate in The Arch summer semester after their fourth semester on campus (6th semester for B.Arch students) or after earning at least 59 credits (90 credits for B.Arch students), whichever comes first. This will typically fall in the summer following sophomore year. Students are required to create a plan of study which includes a full-time (12-16 credits) summer of on-campus coursework and a fall or spring away semester.
Transfer students who enter Rensselaer as sophomores (see Table I) are required to participate in The Arch. Transfer students who enter as juniors will not be required to participate.
Table I. The Number of Credits that Determines Class Status
|School of Architecture||School of Engineering||All Other Schools|
|Freshman||0–31 credits||0–30 credits||0–29 credits|
|Sophomore||32–65 credits||31–60 credits||30–59 credits|
|Junior||66–100 credits||61–95 credits||60–89 credits|
|Senior||101–134 credits||96–128 credits||90+ credits|
|Fifth-Year Student||135+ credits|
The Arch is a required part of Rensselaer matriculation; therefore any student who is not on a leave of absence and has a curricular discrepancy, must apply for an exception through The Office of Undergraduate Education.
Summer Semester Requirements
- Rising Juniors are required to complete an Arch summer term and semester away term, unless given an exception from the requirement.
- Students whose majors allow for a choice will be able to indicate a preference for semester away (See Table II).
- All Academic Policies and the Student Handbook apply during The Arch summer semester.
Requesting a Leave of Absence during The Arch Summer Term
Students can request a leave of absence during their summer semester on-campus. A Leave of Absence (LOA) request requires schedule a meeting with their class dean and filling out the form in the Office for Student Success.
- If a student takes a LOA prior to the 2nd week of the summer term, the student will be inactive and eligible to reapply for the subsequent semester by the published deadlines.
- If a student takes a LOA after the 2nd week, the student will not be eligible to enroll in the subsequent term.
- If a student takes a LOA before their summer semester on campus, they are still required to complete the semester away term. Students should consult with their academic school about plan of study changes.
Table II. Listing of Term Away by Major
|School of Architecture|
|B.Arch||Fall or Spring|
|Building Science||Fall or Spring|
|School of Engineering|
|Aeronautical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Biomedical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Chemical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Computer and Systems Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Electrical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Mechanical Engineering||Fall or Spring|
|Lally School of Management|
|Business Management||Fall or Spring|
|School of Science|
|Biology||Fall or Spring|
|Biochemistry and Biophysics||Fall or Spring|
|Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology||Fall or Spring|
|Computer Science||Fall or Spring|
|Geology||Fall or Spring|
|Hydrogeology||Fall or Spring|
|Interdisciplinary Science||Fall or Spring|
|Information Technology and Web Science||Fall or Spring|
|School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences|
|Cognitive Science||Fall or Spring|
|Communication||Fall or Spring|
|Design, Innovation, and Society||Fall or Spring|
|Economics||Fall or Spring|
|Electronic Arts||Fall or Spring|
|Electronic Media||Fall or Spring|
|Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences||Fall or Spring|
|Music||Fall or Spring|
|Philosophy||Fall or Spring|
|Psychology||Fall or Spring|
|Science, Technology, and Society||Fall or Spring|
|Sustainability Studies||Fall or Spring|
All Academic Policies and the Student Handbook apply during The Arch summer semester.
- Students must complete the Arch Exploration and Planning course by the end of their sophomore spring semester. Please refer to your syllabus from CCPD for specifc module due dates.
- During The Arch summer semester, students must be enrolled throughout the 12 weeks of the summer term. The total number of credits taken must be at least 12 for the student to be considered full time.
Note: Students must be registered for at least one three-credit course during each 6-week session. It is recommended that students register for fewer than 12 credits in any 6-week session. A course in Summer 1 (12 weeks) counts as ½ the number of credits in each 6-week session.
3. While students may not take classes at Rensselaer during their away semester, they can transfer in class credits from other universities per the transfer credit policy.
Arch Away Semester
All students must engage in an away experience during the fall or spring of their junior year (see Table II) unless they have been granted an exception by the Exception Review Committee. B.Arch students will be away in the fall or spring following their third year of study. Away experiences are ultimately approved by the student’s academic department and include co-ops, internships, civic engagement, international experiences, or an individual learning experience (ILE).
All approved away experiences, including the online course, confer one credit, which does not count toward graduation but does maintain the student’s active status and defers repayment of certain loans. Students cannot pay Rensselaer tuition for the semester away unless they have been approved to participate in an affiliated semester exchange program. Students who participate in an affiliated exchange will pay regular Rensselaer tuition and may use one of their eight semesters of Rensselaer financial aid, subject to eligibility.
Students may obtain approval for their away experience by submitting the Away Semester Approval form (in SIS starting in May 2019) after having secured all appropriate approvals or an offer letter. J1/F1 visa holders will require additional approvals from International Student Services at least two months before the away semester begins.
Student who do not submit an away semester experience in SIS will automatically be placed into the Individual Learning Experience (ILE) category, and will subsequently register for students for an online course designed for students participating in an ILE. Students taking the "ILE Course" will not be charged tuition. The "ILE Course" will be graded S/U and is the equivalent of 6 credits. Students will not be able to register for other courses at Renssleaer while registered for the "ILE Course".
Visit the Financial Aid page for implications of a non-approved experience.
The following types of experiences can be approved if they are related to the students’ major.
- A Co-Operative Educational experience is at least a 16 week experience in industry which can be fulfilled in consecutive months or two experiences (e.g. fall and the next summer).
- A paid internship.
- A paid research experience not at Rensselaer.
- A civic engagement experience (paid or unpaid).
- An affiliated or unaffiliated international experience.
- A Rensselaer affiliated study abroad program.
- Completing courses at another U.S. institution (see transfer credit policy).
- A research experience at Rensselaer provided the student spends at least half of the term away participating in an off-campus activity. This time can be used toward the research project, or another experience entirely.
- An Individual Learning Experience (ILE) in which the student crafts their own plan for their personal or professional enrichment. Enrollment in the 0 credit "ILE Course" is required for this option.
All students should meet with their HUB or Faculty Advisor to develop and as needed, revise their plan of study. For additonal information regarding required curriculum and timeline for completion, please see the information below:
- Students in the class of 2021 and beyond can view their required curriculum and timeline for completion by visting the Rensselaer Catalog associated with the year they entered Rensselaer and their major. The link to the Rensselaer Catalog defaults to the current academic year. Please be sure to check the drop down menu in the upper-right corner of the page to ensure you are viewing your required curriculum as described previously. View the catalog here.
- Students from the class of 2020 that participated in the 2018 Summer Semester Pilot II of The Arch can find their required curriculum and timeline for completion in template form here.
Course Scheduling Resources
- Your Advisor
- Advising HUBS
Note: Be sure to take The Arch summer courses in the summer and other courses during the fall and spring.
Advising HUB Locations
- School of Architecture – Greene Building
- School of Engineering – Johnson Engineering Center, 3rd Floor, Ansell Lounge
- School of Humanities Arts and Social Science – Sage Building 4307
- The Lally School – Pittsburgh Building, 3200
- School of Science – Science Center, 1C12
Once you accept an away semester opportunity (Congratulations!), it is important that you get the experience approved by the following process:
- All students will enter their confirmed away semester plans into SIS for processing by the relevant student service department and the student's faculty advisor.
If you decide to take a semester off from work and school, be sure you understand the financial aid implications (visit Financial Aid) and if you are an international student, the implications for your I20 (visit International Students).
Arch students are required to live on campus for the summer semester. If your current housing assignment is also designated as Arch housing, you can stay in the same room for the summer. Otherwise, you will be reassigned.
For more information on the room selection process, visit Student Living and Learning.
Living On Campus During the Fall Semester
- The regular room selection process occurs in January/February.
- If you are away for the fall semester, but on campus for the spring, you will apply for housing early November.
- Juniors are not required to live on campus.
Living Off Campus
- If you plan on living off campus, and need to find someone to sublease your apartment. Visit JumpOffCampus to list your space for rent.
- Once you have signed a lease, you are legally bound for the duration of that contract. Being away for a semester does not provide an “out” clause or exception to the lease.
- If you decide to live off campus, you will be responsible for paying 12-months (unless otherwise noted in the terms of the contract) of rent payments and utilities (as applicable). Troy area landlords typically lease apartments for 12-months beginning June 1st through May 31st. Shorter leases may be available at a higher rate per month.
For more information, visit Student Living and Learning.
For more information about off-campus living, contact Off Campus Commons.
How to Apply for a Resident Assistant Position
- Apply through the application process; There will be a rolling selection process for Fall, Spring and Summer.
- Interviews will be held via Skype or Phone.
- Students cannot apply for position during their semester away.
- Positions advertised in October and February of each academic year. For more information, visit Student Living and Learning.
Can I be a RA when if I am an Arch student?
You sure can! You apply the same way as a non-Arch student would. Information found on our website.
Do I get paid to be a RA?
Yes! You get a housing scholarship (free room) which is applied to your bill, and you get a stipend.
I live on campus and am participating in The Arch program. If I get the RA position do I have to move my belongings home to then move them to Arch housing a couple weeks after?
No, we will not make you move twice! You receive an extension to leave your belongings in your room and you are then able to move into your housing assignment early for RA training before The Arch program starts.
If I am living in my Greek chapter house for my sophomore year, am I required to live on campus for The Arch program?
Yes. All students are required to live in RPI residence halls that have been designated for use during The Arch.
Will I be able to choose my roommate(s) for The Arch program?
The office of Student Living and Learning will try to accommodate all roommate requests.
If I have decided to stay on campus for the fall semester (my away semester will be spring) can I stay in the same room?
Possibly. It depends on the room location in reference to the clustering model. Also, the limited space on campus for rising juniors may facilitate your having to move off campus after the conclusion of The Arch program.
I have a disability and require special accommodations. How would I go about obtaining a special room request?
You would fill out a housing accommodations form that can be accessed through the Disability Services website. You should also contact the Director of Disability Services, Jaqualyn Iardella.
Do I need to have a meal plan if I am living on campus for The Arch program?
Yes. All students participating in The Arch program are required to purchase a dining meal plan.
Can I stay in the same room that I lived in for The Arch for the fall semester of my junior year? Or, during the spring semester if I am away for the fall?
We cannot guarantee that you will be able to obtain the same room. We will assign you based on room availability and upper class clustering housing.
Will I be responsible for paying for a room for the entire academic year, or just for the semester that I reside on campus?
You will only have to pay for your non-away semester. Please be sure to notify the office of Student Living and Learning when you are aware of the semester you are going to be away.
Available Resources During the Summer Semester:
- Advising HUBS
- Advising Learning and Assistance Center
- Tutoring (For information on one-on-one tutoring, visit ALAC)
- Undergraduate Class Dean
Note: Students who are Continued on Probation or Placed on Probation will receive instructions from ALAC on requirements and support programs.
Available Resources During the Semester Away:
- Faculty Advisors and ALAC
- Faculty (available for SAM clearance and academic advising via email/phone/skype/in person as you register for classes)
- Academic Department
- Undergraduate Class Dean
Student Health Resources Available
- All other health center services available during the fall and spring semesters
- Health insurance for the spring semester continues through August 1st.
- Arch students do not need additional health insurance for their summer semester (the waiver or enrollment is already in place).
- The summer health center fee is part of the summer semester charges.
- If a student needs health insurance coverage in the summer and they waived it in the spring, they can enroll by reversing their spring semester waiver.
Students need to enroll in or waive out of the health insurance plan, effective August 1st for their away semester. This is the same process as regularly enrolled students.
For more information, visit Student Health Services.