What is the Arch?

To make our undergraduate educational experience even more robust and transformative, we have freed it from the traditional academic calendar.

Summer Here
During The Arch, students remain on campus for the summer after their sophomore year, taking junior-level classes, and receive focused attention from professors at this pivotal point in their academic progression. 

The World Away
Then, students leave the Troy campus for a semester during the traditional junior year—either fall or spring—to pursue their passions in the form of co-ops, internships, civic engagement, research, or international experiences. Students who pursue these opportunities during their academic career are better prepared for future professional careers and graduate school.

Graduate in Four Years
With the exception of students in the five-year bachelor of architecture program, matriculation to degree completion is not intended to take more than eight terms. To accelerate your academic progress, and graduate in fewer than eight semesters, you may take classes elsewhere prior to enrollment at Rensselaer, obtain AP/IB credit from high school, enroll in your Arch summer term one semester early (Early Arch), take summer courses in subsequent summers, study abroad during the away semester, or a combination of these options.

Academic Semester Experience

YEAR FALL SPRING SUMMER
Freshman On Campus* On Campus* You Choose
Sophomore On Campus* On Campus* Arch Semester *
Junior Semester Away** Semester Away** You Choose
Senior You Choose  On Campus  

*On Campus Housing requirement
**Juniors must participate in a fall or spring semester away experience following The Arch summer semester.
Note: You Choose option refers to student capability to determine how they will spend that particular semester. This is a general academic overview and may vary based on academic curriculum. 

Architecture Students

YEAR FALL SPRING SUMMER
Freshman On Campus* On Campus* You Choose
Sophomore On Campus* On Campus* You Choose
Junior On Campus On Campus Arch Semester*
Senior Semester Away** Semester Away** You Choose
Fifth Year On Campus On Campus Graduate

*Housing requirement
**Fourth year Architecture students must participate in a fall or spring semester away experience following The Arch summer semester
Note: This is a general academic overview and may vary based on academic curriculum

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Co-Curricular Calendar

To sign-up for field trips, click here or for pop-up courses, click here. Registration for CCPD workshops can be found here.

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Arch Planning Workshops

January 30–April 24
(Every Wednesday)
Academy Hall Auditorium | 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Led by Jade Felder, Director of The Arch and Students Transitions, the Arch Planning Workshops will focus on semester away planning and productivity. Students will utilize this time to:

  • Planning & productivity sheets, tracking your progress in planning for your semester away.
  • Spend time working on your Arch Course Modules.
  • Learn about the abundance of co-curricular activities available for the summer term.
  • Speak with CCPD about semester away opportunities.
  • Work with peers on achieving similar productivity goals. 
  • Detailed understanding of the steps to register your plans. 
  • Questions and answer session with the Director of The Arch. 
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Arch Family Webinars

At the beginning of the 2019 spring term, faculty and staff at Rensselaer hosted two webinars to further inform family members of The Arch program structure and how to best support their student. Each webinar can be viewed by clicking the links below.

Class of 2021

Class of 2022