What is the Arch?

The Arch was developed to be intentionally transformative by providing the following:

  • An acceleration of immersion in both the academic and professional worlds;
  • Structured academic advising, career counseling, and leadership development;
  • Unique academic and co-curricular summer experiences;
  • Re-clustering of the junior-year cohort across disciplines;
  • More focused and meaningful engagement with the faculty; and
  • An opportunity for students to engage in self-discovery, leading to increased intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global perspective.

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

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

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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Arch Family Weekend Webinars

At the beginning of each Fall Term, The Arch at Rensselaer hosts the Annual Family Weekend Presentation for the parents of Arch designated students. This information is helpful for students as they plan their summer term and semester away experience. Parents/Guardians are also welcome to email thearch@rpi.edu or provide feedback on The Arch website about the Family Weekend Presentation, communications, and resources. 

Class of 2021

Class of 2022

Class of 2023

Class of 2024

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Arch Discovery Day

Arch Discovery Day is an annual event that is attended by all Rensselaer sophomores as the onset to the school year, preparation for The Arch summer term, and the semester away experience. During this time, students have the opportunity to engage with key areas such as their Academic Departments, the Career and Professional Development Center, and Undergraduate Education to begin exploration and planning. Arch Discovery Opening Session begins Monday, August 23rd at 4pm. Please see the Arch Academic section for a list of academic session for Arch Discovery information listed below. 

Planning Guide Download The Arch Calendar Brochure - Important Dates 

Arch Discovery Day 2022 Power Point Presentation

Livestreams Replays 

Arch Discovery Day 2021 - Opening Session Livestream 
Arch Discovery Day 2022 - Opening Session Livestream 


Arch Academic Sessions 2022

All students are required to attend their Arch Academic session between Aug 22, 2022 and September 2, 2022 (or unless indicated otherwise by specific departments).

Academic Sessions Schedule
School Department Academic Sessions 2022
Architecture Architecture  Contact Department for More Information.
Engineering Biomedical Engineering September 9th, 9am 

WebEx Info: https://rensselaer.webex.com/meet/hahnm

Engineering Chemical & Biological Engineering  August 25th, 11am-12pm

https://rensselaer.webex.com/meet/hirsaa3 https://rensselaer.webex.com/meet/hirsaa3

Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering Sept 14th, 2 -3 pm. 

MDL (Multidisciplinary Design Lab), 2nd Floor – JEC.

Engineering Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering August 31st, 4pm

Location: DCC 318

Engineering Industrial and Systems Engineering August 25th, 11am-12pm

Web Ex Info: https://rensselaer.webex.com/meet/hirsaa3

Engineering Materials Science and Engineering  

September 1st, 1pm in the Polymer Conference Room (for MSE)

Engineering Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE) August 30th, 4pm

Web Ex Info:

HASS All Departments Tuesday, Aug 30, 2022 4:00 pm | 1 hour | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Web Ex Info: https://rensselaer.webex.com/rensselaer/j.php?MTID=ma9ab00744f077cf9ba990ce63b998c57

Meeting number: 2621 997 5934

Password: HASS

Agenda: The Academic Session for all rising Sophomores with a HASS Major to learn about The Arch Summer and Away experiences.

Join by video system

Dial 26219975934@webex.com

You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Join by phone

+1-415-655-0001 US Toll

Access code: 262 199 75934

Lally School of Management All Departments August 31, 12-1pm

CBIS (BIOTK1-Isemann Auditorium & Hernstadt Gallery)


Science Biological Sciences August 31st, 4pm

Location: CBIS

Science Chemistry and Chemical Biology TBA
Science Computer Science August 22nd, 1pm

Web Ex Info:  https://rensselaer.webex.com/rensselaer/j.php?MTID=m0c6be39e9a0b7d25f73e83218b4438a5

Science Earth and Environmental Sciences TBA
Science Information Technology and Web Science August 31, 2022, 10am

Location: TBA

Science Mathematical Sciences August 25th, 4pm

Web Ex Info: https://rensselaer.webex.com/meet/schwed 

Science Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy August 26th,  4pm

Web Ex Info: https://rensselaer.webex.com/rensselaer/j.php?MTID=m9c5747a78eb51455a0c51c7b4780ca91