Study Abroad and Exchange Opportunities

Rensselaer provides international opportunities for undergraduates, including semester-long study abroad and exchange opportunities, short-term and faculty-led international programs, and other international experiences. All students are encouraged to take advantage of an international experience during their undergraduate program.

>> Find A Program


Types of Programs

Exchanges - Affiliated

These programs are designed to be a reciprocal exchange of students between Rensselaer and a partner institution. Exchange programs offer Rensselaer students the opportunity to take regular classes at a partner university, allowing full immersion with host country peers and integration into the host institution. This type of experience requires a great deal of independence and initiative on the part of the student. The majority of exchanges are for a full semester, however a number of short-term opportunities are available each year. Students pay regular Rensselaer tuition and are eligible for all financial aid.

Faculty-led Study Abroad – Affiliated

Faculty-led study abroad programs provide students with the opportunity to participate in an overseas experience that is directly linked to their Rensselaer coursework.  The short duration of these programs provides an opportunity for study abroad to students who may not otherwise be able to fit an international experience into their undergraduate years.

Faculty leaders plan and facilitate instruction abroad, organize cultural events and remain with the students throughout the program.  Faculty-led programs are typically between 10 days and 3 weeks in duration and are part of a fall or spring course, with the international component taking place immediately following the semester.   The Summer Arch calendar will allow for additional opportunities during the Sophomore Summer.  Students pay regular tuition and a program fee.


Students who are unable to find a Rensselaer-affiliated program that meets their academic and personal interests may apply to a non-affiliated study abroad program. Students may transfer up to 16 credits, subject to Rensselaer’s transfer credit guidelines and course approval. Students interested in pursuing non-affiliated study abroad are expected to act independently in the research of an appropriate program and must adhere to all application requirements and deadlines as set by the program sponsor.  Students pay the program provider directly, and are not eligible for Rensselaer aid.


Selecting A Program

Students should carefully consider a variety of factors when selecting a study abroad program.  The on-line program brochure for each affiliated program includes detailed information, eligibility requirements and links to the host institutions.   It is important to review the types of courses that are offered, program dates, services offered to exchange students and housing options so that you are able to select the study abroad program that meets your personal and academic interests.

Please consider the following when making a decision about which international experience is most suitable for you:

Academic Eligibility

3. 0 minimum GPA (3.3 for UCL and DTU); Second-semester sophomore status is required for most semester programs; some require junior standing.  Short-term programs vary.


With the exception of the Technical University of Dresden, the working language at all partner universities is English, though the language of the host country will also be spoken. It is important to consider if you will be comfortable living in an environment where English may not be the primary language spoken.

Academic Calendar

Some fall programs end in January, with final exams taking place after the holidays. Southern Hemisphere programs typically run February through June (southern hemisphere semester 1) and July through November (southern hemisphere semester 2).  Make sure that the dates of the program that you select do not interfere with internships or summer plans.  Students are expected to remain at the host institution for all regularly scheduled exams and should not plan to leave early for another commitment.

Cultural and logistical challenges of spending a period abroad

Some programs offer more support than others, and it is important to assess how much support you will need to be comfortable while abroad.  All programs offer an arrival orientation program, and some sponsor activities for international students throughout the semester.  The academic climate at some universities is similar to that in the U.S., but at many partner schools, students are expected to behave independently and take full responsibility for their own academic success

Accommodation and Meals

While most affiliated programs guarantee university housing, some do not. Students may need to consider homestays or other private accommodations. Many programs do not offer a meal plan, and students are expected to eat out and/or cook on their own.

Course Availability

Make sure to check the course catalogue/timetable of the host institution to make sure that the classes that you need to remain on track for graduation will be offered during the semester that you choose to spend abroad.   Faculty approval of a course for the transfer of credit to Rensselaer does not guarantee that it will be available at the host institution during your semester abroad.

Cost and Finances

Students pay regular Rensselaer tuition for semester and full year exchanges and are eligible for all of their financial aid.  Faculty-led programs carry an additional program fee based on the length of the program, the destination and what is included.  Non-affiliated program participation will not pay regular Rensselaer tuition, but instead will pay the tuition and fees of the host institution/program.  Estimated expenses are available on the brochure for each affiliated program. 

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Find a Program

Search for available programs, apply to a program or view travel registry information.

Quick Links

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Travel Registry

Undergraduate students who are travelling abroad under the auspices of Rensselaer (e.g. athletic team, club/student organization, faculty-led study/research trip) must register their travel plans with the Office of International Programs (OIP) and submit the documentation requested. Students should register their travel here.


Application Process & Deadlines

The Rensselaer Study Abroad application should be completed on-line through Office of International Programs portal. Once you have decided on a program, click “Apply Now” on the program’s information page. You will be prompted to log-in using your RCS ID and password. You will be able to save and return to your application. You will receive messages at various points in the application process, and it is very important that you read these messages and follow all instructions.

Course Selection & Approval Process

Application Deadlines

Fall or Full Academic Year — February 15

Spring — October 1

 UCL & Global E3 applications for spring — September 15

Applications are reviewed by the OIP within two weeks of the application deadline.  Nominated applicants will be directed to complete the application materials of the host institution.