Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

2014 Quick Stats
110 Eighth Street

Troy, NY 12180-3590

Phone: (518) 276-6000
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 15
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#41 Overall Score: 64 out of 100. National Universities

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private institution that was founded in 1824. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,391, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 296 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 41. Its tuition and fees are $46,269 (2013-14).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was founded on the principles of bringing science to everyday life, and that ethos is still prevalent today. About a quarter of students are involved in Greek L.I.F.E., as the fraternity and sorority scene is known at the school, which stresses Leadership, Innovation, Fortitude and Evolution. More students - about three fourths - play sports at the varsity, club or intramural level. True to the school’s mission, the varsity athletes are known as the Engineers, and compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Liberty League. There are also more than 175 student organizations. Freshmen must live on campus, usually in dormitories that only house first-year students. RPI’s campus, in Troy, N.Y., is nestled in an ideal location for nature lovers. The school overlooks the Hudson River, where waterfront activities abound, and is close to Grafton Lakes State Park, Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains. For an urban experience, Albany is 9 miles away.

In accordance with its specialty, RPI has a highly ranked engineering program. The school also uses its scientific specialties to offer unique accelerated programs such as the B.S./M.D. Physician-Scientist Program, completed in seven years, and the B.S./J.D. in Science, Technology and Society Law, which takes six years to finish. The university hosts technical events like the annual GameFest, a showcase of computer games designed by students. These kinds of technical skills have led Rensselaer graduates to successful careers as entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists and more. Notable RPI alumni include George W. G. Ferris, creator of the Ferris Wheel, Howard P. Isermann, inventor of sunscreen and Myles Brand, former president of the NCAA.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation's oldest technological research university. Since 1824, Rensselaer faculty, researchers, graduates, and students have been at the forefront of leading technology advances, ranging from engineering some of the nation's first suspension bridges in the 19th Century to helping lead evolution of the Worldwide Web. Rensselaer has been guided by The Rensselaer Plan, under which the Institute has made critical advances in energy security and nanotechnology and important pharmaceutical and biotechnology advances in the war against so-called superbugs and other infections. This plan was recently updated to provide the roadmap to the university's 200th anniversary in 2024. The new plan addresses three critical areas: student life, innovative pedagogy, and research to solve global challenges. The unique student life program known as CLASS, for example, extends efforts into the residential areas so students, faculty, and others can continually engage. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, especially biotechnology, engineering, energy/environment, nanotechnology, information technology and the Worldwide Web, and media arts/technology. While Rensselaer operates with five different schools - Engineering, Science, Architecture, Humanities/Arts/Social Sciences, and Business - the Institute offers students the opportunity to work and study in programs that intersect with and combine opportunities spanning those schools. During the past year, for example, Rensselaer opened a new research center called the called the Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture. This new Institute-wide center will focus on the intersections and interdependency of cognition, communication and culture in the context of contemporary research, technology, and society. Initial research areas within this center are: cross-modal displays - which seek to employ all human sense in understanding and exploring data; mixed reality - in which data overlaid on the real world enriches learning and research environments; and synthetic characters - computer programs intended to simulate an independent individual. The university also recently launched its first undergraduate degree in the field of sustainability, weaving together techniques and insights from the humanities and social sciences with knowledge from the natural sciences and engineering to address environmental problems. Finally, the university's video game design program -- which combines teaching and research ranging from computer science and simulation to the arts -- was again ranked as one of the best in the nation by the Princeton Review. During 2013, Rensselaer became the first university to receive a Watson computer from IBM. This new artificial intelligence system, well known for beating the all-time champions of Jeopardy!, will be based in the Institute' computer science program and utilized by students and researchers. The university is home to cutting-edge facilities and research platforms that accommodate and advance research. The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies houses more than 400 Rensselaer researchers in biotechnology and related disciplines. The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations is among the world's most powerful university-based supercomputers. The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center provides a platform for exploration and learning at the nexus of research, technology, and the performing arts. The building houses a 1,200-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theater, and production facilities to support visualization, simulation, and animation studies. The East Campus Athletic village, the most extensive athletic construction project in Rensselaer history, offers athletic and recreation facilities that will change the student experience dramatically.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1824
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar semester
Setting city
2012 Endowment $579,033,000


When applying to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it's important to note the application deadline is January 15, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due December 31. The application fee at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is $70. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 43.6 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity most selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 43.6%
Application deadline January 15
SAT/ACT scores must be received by December 31

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is 15:1, and the school has 50.2 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute include: Engineering; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; and Physical Sciences. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 92.3 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 15:1
4-year graduation rate 60%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Engineering 53%
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 9%
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 8%
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 8%
Physical Sciences 5%

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Student Life

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,391, with a gender distribution of 71 percent male students and 29 percent female students. At this school, 57 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 43 percent of students live off campus. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 6,999
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 40 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Students who have cars on campus 40%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 65.1 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $24,799.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $46,269 (2013-14)
Room and board $12,960 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

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