Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Academics, Admissions & Tuition

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dedicated to teaching students to apply science to life, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was established in 1824 in Troy, NY, as the first university of technology in an English-speaking country. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked RPI 41st on its list of top national universities.


RPI offers more than 145 programs, including numerous interdisciplinary programs, through five schools. It also has a smaller campus in Hartford, CT, and a site in Groton, CT. Its research agenda focuses on five areas, including computation and information technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology, and is supported by numerous research centers. Undergraduates can participate in this research agenda through the institution's Undergraduate Research Program.

Undergraduates also can take advantage of study abroad opportunities and more than 200 student organizations, sports and clubs. The school reports that 70% of undergraduates participate in varsity, intramural or recreational sports.


In 2011, RPI admitted 40% of undergraduate applicants, and of these, 21% enrolled. Prospective undergraduates must complete one of three application forms (the Common Application, the Universal College Application or the Candidate's Choice Application) and are encouraged to select a specific major or school on the application form. Students using the Common Application or the Universal College Application also need to complete the associated supplemental application for RPI.

Completed applications must include an essay, a letter of recommendation, school reports and standardized test scores. Applicants to the electronic arts and architecture programs are required to submit a portfolio, while applicants to the games and simulation arts and sciences program are encouraged to submit one. The institution accepts qualifying scores on some Advanced Placement (AP) tests for credit or advanced standing. Students applying to the physician-scientist program (B.S/M.D.) or the management-law or science, technology and society-law programs (B.S./J.D.) have separate application instructions. Graduate applications are reviewed by the appropriate academic department.

RPI considers applicants for early decision; the first early decision deadline for candidates for the class of 2017 is November 1, 2012, with a response by December 14, 2012. The second early decision deadline is December 15, 2012, with a response by January 18, 2013. The regular decision deadline is January 15, 2013, with a response by March 9, 2013.

Almost all undergraduates (98%) are 24 years old or younger, and 71% are male. Roughly a third (32%) of undergraduates are from New York, and the ethnic breakdown of undergraduates includes 70% white, 10% Asian, 6% Hispanic/Latino and 2% black or African American students.

Tuition & Financial Aid

In 2012-13, undergraduate tuition was estimated at $43,350 and fees at $1,125. Room and board were an estimated $12,450, and books and supplies could cost roughly $2,545. Students can purchase their required laptop through the school for about $1,550; it includes the necessary software packages and meets the school's hardware and software standards.

Undergraduate scholarship opportunities are available, as well as a tuition payment plan and merit-based awards. Graduate tuition is also $43,350, and graduate students can avail themselves of assistantship opportunities offered through their academic departments.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctorates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Small city*
Student Body 5,240 undergraduates and 1,184 graduate students in Fall 2011**
Student Housing Freshmen and sophomores are guaranteed housing**
Schools and Programs Five schools; more than 145 programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 15 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010-11:
Bachelor's: Mechanical engineering (187)
Master's: General business administration and management (97)
Doctorate: Electrical and electronics engineering (16)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 60% in four years
84% in six years*
Admission Rate 40% in 2011*
Entering Class Size 1,186 in 2011**
First-Year Retention Rates 93% for full-time students*
SAT Score of Admitted Students Middle 50% SAT scores: 1290-1470 (2011)**
Application Due Date January 15, 2013, for regular decision for Fall 2013 semester**
Decision Notification Date March 9, 2013, for regular decision for Fall 2013 semester**
Tuition $43,350 in 2012-13 (undergraduate and graduate; does not include fees)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) In 2010-11: Grant or scholarship aid (95%), Pell grants (18%), federal student loans (59%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 96% of full-time beginning undergraduates in 2010-11*

Sources: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, **Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

School Contact Information

  • Address: Rensselaer Admissions, Undergraduate Programs, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180-3590
  • Phone: (518) 276-6216
  • Website:

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