Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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Accelerated Degree Programs (ACCEL and ACCEL+)

The ACCEL Program gives highly motivated students the opportunity to obtain a B.S. in three years, and the ACCEL+ Program allows students to obtain a B.S & MBA or M.S. degree in four years, all while still participating in all aspects of the Rensselaer undergraduate experience.

  • ACCEL is an accelerated plan of study for students who wish to graduate after three years. 
  • ACCEL+ allows students to complete B.S. and M.S. degrees within four years, graduating first with a B.S. degree; this is known as a co-terminal degree

Students in the ACCEL Program can choose undergraduate majors within the School of Engineering, School of Science, Lally School of Management, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and our Information Technology and Web Science program. Students may also work with an academic adviser to create their own plan of study. All degrees will fulfill the same requirements of a four-year undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree, and students will still have the opportunity to participate in study abroad, internships, and campus life, building a robust three-year college experience.

Other programs in higher education that offer students similar opportunities are not as expansive, nor do they maintain the financial aid for the fourth year of graduate degree. Where the Rensselaer program stands out among tier one institutions is in the design of clear curricular templates and a strong focus on advisement.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Admissions

Is admission to a co-terminal degree program guaranteed for accelerated students?

No. Admission to a co-terminal degree program is by application only.  Students who wish to pursue a co-terminal degree must follow regular co-terminal degree application requirements and deadlines.  Detailed information on the co-terminal program can be found on the website of the Office of Graduate Education.

What are the eligibility criteria for an accelerated degree program?

Students must bring in a minimum of 12 AP/transfer credits in STEM fields prior to freshman year, and must maintain good academic standing.

How do I determine if this program is a good fit for me?

Students should consult with their Hub/academic advisers to discuss their academic plan and possible path for accelerated degree completion.

When should I start thinking about this program?

Students are advised to consult with their Hub/academic advisers once they have completed their first semester at Rensselaer to discuss whether an accelerated degree program may be a viable option.

Am I able to join this program after freshman year?

Yes, any student who is ahead with their degree requirements is eligible and should consult with their Academic/hub advisers to discuss their options.

When do I apply for admission to a Master’s degree through the Co-Terminal program?

ACCEL students apply for the Co-Terminal program no later than the first semester of their third (senior) year. Please visit the website of the Office of Graduate Education for additional details about the Co-Terminal degree program application process.

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Are there a tuition savings for students who participate in an accelerated degree program?

Students will only pay for semesters in which they are enrolled for credit.  For example, if a student completes all degree requirements within seven semesters, they will only pay tuition for seven semesters.

Are students eligible for regular financial aid each semester?

Students will remain eligible for all regular financial aid while pursuing their bachelor's degree, and for up to an additional two semesters of Rensselaer funding if eligible and accepted into a master’s program through the co-terminal program (or up to three additional semesters of funding for MBA students). Financial aid questions should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.

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Arch, Internships, and Co-ops

How does ACCEL fit within the Arch program?

Students will participate in the Arch during the summer following their first year (early Arch) and will participate in the Arch semester away during the summer following their second year.

Will I be able to participate in an internship?

ACCEL students may participate in internship opportunities during their Arch semester away (i.e., the summer after their second year).  Students who are pursuing a co-terminal degree in the ACCEL+ program may also undertake an internship in the summer following the third year.  Please email any questions to co-op@rpi.edu

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To Consider

Will I graduate in December or May?

Most students in the ACCEL program will be eligible to graduate in December, but all students should consult with their Hub/academic advisers to develop a complete academic plan.

Will participation in ACCEL impact my course registration?

Students who are on a path to accelerated degree completion will be eligible for early registration each semester.

If I change my mind, am I able to opt out of the ACCEL program?

Yes, the flexible structure of the ACCEL programs will allow students to opt-in after the fall semester of their freshman year, and to opt-out at any time. Students who opt-out will continue with their degree requirements following a traditional four-year timeline.

Will I still be able to participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities?

Yes, students will have the opportunity to participate in study abroad, internships, and campus life, building a robust three-year college experience. 

What if I have additional questions about my academic program?

Please consult with your Hub/academic advisers with any questions regarding your academic program and academic planning.