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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Diversity Recruitment Initiatives

Rensselaer is committed to diversity and inclusion, and seeks to engender in our students intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global view.  In support of this commitment, the Office of Graduate Admissions seeks to recruit an applicant pool that is traditionally under-represented.  Through our recruitment initiatives, we aim to recruit substantially more women, and ethnically and culturally diverse students.  Please use the links below to learn more about our recruitment initiatives:

  • Diversity in Graduate Studies (DIGS) Visitation Program
  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Preview Weekend (In conjunction with the School of Engineering) 
  • Recruitment Event Calendar
  • Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)
  • Group Campus Visits – Our office will coordinate student group (McNair Scholars, LSAMP Scholars, etc) visits to our campus.  For additional information, please contact Mr. Kishmar Best, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at
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Student Retention

Rensselaer offers specific mentoring, professional, and academic development programs to help our students succeed in their graduate programs, and beyond.  The Dean of the Graduate Experience Office offers a wide range of programming to support our graduate students.

There are a number of student groups that can assist with making the transition to graduate school as smooth as possible.  They include the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Rensselaer Pride Alliance, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

The Center for Career and Professional Development provides comprehensive career preparation, enabling students to take charge of their future. CCPD can help students perfect their résumé, hone their interview skills, research potential employers, and more.

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Funding your graduate education is important and Rensselaer offers several funding opportunities as well as assistance with applying for external funding. Admitted students are eligible for internal fellowships, teaching assistantships, as well as research assistantships. We encourage prospective students to begin searching for external fellowships as early as their senior year of college, while you are applying for graduate school, as most external funding may go into effect your second year of your graduate program.


Diversity in Graduate Studies Visitation Program

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is committed to enhancing the diversity of its graduate programs. To achieve that goal, Rensselaer’s Office of Graduate Admissions has developed the Diversity in Graduate Studies (DIGS) program. The DIGS program is designed to offer prospective Ph.D. applicants from populations underrepresented in STEM and related fields a chance visit our campus at no cost prior to submitting an application for graduate study. DIGS applicants should complete a Graduate Student Visit Form and submit the required materials as noted on the form.

DIGS program benefits

DIGS visitors will:

  • have the opportunity to meet with leading faculty in their area(s) of interest
  • be able to meet and network with current graduate students in their area(s) of interest
  • be provided with a tour of campus and/or relevant laboratories and research centers
  • have the opportunity to speak with Graduate Admissions staff about strategies for submitting a competitive application

Rensselaer will:

  • arrange and provide reasonable transportation -- such as by air, rail, etc. -- to campus
  • arrange and provide lodging at a hotel located near campus
  • reimburse or pay for meals ($50 per diem)
  • provide DIGS visitors with an automatic graduate application fee waiver
Who is eligible to apply for DIGS?
  • Juniors, rising seniors, or master’s students who plan to apply for a Ph.D. program beginning in the Summer/Fall 2018 semester may apply for the program.
  • Eligible students should:
    • have undergraduate research experience -- such as summer REU -- and identify with a population underrepresented in STEM and related fields
    • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
When is the visit scheduled?

Unlike many visitation programs, the DIGS program is designed to be tailored individually to you (See the application for exclusion dates). In the application, we will ask you for three (3) sets of dates when you would like to visit, and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule. Please note that dates must be Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, and during the Spring or Fall semesters only.

Please allow a minimum of four weeks from the day of your request to allow proper planning. Prior to your visit, we will provide you with an agenda outlining the day’s events, which typically include meetings with faculty, relevant staff, and current graduate students, as well as tours of relevant research facilities.

What is required to apply for a DIGS visit?
  • A completed DIGS Application
  • Current transcripts
  • One recommendation letter from a faculty member or program director (McNair, MARC, etc.)
  • An academic resume that includes undergraduate research experience
  • GRE scores (if available)
  • A statement of interest (one to two pages)

EDGE at Rensselaer Recruitment Weekend

Sponsored by the School of Engineering and the Office of Graduate Admissions at Rensselaer, the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Recruitment Weekend was developed to increase the diversity of Rensselaer’s graduate student population by providing prospective graduate students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to visit and learn about the vibrant academic and research environment at Rensselaer at no cost (food, lodging and travel expenses are covered).

Questions about the EDGE at Rensselaer Recruitment Weekend should be directed to Kishmar Best, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, at

Program Benefits

EDGE participants will:

  • Learn more about the PhD programs & research conducted at Rensselaer
  • Participate in professional development workshops
  • Tour Rensselaer's campus, research facilities & laboratories
  • Meet and interact with current Rensselaer graduate students
  • Meet and interact with current Rensselaer faculty in their program of interest
  • Explore New York's Capital Region

If you meet ALL of the criteria below, you are eligible to apply for EDGE at Rensselaer

  • Identify as a member of a group historically underrepresented in graduate education
  • Current junior or senior enrolled full-time at a college or university in the United States
  • Possess a genuine interest in pursuing a PhD in a graduate program offered by the School of Engineering at Rensselaer
  • Must be available for the entirety of program on October 18-21, 2018
Program Dates

EDGE at Rensselaer 2018 will take place from October 18-October 21, 2018. The application is available at: and will close at 11:59pm on September 4, 2018. Please note that no materials will be accepted after the deadline.

Application Requirements

Incomplete applications WILL NOT be reviewed. To be considered, all of the following application materials must be submitted by the deadline:

  • Online Application
  • Resume/CV
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • 1 Letter of Recommendation
  • Short Answer Questions
  • GRE Scores (not required but strongly encouraged)