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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

High School Preparation

All applications are reviewed individually by the admissions committee. It is important to note that some differences in preparation and academic background may be considered. The applicants who are best suited for Rensselaer will have completed:

  • Four years of mathematics through pre-calculus (calculus recommended)
  • Three years of science (including chemistry and lab-based physics)
  • Four years of English
  • Three years of social studies and/or history

Additionally, the admissions committee pays particular attention to candidates who demonstrate qualities of leadership and talents that will contribute to the richness of the Rensselaer community.

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Standardized Test Requirements

  • SAT or ACT
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all non-native English speakers

All standardized tests must be taken by December 31. If you take multiple tests, Rensselaer will superscore the SAT, but will consider only the highest composite score on the ACT. SAT Subject tests are not required, except for some accelerated program applicants (see below).

Accelerated Law/Medical Program Testing Requirements
Applicants to the Physician-Scientist Program or an accelerated law program should submit EITHER:

  • The SAT (including the writing portion) AND two SAT Subject Tests (one in math and one in science-student’s choice)

                    OR

  • The ACT (including the writing portion)
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College Credits and Advanced Standing

Courses completed at other colleges may be considered for transfer credit at Rensselaer. Entering freshmen may transfer a maximum of 32 credit hours; this includes AP/IB credits or other equivalent credits.

How the credits are applied to a student’s degree program depends on the student’s choice of major. Students may need to complete additional course work to fulfill the specific program requirements. The student should consult with their adviser for additional details.

At Student Orientation, department representatives will be available for questions during registration.

College Course Credit Policy

The Registrar will have courses evaluated by the appropriate departments on campus. An official transcript of grade(s) from the other college(s) must be sent to the Office of the Registrar to be considered for credit. The student’s file must include photocopies of course descriptions of all courses for which the student requests transfer credit consideration. No grade is given for transfer credit and it is not included in calculating the QPA. 

Transfer credit will not be given for any college courses taken while in high school if these courses were used in obtaining the high school diploma. Only a total of two courses, for a maximum of eight advanced placement and/or transfer credits, may be used toward the HASS core requirements for graduation. Only a total of two courses, for a maximum of eight transfer credits, may be used to satisfy the science core requirement. Any courses beyond two may be used toward free electives.

Transfer Student Course Guide

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Advanced Placement

Credit is granted to many entering freshmen through Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken at high schools.

In general, if you earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam, you will usually be granted academic credit at Rensselaer. You will need to submit test score reports to our Registrar's Office before registering for classes.

Humanities, Arts, and Social Science Courses

United States Government and Politics or Comparative Government and Politics
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for STSS-1000, Social Science Elective, four credit hours.

Art History or Music Theory
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on either of these exams will not receive academic credit, but will be eligible for advanced placement in a non-entry level course.

Economics
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on both the microeconomics and macroeconomics exams receive four credit hours for ECON-1200, Introduction to Economics. Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on the microeconomics exam receive two credits for ECON 1000, Economics Elective. Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on the macroeconomics exam receive two credits for ECON 1000, Economics Elective.

English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for WRIT-1000, Writing Elective, four credit hours. Credit cannot be used to satisfy the Communication Intensive Requirement.

Foreign Languages
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive four credit hours for Language Elective (LANG 1000).

History
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on the United States History, European History, or World History examination will receive credit for STSH-1000, Humanities Elective, four credit hours.

Human Geography
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for STSS-1000, Social Science Elective, four credit hours.

Psychology
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for PSYC-1200, General Psychology, four credit hours.

Studio Art
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on either the Studio Art: 2-D or Studio Art: 3-D exams will not receive academic credit, but will be eligible for advanced placement in non-entry level courses.

Math & Science Courses

Biology
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive three credits for BIOL-1010, Introduction  to Biology, and one credit for BIOL-1015, Introduction to Biology Lab.

Chemistry
Students who achieve a grade of 5 will receive eight credits for CHEM-1100, Chemistry I, and CHEM-1200, Chemistry II. For students who are not required to take Chemistry II in their curriculum, the credits for Chemistry II could be applied to a science elective or free elective. Students who achieve a grade of 4 will receive four credit hours for CHEM 1100, Chemistry I.

Engineering students who are required to take Materials Science for Engineers should register for ENGR-1600 to complete the pre-engineering chemistry/materials requirement.

Computer Science
Students who achieve a grade of 5 on the A test will receive credit for Computer Science I (CSCI 1100), four credit hours. Students who achieve a grade of 5 on the Computer Science Principles exam will receive credit for CSCI-1000 Computer Science Elective, four credit hours. Students who take both Computer Science Principles and Computer Science A and achieve a grade of 5 on both tests will only receive four credits for CSCI-1100 Computer Science I. They cannot receive the CSCI-1000 credit if they receive CSCI-1100 credit.

Environmental Science
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for IENV-1000, Environmental Science Elective, four credit hours.

Mathematics
Engineering and science majors who achieve a grade of 3 on the BC examination, or a grade of  4 or 5 on the AB examination, will receive four credits for Calculus I and should register for Calculus II if required by the major. Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on the BC exam will receive eight credits for Calculus I and II and should register for MATH-2010 or MATH-2400 depending on the requirements of the student’s major.

Architecture, HASS, and Business and Management majors who achieve a grade of 3 or better on the BC examination, or a grade of 4 or 5 on the AB examination, will receive four credits for Calculus I and take no math in the fall semester. These students enroll in MATH-1520 (Management) or MATH 1620 (Architecture and HASS) in the spring semester. Students receiving a grade of 4 or 5 on the BC exam will receive eight credit hours for Calculus I and II.

Physics
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on both the Mechanics and the Electricity and the Electricity and Magnetism part of the C examination receive eight credits for Physics I and II. Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on only the Mechanics part of the C examination receive four credits for Physics I. Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 on the Physics I: Algebra-Based examination and have received credit for Calculus I (AP credit, transfer credit, or have completed Rensselaer credit) will receive 4 credits for Physics I. No credit is awarded for the Physics II: Algebra-Based examination.

Statistics
Students who achieve a grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for MGMT-2100, Statistical Methods, four credit hours. Non-management majors cannot count the course as part of the Math/Science requirement. Students will not receive credit for ENGR-2600, Modeling and Analysis of Uncertainty.

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International Baccalaureate

Rensselaer awards advanced standing and credit based on student performance in the higher-level examinations of the International Baccalaureate (IB). In general, if you earn a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the higher-level exam, you will usually be granted academic credit at Rensselaer. You will need to submit test score reports to our Registrar's Office before registering for classes. Standard level exams are not considered.

    Humanities, Arts, and Social Science Courses

    Art/Design
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for ARTS-1000, Arts Elective, four credit hours.

    Classical Languages
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for COMM-1000,  Communications Elective, four credit hours.

    Economics
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for ECON-1200, Introductory Economics, four credit hours.

    English
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for WRIT-1000, Writing Elective, four credit hours.

    Foreign Languages
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for LANG-1000, Language Elective, four credit hours.

    Geography
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for STSS-1000, STS Elective, four credit hours.

    History
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for STSH-1000, STS Elective, four credit hours.

    History of the Islamic World
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for STSH-1000, STS Elective, four credit hours.

    Information Technology in a Global Society
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for STSS-1000, STS Elective, four credit hours.

    Music
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for ARTS-1000, Arts Elective, four credit hours.

    Philosophy
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for PHIL-1110, Introduction to Philosophy, four credit hours.

    Psychology
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for PSYC-1200, General Psychology, four credit hours.

    Social Anthropology
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for STSS-1000, STS Elective, four credit hours. Theatre Arts students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for ARTS-1000, Arts Elective, four credit hours.

    Math & Science Courses

    Biology
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for BIOL-1010, three credit hours, and BIOL-1015, one credit hour

    Chemistry
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for CHEM-1100 and CHEM-1200, Chemistry I and II, eight credit hours.

    Computer Science
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for CSCI-1000, Computer Science Elective, four credit hours.

    Mathematics
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for MATH-1010, Calculus I, four credit hours.

    Physics
    Students who earn a grade of 5, 6, or 7 will receive credit for PHYS-1100 and PHYS-1200, Physics I and II, eight credit hours.