Transition Guidelines - 4 x 4 Curriculum


The catagory/subject areas that follow have changed to a 4 x 4 curriculum. Those changes are listed below.


H&SS Core Curriculum


All students working toward a B.S. degree are required to take a selection of Humanities and Social Science courses that is referred to as the H&SS core. It consists of 24 credit hours*, or six courses distributed in such a way as to afford students a breadth of perspective across the various disciplines as well as a more in-depth experience in at least one area.


* Engineering students take two of those credit hours automatically as professional development in their engineering design sequence.

Distribution Requirements


To ensure that students have breadth in their core courses, students must select at least two courses (8 credit hours) from each of the lists below.



Foreign Languages












Science & Technology Studies, Humanities


Interdisciplinary Studies


Social Sciences




Science & Technology Studies


Social Science





H&SS interdisciplinary courses may be substituted for courses in either category.


To ensure that students have some depth in their H&SS core, students must take at least two courses within a single area prefix (STSH and STSS can be counted as a single area), at least one of which is taken at an advanced level (above 1000). No more than one course within the depth sequence may be taken as Pass/No Credit.


No more than three 1000 level H&SS courses may be applied toward the H&SS core requirement, and no more than 6 credits may be taken as Pass/No credit and at least one course must be at the 4000 level.


A minor shall consist of an approved program plus or minus one credit. If students are short a course, there will be ample ways to make up the extra credit (e.g., independent study).

Repeating a course

If a student wishes to repeat a 3 credit course:


Take the 3 credit hour course again if it exits.

If the course has been changed to 4 credits, take the 4 credit course. If this course alone causes credits to exceed 21, increase in tuition will be waived by the ombudsperson of the student's school. The ombudsperson will notify the Dean of Faculty who in turn will notify the proper authorities.

If the course no longer exists or has been substantially altered, the department will recommend an appropriate substitution and notify the student's advisor, the Associate Dean of the School in which the course is taught, and the Registrar of the allowed substitution. The grade for the new course shall replace the grade for the failed course.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement courses should be credited as in the current practice.


Typically this is 4 credits for Science courses and 3 credits for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit will be based on a "Body of Knowledge" approach.


Each student transferring credits will be given a plan of study showing what is needed to graduate, based on the courses previously taken.


For individual courses, the credits will be transferred as follows. If a student takes a three credit course and we teach that course as a four credit course, only three credits will be transferred.

If through transfer there remains a credit requirement towards the core an individual one credit course can be developed with the input of the faculty advisor or school ombudsperson to meet graduation requirements.

In cases where articulation agreements exist with Two or Three year colleges, the student will be presented with a plan of study showing what is needed to graduate in Rensselaer's new curricula.


If the student has completed the approved Associate's degree the student will enter Rensselaer with full junior status and the plan of study should enable the student to graduate in four semesters.


Prior approval is still needed for courses to be taken elsewhere during the academic year or summer by RPI students. Use a Transfer Credit Approval form available from the Registrar's Office.


If because of the transition, students must take more than 21 credits, exclusive of ROTC:


An automatic waiver of extra tuition for 22 credits will be given by the ombudsperson of the school in which the student is majoring. The ombudsperson will notify the Dean of the Faculty who in turn will notify the proper authorities. Exceptions beyond 22 credits will be reviewed and acted upon by the Dean of the Undergraduate College. Advisors should work with students to minimize the necessity for 22 credit hour semesters.


It is recommended that the student consult his/her advisor to discuss course Drops as well as Adds to try to prevent problems that would interfere with the student's graduation.

Undergraduate/Graduate Interface

With respect to the undergraduate/graduate interface, for the time being RPI will follow the following practice:


At least half the total credit hours presented toward the masters degree must have the suffix numbers 600-699.

H&SS, Science and Math Core Requirements

If as a result of the transition from 3 to 4 credit courses a student is one credit short of the required 24 H&SS or Physical, Life, Engineering Sciences and Math Core Requirements, the ombudsperson of the student's school can issue a waiver.

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