Welcome to Rensselaer
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s oldest technological research university.
The university offers degrees from five schools: Engineering; Science; Architecture; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the Lally School of Management; as well as an interdisciplinary degree in Information Technology and Web Science.
Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Nearly 29 percent of undergraduate students this year are from areas outside of the Northeast. First-year students hail from 43 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from countries all around the world.
Rensselaer offers more than 145 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Students are encouraged to work in interdisciplinary programs that allow them to combine scholarly work from several departments or schools. The university provides rigorous, engaging, interactive learning environments and campus-wide opportunities for leadership, collaboration, and creativity.
For almost two centuries, Rensselaer has maintained its reputation for providing an undergraduate education of undisputed intellectual rigor based on educational innovation in the laboratory, classroom, and studio.
Driven by talented, dedicated, and forward-thinking faculty, Rensselaer has dramatically expanded the research enterprise by leveraging our existing strengths and focusing on five signature research areas: biotechnology and the life sciences; energy and the environment; computational science and engineering; nanotechnology and advanced materials; and media, arts, science, and technology.
The Institute is especially well-known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.
Academic Approach and Educational Innovations
Rensselaer is anchored by two vibrant roots:
- One root, written into the school’s founding documents, is “...the application of science to the common purposes of life.” This kept the focus on engineering solutions to national and international needs and challenges. Rensselaer graduates constructed the canals, roads, bridges, skyscrapers, and basic infrastructure of America, which helped to form the basis for 20th century society.
- The second root, also built into the school’s origin, was the employment of unique educational strategies. In the earliest days, after initial instruction, students taught what they knew to each othersince teaching reinforces learning. Likewise, students performed scientific experimentsrather than watch faculty conduct them, as had been the common practice.
The Rensselaer Plan 2024
Armed with our intellects, our energy, and a bold vision for the future, we launched a process to realize the mission of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in new and tangible ways. We conceived and implemented The Rensselaer Plan, to bring new meaning, and new substance, to the question we ask ourselves as the first technological university in the nation: “Why not change the world?”
We began our journey of transformation where necessity demanded. We have made major investments in our people, programs, platforms, and partnerships; and, together, we have brought about a true Renaissance at Rensselaer. These investments have enabled us to transform Rensselaer into a top-tier technological research university with global reach and global impact. That transformation serves as a solid foundation on which we will build even greater achievements in the future.
Our journey of transformation continues, under The Rensselaer Plan 2024.
In the same spirit as its precursor, the revised Plan is evergreen, prepared to grow and evolve, as the Institute grows and evolves. In advancing The Rensselaer Plan 2024, we are moving from transforming Rensselaer to Rensselaer being transformativetransformative in our students’ lives; transformative in our innovative pedagogy, nationally and internationally; transformative in the global impact of our research.
As we anticipate the bicentennial of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2024, we look forward to addressing the Global Challenges that face the world of the 21st centuryto change lives, to advance society, and, indeed, to change the world.