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Frequently Ask Questions

When will I be expected to take the Arch?

Students in the Class of 2021 will be required to participate in The Arch program in summer 2019. There is an exception process for athletes, ROTC, and a few other select cases.

Will it take more than four years to graduate?

No. With the exception of students in the five-year bachelor of architecture program, matriculation to degree completion is not intended to take more than eight terms at Rensselaer. To accelerate your academic progress, and graduate in fewer than eight semesters, you may take classes elsewhere prior to enrollment at Rensselaer, obtain AP/IB credit from high school, take summer courses in subsequent summers, study abroad during the away semester, or some combination of these options.

Do I have to pay tuition during my Semester Away?

No. The semester away is an opportunity to pursue internships, Co-ops, and collaborative research, as well as athletic, entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and community service activities. This is a good opportunity to earn money while gaining valuable professional experience.

What will I do during my Semester Away?

You can take advantage of numerous co-curricular and experiential activities available off campus, including international travel, internshipsCo-opsresearch opportunities, and engagement in community service projects. Click here to learn more.

Will I have assistance finding a Co-op or internship?

Students seeking a Co-op or internship experience during their “away” semester will have the full resources of the Center for Career and Professional Development available to assist them in their search.

What if I want to study abroad?

Study abroad has become an integral part of a well-rounded undergraduate experience.


The Arch provides additional experiential learning opportunities for students to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures and customs. This includes short-term and faculty-led international programs, and other international experiences such as internships and service learning.

Formal study abroad through our exchange programs would not be considered an away semester as students’ pay Rensselaer tuition.

Students can, however, also pursue study abroad during their away semester through non-affiliated programs.  In that case students pay tuition to the host institution.

Will there be air conditioned residence halls and classrooms for all students during The Arch?

All residence halls and classes for Arch students will be air conditioned.

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