About The Arch

To make our undergraduate educational experience even more robust and transformative, we have freed it from the traditional academic calendar to include an experiential learning component for all Rensselaer students.

During The Arch, you are required to live on campus for the summer after your sophomore year, taking junior-level courses, while receiving focused attention from professors during this pivotal point in your academic progression.

Then, you will leave the Troy campus for a semester during the traditional junior year— either fall or spring—to pursue your passion in the form of an Individual Learning Experience (ILE) including a co-op/internship or a civic engagement, research, entrepreneurship, or an international opportunity. Students who pursue these opportunities during their academic careers are better prepared for future professional careers and graduate school.

Whatever students decide to do during The Arch semester away—join a multinational corporation, launch a startup, work in a health-care clinic, or help NASA to land humans on Mars—the experience will broaden and deepen their knowledge, and build leadership skills.

Global companies that hire our students welcome them for longer periods than typical internships. Rensselaer continues to work with these companies to create new programs for juniors.

During The Arch enrollment year, students with aid receive two semesters of full-time financial aid funding. One term will be for the summer, and the other will match the student’s second term of full-time study on campus.

Summer Here

The Arch allows you to experience Rensselaer in a unique academic environment. As the only full class on campus, rising juniors have increased access to faculty and staff in specialized classes, workshops, and events. They have greater access to our world-class facilities such as the Lighting Research Center, Microelectronics Clean Room, and Manufacturing Innovation Learning Laboratory.

Other exclusive summer opportunities include campus visits from successful entrepreneurs who share their personal and professional experiences, trips to local companies, fieldwork in the Adirondacks, pop-up courses, and career-readiness workshops. Built on the cultural riches of New York’s Capital Region, The Arch also gives students access to a wide array of activities not available during the traditional fall or spring semesters, including concerts and performances, recreational programming, and local festivals and events.

The World Away

During the fall or spring semester of your junior year, you will take part in an intellectual adventure unconstrained by a classroom schedule. Transformative experiences available off campus, include international travel, internships, co-ops, research opportunities, pursuit of an entrepreneurial idea, civic engagement, study abroad, or study at another U.S. institution.

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