The Summer Arch at Rensselaer: Extended Academic Opportunities Prepare 21st Century Leaders

New summer term adds flexibility, new pathways to enrich student experience

September 10, 2015


Troy, NY—Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has announced the Summer Arch, a new academic plan of study that focuses on three specific outcomes: enhanced student-faculty interactions at a pivotal phase of the undergraduate experience; pathways for students who wish to augment their academic progress through the availability of a year-round academic calendar; and flexibility in the academic schedule to enable all students to explore their passions and interests in a way that positions them for future success.

“Rensselaer’s distinctive Summer Arch aligns with, and prepares students to meet, the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “We are educating the kinds of graduates that the world needs: global, multicultural, and self-aware leaders; critical and creative thinkers; exceptional communicators; and inventive and enterprising problem-solvers prepared to address great challenges, and to seize great opportunities.”  

The Summer Arch builds on Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students, or CLASS, which is Rensselaer’s signature approach to the student experience. Summer Arch is designed to help develop students’ intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and global view.  Through ongoing support, guidance, and co-curricular activities, CLASS connects students to a network of faculty, staff and other students, ensuring that they are part of a strong community of learners.

Under the Summer Arch, rising juniors will attend a full summer semester at Rensselaer between their sophomore and junior years, followed by either a fall or a spring “away” semester taken during the student’s junior year. The “away” semester allows students to take advantage of the numerous co-curricular and experiential activities available off campus, including international experiences, internships, co-ops, research opportunities, and engagement in community service projects.

In 2017, Rensselaer will launch the first of two pilots of the Summer Arch, and rising juniors (members of the Class of 2019) from the School of Engineering and selected programs from the other schools will have the opportunity to stay on campus and participate in the Summer Arch.

In the summer of 2018, Rensselaer will launch the second pilot and rising juniors (members of the Class of 2020) enrolled in all schools will have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Arch. The ultimate launch will take place in 2019 and will include all members of the Class of 2021. The program will be a requirement for all members of the Class of 2021.

As is true today, matriculation to degree completion will not take more than eight terms of Rensselaer attendance. Summer Arch adds richness and expanded opportunities to the standard academic pathway.


Allison Newman
Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications and External Relations

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Written By SCER Staff
Press Contact Allison Newman
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